October 3, 2022

Tip of the Week
The Larry Line.

Weekend Coaching
I coached in four group sessions over the weekend, each 90 minutes long. The kids kept asking me, "Where have you been?" since I'd missed the last two weekends since I was down in Santo Domingo (see segment below on Pam Ams). I quizzed them – none knew where Santo Domingo was, and only about one-third knew where the Dominican Republic was. (This was mostly ages 8-12.) Now they all know.

One drill we did in one session was simple – one player served backspin, other player pushed to backhand, server forehand or backhand looped at the receiver's elbow, receiver blocked or counterlooped, and server just caught the ball or grabbed another from a box and repeated. This allowed the server to rapid-fire work on both looping against backspin and attacking the middle, while the other player worked on covering the middle. Many players, when trying to go to the middle, hit the ball so it goes through the middle of the table, but by the time it reaches the opponent, it's on their backhand side. I explained and showed them how, to get at the opponent's middle (midpoint between forehand and backhand, roughly the playing elbow),  when hitting from the backhand side, the ball had to go through the opponent's forehand side so that when it reached the opponent, it would be at their elbow. (This is for righty vs. righty.)

I had an interesting speed-walk situation. While doing the above drill I looked across the room and saw a girl who had looped with her left foot back. (She was a righty.) I did sort of a double-take – I knew she was trained better than that, so I thought it was just a fluke shot. She did it again, and I started walking to her table. She did it a third time, and now I basically speed-walked to the table and pointed out the problem. She wasn't sure where she'd picked up that habit, but went back to doing it properly the rest of the session.

During a multiball session, one kid kept finding chances to practice his backhand serve, but wasn't quite doing it right. So I rearranged the schedule so I could spend a few minutes with him on it. (He was serving too much in front, so not getting the torque you get is you rotate sideways for this serve.) He was fascinated to discover you could do different spins with the same motion – backspin, side-backspin, sidespin, and side-top.

We have one para junior player who uses long pips on his backhand. When we did a backhand pushing drill, the girl he was hitting with had trouble pushing against the no-spin and light topspins that his pips returned when he pushed, and she kept popping them up. At first, I showed her how to chop down on it to keep it low. But then I had a better idea - I had her alternate backhand topspin and backhand push. When she topspinned, she got a backspin ball which she could push; when she pushed, she got a light topspin ball back that she could topspin. This simulated for both of them the type or rallies they might face in a tournament.

US Open Entry Form
Here is the 2022 US Open Home page, with the entry form linked. It will be held Dec. 16-21 in Ontario, California, near LA. I will, of course, be there, both coaching and likely playing some hardbat events. (I normally use sponge, but like to play hardbat events at big tournaments.) As I've done with every US Open and Nationals entry form starting in 1999, USATT sent it to me for proofing, and as usual I found a bunch of things to fix. (I'm one of those weird ones who, while reading a book, will on page 200 suddenly exclaim, "But that contradicts what it said on page 10!") My first US Open was in 1976, the year I started playing. I've been to every US Open and Nationals since 1984, and several before that.

World Table Tennis Team Championships
They are taking place right now in Chengdu, China, Sept. 30 – Oct. 9. Here's the info page where you can find complete results, schedule, news, and video. The USATT News page is doing coverage of Team USA, with one article up so far, USA Begins World Teams with Victories over Thailand and Canada. (Also see articles on Worlds in segment below from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly.)

Pan Am Under 11 & Under 13 Championships
Below are links to the articles on the Pan Ams by myself and Lifeng Yu. I linked to the Teams articles last week, but the Singles and Doubles articles are new. I was down in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from Sept. 15-25 as one of the USA Team coaches.

Review of Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers
Here's the review by Samson Dubina. "Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers is one of the best table tennis books that I have ever read. I feel that players of all levels can benefit from the details of serve tactics, receive tactics, rallying tactics, doubles tactics, and tactics against various grips, rubbers, and styles."

