April 17, 2023

Tip of the Week
Blocking Footwork.

Weekend Coaching
Coaching this past weekend was a painful experience. Why? While my shoulder injury from a month ago continues to hurt – it doesn’t want to heal and I still can’t extend my arm – I had more problems with my neck. I must have slept on it wrong, but when I woke up Saturday morning, I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow – it took a few minutes of rolling about and trying to hold my head up with my hands before I was able to get up. Once up I discovered I couldn’t turn my head to the right. I almost cancelled my coaching, but decided I would just have to manage. I ended up doing five group junior sessions and one private session. Anytime a ball went to my wide forehand, I both couldn’t turn my head to see it, and couldn’t extend my arm to reach it! Fortunately, I’ve played long enough so I don’t really have to turn my head to hit the ball on my forehand, plus it didn’t affect my feeding multiball since for that my head is normally turned to the left. I also had some sessions where I was just a walk-around coach – but even that was tricky as I couldn’t turn my head to the right to watch players, and so had to turn my entire body. I’m guessing the neck problem will go away in a day or so, but as I’m writing this Monday morning, it hasn’t gotten any better – probably because I kept aggravating it all weekend. I might have to see a doctor about the shoulder as it’s not getting better.

As usual, there were lots of footwork drills. I emphasized keeping the feet moving, telling several kids, “If I can read the brand name on your shoes, you aren’t moving your feet.” There were also some serve practice sessions, where I had players focus on where the ball bounces on both sides of the table. Many players, even advanced ones, aren’t really aware of where the ball bounces on their side of the table, and so have trouble controlling the depth of their serve. For the depth of any given serve, there’s a specific place (distance from your endline) where you want the first bounce to be.

One interesting moment came up when one of the kids was struggling to block the opponent’s spinny loop. I pretty much recited “Blocking Spinny Loops”! And it paid off with some great blocking afterwards.

Oldest Living World Champion?
On Friday, the ITTF put up the news item Diane Schöler Celebrates 90th Birthday, the Oldest Living World Champion. Happy birthday and congrats to her! Only . . . well, I’m probably not too popular right now with the ITTF or the English TTA. When they posted it on Facebook, I responded by writing, “Congrats to Diane! However . . . I believe Thelma “Tybie” Thall Sommer (USA) is still alive at age 99. She was born on March 12, 1924. She won Mixed Doubles at the 1948 Worlds (with Dick Miles) and Women’s Teams at the 1949 Worlds (along with bronze in Women’s Singles).” Here’s Tybie’s Wikipedia entry and her US Table Tennis Hall of Fame writeup by Tim Boggan. I’ve met her a number of times as she used to be a regular at the Nationals into her 90s, always wearing that 1948 Mixed Doubles medal!

Ryan Lin’s Blog
Here it is! Since December, he’s put up eleven entries, about one a week, giving his insightful thoughts on various issues both table tennis and others. Alas, he still hasn’t filled in the “About” link, so you probably don’t know he’s the reigning 2022 US Under 13 National Boys’ Singles Champion, with a 2249 rating (2268 before his last tournament). Now 13, he’s at my club (MDTTC), and while I don’t work with him as much as before, I got to work with him a lot in 2021-2022 in camps and tournaments in Austria, Jordan, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and a number of US Opens, Nationals, and other tournaments. (We also share a common interest in brain teasers.) Why not hit the Follow button and see his entries as they come up? (He's also on Facebook.)

National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships
They were held this past weekend in Round Rock, TX. Here’s the home page, including results and video. Here are news articles this past week from NCTTA from the Championships – they’ve been writing up a storm!

Ping Pong Diplomacy Podcast
Here’s the new podcast (35:32) on 1971’s US-China Ping Pong Diplomacy, from the History Channel, with “Special thanks to our guests: professional table tennis athletes Judy Hoarfrost, Olga Soltesz, and Connie Sweeris; Yafeng Xia, senior professor of social science at Long Island University Brooklyn, and author of Negotiating with the Enemy: U.S.-China Talks during the Cold War, 1949-1972; and Nicholas Griffin, author of Ping Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game That Changed the World.”

WTT Champions Xinxiang 2023
Here’s the page for the event held in Xinxiang, China, Apr. 9-15, with complete results, video, and news articles. (You might have to choose “WTT Champions Xinxiang 2023” from the dropdown menu.) Here are some videos.

=>Coverage by Steve Hopkins

New from Samson Dubina

New from Ti Long

How to Do the Tomahawk Serve
Here’s the video (2:31) from Pingispågarna

New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from Drupe Pong

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Ahad Sarand Wins Bronze Medal At The 2023 ITTF Para Costa Brava Spanish Open
Here’s the article by Vlad Farcas.



New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of videos here.

Husband, Dad, Ping Pong Legend
Here’s where you can buy the shirt from Tee Shirt Palace! (Alas, I don’t see one for Wife, Mom.)

I’d Rather Be Playing Table Tennis Throw Pillow
Here’s where you can buy it at Amazon!

Many Rackets Pong
Here’s the video (15 sec)!

Big Paddle Rules
Here’s the cartoon!

Matrix Table Tennis
Here’s the video (1:46) – it’s an oldie that I linked to long ago, but thought I’d share it with a new generation!

Adam vs. Mexican Champion
Here’s the video (11:43) from Adam Bobrow!

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