October 15, 2019

Tip of the Week
React to Opponent's Forward Swing.

Forehand Smashing Seminar
I will be running a Forehand Smashing Seminar at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, on Wednesday, Oct. 16 (tomorrow!), 7:30-9:00 PM. 100% of fees goes to the HW Global Junior Program at MDTTC. (I'm not taking any payment for this.) If interested, email me to reserve your spot! Seminar will alternate between lecture/demos and table practice. Topics covered will include:

  • Should You Smash or Loop?
  • Technique
  • Balance and Recovery
  • Muscle Memory and the Subconscious
  • Drills to Develop a Great Smash
  • Smashing Backspin
  • Smashing Loops
  • Smashing Lobs
  • BONUS - at 9PM we'll have a smashing competition!

USATT Teleconference on Rajul Sheth
This morning (Tues, Oct. 15), USATT had a teleconference at 11AM for about one hour, with only one item on the agenda - whether to remove Rajul Seth from the USATT Board of Directors. Here's the USATT notice. I listened in on the teleconference, as it was an open meeting. Rajul is not only a member of the USATT board of directors, but he's the founder and director of the highly successfull ICC Table Tennis program in the Bay area. 

From the USATT bylaws (Section 7.13), there are two ways the board can vote to remove a member - either "without cause," with a 3/4 majority of the board, or "with cause," with a 2/3 majority of the board. In both cases, the member being voted on can't vote, so they need either 2/3 or 3/4 of the rest of the board - including any who do not attend or vote. Initially they were going to do it "without cause," which makes things easier later on if the expelled member files a grievance. The board last year removed an appointed committee chair "without cause," but that was a case of the board removing someone they themselves had appointed. In this case, they would be removing someone who had been elected by the USATT membership. I was one of those who wrote to USATT and pointed out that in this case, they really needed to do it "with cause." They agreed, and so put together an extensive case. To remove him, they would need six votes.

Here is the USATT Board Book for the USATT board meeting held in Rockford, IL, Oct. 5-6. Originally, they were going to vote on Rajul in a teleconference before that meeting, then they decided to do it at that meeting. But because some of the info for the case was distributed to the board just before the meeting, they decided more time was needed to go over it, so they scheduled the vote for the Oct. 15 teleconference. The "for cause" case is in the Board Book, Under Exhibit J. It is divided into four parts. The first three basically cover USATT rules and codes of conduct. J-4, which is divided into five parts, has the specific charges. It's all very long, and I'm not going to get into it here. Suffice to say that if I were still on the board - I decided last year not to run for re-election - I would have had to make a very difficult decision. Especially troubling was the apparent pledge to donate money to a lawsuit against USATT. However, I hate judging other people - at times like this, I'm glad I'm not on the board anymore.

Surprisingly, Rajul decided not to attend the teleconference. The other eight members of the USATT Board of Directors attended. Rajul sent a note to the Chair, Anne Cribbs, to read. Then they had discussion. From previous discussions, going in it was fairly obvious that the vote was 5-2 to remove Rajul, with one unknown - Deepak Somarapu. Two board members defended Rajul (Bruce and Tara), while the others explained why they believed he should be voted off, based on the charges given above. When Deepak spoke, I had trouble understanding all that he said, but the gist of it made me believe he was going to vote against Rajul.

Then they voted - and when they got to Deepak, he voted "no." I think there were some internal gasps as I think others also thought he was going to vote "yes." But as soon as he voted, the result was clear - and so the vote was 5-3 to remove Rajul, which fell short of the 2/3 needed. And so Rajul stays on the board.

World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships
When I heard that the Westchester Table Tennis Club in New York would be hosting the first World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships, and that Navin Kumar from my club - who I coached for years - was going, I told him I'd drive up (4.5 hours) and coach him for free, if he'd pay my expenses. It was a great trip for me, and an even greater one for Navin. I confess - I didn't expect him to medal. But he got Bronze in Men's Singles and Silver in Men's Doubles!!!  His partner in the Doubles was Ilya Rozenblat from Kansas. It was an interesting team - Navin is a blocker, with long pips (no sponge) on the backhand, while Ilya uses a sort of lively anti on the backhand, but mostly hits with it - and when I say hit, I mean he murders any slightly weak ball! He also has a nice forehand loop.

For singles, they divided the players into three divisions, based on disability scores for Parkinson's, and surprisingly, Navin was in Division 3, for those with the least disability, while Ilya was in Division 2, in the middle. Ilya easily won his division without losing a game, while Navin got bronze in his.

One interesting thing - because Parkinson's players can't play for as long as others, all matches were best of three to 11. This led to a tactical decision for most matches. Normally Navin is likes to lock up opponents by keeping most (not all) shots to their wide backhands, and challenging them to hit through him, backhand to backhand. But with best of three to 11, I told Navin that it would be better to go side to side, so that opponents never get comfortable against the pips from either side, and the matches would be over before they adjusted. It worked – all his wins were 2-0, often by surprisingly lopsided scores as his opponents simply didn’t have time to figure him out. He won three matches before losing in the semifinals (bronze), where he made it to 7-9 in the third before losing against a US player who was rated about 1800, and also had long pips (with sponge) on the backhand. (I warmed Navin up for the match with long pips - I'd brought a selection of rackets, including ones with both long pips with and without sponge.)

