November 25, 2019

Tip of the Week
Serving from the Forehand Side.

USATT Training Camp
I'm one of the coaches at the USATT Training Camp here at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, Nov. 23-28. Actually, I'm spent over half the sessions so far as a practice partner - I may be getting older, but I can still block pretty consistently. (And when needed, I can loop!) I also made two trips to the airport (an hour away) to pick up players.

Wang Qingliang is the head coach. He's one of the USATT National Development Team Coaches. The rest of the coaching staff is myself, Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, and Alex Ruichao Chen. Khoi & Khai Dinh, and Vikash Sahu, are practice partners (with Vikash leading the warmup routines in the morning - jogging and stretching). Wang's a strict disciplinarian and has the players' respect, but he still has fun with the kids - this morning, before practice, he joined the kids in a winner-stay-on battle on the mini-table with mini-paddles.

There were 27 junior players, most of them ages 10-15, and five of the top eight are girls. The strongest include Aziz Zarehbin (13, 2432), Sarah Jalli (13, 2305), Sabrina Zhu (15, 2270), Lavanya Maruthapandian (16, 2240), Andrew Cao (12, 2208), Stanley Hsu (10, 2204), Nicole Deng (13, 2176, and Emily Quan (12, 2156). Here's a picture during a lecture/demo (by Carolyn Klinger). (Here's the non-Facebook version. The Facebook version has several other pictures.) Here's a video (3:04) taken by Coach Cheng.

The camp started Saturday night, 7-9PM. Then it's Sun-Wed, two three-hour sessions per day, plus half an hour of physical training in the morning. We also have a video session on Wednesday where we'll be watching and analyzing videos - I'm looking forward to that. On Thanksgiving Thursday we have a 10AM-1PM session, and then everyone's off for Thanksgiving - which for most, means driving out to the Gaylord National Resort Convention Center in southern Washington DC for practice for the North American Teams, Fri-Sun (Nov. 29-Dec. 1). There are currently 1080 players in 271 teams! (I tried but failed to convince the kids I'm having roast puppy for Thanksgiving.)

As usual, there are lots of footwork drills and serve & receive drills, and lots of fun counterlooping. When I'm a practice partner, I let the other player go first. When it's my turn, I only do half my time, then let the other player do the rest. When I'm coaching, I get to walk around, spending much of my time watching their feet and reminding them to move them. (They all move them, but some less than others. We want lively feet!) I'm also reminding a lot about balance - often players can't get to balls because of how they finished the previous shot, either off-balance or out of position.

Many of the drills take the players outside of their "comfort zone." At least one player was heard saying, "My brain can't handle this." But they all adapt, which is half the point. There are drills that start off with up to five set shots. There are serve and receive drills with restrictions - for example, the server can only serve short, while the receiver had to return long (either flip or long push). Or the server has to serve long. Or the receiver must receive to the server's middle. And so on. The point is to allow players to focus on specific aspects of an otherwise complicated situation so they can become proficient at each part, making it easier to do any of them when needed.

Most sessions end with up-down tables, where some of these rules are in place. At the end, they usually play regular, but often starting at various scores, such as starting with the server down 7-9. This afternoon we finished the camp with an improvised version of Brazilian Teams, where each team sent two players at a time to two tables. If both players from a team scored the point, their team won a point. If they split, no points for either team. (I acted as umpire.)

I'll write more about the camp in a USATT article I hope to send in on Wednesday, along with more photos and video. (I'll probably start with what I have above and add to it.)

Men's World Cup
Here's the ITTF home page for the event to be held in Chengdu, China, Nov. 29 - Dec. 1.

World Junior Championships
Here's the ITTF home page for the event going on right now in Korat, Thailand, Nov. 24 - Dec. 1.

Common Questions of FH loop and Their Solutions, Part 1
Here's the USATT article by National Team Coach Wang Qingliang.

Table Tennis Stance and Ready Position (with Fan Zhendong)
Here's the article from Ben Larcombe.

