Weekend Coaching - Doubles and Footwork and Halloween Hitches, Oh My!
In the Saturday Junior League (which is really half league, half training/coaching), I worked with some of our top kids on their doubles. Some of them are getting very good now at positioning themselves. In singles, when a player is caught out of position, he usually thinks to himself, "I got out of position." In doubles, when a player is caught out of position, he usually thinks to himself, "They got me out of position." WRONG! (Well, usually.) Just as in singles, when you get caught out of position in doubles, it's usually because you went out of position after your previous shot. But unlike singles, where you get immediate "punishment," in doubles many players don't connect their own poor positioning with getting caught out of position, and so don't fix the problem. I worked with several of our kids who, to get out of their partner's way, either went off to the side too much or too far back, and others who waited too long to return to the table after their partner made their shot. Some of the more advanced kids are now working on circling footwork, where two righties (or two lefties) try to circle around so each can approach the table in their regular ready stance.
In the Sunday "Talent" Program (advanced kids, over 30 of them), I ran the drills for six players on three tables - lots of footwork at the start, then lots of serve and receive practice. Two of them still don't rotate much on many forehands and so get caught on that side, and are often caught on that side. I did a lot of emphasis on attacking any deep ball, especially serves that went long, as well as attacking the middle.
In the Thursday Beginning Class, the focus was on footwork. However, the biggest concern was that the schedule, created by the local schools (which organizes the Thursday class, though we run it at MDTTC), had scheduled the following class for Thursday, Oct. 31 - Halloween! It's not a school holiday, so of course kids would have no problem showing up from 6:30-7:30PM rather than go trick-or-treating! However, by a unanimous vote of the class, I was asked to skip this Thursday, and with permission of Montgomery County Schools, we will do so, and will instead go an extra week into December. I tried, and failed, to convince any of the kids to dress up as a ping-pong ball for Halloween.
In the Sunday Beginning Class, the focus was on serving, followed by stroking drills. The age and level of play in that class this season is a bit lower than the Thursday class, so the focus was mostly on just serving on the table, keeping it low, and hitting targets. (Poor Froggy took a beating! We actually have two of them now - I bought a second one.) We used the Adjustable Serving Bar both here and in the Thursday class.
China Daily (which is in English) has featured USA players in four recent articles and videos by Zhao Xu. (I'm featured or mentioned in all of them, especially in Oct. 2.) I did a search and found a total of 147 articles by them that had the word "table tennis" in them - feel free to browse them.
- Oct. 26: Matters of the heart of an unshakable bionic man (features Navin Kumar)
- Oct. 24: The power of ping-pong over Parkinson's (2:52; features Navin Kumar)
- Oct. 2: A tale of passion and tradition (features Larry Hodges, Will Shortz, and Dell & Connie Sweeris)
- Aug 4: Bouncing around the globe to Ping-Pong pinnacle (features Kai Zhang, Cheng Yinghua, Will Shortz, Larry Hodges)
US Open and North American Teams
Here's the home page for the U.S. Open to be held in Ft. Worth, TX, Dec. 17-21. Final deadline to enter is Nov. 15. There are currently 598 entries - here's the listing, which you can sort by Name, Rating, or Event. (I've emailed them requesting that they add listing by Club and State.) This will be my 36th consecutive U.S. Open - I've been to every Open and Nationals since 1984 (and a few before that). I'm not playing, just coaching.
From Nov. 29-Dec. 1 I'll be attending the JOOLA North American Teams in Washington DC, for the 44th consecutive year, since 1976, the year I started playing. (I'll be coaching one of the seven junior teams from my club.) They currently have 1026 players on 275 teams - here's the listing. (They used to be called the U.S. Open Teams, and were in Detroit for many years, and then Baltimore, before moving to DC a few years ago.) It's past the deadline to enter, though they take players on a space available basis, with a late fee.
World Veterans Tour – Fort Lauderdale
The event was held last weekend, Oct. 17-20.
- ITTF Home Page (with results, articles, photos, and video)
- World Veterans Tour – Fort Lauderdale: Highlights by Steve Hopkins. "The tournament featured 24 events, age rated events including singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. The youngest veteran age band is Over 40 and the most senior of the veteran events is the 80+ event."
- World Veterans Tour Event Shines in Sunny Florida by Michael Reff. (This went up one day after the blog went up, but it was timely. I'll likely link to it again next week.)
2019 World Cadet Challenge
Here's the home page for the event currently being run in Władysławowo, Poland, Oct. 23-31. USA players are Ted Li, Sid Naresh, Joanna Sung, Angie Tan, and Emily Tan.
Winning the Warm-up
Here's the article by Coach Jon. "It’s pretty remarkable that there are players who have been playing for decades that don’t make the best use of their preparation time before a match. Consider a few guidelines that will be beneficial for you, and show consideration for your opponent."
Copying the Pros Can Make You Worse
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.
How to Return Long Serves in Table Tennis (Part 1)
Here's the video (14 min) from Louis Levene.
Zhang Jike Learns New Table Tennis Techniques
Here's the video (5:26) where he works on his "Strawberry" flip.
Learning CRAZY Sidespin Serve
Here's the video (7:10) from MLFM Table Tennis.
Ping Pong Literacy
Here's the video (2:30) from Steve Rowe, featuring his table tennis program for kids, ages 4-8 years old.
MALONG Fanmade Channel
Here's the Youtube page with lots of new videos this past week, including a number of Fan Zhendong.
Sid Naresh Serve and Loop Winner
Here's the video (19 sec) in slow motion. Sid's on the US Cadet Team (under 15) with a 2489 rating.
Women's World Cup
Here are new ITTF videos.
- Women's World Cup Highlights (5:58)
- Liu Shiwen Makes History (61 sec)
- Lily Zhang | STIGA Point of Day 3 (43 sec)
- Lily Zhang makes American table tennis history (1:28)
DHS Top 10 Points | 2019 ITTF Swedish Open
Here's the video (5:31).
The King Never Gives Up - Part 1
Here's the documentary (25:06) from EmRatThich.
USATT Community Voice Positive Vibes for 2021 WTTC in Houston
Here's the article by Michael Reff. "The 2021 World Table Tennis Championships will be held in Houston, Texas, and positive vibes are already abound in regards to the chosen venue and what it has to offer for the players as well as the public."
WAB Featured Club: Han-In Table Tennis Club
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.
Ace Ping Pong: Grand Slam – Official Launch
Here's the article and video (20 sec) on this new table tennis video game!
Table Tennis at 22 Months
Here's the video (1:27).
Robot Table Tennis Ball Retriever
Here's the video (9:42)! I wonder if this will ever get made.
Here's what you get when you Google "Halloween Table Tennis"! But if you are a real table tennis person, you should find a way to play this ghostly repeating gif image in your front yard!
Adam vs. THE CLAW
Here's the video (8:26) from Adam Bobrow featuring a unique Japanese girl!
Lake Trick Shots
Here's the video (10:08) from Pongfinity! Some really hilarious play here.
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