May 8, 2018

Withering Weekend Work and Shifting Shoulder Shockers
Forget Spider-man, it's Spider-day at MDTTC! At least on Saturday it was. During a junior session a giant Wolf spider came crawling into the playing area. You can imagine how the kids reacted. At first the coaches shooed them back to the tables, as the spider was near the barrier, away from the table. But someone had to take action we needed a hero! I grabbed a box, and with my paddle, got the thing to crawl onto it. Then I let it go outside, despite several girls screaming, "Kill it!"

Despite all the excitement, we got some serious table tennis in. We did a lot of up-down table games, but had them start with varying scores, such as the server is down 7-9 or 8-10.

In my Sunday Beginning Class the focus was on smashing. Which is almost as exciting for them as the spider was on Saturday. Then we had the more advanced Talent program, where we challenged them with more complicated drills than usual. For example, in one drill the player would serve short backspin his partner's forehand. Partner would quick-push to the wide forehand. Player would loop down the line to partner's backhand. Partner clocked it crosscourt to player's backhand. Then then they continued the rally with the backhand-forehand-forehand drill. We also did a bit of serve practice, and I'm impressed with their improvement. Some may remember I noted in a blog earlier this year that I thought some of them needed a lot of serve practice, but that's exactly what's happened. One kid, who absolutely could not put backspin on the ball back in January, may now have the heaviest backspin serve in his group - yeah, he got determined and has been practicing it, and can now make the ball bounce backwards on the far side of the table. 

Here's a quick update on my shoulder. After the cortisone shot on Wednesday, the shoulder is suddenly feeling good for the first time since last September!!! This is also due to two months of physical therapy (3-times/week for 90 minutes), plus one to two 20-minute stretching routines each day. Amazingly, I can do something I haven't been able to do in years - put my playing arm flat against my back. However, just to be safe, I don't plan on playing for a time. When I do return - tentatively in the fall, but perhaps late summer - I will likely restrict my private coaching to less than before, while continuing with the four group sessions (6.5 hours) I do each week. 

World Team Championships Finals - Shortened Versions
Here are videos of the Men's and Women's Team Finals from the Worlds, with time between points removed. (With apologies to esteemed commentator Adam Bobrow.)

Men's Team Final

Women's Team Final

2018 World Team Championships is Simply LIT
Here's the ITTF video (2:30).

New World Rankings
The new world rankings are in, after the World Team Championships.

  • On the Men's side, Fan stays #1; Ovtcharov and Boll trade places as #2 and #3; Ma Long mysteriously stays at #6 despite being the best in the world; and 14-year-old Japanese whiz kid Tomokazu Harimoto moves into the #10 spot (from #13 last month, and #11 in Jan and Feb).
  • On the Women's side, the top three spots stay the same, but Singapore's Feng Tianwei drops from #4 to #9. Ding Ning, who many believe is the best in the world and who was #1 for a year until October, dropped from #11 to #16, while Liu Shiwen, another candidate for best in the world (world #1 or #2 for most of 2016-2017), stays at #10. These Chinese players may dominate at the table, but they apparently don't compete as often as their counterparts, and the new system punishes them for that - while making the rankings less accurate. 
  • USA's Kanak Jha moved from #82 to #72, but no other USA men are in the top 300.
  • USA's Lily Zhang moved from #55 to #53, while Yue Wu exploded from #122 to #72. Crystal Wang (who wasn't at the Worlds) moved up one spot to #155, with no other USA women in the top 200.

Photos from the Worlds
Here is a gallery from Steve Rowe. It's on Facebook, so I'm not sure if non-Facebook users can see it.

8 Slump-Busting Tips: How do I GET OUT of this slump?
Here's the article by Samson Dubina.

Funny Moments - China National Team at the Worlds
Here's the video (2:38).

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