New from Samson Dubina

  • Shadow Strokes. "Your imagination is your most powerful tool. Are you using it?"
  • 3:1 Principle: Learn to Evaluate your Training Sessions

How to Return Long Serves, Part 2
Here's the video (10:10) from Louis Levene. Here is Part 1 (14 min) from three weeks ago.

Practice Multiball Movement Footwork One-One
Here's the video (3:02) from Dennis Darmawan.

Reverse Pendulum Serve
Here's the video (3:20) from GT Table Tennis.

How to Play Like Desmond Douglas
Here's the video (8:55) from Tom Lodziak. "Desmond Douglas played in the 1970s and 1980s and was 11 times English champion. He reached number 7 in the world rankings. He is still the most well known table tennis played in the UK. Desmond had a unique playing style. He played close to the table and used short strokes and quick reactions to put his opponents under pressure."

Kids Training in China
Here's the video (44 sec). "Shadow training without the ball is very important at the young age."

Inspired to Bounce
Here's the video (48 min) featuring Richard Bowling - the password is ibounce. Here's a trailer for it (2:41) and a 30-sec teaser. "Inspired to Bounce is a documentary of how one man's bold and imaginative 20-yr table tennis adventure reinvented his life, and led him on a mission to inspire the world. For details visit:" (And since I know you are thinking the question, Richard has been rated as high as 2243.)

Hugo Calderano - Outside The Venue | Meet "The Thrill from Brazil!"
Here's the ITTF video (21:59) featuring the world #6.

DHS Top 10 Points | Zen-noh 2019 ITTF Team World Cup
Here's the ITTF video (4:53).

MLFM Top 10 Table Tennis Points Of 2019
Here's the video (6:37) from MLFM.

Spreading the Net in Thailand
Here's the ITTF article featuring USATT Coach Richard McAfee. "The Table Tennis Association of Thailand is for sure a model to follow for many national associations. They take corporate social responsibility very seriously; they work on the social legacy of the event, by bringing more players to the movement but also more visibility to the event. They perfectly understood that doing good actions brings also a benefit for them. This is what we want to promote through the Table Tennis Legacy programmme of the ITTF Foundation."

New from Matt Hetherington

New from Steve Hopkins

Stellar US Para Junior Athlete Breaks into Top Ten World Ranking After Shining Performance in China
Here's the USATT article featuring Jenson Van Emburgh, by Michael Reff.

Nenad Bach (Ping Pong Parkinson) Part 1
Here's the interview with musician and peace activist Nenad Bach, who has Parkinson's and plays table tennis.

Taiwan School Team's Training in Yokohama
Here's the article by Sally Moyland

The Significant Special Sounds of Table Tennis
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

History of USATT - Volume 23 - Chapter 17
Here is Chapter 17 of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, "Varied Interests." (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!

Table Tennis Christmas Card
Buy one today!

Basic Serving Spins
Here's the video (13 sec) from Louis Levene!

High Bounce Off Net Post and a Premature Yell
Here's the video (15 sec) - Jeremy Hazin on near side, Nandan Naresh on far side. Here's the entire match (15:13, time between points removed) - it went seven games! (And guess who led 3-1 in games?) Nandan (13) is rated 2343, Jeremy 2598 (member of Canadian National Team). 

Playing Table Tennis with Golf Clubs - Waldner, Persson, Jiang
They won Men's Singles at the Worlds five times: Jiang (1985, 1987); Waldner (1989, 1997); and Persson (1991). Here are two pictures where they use golf clubs as rackets, as part of a Volvo commercial in China, with pro golfers Ian James Poulter and Jason Dufner. Alas, I was unable to find the actual video - can anyone post it?

We're Pinging in the Rain!
Here's the video (11 sec)! Here's another - that's Timo Boll on left.

Mini-Table Mini-Player Multiball
Here's the video (14 sec)!

Sonic the Hedgehog Trailer
Here's the video (3:01) - link should take you to 15 sec in when he plays super-fast table tennis for three seconds! (Move comes out Feb. 14, 2020.)

Funny Table Tennis
Here's the trickshot video (3:14)!

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