November 14, 2022

Tip of the Week
Backhand Counter Domination.

Weekend Coaching
I coached in four group sessions over the weekend, as is my norm. As usual the focus was on fundamentals, technique, footwork, placement . . . yada yada yada. I did do extra down-the-line drills - too often players focus on crosscourt. I also worked with two players on their grip. One of them has begun changing his grip drastically between forehand and backhand, with a wristy finger-down-the-middle forehand - NO!!! (1967 Men's World Champion Hasegawa might disagree - he used that grip.) It's important to catch things like this early, and the player in question only started this past year. 

I had a realization during one session, which I explained to some of the players. If the players can't beat me after I've coached them for a full 90 minutes, I must be a bad coach. But if they can beat me after 90 minutes of training, I must be a bad player. Hmmm... Of course, I also explain to them that if they are tired during a drill, they must be out of shape and so we must work them harder. If they are not tired then we must not be working them hard enough and so we must work them harder. And if they won't answer us when we ask if they are tired, then we must punish them by making them work harder. Hmmm...

I had a discussion with three of the parents who also play. (We allow parents to hit on open tables during junior group sessions. Some are pretty good.) The topic was footwork, and how kids and adults do it differently. For example, up-and-coming players and world-class players, when near the table in a fast rally, usually play their forehands with their feet parallel. But that takes a lot of training to do properly, and I don't recommend it for players who aren't going to put in the training and who aren't in very good shape. For most of us (including me), it's better to move the right foot back (for righties) as you move to play a forehand in a fast rally. It's not as quick but gives better stability and power. Another difference is the up-and-comers and world-class players often move both feet almost together when moving. For most of us, it's better to start by taking a short step with the foot on the side you are moving toward, commonly called "two-step footwork." 

I also had private session with Navin Kumar on Sunday night. Here’s video (15 sec). (I’m retired from private coaching, but made an exception for Navin.) Navin is somewhat of an equipment junkie, an EJ. During the session I asked him if such experimenting gave an Edge to an Ej.

USATT News and Favoritism
Coach Park Ji-Hyun & Coach Tao Wenzhang to Lead World-class Table Tennis Camp. This news item (which was also featured in the last USATT Insider) caught my eye as it’s basically an ad for a camp at a private commercial club, written by a USATT employee. This isn’t exactly fair to the many other clubs that also run such camps, especially other clubs in the Bay Area that run competing camps, such as ICC, Table Tennis America, and others. I contacted the USATT CEO and asked about this, and she responded, “We will have a section dedicated to promoting clubs’ events. We could either use the articles the club submits or we can help write them if they need some help.”

The problem here, of course, is that this needs to be equal opportunity, and it’s not equal opportunity when one club gets to have such a news item before other clubs even know about the opportunity. Since there hasn’t been any announcement about this, clubs still don’t know about this opportunity, unless of course they are reading my blog – and so, like me, they are probably pretty irritated about this favoritism. There should have been a news item about it, and among those clubs interested, a random drawing for the order they would be run. Or they could have a committee put together objective criteria for such camps, and select an order based on that. Perhaps better still, one article about all of these camps around the country, with links to them.

The club in question, 888, is an excellent one, with excellent coaches, and no doubt will run an excellent camp. But so would others, including my own (MDTTC), which has three coaches in the USATT Hall of Fame, four coaches who have won USATT Coach of the Year awards (eight in total), and two former members of the Chinese National Team (one of whom achieved a USATT rating of 2830) and both former Head Province Coaches in China. Ironically, my club might not even be interested since we tend to fill our Winter camp from local players, but other clubs might be interested. There are also camps, such as the ones at Samson Dubina’s in Ohio, that actively draw players from all over the country, who are likely not thrilled that USATT is actively promoting a competing camp, with no notice about the opportunity. Does USATT understand that if they, say, draw two or three players from one camp to the one they feature, that might be a thousand dollars in revenue lost for that club, not to mention a weaker camp? Do they understand that, once again, they are creating unneeded hostility toward USATT? (Addendum, added at the last minute – I just spoke with one club leader – not from my club - who said they are also unhappy about this, but do not want to deal with USATT anymore and so will likely not bother asking USATT to do a news item on them.)

