August 10, 2021

Tip of the Week
Relax Your Arm During Backswing

US Open, Worlds Tickets, and Elevation
It's nearly mid-August and we still don't know where or when (presumably sometime in December) the US Open will be. We also don't know when or how to buy tickets for the Worlds to be held in Houston in November. We've been told they'll be on sale in August, but that's pretty vague - when in August? Or is their hesitancy about whether spectators will be allowed? If USATT has a reason why they still don't have the answers to these, then there's a simple solution - TELL US!!! USATT has a news page. Communications is a huge part of leadership, and as I've blogged before, USATT gets an F in communications. Just give periodic updates, and if good reasons for the delays are given, people accept them.

I have heard rumors of five cities that are being considered for the US Open. At this point, lots of people seem to know them, so it's no longer a real secret. The five cities that rumored to be in the running for the US Open (most likely in mid-December, just before Christmas) are Las Vegas, Houston, Reno, Salt Lake City, and Palm Beach, FL. (Addendum: Tampa, FL has joined the rumors.) Regarding this, Reno and Salt Lake City are likely great cities, but with respective elevations of 4500' and 4200', that's just too high - the thinner air plays havoc with the ball. You'd probably need about a week to really adjust. (Las Vegas is 2000', which takes 1-2 sessions to mostly get used to, and the other two are about sea level.)

I have a separate reason I wish they'd get us the dates soon. I'm supposed to be a panelist at the World Science Fiction Convention to be held Dec. 15-19, 2021, in Washington DC, about a 30-minute drive from me. If this conflicts with the US Open, I need to let them know I can't make it, or perhaps that I can only make a few days. We'll see. (The US Open has precedence - I'll be coaching there.) 

Here are the results of the tournament held this past weekend at my club, the Maryland Table Tennis Center. I used to run their tournaments - I've run 203 USATT tournaments in all - but they have a new group now. Tournament director was Wang Qingliang, with John Miller, Chris Li, and James Zhang assisting. I advised on some issues, but mostly spent the tournament coaching.

I coached around 20 matches - Stanley Hsu (who made the final of the Open), Ryan Lin (who won U2000 and made the final of U2200), Mu Du (who won U2200), Todd Klinger, Kurtus Hsu, and one match for Riley Yang (who made the U1900 final). Lots of tactical and sports psychology things went on. One match was won mostly on a simple tactic: serve short to forehand (with long serves to backhand mixed in), first attack to middle to force a weak return and draw opponent out of position, then relentless attack to backhand and middle and look for chances to end it to the wide corners. (The opponent will recognize this - the tactic was somewhat obvious. There were other more subtle tactics used that I won't go into.) In another match, against a chopper, it was all about patience (never go for a risky shot), decisiveness (when the shot was there), and go after the middle. (Here are the rating results.)

National Collegiate Table Tennis Association Summer Party
On Sunday night, 8-9:30PM, they had a Zoom meeting for members, alumni, and guests. I attended, though just as a quiet onlooker. It was hosted by longtime NCTTA president Willy Leparulo. About 50 people attended. Here are some highlights.

  • NCTTA Scholarships were announced. One of them was Stephanie Zhang, who will start at University of Maryland this fall. She started out in my Beginning Table Tennis Class!
  • They gave out their first Alumni Achievement Award, to Richard Lee. Besides being the worldwide owner of JOOLA, one of the owners of my club (MDTTC), and a top player (who won most of the junior events during his junior years), Richard was very active in NCTTA's beginning.
  • There was an East vs. West competition, sponsored by Stupa Analytics, where three players from the west took on three players in the east in . . . ball bouncing off the bottom of their racket handles! The East won easily because Adam Hugh bounced around 300 in a row! (No one else had more than about 30, and most were under ten.)
  • They held a number of trivia contests - though they were all too easy!
  • There was a commemoration of Hall of Famer George Brathwaite, who died last year, with Thomas Hu putting together a nice presentation. It started off with a roughly one-minute tribute from me, where I talked about an amazing tactical adjustment he made against me in a match I lost to him. They announced the new George Braithwaite Community Service Scholarship.
  • They had a talk about the College Table Tennis Coaching Certification.
  • They showed videos of the voted on top moments of past NCTTA events.
  • They livestreamed NCTTA parties that were taking place at the 888 Table Tennis Center in California and at Spin New York.
  • While the party was going on, some pointed out that the real party was in the chat box, where lots of discussion was taking place.
  • And much more!
  • Here's the link to their National Fundraiser.

USA Table Tennis Board of Directors Meeting
They will meet online on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at 8PM eastern time. Here's the USATT Agendas and Notices page, which links to the info page for the meeting, which includes the agenda. Members are welcome to attend. 

Olympic Table Tennis Coverage
Interesting tidbit - Japan upset China in the final of Mixed Doubles to stop a Chinese sweep. If they had not done so, then China and the US would have tied for most golds at 39 each! So table tennis was the deciding factor in the US prevailing, 39-38. (Here's the medal table.)

