May 18, 2020

Tip of the Week
Mind Games: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Still More Table Tennis Tips
My book "Still More Table Tennis Tips" is now on sale at Amazon! It's in both print and kindle. It's 150 Tips from 2017 to the present, organized in logical order and progression, with much of the wording updated and cleaned up. It's the third in the series, after Table Tennis Tips and More Table Tennis Tips. I've dropped the price on all three - they cost $12 each, or $7 for kindle. It's 187 pages with seven chapters:

  1. Serve and Receive (15 tips)
  2. Strokes (23 tips)
  3. Footwork (10 tips)
  4. Tactics (45 tips)
  5. Improving (37 tips)
  6. Sports Psychology (17 tips)
  7. Doubles (3 tips)

Why not buy the complete set of three? You've got lots of free time to read now, right?

A special thanks to Mark Dekeyser, John Olsen, and Dennis Taylor, who (as they did for the first two books), gave the book a thorough proofing. The book was originally going to come out on June 1, but they got back to me quickly, and these days it doesn't take long to publish.  (Here are all 17 of my books. If you buy one, I'll be able to afford dinner tonight!)

When Will They Let Us Play Table Tennis Again?
Here's the cartoon! (I had some free time.)

Numerical Musings on Table Tennis and the Coronavirus and Other Issues
I finally found a use for my math degree! (Skip ahead if your eyes start to glaze over.)

  • You can fit about 3.05 x 10^26 coronaviruses inside a ping-pong ball. That's 305,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 305 septillion.
  • If you completely covered a ping-pong table with coronaviruses, you could fit about 2.7 x 10^20 viruses, or 270 quintillion.
  • A coronavirus has a diameter of about 0.125 nanometers. That means 8 billion coronaviruses in a line would be about one meter long, and 8 million of them would be a millimeter long. If your rubber and sponge covering is 4mm wide, then it would take 32 million of these viruses standing on top of each other to reach that height. It would take about 1.2 billion to reach the height of a net.
  • If you were to arrange coronaviruses into a 40,000 x 40,000 square (that's 1.6 billion viruses), and had very good eyesight, you could just barely see it as a tiny, almost invisible speck. The same would be true if you arranged them into a 40,000 x 40,000 x 40,000 cube, which would be 64 trillion viruses.
  • This Friday I will be 22,000 days old, according to the online Days Old Calculator.
  • Since the lockdown began, I've had at least five times where I went five days without talking to anyone (excluding giving orders at restaurant drive-throughs and an occasional "Hi!" to the people who rent from me downstairs). The record was nine days, which ended with the Ping Pong Playa interview below last Thursday - I wasn't sure if I still remembered how to speak! (But I'm getting a lot of reading and writing done, and am active online.)

Ping Pong Playa
I wrote about the movie Ping Pong Playa in my blog last week. Coincidentally or not, USATT arranged an online interview last Thursday with the director (Jessica Yu) and star (Jimmy Tsai), and invited many to attend. The interview, mostly conducted by USATT COO Mark Thompson, lasted 75 minutes, with about 35 people attending, including almost the entire USA National men’s and women’s team and coaches, along with all sorts of other prominent people – the entire USATT staff, Dell & Connie Sweeris, Adam Bobrow, Diego Schaaf and Wei Wang, and many more. I was able to ask three questions near the end, about how they prepared for the table tennis scenes; plans and ideas for a sequel (which had already been brought up); and about the ball that was put in by computer.

=>BREAKING NEWS - Here's the video (51 min) - it went up late on Tuesday afternoon. I was told that the screen went bad for the last part, including when I asked questions, so that's not included - it apparently lost to posterity.

30 Table Tennis Coaching Tutorials in 30 Days from MH Table Tennis
Here's the MH Table Tennis video page - from Matt Hetherington. It has a plethora of new coaching tutorials, plus new interviews with Adrian Crisan and Liam Pitchford.

But the coronavirus has affected lots of coaches, including Matt, who (like many of us) can't coach right now. But he's decided to stay busy, and work for your support. If you like his videos and interviews, perhaps see his GoFundMe page. Here's an excerpt from it:

"As some of you know I left my job with USATT a couple of months ago, and my next plans fell through because of COVID-19. I'm also no longer able to coach at the club. Due to my ongoing health issues I have relatively expensive health insurance and medical costs that are constant and have had 0 income for the past 2.5 months. I'm currently in a position where I am throwing as much effort as I can into a number of projects to try and keep myself afloat."

He also writes on his home page, "You can also reach me at for Zoom/Skype coaching, video analysis or other online coaching options."

Connect. Coach. Contribute.
Here's the new USATT initiative to help member clubs provide remote coaching services to their members with US Olympians.

Backhand Tutorial with Dimitrij Ovtcharov
Here's the video (4:11) - you don't want to miss this! (It's in English.) The German is #11 in the world, but was #2 just a year ago (April 2019). He's known for his backhand.

New from Samson Dubina

New from eBaTT

How to Stay in Shape and Improve with Shadow Practice
Here's the video (15 sec) - if you can't go to the club, you can at least do this! Can you identify the five-stroke sequence she's repeating?

Smartest Serves In Table Tennis History
Here's the video (4:13)!

A Life Without Table Tennis (sort of)
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

Touchless Table Tennis
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

New from EmRatThich/PingSunday

New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of new videos here!

USATT PongPositive Interviews
Here they are - 23 as of this posting. The latest are of Samson Dubina, Si and Patty Martinez, and Roman Tinyszin.

New from USATT

New from Steve Hopkins

National Collegiate Table Tennis Elections
Here's the news item.

Jorgen Persson Named Head Coach of the Swedish National Team
Here's the video announcement (26 sec) from Jorgen himself. See also the ITTF news item.

New from the ITTF

Bettor Wins an Astounding $25K on Wild Table Tennis Parlay
Here's the article from USA Today.

Creative Pong
Here's the video (1:48) - "We set our players a challenge of who could hit the ball into a tub in the most creative way."

The Fifty-Foot Serve
Here's the video (15 sec) of Scott Preiss demonstrating the serve - it's my favorite exhibition serve as well! At breaks at our camps in the past I've taught the serve to the more advanced kids, where they compete to see how many they can do and from how far. It's also great in my beginning classes, where they line up and try to return it. The serve can be done both the way shown in the video (tomahawk style) and forehand pendulum style, but I think you get more distance tomahawk style.

Dude Sets Guinness World Record for Hitting Ping Pong Balls with Nunchucks
Here's the article and video (40 sec). This looks legit - he's just hitting the balls off a robot, not rallying, unlike the infamous fake Bruce Lee Nunchuck Table Tennis video.

Jamie Oliver Channel 4 Ping Pong Table Tennis Commercial Advert Funny
Here's the video (58 sec) - it's from 2011, but I don't think I've seen it.

Cartoon Adam Bobrow's Excessive Ping Pong Celebration After Future Match
Here's the video (1:26) from Steve Worthington!

Table Tennis Trump Announces World Championships
Here's the video (5:15) from Larry Bavly! Warning - some Republicans might not like this! But you have to love the hat.

General Grievous Ping Pong
Here's the video (4:16) - and here's the original General Grievous!

Non-Table Tennis - Balticon
This weekend I'll be a panelist at the virtual Baltimore Science Fiction Convention. It's all online this year, as you can guess. I'm on two panels: "Write What You Know! Wait, What Do I Know?" (Friday 8PM) and " Dealing with Literary Rejection" (Saturday 5PM).

Send us your own coaching news!