November 11, 2019

Tip of the Week
Three Spots or Two?

Happy Veterans Day!

Weekend Coaching
The focus of the Thursday Beginning Class was pushing, especially backhand pushing. (We'll work more on forehand pushing later.) Due to an apparent car accident, there was a huge traffic jam in the road leading to the club, and over half the class came in 10-15 minutes later. I had planned a forehand-to-forehand consistency contest, but we ran out of time and will have to do that later. (We'll also have a backhand-to-backhand contest.)

There was no Sunday Beginning Class due to Veterans Weekend. However, we did have the advanced Talent Development Program. I mostly ran drills on two table - the usual footwork and serve and attack drills, followed by Brazilian Teams. Later today I have to put together my player evaluations for the players I've been working with. Next Sunday we go over these with the players and their parents after the training session, followed by a party. After the session Sunday the coaches went out for Chinese food and discussed the players.

It's always interesting watching how the players develop. One kid who started out a year ago didn't seem as coordinated as some of the others, and honestly didn't show much promise. But he had two big things going for him - he was focused on practicing hard, and practiced regularly with his dad, who is a good player. One year later, he's pulled away from most of the others who started with him and who (at the time) seemed to have more promise, and now seems one of the most coordinated! During the dinner, I singled him and a couple others out as ones that I predict will "explode" in level in about a year.

There's another girl, about eight, who is beginning to devastate her peers with pure shotmaking - big backhand and forehand hitting, and strong forehand loop (when not rushed). The problem is she jams the table so much she often gets caught on deep balls, plus she has a tendency against short balls to the forehand to smack them all over the place, plus her receive is so aggressive that against good serves she is erratic. With a few minor fixes, she is another that'll soon "explode."

Malls for Table Tennis Clubs
I spend many afternoons at the Lakeforest Mall Eatery, usually eating pizza, drinking Dr Pepper, and writing. There was a time when the mall was always jammed, just like malls all over Europe are still jammed (as I learned in my recent seven weeks in Europe and Egypt). But in the U.S., malls are dying. Except for clothing and shoe stores (where people want to try on things), most people prefer to use Amazon, and so when I walk around Lakeforest Mall, it's like a ghost town compared to its heyday. Store are closing left and right, and I'm sure the monthly rent must have dropped dramatically, since few stores could afford to pay what they paid back when the malls were full.

As I peered into one of the vacant stores, I had a brainstorm - wouldn't this be a perfect opportunity for table tennis? I wonder if we could start opening full-time clubs in malls. You could pretty much choose your size. Plus, though the crowds are smaller, you still get a steady stream of people who might see the club and try it out. I'm guessing that there are already such "mall" clubs - I remember a few from the past, but they were mostly in rural areas.

ITTF Team World Cup
Here are links for the event that took place Nov. 6-10 in Tokyo. USA Men and Women BOTH reached the quarterfinals!!! Some of us remember a time when results like this were only a dream, except when we relied on immigrants. I think twice in the recent past Team USA contended at the world-class level - about ten or more years ago when we had former Chinese stars Gao Jun and Wang Chen on the team (at their peaks ranked #3 and #4 in the world), and again at the 1995 Men's Team World Cup, where the USA Team made the semifinals, with two of the players from China (Cheng Yinghua and David Zhuang), along with Jim Butler.

The current USA Teams were mostly developed in the U.S., at the many full-time training centers that now develop top players on a regular basis, in contrast to the past when we didn't have them, and top players were developed only sporadically. The USA Women's Team that made the quarterfinals was Lily Zhang, Wu Yue, and Amy Wang, and the USA Men's Team was Kanak Jha, Kai Zhang, and Feng Yijun. Of these, only Wu Yue and Kai Zhang developed primarily in China, and Kai came to the U.S. as a junior star and continued to develop here. All of them train at full-time training centers in the U.S.

One of the problems USATT has always faced is having two "masters" - the USOC, which wants them to focus on developing elite players, and the membership, which primarily wants them to focus on developing the sport by focusing on clubs, coaching, junior programs, leagues, and so on. I've always argued that there is one big overlap between the two that USATT should focus on - full-time training centers, which are also full-time clubs. You can't really develop many top players without a lot of full-time training centers to develop them, and until we had that base, there was little chance of, say, making the quarterfinals at the World Team Cup with players developed in the U.S. Our situation is now a lot different than before, and now we are challenging most of the top countries in the world. (My club, MDTTC, which I co-founded in 1992, was the first successful full-time training center in the U.S., and as recently as 2007 there were only eight such centers in the U.S. Now there are over 100.)

Hungarian Junior & Cadet Open

Serving Seminar
Here's the flyer for the Serving Seminar at the Maryland Table Tennis Center by Alex Chen Ruichao, this Wednesday, Nov. 13, 7-8:30PM. I'll be assisting.

US Open - Deadline Nov. 15
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, which is this Friday. There are currently 678 entries - here's the listing, which you can sort by Name, Rating, or Event. (Note - it has since dropped to 611 - did a large foreign continent drop out? Or it might be people who inadvertently "entered" the tournament, but didn't enter any events - this happens a lot in the tournaments I've run on Omnipong.) (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.

USATT/ITTF Club Coaching Course to Precede 2019 Seamaster US Open
Here's the info page.

2020 USA Hopes Tour Request for Proposals
Here's the USATT info page.

Ma Long Forehand Loop in Slow Motion
Here's the video (56 sec) - you should be studying this! It's a model of simplicity.

Why is Backhand Topspin vs Backspin so Difficult?
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

Devastate the Short Pips Attacker
Here's the article by Samson Dubina.

New from MLFM Table Tennis

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

Malong Fanmade Channel
Their Youtube page has a number of new videos of the top Chinese players training.

How to Act Like a Champion No Matter What
Here's the article

Finding Your Points in the Table Tennis Lost and Found
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

October Kicked off NCTTA Divisionals, With Them Exciting Matches
Here's the article by Michael Reff.

WAB Club Feature: Allen & Sons Table Tennis Club
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

History of USATT - Volume 23 - Chapter 15
Here is Chapter 15 of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis. (Page includes links to previous chapters.) Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at 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!

Amazing Point! - Emil Johnsson - David Björkryd Ängbys 2019
Here's the video (1:28) of this really incredible point between these two kids. (It's shown twice, from different angles.)

DHS Top 10 Points | Uncle Pop 2019 ITTF Women's World Cup
Here's the video (4:29).

Here's the ITTF video (6:13). "Table Tennis for NepALL is our project nominated to SPIA Asia - Sports Industry Awards & Conference. It was a 3 year initiative aimed to develop Table Tennis for people with a disability as vehicle for a positive social change. The project provided opportunities for empowering, strengthening, and integrating them in the community."  

Ten Steps on How to Build a Table Tennis Table
Here's the video (1:47). 

Potomac Team Championships
Here's the video (3:23) from the tournament held Nov. 3 at the Potomac TTC.

Background Pony Pong
Here's the cartoon!

You Don't Apologize for Nets and Edges?
Here's the cartoon!

Unlocking Zazz in Table Tennis - Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Here's the video (3:42)!

Ever-Changing Ping-Pong Balls
Here's the video (21 sec)! Some would say this is what the ITTF plans.

Send us your own coaching news!

+1 on "TT in the mall" idea. It is actually happening (anekdotal evidence) - I know of one such club in Florida, and another in Russia. :)