October 4, 2021

Next Blog and Tip of the Week on November 1 3
I'll be coaching the US Junior Team in Ecuador Oct. 10-28. See segment below.

Tip of the Week
Ten Table Tennis Quotes for Improvement.

I'm off to Ecuador on Sunday morning - and when I say "morning," I do mean it! I'll be leaving at 3:30 AM for the airport for a 6AM flight to Miami, then transferring to a flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador, arriving at 12:46PM (1:46 PM eastern time). From there we have a 122-mile bus ride to the playing site in Cuenca, Ecuador. Traveling with me will be Ryan Lin and his dad, and Mandy & Abigail Yu and their mom. Guayaquil is 12 feet above sea level; Cuenca is 8400 feet. It'll be a long, uphill ride!!! The 18-day trip can be divided into four segments.

  • Oct. 11-16: ITTF Americas Continental Hopes Week & Challenge. Twenty of the best Hopes players from the Americas (under 12 as of Jan. 1) will train together, with a tournament at the end. I'll be coaching the two USA players in it, Ryan Lin (2121) and Mandy Yu (2017). They are ranked #1 in the US in Under 12 for boys and girls, respectively.
  • Oct. 14-17: The US Under 13 and Under 11 Teams and coaches arrive on Oct. 14, and will train through Oct. 17 in a "mini-camp," in particular getting used to playing in the high altitude. (At 8400 feet, air resistance is 74% what it is at sea level, and oxygen is 16% instead of 21%. The ball plays very differently.) This overlaps with the Hopes, so I'll be jumping back and forth. The other coaches will likely run most of these sessions.
  • Oct. 18-24: ITTF Pan Am Under 13 and Under 11 Championships. We'll have 16 players, 1 team leader, 4 coaches, and 16 parents. Here's the USATT news item, USA Table Tennis Announces 2021 ITTF Pan Am Youth Championship U13 and U11 Teams. Daniel Rutenberg is the Team Leader. Coaches are Larry Hodges (me) for Under 13 Boys; Wei Qu (U13 Girls); Qiumars Hedayatian (Under 11 Boys); and Thilina Piyadasa (U-11 Girls).
  • Oct. 25-31: WTT Youth Contender. USA players competing in this are Stanley Hsu, Mu Du, Kef Noorani, and Nathanael Hwang. (I'm coaching Stanley and Mu Du.)

Weekend Coaching
We did a lot of work on pushing and on attacking pushes this weekend. Way too many players just pat the ball back when pushing, instead of really doing something with the ball. You can push quick, heavy, angled, and short or long. Or you can just pat it back and be a patsy. We also did a lot of doubles play, capped off by Brazilian Teams Doubles on Sunday - the kids loved that. We paired them off (with established teams playing together, such as Stanley Hsu/Mu Du, Ryan Lin/Winston Wu, and so on), and they battled it out. One side note - I spent one 90-minute session as a practice partner . . . yeah, I need to get back in shape. Shots that used to be easy aren't so easy anymore. As I kept crying out, "That used to be easy!" After I get back from Ecuador, I have to do some physical training, practice, and get back into playing shape. (The only good news - many of the kids, even the advanced ones, still have great difficulty with my serves!)

USATT Board Meeting Tonight
The USA Table Tennis Board of Directors will have an open Zoom meeting tonight at 8PM eastern time. The agenda and info on joining in is at the USATT Agendas and Notices page. I'll be coaching at MDTTC when they start, but may join in around 8:30PM or shortly after.

There are two local tournaments this month. I'll be coaching on Saturday at the MDTTC Open. (And leaving for Ecuador at 3:30AM on Sunday!)

Late Guyanese Table Tennis Champion George Braithwaite to Be Honored
Here's the article. "The George Braithwaite Table Tennis Court will be unveiled at Capobianco Field, Roosevelt Island during the late sportsman’s Ping Pong Diplomacy Commemoration on Saturday, Oct. 23."

ITTF Proposals
Here's the ITTF AGM Working Documents, which shows the various proposals to be considered at their meeting at the upcoming Worlds. Here's the one I find most interesting - it allows doubles teams to serve crosscourt from the left-hand court, instead of always crosscourt from the right-hand court. See Proposition A-22, proposed by Iran, which would require a 3/4 majority to pass.

  • To amend 2.6.3 As the ball is falling the server shall strike it so that it touches first his or her court and then touches directly the receiver's court; in doubles, the ball shall touch successively the right half court of server and receiver, or it shall touch successively the left half court of server and receiver.
  • Rationale:   The extension of the service rule removes the disadvantage for right hand players and allows more flexibility to use their best position when starting a rally.


How to Destroy a Defender: 5 Tips
Here's the video (5:36) from Timo Boll.

New from Samson Dubina

Tips to Improve in Table Tennis
Here's the article by Vikash Sahu - Practicing Serves, Spare Equipment, Stretching, Competing.

Footwork in Table Tennis
Here's the video (3:31) from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

Optimization of Adaptability and Resilience in Sports and Life
Here's the article by Adam Formal.

2 x Backhands & 2 x Forehands
Here's the video (54 sec) from Nandan Naresh

Short Ball Backhand Return
Here's the video (2:41) from Bella Xu

Preparing For a Table Tennis Tournament
Here's the video (6:47) from Coach Jon.

Why Ma Long Picked Up Only One Ball?
Here's the video (3:29) from PingSunday/EmRatThich.

The Lasting Legacy Of The Seemiller Brothers On Table Tennis
Here's the video (3:55) from KDKA (CBS) in Pittsburgh.

New from Steve Hopkins

New from Table Tennis Central

$100,000 JOOLA Global Championships
Here's the info page on this huge international tournament to be held next year, Sept. 1-4, in Orlando, Florida, minutes away from Disneyworld and Universal Studios.

Egypt's Superstars Ready to Challenge for 2021 World Table Tennis Championship in Houston
Here's the article from World Table Tennis.

Why Were So Many Fans at the China National Games Women?
Here's the article from Edges and Nets.

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

Ping-Pong Gun
Here it is, from Etsy! It's only $5, but you have to assemble it yourself. You may not be the best player at your club, but now you can be the biggest nuisance!!!

Real Beer Pong Shirt
Here it is! I don't drink (well, except water, Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice, and Dr Pepper), but I've heard others do. And now they are playing REAL table tennis.

World's Okayest Ping-Pong Player
Here's the shirt! C'mon, unless you are Ma Long or one of his peers, this is the shirt for you!

If Table Tennis Were Like This...
Here's the video (50 sec)!

Best Table Tennis Points
Here's the video (5:54) from Pongfinity!

Mostly Non-Table Tennis - Capclave Science Fiction Convention
I spent much of the weekend jumping back and forth between coaching at MDTTC and the Capclave SF Convention, held in Rockville, MD, 25 minutes away. I was on three panels (moderating one), did a reading, and had a two-hour author signing session (along with others). Here's a picture of me at the signing! I have eight SF books, including The Spirit of Pong, which is both SF and TT. I have nine books on table tennis - here's all my books. One interesting note - my "secret identity" is really getting out - SF fans and writers keep coming up to me to ask about or mention table tennis! (In the picture, that's my science fiction & fantasy pen collection on display.)

Send us your own coaching news!