Best Table Tennis Blogs You Should Know
TableTennisCoaching.com is #2 in the World!!! From PingSunday/EmRatThich

First Galactic Table Tennis Championship
It has come to my attention that not everyone has bought a copy of First Galactic Table Tennis Championships, which came out a few weeks ago. What's wrong with you??? C'mon, it's like $5 for a print copy, the minimum Amazon would let me charge for it. It takes place about 100 years from now, and table tennis has spread to the galaxy – and the title pretty much tells you what it’s about. Yes, the aliens are coming! (To Beijing, to be specific, where the Championships will be held.) I had a lot of fun imagining various alien TT players, including the Ith, who are like giraffes but with arms just under their head, so instead of moving to the ball, they just move their heads on their long necks. Here’s the back cover description:

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…

New from Samson Dubina

How to Backhand Loop
Here's the tutorial (37:02) from Seth Pech.

New from Ti Long

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

How Do You Come Back from a Tough Loss?
Here's the article by Lily Zhang.

The Surprising Power of a No-Spin Serve
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

How to Win the Serve | Trick to know where the umpire has the ball 
Here's the video (1:52) from Pingispagarna.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from TacoBackhand

Personality Traits and Motives in Table Tennis Players
Here's the scholarly article from Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI). "This study aims to investigate table tennis players’ personality traits and motives in the frame of the Big Five personality model and the self-determination theory (SDT) of motivation. A total of 447 Italian table tennis players ranging in level of play between the regional and international levels participated in the study."

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

Seven Days at the 2022 U19 Pan Ams
Here's the article by Sally Moyland.

Butterfly San Antonio Fall Open Results And Tournament Report
Here's the article by Vlad Farcas.

New from USA Table Tennis

New from the ITTF

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

Roger Federer Warm-ups with Ping Pong Dressed as James Bond for Laver Cup
Here's the article and video from Tennis World USA! Yes, he has a forehand, and did you see the backhand at the end? And yes, his opponent is faking Rafael Nadal groaning as he hits! (Here's a related story, Why we should all follow Roger Federer’s ping pong lead, from Stuff.co.)

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 11 Table Tennis Match
Here's the video (5:50) from PingSkills! (With Panda bear officiating.)

Who Needs a Net?
Here's the video (6 sec but repeats)!

Return My Serve, Win £100 [London]
Here's the video (10:09) from Pongfinity!

Pong with Anything
Here's the video (25 sec) as two use whatever's available in the basement as rackets!

Tiny Tennis Players on Ping Pong Table
Here's the cartoon!

T-Rex Hates Table Tennis T-Shirt, Button, Sticker, Coffee Cup, Mask
Here they are!

The Man The Myth The Ping Pong Legend T-Shirt
Here it is!

SF & Fantasy Stories
I've had a flurry of stories coming out in the world of science fiction and fantasy, my sideline outside table tennis. A common question I get is, "How much do you pay to get them published?" It's the other way around – magazines pay me to publish my stories, with fees ranging from $50 to $500 for a story. (And note the ping-pong ball mention in "Christmas Interrupted"!)

  • "Packing List for the Invasion" came out last week in Daily Science Fiction. The story is literally told through an alien's packing list for the invasion . . . of Earth. (I had another story there on Sept. 9, "Soul Testing in Major League Baseball.")
  • "Christmas Interrupted" in the Christmas Gothic Short Stories anthology. It's thousands or millions of years in the future and humankind is extinct, but Santa, suffering from Alzheimer's, is still trying to deliver presents to children every year, to the extreme annoyance of his aging elves. A darkly comic story, with a surprise ending that many will find touching. A ping-pong ball has a major impact on the story!
  • "Rationalized" in the Compelling Science Fiction anthology. A dystopian society requires everyone to have an operation when they turn 13 to remove the parts of the brain responsible for emotion. An underground that avoided the operation fights back - and their leader faces an impossible decision. Probably the best tear-jerker I've ever written.
  • I have several more coming out this Fall, including "The Vampire on the Tesseract Wall," coming Oct. 11 from Dark Matter Magazine. What happens when 4-D being collects 3-D beings as a hobby – and mistakenly captures a powerful vampire? It's a mashup of SF and dark fantasy.
  • And, of course, there's First Galactic Table Tennis Championships, my SF novelette – see segment above! (If you want something a little longer, try The Spirit of Pong, my fantasy table tennis novel.)

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