Here are other USATT news items this past week.

Christmas Books
It’s time for some Christmas shopping, both for others and for yourself!!! Why not get one of my books? Or one of Dan Seemiller’s? Or one of Samson Dubina’s books and other products?

Brian Pace on the Road to Recovery
Here’s his latest update on his GoFundMe page. So far they have raised $47,638 of the goal of $100,000.

Butterfly Training Tips

New from Samson Dubina

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from TacoBackhand

New from Ti Long

New from Table Tennis Central

5 Easy Tactics to Outplay Your Opponent in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (6:16). Here are other videos from Rational Table Tennis Analysis.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Steve Hopkins

Former Editor Loses Super-Close Election Race
Former USATT Magazine co-editor Marie Hopkins apparently lost a close one last Tuesday. She and husband Steve (author of the articles in the segment above) co-edited USATT Magazine from May/June 2007 through 2014 (46 issues). In the election for Representative in Rhode Island’s General Assembly District 21, Marie, a Republican, lost to Democrat Camille Vella-Wilkinson, 2603 to 2570, losing by 33 votes, 50.0% to 49.4%, with 34 write-ins. However, since the differences is under 1%, there will be a recount before results are finalized. (Side note – here is the page where I put together and update a complete listing of all past and present USATT Presidents, Board Chairs, Executive Directors, CEOs, and Editors.)

Puerto Rico News


2022 Chinese Nationals
They were just held in Huangshi, Hubei Province.

1965 Worlds – Zhuang Zedong vs. Li Furong
Here’s video (1:26) of that final. Here’s the Google [poorly] translated caption:

Zhuang Zedong defeated Li Furong in the final. 1965 Men's Singles World Championship in Ljubljana Slovenia The duo have made history against each other in three consecutive men's singles finals (Beijing, Prague, Ljubljana), none of which has been possible to date. But according to Sun Meiying, a former vice president of the China Table Tennis Federation, who had met Zhou Enlai more than 40 times, behind the scenes of such a not very elegant event.

After Zhuang Zedong won his first men's singles world championship, the first 'result lock' took place, as the above wanted to make Zhuang a three-time champion and become a national role model.

At that time, Li Furong, who was ranked behind Zhuang in the world rankings. Therefore, he had to lose to Zhuang every time when competing in the finals.

“I can keep Li Furong purely by hand.” Zhuang clearly expressed his displeasure. “When Master ordered Li to surrender. I also felt discouraged. Even now, people are saying that all my World Championship results are locked.” Li was also angry, saying, “I can keep Zhuang Zedong, but the Leader wants me to. I lost."

Currently, due to the strong ability of Chinese athletes This makes locking effect much less important. Until then, it was no longer necessary. Former China national team head coach Tsai Zhenhua said in 2005, “Today we hardly have any results locked. I would like to clarify that for the Olympic Games The interests of the nation must come above all else, for example, when comparing which of our athletes is stronger than the next foreign athlete. I think the country should be the first. This is my principle We have been like this for over a decade.”

Lots of videos here.

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

Ping Pong Master Shirt
Here’s where you can buy it!

Table Tennis Is My Music
Here’s the video (1:53) from Steve Rowe.

Many-Paddle Pong
Here’s the video (9 sec, but repeating)! I’ve never rallied with a cat (I don’t think the cat minded), but I once stuck a sheet of sponge on the forehead of a three-year-old (with his permission), picked him up, and rallied off his forehead! I wish I had pictures.  

Gigantic Pong
Here’s the video (8 sec, but repeating)!

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Knuckles in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (5:18)!

Ping Pong: Expectations vs Reality 2
Here’s the video (8:09) from Pongfinity!

Send us your own coaching news!