Fast or Slow Blade?
Someone posted that his coach recommends the use of slower blades, that he says, "a fast blade is like a drug because you can hit great shots with it and when struck correctly they also feel wonderful but the speed of a fast blade hurts your all around game (you just don't notice it because you are high on the power shots it makes happen)."
I understand why your coach recommends slower blades, and partially agree with him. However, a slower blade makes a player stroke the ball more to get the same speed as a faster blade, and so you have to do more work in the same amount of time as a player with a faster blade. And so the player with the faster blade will generally be able to rally at a faster pace with more consistency. The advantage of a slower blade is that because it makes you stroke the ball more, beginning/intermediate players develop their strokes a bit more. But beyond that, you generally need a faster blade. HOWEVER - I agree with your coach that many or most players use too fast a blade. If the blade's too fast, you can't control it, and you have less spin. So you need a balance. My recommendation? Stay away from the really fast blades unless you are contending for the national team (i.e. 2500+ level); otherwise, whatever feels right is usually best.
Here's an interesting article entitled, "What China's Ping-Pong diplomacy taught us." If you want to read more about this, see Tim Boggan's book on "Ping-Pong Diplomacy, which is Volume 5 in his History of U.S. Table Tennis series. (Buy the book, but you can also read it online: Part 1 is the U.S. visit to China, and Part 2 is the Chinese visit to the U.S.)
Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Helps Launch Opening of Trolley Car Table Tennis Club
Here's the article, which includes pictures of Mayor Nutter with ping-pong paddle in hand.
In Non-Table Tennis News
My fantasy story "Workshop Gods" was just published and featured on the cover by Flagship Magazine. Here's the cover! This was my 48th short story sale, and the tenth science fiction or fantasy magazine that has featured my fiction on its cover. (Here's my Science Fiction & Fantasy page.) "Workshop Gods" is a satire on writing workshops, except it's a fidgety God in a world-building workshop. He hopes to join Supernatural Formation of Worlds Association (SFWA). (For you non-science fiction people, that's a takeoff on "Science Fiction Writers of America.")
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