April 11, 2022

Tip of the Week
Do You Receive to Set Up Your Game?

Table Tennis . . . Blackspins?
There have been various attempts to create the equivalent of "belts" in table tennis. A decade or more ago Diego Schaaf created table tennis pins, with different types signifying various levels reached in rating. It was a great idea, but it never took off. Perhaps it was too complicated - at a glance, it was tricky to really know what each one signified. (I just spent fifteen minutes trying to find mine - I thought it was in my playing bag, but I can't find it there.)

Here's a thought. The belts in martial arts are very simple - just a belt, with the color signifying level. What if we created simple ball-shaped pins, where the colors signify highest level reached, using the same colors from martial arts? For example:

  • White: Beginner
  • Yellow: 1000
  • Orange: 1200
  • Green: 1400
  • Blue: 1600
  • Purple: 1800
  • Brown: 2000
  • Black: 2200

My first thought was that you had to be 2400 or 2500 for black. But in martial arts, a person can start as an adult, and if he sticks with it, can eventually reach black belt. I Googled it, and found this: "An adult student who train Karate and who attends class at minimum two times per week on a regular basis can expect to earn a black belt in about five years. Some very dedicated karate students who train more intensely have been known to earn a black belt in as little as two or three years."

My guess is that an adult who does this in table tennis might reach 1800, 2000 at most. And it's almost impossible for an adult beginner to reach 2400. So I decided to make it 2200, a more reachable goal for a hard-working adult, and a pretty high level - a 2200 player can make a living as a coach. (Perhaps even lower it to 2000.) There would also be different degrees of black belt, as in martial arts, where are nine degrees of black belt. So a 2200 player would be first degree; 2300 would be second degree; and so on, every 100 points. The best players in the world would probably be rated about 3000 in USATT ratings - they'd be ninth degree.

But what do we call these levels? A beginner starts out as a "whitespin." When he reaches 1000, he's a "yellowspin." And so on up to "blackspin." (I don't like the more obvious "whiteball," "blackball," etc. - it has rather humorous connotations.) So a 2200 player would be first degree blackspin; a 3000 player would be ninth degree blackspin. We could also adjust the ratings for women or disabled, and for players from the past both from before ratings came out in 1974 and because they've since inflated, but we can do that if this idea takes off. (We might also want to bring in a martial arts expert to see how they would set this up for table tennis.)

US National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships
Here is the home page for the event held this past weekend in Rock Round, TX, with complete results, news, and video. There's lots of news coverage of this on the NCTTA site. Here's an article featuring Sharon and Gal Alguetti from Indiana University, Twin brothers lead IU table tennis to 1st national championship appearance.

Butterfly Puerto Rico Open Teams
Here's the results page for the event held this past weekend, April 8-10.

World Table Tennis Day
It was on April 6, this past Wednesday. Here are some related links!

Butterfly Training Tips

New from Samson Dubina

Can't Smash, Won't Smash
Here's the article and video (5:40) by Tom Lodziak.

3 Effects of the Free Hand
Here's the video (8:32) from Ti Long.

New from Table Tennis Philosophy/Coach Jon

19 Advantages and Disadvantages of Table Tennis
Here's the article from Racket Rampage.

Playing Table Tennis to Lose Weight

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

Danny Seemiller - "World's Greatest Table Tennis Coach"
Here's the picture of Dan with this new award, "A Dominique Clark creation for a well-deserved man!" Dan wrote, "One of my talented and gifted students made this for me. Thanks Dominique and Crystal." (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

'The Sport of Love': Ping-Pong, the Great Equalizer
Here's the article in the New York Times. "Wally Green has played everywhere from Brooklyn to Pyongyang, becoming a beloved American ambassador for table tennis — and international understanding — in the process."

There was only one news item from USATT this past week, 2022 Washington State Qualifier Shaping Into a Massive Northwest Table Tennis Event. It was held this past weekend, and I'm sure it was successful. However, I wish USATT would drop the hyperbole - 122 players is not "massive." (Also, only 25 played in the Qualifier events that are referred to in the heading.) But 122 is a good turnout!

Quadri Aruna
The Nigerian star is all over the news this week.

Table Tennis Lover Vera Celebrates 100th Birthday
Here's the article from the Express & Star in Wolverhampton in Britain.

Would You Rather Play Table Tennis with Obama or Donald Trump?
Here's the discussion thread on Reddit. I usually keep politics out of this blog, but this was too funny.

Emotional Ping-Pong Paddle Images
Here they are!

Custom Caricature Portrait From Your Photo / Table Tennis Player
Here's where you can have them made for $32.

Funny Table Tennis
Here's the video (14 sec) from Spartans TTC.

Longest Rallies

Non-Table Tennis - Science Fiction Stories
I had a good month selling short stories, selling six this past month, including that great three-day span from March 6-8! I can't announce two of the sales yet - they want to make a public announcement of their next table of contents, and so we're asked to keep quiet until then. Here's a listing of my sales, many with links to the stories. Here are the six sales this past month:

  • March 6: "Small Step" to Abyss & Apex. What really happened when we first landed on the moon, from Buzz Aldrin's point of view - and why Neil Armstrong seemingly left out the "a" in "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind. Hint - there are time-freezing aliens, and Buzz must negotiate to save Earth!
  • March 7: "Death Message" to Martian Magazine. A deadly way to communicate an important message.
  • March 8: "Packing List for the Invasion" to Daily Science Fiction. The story is literally told by what the aliens pack before invading Earth.
  • March 28: "Christmas Interrupted" to . . . can't announce it until after April 22! It's way, way in the future, possibly a million years or more, and Santa is very, very old and is fighting Alzheimer's, humanity is extinct . . . and yet he still tries to deliver his toys to children each Christmas, to the ongoing irritation of his also-aging elves and reindeer. It's a darkly comic story, with a surprise ending that many will find touching. (The ending features a ping-pong ball!)
  • March 31: "Rationalized" to . . . can't announce it until after April 29! In a dystopian future, everyone has an operation at age 13 to remove all emotions - but there's an underground that fights this, who have avoided the operation but must pretend to be unemotional, no matter what happens.
  • April 4: "A Grand Canyon of Lions" to Martian Magazine. If anything possible must be happening somewhere in the multiverse, then, well . . . see the title.

Send us your own coaching news!