November 9, 2017

The Non-Playing Arm
I’ve been harping on the left arm a lot with my students recently. (I really should say “non-playing arm,” but at the moment all my private students are righties.) I do almost all of my coaching on the same back table at the club, next to the table tennis robot, surrounded by posters on the wall of world-class players. Right behind me are three pictures of players (also righties) in various playing positions, but all of them with their left arm up for balance. So I’m regularly pointing to them in succession and saying, “Left arm. Left arm. Left arm.”

The problem is that you can sort of get away with not using the left arm in many drills – either static ones, where you aren’t moving (i.e. working on basics with beginners), and often in moving drills where you know where the ball is going and so don’t have to make sudden unexpected changes in direction. And so players will sometimes get lazy and let their left arm just hang there like a dead snake. (That’s what I regularly call it – “dead snake syndrome.”) Often the consequences of a limp non-playing arm aren’t apparent as they affect your ability to recover from a shot – meaning it doesn’t so much affect the shot you are doing as much as it does the next shot. And then, rather than blaming the slow recovery on the lack of balance and fixing the problem, they call out, “I’m too slow!”

There are really three things about the non-playing arm you should focus on. First, keep the arm and hand up in your ready position for balance, making it easier to make quick starts, using the arm as a counter-balance. Second, it should be used as a counter-balance to your playing arm while rallying. This is especially true when making big forehand shots, but also true on big backhand shots if you turn sideways. And third, when making big forehand shots, where the body is rotating in roughly a circle, not only is your playing arm side moving forward, but the non-playing arm side should be moving backwards – so you should essentially be pulling back with that arm, adding to your power. (A version of this will likely become a Tip of the Week later on.)

Amazon Email Received Yesterday
The email said, “Larry Hodges, Based on your recent views, we thought you might be interested in these items.” The email had four suggested books for me: Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers, Table Tennis Tips, More Table Tennis Tips, and The Spirit of Pong. These are all books I wrote!

A Rising USA Bids for the Worlds
Here’s the USATT news item, which was adapted from my blog on Monday.

Seamaster German Open
Here’s the home page for the event. It’s in Magdeburg, GER, Nov. 7-12. 

Pushing Tactics to Mess Up Your Opponent
Here’s the video (7:19) from Tom Lodziak.

Trading Places With Your Coach
Here’s the article from Coach Jon.

Driven by Same Values, Toyota and Adriana Diaz Now Steer the Same Route
Here’s the ITTF article on the Puerto Rican star.

Sid and Nandan Naresh Display Table Tennis Skills
Here’s the article and video (2:59) from WGN9 News.

DHS ITTF Top 10 - 2017 Women's World Cup
Here’s the video (5:42) of the top ten shots from the Women’s World Cup.

U.S. Hopes Team Member Ved Sheth Plays “grudge match” with ICC Coach Zheng Pu
Here’s the video (66 sec).

Fegerl-Karlsson Exhibition Point
Here’s the video (56 sec) – what a point! That’s Stefan Fegerl of Austria on the far side (world #36, #31 last month) vs. Kristian Karlsson of Sweden (world #27). Here’s the entire exhibition (10:03).

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