September 13, 2021

Tip of the Week
A Different Measure for a Match Coach.

Pan American Under 11 and U13 Championships in Ecuador
I'll be going down to Ecuador for two weeks in October as the coach of the US Under 13 Boys' Team. There will be four teams - Under 13 and Under 11 for boys and girls. The other coaches are Qiumars Hedayatian (U11 Boys), Wei Qi (U13 Girls), and Thilina Piyadasa (U11 Girls), with Daniel Rutenberg going as Team Leader, and he fortunately speaks Spanish. Here is the USATT news item, USATT Announces 2021 ITTF Pan Am Youth Championship U13 and U11 Teams. (Hope you enjoy my humorous quip!) There are actually two tournaments, both in Cuenca ("kwen·kuh"), Ecuador.

  • Oct. 18-24 is the Pan American Under 11 and U13 Championships, the main event. Each player will play singles, doubles, mixed doubles, and teams for their age group.
  • Oct. 25-31 is the World Table Tennis Youth Contender tournament. This is only singles, with U11, U13, U15, U17, and U19, with a maximum of two events. I'll be staying for that. The boys' events are only Oct. 25-27, so I won't need to stay for the rest of the tournament.

We had a 100-minute Zoom meeting on Friday for the four coaches, team leader, and USATT High Performance Director Sean O'Neill. (Previously there had been one for all of those interested.) Lots of discussion. The coaches are also working out doubles and team parings. The Under 13 Boys' Team I'll be in charge of is Stanley Hsu, Mu Du, He Xianyao, and Krish Gandhi. Initially I had thought they would be one team in the team event, but it turns out they can enter as two teams, so most likely Stanley & Mu Du will be a team, and He and Krish. (Same for doubles pairings.) Disclosure - Stanley and Mu Du are both from my club. (If both teams play at the same time, then one of the other coaches will coach one of the teams. The same for all events - if they send out, for example, four of the girls at the same time, the four coaches would be paired off with them.)

One big issue is the altitude, which I've blogged about. Cuenca is at 8400 feet altitude. The air pressure is about 74% compared to sea level, and oxygen content is about 15%, compared to 21% at sea level. The ball travels quite a bit differently, and so the players will need extra practice to prepare. (The kids will likely adjust quickly to the lower oxygen level - I'm more worried about the parents and coaches, who might find walking up a stairway exhausting!) The tentative plan is to travel down on Oct. 14, practice Oct. 15-17, and then the tournaments begin. Then I fly home on Oct. 28, along with the boys and parents who stayed for the second tournament.

There will be a USATT news item on this soon - perhaps today - and I'll link to it here when it comes up. I hope they use the quote I gave them - yes, they eat guinea pigs down there!!! (I won't.)

Fall Junior Training Season Begins
We started on Saturday, with a welcome party and parents info meeting. And then we started actual group sessions on Sunday, with another one tonight. So here's how my weekend coaching went.

We have 51 kids in our junior program, divided into four groups: Select, Progress, Intermediate, and Novice. But for simplicity, I just refer to them as groups 1-4. Group 1 is really strong, including many of the best players in the country for their age in the 10-13 boys' side. (Two are #1 for their age, and several others are in the #2-5 range.)

On Saturday, groups 1 & 2 came in for the party and info meeting, followed by groups 3-4. While head junior coach Wang Qingliang and others spoke with the parents, someone had to take charge of the 20-25 kids in the two sessions for one hour each - and that was me! But this wasn't a training session, this was a "fun" session, i.e. a welcome back party. So the kids had their choice of:

  • Playing on extra long tables. We moved two tables against each other, end to end, so we had an 18-foot table. We removed the nets, but put a chair on each side of the middle of the table, with a barrier between the tables, so that they got a roughly one-foot net in the middle. The kids were just smacking and looping the ball back and forth - and even lobbing!
  • Mini-paddles. I had five.
  • Frankenpaddle! (Here's a closeup.)
  • Rackets with long pips (one with sponge, one without), antispin, short pips, and four hardbat rackets. Many of the kids got to try out these new surfaces for the first time. Most had played against them, but playing with them gives a better understanding of how to play them.

