September 5, 2022

Tip of the Week
The Simplicity of Tactics.

Weekend Coaching
I coached in four group junior sessions this weekend, one on Saturday, three on Sunday, all 90 minutes. (We have 65 kids in our junior program, divided into four groups by level. Most meeting twice a week for 90 minutes, while the strongest group meets three times a week for two hours, plus smaller sessions after school.) Other coaches in the sessions included Wang Qingliang, Lidney Castro, and Vikash Sahu, with Cheng Yinghua and Jack Huang doing private sessions separately.

I was a practice partner for one of the sessions, where the players rotated around so I blocked for them while they did footwork drills. The kids really improve this way. For some reason, I felt energized the whole session – perhaps after seven days in Texas, 17 in Mexico, and the day before in Chicago (see segment at end), I was craving TT?

Using this newfound energy, I was all over the place in another session as a "walk around" coach, jumping on the kids (not literally) to have active feet, to control their placements, to focus on consistency, and so on.

Especially at the higher levels, I'm a strong advocate of doing drills that allow you to zero in on and practice specific techniques and rallies that you use in an actual match. I discussed this with two of the coaches, with some suggestions on specific players and drills. I noticed that one of our top junior players tends to dominate in one type of rally that he often gets into, but that he may not be doing enough drills that allow him to practice this specific strength. In his last few tournaments he hasn't dominated as well in these rallies as he has in the past – hopefully we can focus on that so that he can continue to dominate with it, and at even higher levels.

One of our top juniors said his arm was bothering him, and will probably take a few days off at least. When this happens, you have to figure out of it's serious or not and whether he should see a doctor; make sure the player doesn't do anything to aggravate the problem; and figure out the source of the problem – a technique problem, overuse, or a fluke injury from some mishap, either in table tennis or out.

During a break in one group, I nonchalantly did my "blowing the ball" trick. Here's video of the trick, from an interview I did in 2020 with Kevin Nguyen. (The link should take you to 38:45.) Notice that I'm not just blowing the ball up, but I'm blowing it sideways - and somehow, magically, it just floats in mid-air! Immediately I was surrounded by kids demanding to know how I did it. Alas, we were in a table tennis session, not a blow-ping-pong-balls session, and the other coaches were already looking at me with "What are you doing?" looks. So I told them if they wanted to learn, we could do it after class. At the end of the session, they all ran over – and so we had a 15-minute session where I taught the trick and they practiced it! (Due to Covid, I hadn't been doing this trick for a while, so it was new to a lot of them. I used to do it all the time.) The parent love how I explain the physics of how I blow the ball sideways by spinning the ball – it's the same principle that makes a topspin ball drop, a sidespin curve sideways, and a backspin float. Since so many people ask me how to do this, I've decided to write it up as a Tip of the Week!

First Galactic Table Tennis Championships
My new novelette (basically a short novel) will be out next week! It combines my two worlds of table tennis and science fiction. I'll give the link in my blog next Monday. Below is the back cover text that explains the story. Regarding the thing about the Chinese dumplings, this is a takeoff on an actual experience I had many years ago, except it was cheeseburgers – here's the story on that. And here's the cover!
=>BREAKING NEWS - First Galactic Table Tennis Championships is on sale now at Amazon, paperback or kindle!

Li Yi is a member of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team and the best woman in the world. She has trained long hours since she was a child. But now she faces her biggest challenge – aliens! Table tennis has spread to the galaxy and alien players now dominate the sport. The best are the giraffe-like Ith, with their dominating champion Egrayu.

But Earth isn't part of it, not since the cowboy Americans colonized a moon in the Ith home system, which led to a blockade of Earth. The Chinese hope to reopen trade with the galaxy by using "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" – by running the first Galactic Table Tennis Championships in Beijing. Li, her teammates, and the American champion Danny See – a literal cowboy –  play aliens of all shapes and sizes, including the seemingly unbeatable Egrayu, as they battle for the biggest cash prize in table tennis history. But Li is drawn into a corrupt conspiracy that will shake the very foundations of honor and sportsmanship. Plus, there's that problem with the Chinese dumplings…

JOOLA Global Championship
They were held this past weekend in Orlando, FL. Here are the results (go to dropdown menu at top and choose "2022 JOOLA Global Championship").

USATT Board Meeting on Tuesday
They will have a Zoom meeting Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 8PM eastern time. Here's the USATT Agenda and Notices page, with a link to the agenda and how you can join in. USATT members are welcome to attend, though they cannot speak without permission of the chair. (They used to have the standard Zoom comments section for anyone, but they didn't like the comments there and so no longer allow that.) Here's the current agenda, subject to change:

  • US Performance Center (Ike Belk)
  • Report of the Chief Executive Officer
  • Audit Committee Report
  • Next Board Meeting Set for December 5, 2022
  • Executive Session

New from Samson Dubina

Butterfly Training Tips

USA Nationals Men's R16 + How to Backhand Flip After Serve Tutorial
Here's the video (12:43) from Seth Pech. "Seth Pech vs Dan Liu Men's R16 2022 USA Nationals Texas" – Seth gives another great tactical analysis.

New from Ti Long

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.


New from Steve Hopkins


Taco Backhand

New from Table Tennis Central

Awesome Table Tennis Short Videos
Here's their video page.

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

Puerto Rico- Third Place Global In The 2022 ITTF Pan American Cadet Championships U15
Here's the article by Edgardo Vázquez.

"Fear My Racket" Table Tennis Shirt
Here it is!

Sitting Down on the Lob
Here's the video (40 sec), also with other trick shots!

Saturday Evening Post Table Tennis Cartoons
Here they are!

Non-Table Tennis - World Science Fiction Convention
I flew up to Chicago on Friday morning, returning late that night, for the World Science Fiction Convention. It was primarily a "business" trip where I met with three publishers. One of them is reprinting my science fiction novel "Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions" (which had gone out of print at the previous publisher, and has multiple table tennis scenes) – I'm hoping this publisher will promote it like crazy!!! (They also did a lot of proofing of it, and I will be spending a number of hours this week going over the edits.) I met with two others about upcoming short stories, and I've been commissioned to write one, a sequel to a previous published story, "Nanogod," which was published last year in Dark Matter Magazine. I also discussed with one a possible satirical political book I might write – let's just say Trump fans won't approve. :) August was a good month for my SF writing career - I sold three stories and two others are "finalists." 

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