They actually played doubles first, with Navin and Ilya getting silver. Here's a picture of me coaching them between games. (Here's the non-Facebook picture.)

A great thanks goes to everyone who helped put the tournament together! This included Westchester TTC owner Will Shortz, and all the staff and officials - even the one I argued with about scheduling! Attendees included ITTF President Thomas Weikert, and former world #3 and two-time Men's World Cup Champion Zoran Primorac, who chairs the ITTF Athlete's Commission and is on the ITTF Executive Committee. (I interviewed him after he won Men's Singles at the 1991 U.S. Open in Midland, Michigan - his English has improved!)

Here's a nice video, TT4Health: The story of Jens Greve (6:10). "Jens Greve, diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, is the founder of Yuvedo, an app to help people also diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and their relatives. Because of his incredible work, he has become ambassador of our #TT4Health program and will also PLAY FOR HISTORY at the first ever ITTF Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships."

In the World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships, make sure to see the links under News and Media!

Five-Time US Men's Singles Champion Dan Seemiller is Trying Out for the Olympics
Want to help fund his training? Sure, he's gotten older. But with his unique style, who knows - he might be able to pull off some upsets! At worse, it'll be fascinating to see just how good he can if he trains seriously for the first time in years. He's rated 2356 at age 65 (easily #1 of his age in the U.S, probably in U.S. history), and was rated over 2400 last year, and over 2500 just four years ago - so he can probably reach at least that level again. (Ten years ago, at age 55, he was US Men's Doubles Champion, for the twelfth time, with Mark Hazinski.) Here is his GoFundMe page, which includes a five-minute video from Dan. Serious training cost money, as Dan explains in the video. (He also gives a few table tennis tips!) So far he's had 53 donations, raising $5615 of his goal of $12,000. Want to help him out? (And don't forget to get a copy of his autobiography, Revelations of a Ping-Pong Champion!)

German Open
Here's the ITTF home page for the event that ended Sunday in Bremen, Germany, with results, articles, photos, and video. Here's the article German Open Review: Fan Tops Field by Steve Hopkins.

Uncle Pop Women's World Cup
Here's the ITTF home page for the event to be held in Chengdu, China, Oct. 18-20. (Don't you love the "Uncle Pop"?) Representing USA is Wu Yue and Lily Zhang.

2nd US Youth National Ranking Final Standings
Here's the USATT news item. I've worked with a number of these players! Stanley Hsu, who came in first Hopes Boys, started out with me.

Here are complete results of the MDTTC Open held this past weekend at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. (Yep, that's my club!)

USATT Invitation for Interest in Committee Membership
Here's the USATT news item.

USATT Adds National Team Tracksuits to Prize List for Senior Events at 2019 Seamaster US Open
Here's the USATT news item by Matt Hetherington.

Coaching Position at Zing! Table Tennis Center
Here's the news item by Noel Abbott.

Winning Table Tennis
Here's the article by Samson Dubina. "A missing key in table tennis is a proper understanding of between-game analysis and between-point analysis.  In this article, I’m going to mention the three keys – understanding the problem, finding a solution, and encouraging yourself with the benefit of implementing the solution."

Champions Keep Playing Until They Get It Right
Here's the article from Pong Universe.

New from Tom Lodziak

New from Louis Levene

How to Flip Short Balls
Here's the video (7:29) by Yu Di.

Increasing Consistency Through Changes in Pace - Build From Your Block...
Here's the video (2:12) from Ed Lynn Table Tennis Coaching.

4 Basic Backhand Exercise For Beginners
Here's the video (7:05) from MLFM Table Tennis.

Gray Offers Insights into Table Tennis Physical Training
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington. "As National Team players were put through their paces in a number of training camps over the past year or so, there was one man standing among them directing the all-important physical training sessions which were apparently lacking among the nation's best athletes. Eric Gray was that man, and having been involved in a number of physical training sessions and athletic camps with the youth and senior national teams since becoming involved with USATT, he has some valuable insights into physical training needs for table tennis players."

Taming the Tennis Player
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

ITTF High Performance & Development – Continental Reports
Here's the ITTF Reports, including the half-year report for North America.

High Level Coaching Course in Halmstad – the next level of learning
Here's the ITTF article.

Nittaku ITTF Monthly Pongcast | September 2019
Here's the ITTF video (16:26).

Five Things the Month of September Taught!
Here's the ITTF article. Item #2 is about USA's Lily Zhang!

How to Play Table Tennis Alone
Here's the article from Table Tennis Spot.

Teaching with Table Tennis
Here's the article from the Northern Ontario News.

WAB Featured Club: Denver Table Tennis Alliance
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

College Table Tennis Season Commences as School Teams Prep for Divisionals
Here's the article by Michael Reff.

Tallahassee Table Tennis Club Hosts First USATT Sanctioned Tournament
Here's the article by Michael Reff.

The Art of Ping-Pong – in Pictures
Here's the page (from 2014).

Pizza Hut Football Table Tennis
Here's the repeating gif image (7 sec)!

Table Tennis Funny Moments
Here's the video (8:02)!

King Ping Pong Comedy
Here's the video (4:14)!

Ping Pong Password
Here's the video (5:28)!

Top 10 Table Tennis Spin Shots
Here's the video (2:24) from Pongfinity!

Send us your own coaching news!