On Sunday, the real training began! We have eight "official' group sessions scheduled each week, plus two others run separately. I'll be in five of them. I'll be there for all three of the group 1 sessions (including one joint group 1 & 2 session), plus one group 2 session, plus the one group 4 (novice) session. I'm working mostly with the elite and novice groups, less with the ones in between. Wang Qingliang runs most sessions. (I used to, but I'm semi-retired and so we have a new generation. I think of myself as a "head coach emeritus.")

On Sunday, for the group 2 session, I spent half the session as a "walk around" coach. The second half I was a practice partner for one of the players. Lots of focus on footwork. For the group 1 session (16 kids, roughly 1800-2350, with six coaches/practice partners), I was a walk-around coach. For both sessions, I told the kids I was mostly watching their feet - I wanted active feet! Much of the session was focused on serve & attack, and receive. We have another group 1 session tonight, 5-7PM, which I'll be helping with.

American Youth Table Tennis Organization Coaching Clinic
They held the three-day clinic at the Maryland Table Tennis Center this past weekend, taught by Sydney Christophe. I watched and listened in on a few sessions. It's a version of the former ITTF Coaching program that ITTF used to do, which I used to teach. (The ITTF version is currently on hold while they do some revamping of it.) Here's some info sent to me by the AYTTO CEO (and member of the USATT Board of Directors) Thomas Hu:

"In order to support the growing table tennis interest in the schools of Maryland area, AYTTO successfully completed the school base coaching certification course this weekend in MDTTC. Thanks to the support of MDTTC and JOOLA for providing and connecting the necessary resources, both the course and AYTTO program garnered much interest from coaches in our club as well as many parents. The course was taught by renowned ITTF course instructor Sydney Christophe. AYTTO is committed to building the supporting structure needed to capture new opportunities for the sport of table tennis in America. Anyone interested to start table tennis program in a school near them, please contact Thomas Hu at"

ITTF Pan American Youth Championships (U19 & U15)
Here's the ITTF page for the event taking place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 12-18, with complete schedule, draws, results, and articles. Team USA has 16 players and 3 coaches:

  • Under 19 Boys: Jayden Zhou, Aziz Zarehbin, Kai Jiang, Sid Naresh
  • Under 15 Boys: Nandan Naresh, Jensen Feng, Darius Fahimi, Daniel Tran
  • Under 19 Girls: Amy Wang, Rachel Sung, Angie Tan, Joanna Sung
  • Under 15 Girls: Emily Tan, Faith Hu, Sally Moyland, Sarah Jalli
  • Coaches: Gao Jun (U19 & U15 girls, Team Leader), Cory Eider (U19 boys), Samson Dubina (U15 boys)

Timo's Week #3 - Why my motivation is still high in 2021
Here's the video (4:35) from Timo Boll.

Your First Table Tennis Lesson
Here's the video (15:58) from Coach Jon.

New from Samson Dubina

  • 3:1 Principle - Learn to evaluate your training sessions!
  • Success - Quiz Yourself on the 12 Aspects of Mental Success!

Hand Speed & Footwork
Here's the video (3:16) featuring Rachel Wang, commentary by Brian Pace.

Footwork & Transition Drill For Beginners
Here's the video (2:07) from Jishan Liang, commentary by Brian Pace.

Are You a Drifter? Here's the Big Benefit of Playing Closer to the Table
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

Forehand Serve: Active or Forward Phase
Here's the video (2:44) from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis. It follows last week's Forehand Serve - Pendulum Initial Phase (2:52).

New from Edges and Nets

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich


New from Steve Hopkins

2021 Butterfly Cup Results and Photos
Here's the articles, pictures, and video by Tony Murnahan.


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

Emma Raducanu, Tennis and Table Tennis Champ?
Here's a video (16 sec) of her hitting forehands - she's pretty good! This past weekend she won Women's Singles at the US Open Tennis Championships. Here's an article, Emma Raducanu – Who is Britain’s Chinese-Romanian teen tennis star?, which also mentions her table tennis.

Table Tennis Pillow
Here's where you can buy one!

1001 Excuses for When I Lose
Here's the cartoon! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Don't Do Drugs: Do Table Tennis
Here's the meme! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Ma Long and Qiu Yike Fight on the Roadside!
Here's the video (65 sec)!

Funniest Moments In Table Tennis History REVEALED!
Here's the video (8 min)!

Send us your own coaching news!