February 7, 2022

Tip of the Week
Go After Your Opponent's Weaknesses - But Not Too Much!

Weekend Coaching, Push Depth, and Improvised Games
I had another busy weekend, coaching in five junior group sessions. As usual, the focus for beginning to intermediate players was fundamentals, so lots of standard stroking and footwork drills. We still keep it fun - I ended two sessions with impromptu "Simon Says" competitions for the whole group.

One interesting drill, where they kept score, was done by the top group is the standard push short drill, where both players push short until one accidentally pushes long, and then the other player loops and they play out the point. One variation is a player can flip if the push goes high. (If you want to focus on pushing short and judging if it's long enough to loop, while keeping score, then you can have the rule that a player who flips must score on that one shot, i.e. a flip kill against a popped-up push.) Done properly, this is likely the most tiring drill in table tennis - you don't just stand there, you have to step in, push short, and step back so as to be ready to loop a deep push - and then instantly step back in for the short ball. This type of in and out is exhausting! The players played to 11, moving up/down tables. As usual, the "rules" for the improvised games varied, which forces the players focus on various aspects of their game.

One player in the second highest of our four groups was the highest rated in the group - and yet he kept losing in the improvised games. But when we went to regular games at the end, he went back to winning. As I pointed out to him, this meant that while his level was pretty good, the drills showed weaknesses in his game he needed to work on or he'd get stuck at a lower level.

I also had a private coaching session with Navin Kumar. We'd stopped for a few months as we were both traveling a lot, plus Covid was a concern. This was our second recent session.) He may be going to some upcoming international tournaments for Parkinson's players, in Bad Homburg, Germany and the World Parkinson's Championships in Croatia. (I may go along to coach.)

ITTF Hopes Squad
Three USA players made the ITTF Hopes Squad! (Here's the non-Facebook version.) Ryan Lin, Mandy Yu, and Tashiya Piyadasa all attended and competed at the ITTF Hopes Camp and Tournament held in Jordan in December - here's my USATT writeup. It was announced by ITTF via email two days ago, though the "official" ITTF news item on it hasn't gone up yet. This is a group of ten boys and ten girls from around the world who will be invited to attend upcoming ITTF camps and tournaments. I may go to some to coach Ryan, as I did in Jordan and in the Americas Hopes in Ecuador in October, where Ryan finished second. (The same goes for Wei Qi and Thilina Piyadasa, who coach Mandy and Tashiya, respectively, and were also in Ecuador and Jordan.) Ryan, 12, is rated 2216, and was #1 in Under 12 until he recently turned 12, and is now #2 in Under 13 - but will likely take over the #1 spot in a few weeks when current #1 Patryk Zyworonek turns 13. Ryan, Mandy, Tashiya - CONGRATS!!!

Here's the USATT News item on this, which went up on Monday night.

The board of directors for USA Table Tennis has a Zoom meeting tonight at 8PM eastern time. Full info is at the USATT Agendas and Notices page; here's the direct link to the agenda, which includes info on how to attend. All USATT members are welcome to attend, though they can only speak with permission of the chair. However, anyone can type comments in the comment section. 

New from USA Table Tennis

Possible Supreme Court Nominee Julianna Michelle Childs and Table Tennis
Who is this Julianna Michelle Childs (who usually goes by "J. Michelle Childs") and what does she have to do with table tennis? Her father (RIP) was Ralph "Pete" Childs, a top junior star in the early 1960s. A quick check of the USA Table Tennis Results History shows the following US Open Results - and yes, they kept changing the names of the various titles:

  • 1961 Midget Boys Champion
  • 1962 Boys' Singles Champion
  • 1963 Boys' Singles & Doubles Champion, Junior Doubles Champion, Junior Mixed Doubles Finalist (with Connie Sweeris nee Stace)
  • 1964 Junior Singles & Doubles (with Dell Sweeris) Champion, Junior Mixed Doubles Finalist (with Connie Sweeris nee Stace)
  • 1965 Boys Under 17 Singles and Doubles Champion

J. Michelle Childs is considered by many to be the favorite to get the nomination, and has been endorsed even by a number of Republicans from her home state of South Carolina, including Senator Lindsey Graham, as well as influential Democrat Rep. Jim Clyburn, also of South Carolina. (Here's an article from NPR on the possibilities.)

5 Skills That Separate Beginner & Advanced Table Tennis Players
Here's the video (7:53) from Table Tennis Daily.

Butterfly Training Tips

New from Matt Hetherington
He's been busy!

New from Samson Dubina

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

Liu Shiwen's Upgraded Techniques
Here's the video (11 min) from PandaPong.

Full Body Serves
Here's the article by Vikash Sahu

Long or Short Multiball
Here's the video (27 sec) of a nice drill from "Punny Boy," where the coach feeds either a short or long backspin, and the player has to make a quick judgment on whether to flip or loop.

New from Coach Jon

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Sally Moyland

Steven Moreno Europe Training
Here's the article.

Denver Just Got a Club That's Solely For Playing Ping-Pong
Here's the article in the Denver Post, featuring the new club created by former USATT CEO Gordon Kaye.

New from Steve Hopkins

'Sports Can Open Up Doors': How Winter Olympic Games Could Improve U.S.-China Ties
Here's the article and video (2:17) from USA Today that features table tennis. "In 1971 at the World Table Tennis Championship in Nagoya, Japan, a butterfly flapped its wings, then nine Americans parted China's Communist Red Curtain."

Crazy Point Between Alguetti Brothers
Here's the video (20 sec) of the point between Gal (on left) and Sharon (who even switches hands) in the final this past weekend of the Butterfly Open in Columbus, OH! (Gal, 2614, would go on to pull off the minor upset over his brother, 2657.)

Gal Alguetti Table Tennis Highlights
Here's the video (2:18)!

Jimmy Butler and the Chinese New Year
Here's the video (4:44).

WTTC Interviews:


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

Custom Caricature Portrait From Your Photo / Table Tennis Player
Here's where you can get yours!

You're the Ping to My Pong
Here's the perfect Valentine's t-shirt present!

Home Improvement Store Pong
Here's the video (21 sec)!

Return My Serve, Win $100
Here's the video (6:14) from Pongfinity!

Send us your own coaching news!