May 11, 2018

Upcoming Tournament, Coaching, and Writing Plans
I'll be at both, June 18-24 and July 2-7 in Las Vegas. For the Veterans (4046 entries!), I'll be doing daily online coverage for USATT. We also have a USATT board meeting during the Veterans that I'll attend. At the Nationals I'll be coaching, attending meetings, and of course going to the Hall of Fame Banquet where I get the Lifetime Achievement Award!!! (Hope to see some of you there.) Between the two, June 25-July 1, I'm taking a Las Vegas writing/reading "vacation," where I plan on getting a lot of writing done in my hotel room - see my writing plans below. I'm also helping with a pre-Nationals clinic for some of our junior players, plus I'll be running a 90-minute coaching seminar, tentatively on July 1, on Serve and Receive Tactics - you are invited to that! (I may move that to Tue or Wed night.)

My shoulder is rapidly improving, and I actually think I probably could do private coaching now. I can tough my back with my right arm again (yay!), and no longer have to hold it with my left when I comb my hair. (Seriously, how funny does it look combing your hair while using your other arm to hold the combing arm?) But here's the problem - if I did so and re-injured it, I'd be right back where I was before. So I'm planning to wait until at least late summer or even September before I start up private coaching again. When I do so, I plan on greatly limiting my hours, probably doing private coaching only two times a week. This is both to minimize the chance of re-injuring the shoulder and other injuries, plus it opens up more writing time. For now, I'll continue just running group sessions.

I have both my table tennis and science fiction writing careers. After much reflection, I've decided these are my next books, in this order.

  1. Campaign 2110 and Campaign 2120, sequels to my 2016 science fiction novel Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions, a drama/satire that covers the election for president of earth in the year 2100, where the world as adopted the American two-party electoral system. This was always planned as a trilogy, and it's been bugging me for a while that I hadn't gotten to the next two novels. As I've blogged in the past, the novel contains a considerable amount of table tennis! One of the four main characters is a professional table tennis player (who leaves the pro table tennis circuit to run a worldwide presidential election), and during the campaign teaches another of the four main characters, an alien ambassador, how to play - and since her ancestors snatched flying insects out of the air, she has far better coordination and reflexes than humans, and soon begins to beat him. I'll have them continue the table tennis as the adventures move to other worlds. The complete titles of second and third volumes are Campaign 2110: Scorpions in Space, and Campaign 2120: Galactic Scorpions.
  2. Parents' Guide to Table Tennis. I've been planning to write this for a long time and keep putting it off. I may work on it during the break between the World Veterans and Nationals, unless I'm working on the two Campaign novels above.
  3. Table Tennis Fundamentals. This would be an updated and expanded version of Table Tennis: Steps to Success, my previous book on the fundamentals of table tennis. My goal is to get the photos done this year - I'm having difficulty deciding who I should hire for this! Then I hope to write this next year. Or maybe I should just demonstrate the shots myself? My strokes are rather stiff and aren't good for video, but if I'm only doing photo sequences . . . maybe.

More and more these days I'm doing my writing at the huge eatery at Lake Forest Mall. Often I go there shortly after I finish my blog. Today I have a bunch of things to take care of (working on the Hall of Fame Program book for one, which I prefer to do on my desktop at home), but I expect to go there by early afternoon and have a late lunch and later on dinner there, while getting lots of writing done. If you are ever there, check the tables by the windows and I might be there! (Stop by and say hi, but please, for the love of Table Tennis, don't join me for lunch or dinner - seriously, I'm there to write!)

There's been a big change in my life recently as I find I get more writing done with Dr. Pepper than Mountain Dew. What a life-changer that is!!! :) (Pizza + soft drink = productivity.) These days I only drink soft drinks when I'm writing or at movies, so don't worry, I'm not overdoing it. After hitting 200 pounds in December, current weight is 179, and I'll be under 175 soon.