NBC Sports Table Tennis Olympic Video Coverage

Best of Pro Table Tennis Players Training at Tokyo 2020
Here's the video (4:34) from Table Tennis Central.

Jun Mizutani Retires
Mizutani, 32, just announced his retirement, due to vision problems. He had just won Gold at the Olympics in Mixed Doubles. Though his world ranking had dropped to #20, from 2010-2017 he was almost always ranked in the top ten in the world, reaching a high of #4 in 2017. How consistent was he? In the monthly world rankings, he was #5 seventeen times, #6 twenty-one times, and #7 eighteen times. He was also the Japan Men's Singles Champion five years in a row. 2007-2011.

Table Tennis Strength & Power Online Bootcamp
Here's the info page from Peak Performance Table Tennis. "Want to improve acceleration, move faster, and dominate your opponents with overwhelming POWER? If so, join the Strength & Power Online Bootcamp by Peak Performance Table Tennis. This fully-remote, online bootcamp is for table tennis players of all levels who are looking to upgrade their game with a table tennis specific physical training program. In this self-paced 'bootcamp' you will follow a carefully designed training program with coaching support along the way. This program has been tested and perfected on table tennis athletes the world over. Stop wasting your money on overpriced modern generation rubbers and upgrade yourself instead!" Here's a video from them, Strength & Table Tennis (60 sec).

New from Timo Boll

Serve Receive Techniques For Beginners
Here's the video (2:06) featuring Olympian Wang Huijing.

Forehand Block
Here's the video (2:02) featuring Truong Tu.

Backhand & Forehand Attack
Here's the video (2:23) featuring Zelin Ye.

New from Samson Dubina

New from Edges and Nets

New from Ti Long

New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

New from Table Tennis Central

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

Videos (some overlap with the above)

New from Steve Hopkins

Ping Pong Diplomacy: Artifacts from the Historic 1971 U.S. Table Tennis Trip to China
Here's the article from "In April 1971, nine players from the U.S. Table Tennis team took a historic trip to China, becoming the first delegation of Americans to visit the country in decades. Following the 1949 Chinese revolution, there had been no diplomatic ties, limited trade, and few contacts between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Their trip was the start of what became known as “ping pong diplomacy” and helped lay the groundwork for establishing official diplomatic relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Ping pong diplomacy also led to improved people-to-people understanding and cultural exchange. Connie Sweeris, one of the nine players who traveled to China, recently donated a collection of personal mementos from that 1971 trip, as well as subsequent anniversary trips, to the National Museum of American Diplomacy’s permanent collection. The museum is thrilled to share these items with the public and to include them in future exhibits and programming."

Kate's Progress: An Inspiring Table Tennis Story
Here's the Amazon link where you can buy this new table tennis novel by Graham Frankel. "Kate Beavis and her elder brother, Oliver, live with their parents, Mark and Helen, in Shawton, a typical suburban town in the south east of England. Kate is obsessed with football and is the biggest fan of her brother, who dreams of becoming a professional footballer. Their love of sport provides a welcome distraction from a world struggling with an unprecedented global pandemic. Kate’s discovery of table tennis changes everything for her and her family and friends. Meanwhile, the Shawton Project, initiated by a dedicated group of local pioneers, marks the beginning of a significant era in establishing table tennis as a major force in the area and beyond. Kate is on the threshold of a new adventure..." Graham is also the author of PING!: A personal perspective on table tennis. You can read about both books on his website

The Hog Blog
Here's the article from Coach Jon.

Here's their news pagevideo page ("World Table Tennis") and home page.

Tokyo Olympics: a 58-year-old Table Tennis Player is Finding Online Fame as the "Shanghai Auntie"
Here's the article featuring Ni Xialian of Luxembourg (former Chinese team member) from the South China Morning Post. (Back in my days as editor of USATT Magazine I knew her pretty well - did several interviews, and she even coached me in one of my own matches! She speaks good English.)

The Most Thrilling Olympic Sport Is Played in Basements Nationwide
Here's the article and video (72 sec, links to other videos) from Slate.

Once a Tool for Diplomacy, Table Tennis Now Viewed by China as So Much More
Here's the article from NBC News.

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

Inside Pre-Season: Liverpool's Table Tennis Tournament
Here's the video (9 min) of this football (soccer for Americans) team. "Go behind the scenes from LFC's ping pong competition in Evian, as part of their pre-season training camp, with Mo Salah aiming to make it three tournament wins."

Great Exhibition Point
Here it is (44 sec)!

Doonesbury Table Tennis
Here's the cartoon for August 7, 2021 - "Have you tried table tennis?"

No Pug Pong
Here's the cartoon!

Ambidextrous Ponger Baby
Here's the video (15 sec)!

Funny Table Tennis Shirts from Spreadshirt
Here's the page. How can you not buy a Ping Pong Master shirt - unless, of course, you aren't a ping pong master?

Kevin Hart & Snoop Dogg Get DESTROYED at Table Tennis by this LADY
Here's the video (2:03, table tennis only the first minute) as they take on Soo Yeun Lee.

Twenty Funniest Moments in Table Tennis
Here's the video (8:06)!

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