October 21, 2019

Tip of the Week
How to Stop the Short Receive.

Weekend Coaching and Attacking the Middle
While I was away Friday and Saturday (see Capclave SF Convention at end of blog), I had three group sessions.

We had the third meeting of the Thursday Beginning Class, where the focus was serving and review of forehand and backhand. At the end, as happens in about half our beginning classes, they stacked cups into pyramids and walls (or as I called them, the Pretty Good Wall of Maryland), and then, as I fed multiball, took turns destroying the fruits of their work.

We also had the second meeting of the Sunday Beginning Class, where the focus was on the backhand and forehand review. As with the Thursday class, we finished with cup-killing. (Kids just love smacking cups - and while they do this, they are developing their strokes and accuracy!)

In the more advanced Talent Development Program, I ran the drills for six players on three tables. It was sort of divided into two parts. The first part was lots of footwork drills. The second part was serve and receive drills, where we had the players play out the points. If the server won two points in a row, he became the receiver. Every three minutes the players moved up or down the tables, with the receivers moving up, serves down.

The focus of two of the drills was receiving to the middle, i.e. the server's elbow. In the first drill, the server would serve short anywhere, with the receiver attacking the server's elbow. If the server "cheated" and tried to favor one side, the receiver had to move adjust to still go at the elbow - so if the server tried to favor his forehand, the receiver would go more to his backhand and still catch him. (We also allowed them to go to the wide forehand if the serve "cheated" too much.) In the second drill, the server had to serve long anywhere, and the receiver looped it at the server's elbow again adjusting if the server moved.

Attacking the middle is one of those things best taught early and young. Chinese coach and all-time great Liu Guoliang once said of a top USA player (and I'm paraphrasing here), "The main thing that keeps him from beating the best players in the world is he didn't develop an instinct for attacking middle early on, and now it's too late."

Smashing Seminar
Last Wednesday night I ran a 90-minute Forehand Smashing Seminar at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. Fourteen players attended - two came in after photo was taken. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) It went pretty well - and I had fun smacking water bottles with my forehand smash while lecturing, as a demonstration that you have to let the subconscious take over for these shots. Here's what was covered:

  • 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
  • We finished with a smashing competition. I created a pyramid of ten plastic cups, and each player had ten shots to see how many they could knock down. One player astounded us all by knocking them all down in four shots - he obviously paid attention during the seminar!

You Never Know!
A 59-year-old was too old to win Over 40 Hardbat at the U.S. Nationals in July, but he did. (Hey, that's me! Well, I thought I was too old.) Navin Kumar wasn't supposed to win Bronze in Singles and Silver in Doubles at the World Parkinson's Championships, but he did. And USA's Lily Zhang, world #49, wasn't supposed to make the semifinals of the Women's World Cup this past weekend, but she did. Remember this the next time you enter a tournament! (And, of course, Dan Seemiller at 65 can't possibly make the US Olympic Team, right? See "Two Opportunities to Support the Sport You Love!" below, and the segment on this in my blog last week.)

US Open Early Entry Discount Ends Oct. 25
Here's the home page for the US Open. Price goes up after Oct. 25 - this Friday. Final deadline is Nov. 15. Tournament is in Ft. Worth, TX, Dec. 17-21 - I'll be there. Enter now! 

Women's World Cup
History was made as Lily Zhang made the semifinals, the first time ever by a USA player, and China's Liu Shiwen won for a record fifth time. (Coach Zeng "Jeffrey" Xun coached her matches - he's one of my fellow coaches at MDTTC.) Here are some links.

Polish Open
Here's the ITTF page for the event held in Wladyslawowo, Poland this past weekend.

World Veterans Tour - Fort Lauderdale
Here's the ITTF page for the event this past weekend, with compete results, articles, pictures, and video. Wish I could have been there!

Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships
I wrote about this in my blog last week. Here are more articles and photo galleries.

Winning Table Tennis
Here's the article by Samson Dubina.

Are You Standing Too Close to the Table Tennis Table?
Here's the article by Ben Larcombe.

New from EmRatThich

Training at the German Open and Women's World Cup
Here are four videos from Malong Fanmade Channel.

National Collegiate Table Tennis October Newsletter
Here it is!

Two Opportunities to Support the Sport You Love!
Here's the Butterfly article on the Butterfly South Shore Highland Table Tennis Tournament and Coach Seemiller’s Journey Back to the Olympics

Table Tennis Coach May Have Lied About Links to Ukraine
Here's the article by Coach Jon!

WAB Club Feature: Canadian Elite Table Tennis Training Centre
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

St. Lucia Olympic Solidarity Course
Here's the article by Richard McAfee about the course he ran in the West Indies.

History of USATT - Volume 23 - Chapter 13
Here is Chapter 13 of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "1998 Gilbert Cup." (Page includes links to previous chapters.) Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. Volume 23 is 491 pages with 1841 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1997-1999 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

TT Dream Building Fund 2020
Here's the ITTF video (60 sec).

Never Give Up
Here's the video (25 sec)!

Lionel Messi Also Plays Table Tennis!!!
Here's the video (10 sec) as Argentina soccer superstar Lionel Messi knocks a ball off a bottle with his serve!

Earn £100 Teaching Monkeys Table Tennis!
Here's the help wanted cartoon! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Ping Pong Trickshots
Here's the video (3:06) from GT Table Tennis!

Ping Pong with Musical Instruments
Here's the video (10:03) from Pongfinity!

Non-Table Tennis - Capclave Science Fiction Convention
I was a panelist at the Capclave Science Fiction Convention on Friday and Saturday. I was on four panels, including one I moderated, plus an author signing. Here are some links.

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