And while on the topic of writing, don't forget to support us poor, starving writers and injured coaches by buying some of my books. I may start a union, Union of Shoulder Addled Table Tennisers (USATT). (If you can come up with a better acronym, comment below.)

Thursday Beginning Junior Class
I taught the class last night, with John Hsu assisting. We started with 15 minutes of multiball footwork. Then we moved to the day's focus - pushing. We gave the usual demo (with a multi-color ball so they can see the backspin) and a short lecture, and then had them practice. All were able to create a decent backspin, even the youngest in the class, about age 7. Then we went to games, including the popular "worm juice" game for the younger kids, who are all getting too good at smacking the Gatorade bottle (as I feed multiball), forcing me to drink the dreaded "worm juice."!

Maryland State Championships
I'll be running them at MDTTC, June 2-3. You have to be a Maryland resident to play in championship events (Men's and Women's Singles, Open Doubles, age events), but the rating events are open to all.

Early Bird Deadline at the USA Nationals
The early "Early Bird" deadline is TODAY, May 11, so don't forget to enter TODAY!!! Tomorrow the cost for adults goes from $250 to $325, for juniors from $225 to $300. Here's the USA Nationals page, July 2-7 in Las Vegas.

Training Drills
Here are two new training videos from 3T Table Tennis Training.

Investigating, Implementing, Performing: Developing a Tournament Goal
Here's the article by Samson Dubina. "One year at the US National Team Trials, I was leading 3-2 against Mark Hazinski and leading 9-3 in the 6th game.  After a series of aggressive mistakes by me, he closed the gap 9-8.  I simply pushed and blocked the next 2 points to win the match 11-8 in the 6th.  Walking off the court, my coach said, 'I would rather have you lose the match than to win it like that.'  I replied, 'The goal was to win.'"

China's Table Tennis Continues to Dominate
Here's the article by Eli Baraty. "Knowing the outcome is a big problem for our sport or any sport for that matter! For example, if I took a Ferrari and a Ford Focus on a track and announced to all my family and friends come and watch these two cars race, I’m pretty sure no one would be interested."

Ma Long Multi Ball Training at World Team Championships 2018
Here's the video (3:41).

Xu Xin "Golden Hand"
Here's the video (8:13) from EmRatThich. "Xu Xin is not only the Show man. He also has the "Golden Hand" in table tennis. This is the best rallies of Xu Xin in the WTTTC 2018 World Team table tennis Championship in Halmstad."

Tomokazu Harimoto
Here are two recent matches of the 14-year-old Japanese whiz kid, now ranked #10 in the world.

Kozul Drops Racket
Here's the video (50 sec, including slo-mo replay). Denis Kozul (world #109 from Slovenia) is serving from down match point to Jon Persson (world #68 from Sweden), but drops his racket on the table right after the serve. Persson puts the ball in the net, so it's seemingly Kozul's point, right? But the umpire awards the point, and the match, to Persson. The reason is not given in the video. However, I suspect it's because Kozul apparently touched the table with his free hand while picking up his racket. But then, at the end of the video, the umpire seems to change his mind, and calls the score 7-10, now awarding the point to Persson, and the score boards now reflect that. So I'm not sure what happened here.  An umpire can't change a judgement call, and if he judged Kozul touched the table, or did something else to lose the point, I'm not sure how he can legally change it from declaring Persson the 11-6 winner to 10-7.

Sports Science Conference Proves Resounding Success
Here's the ITTF article.

Music to the Ears of Nenad Bach, Bat on Ball
Here's the ITTF article. "Enthralled by the stars of the sport but there was another reason why the man, who enjoyed number one hits in Europe in the 1980s, was present in the Swedish west coast resort." "…he presented the Ping Pong Parkinson project, an initiative of which he is the founder having recently organised a tournament at the Westchester Club in New York for those who suffer from the illness."

Golden Paddle Trophies
Here's the picture. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) Now that's a nice looking trophy!

Ping-Pong Knockout Forehand
Here's the video (10 sec)!

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