April 24, 2023

Tip of the Week
Dumb Ways to Lose.

Weekend Coaching
It was a servey weekend with lots of serve practice. In group sessions, I worked one-on-one with a number of players on their serves – how to generate more spin, serve lower, control the depth, create deception, and so on. Since serving (along with receive and tactics) are my favorite topics, it was a lot of fun. Also did a lot of random ball drills, often with multiball. For these, I emphasize three things: 1) good ready position; 2) react, don’t guess; and 3) move to the ball. I did five group sessions, including one where we had an odd number of players, so I acted as a practice partner. Not easy as my shoulder and neck are still hurting!

For the Novice Class (about twelve players, ages 6-8), I’ve spent the last two weeks convincing them I’m not Coach Larry. Last week I told them I was Coach Barry, Larry’s twin, and that I’d locked up Larry in the trunk of my car, and oops, I forgot to put in airholes. I pretended not to know anything about table tennis except what they showed me, and so I got them to teach me some technique – a good way to get them thinking about it. Then, yesterday, I told them I was Coach Harry, and that we were actually triplets, and that Coach Larry was in the hospital after Coach Barry locked him in the trunk, and that Coach Barry was in jail for doing that, and that I was now the coach, and again they had to teach me how to play. Next week I guess I’ll be Coach Darry!

Celebrities I’ve Met
Because of my table tennis and science fiction travels, I've met a LOT of celebrities. I had major discussions with most of the below. Here are celebrities I’ve met.

TABLE TENNIS: All of the top US and most top World players in the last 40 years, though not as many in the last ten years. If I listed them all, it’d be a LONG list. World Singles Champions I’ve met include:

  • World Men's Singles Champions: Jan-Ove Waldner, Jean-Philippe Gatien, Jorgen Persson, Seiji Ono, Wang Liqin, Werner Schlager, Liu Guoliang, Istvan Jonyer, Stellan Bengtsson, Ichiro Ogimura.
  • World Women's Singles Champions: Zhang Yining, Wang Nan, Deng Yaping, Qiao Hong, Tong Ling, Angelica Rozeanu.

ATHLETES: Jim Palmer (Orioles Hall of Fame pitcher), David Robinson (basketball player, played poker with him and others on the 1988 US Olympic basketball team), Andre the Giant (Pro Wrestler), Jeanette "Black Widow" Lee (#1 women's billiards player in the 1990s, gave her a lesson), Ted St. Martin (world record holder for 5221 consecutive free throws, gave him a lesson), Errict Rhett (football player, hit with him in an exhibition), Audrey Weisiger (famed USA Olympic figure skating coach, coached her), and the entire Baltimore Orioles Baseball team and staff in 2013 when I did a demo for them in their clubhouse (along with four of our local junior stars), including Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Brian Roberts, JJ Hardy (coached him at MDTTC), Chris Wieters, Chris Tillman, Darren O'Day (about ten one-hour lessons at MDTTC), Brady Anderson (coached him at MDTTC), Manager Buck Showalter, and many more. Also met most members of the USA Tae Kwon Do, Judo, and Archery Olympic teams in the late 1980s when I lived in the dorms at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for four years, but don't remember their names.

ACTORS/ACTRESSES: Susan Sarandon, Julia Dreyfus, Frank Caliendo (played doubles with him), Adoni Maropis (played and practice with him a number of times), Judah Friedlander (coached him), Walter Koenig, Leonard Nimoy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones), Tony Hale.

LEADERS: Henry Kissinger, Jack Markell (governor of Delaware, coached him), Anthony Williams (mayor of Washington DC), Oscar Goodman (mayor of Las Vegas), James McClure (senator from Illinois).

SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS: George R.R. Martin, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Mike Resnick, Robert J. Sawyer, John Scalzi, Orson Scott Card, Alan Dean Foster, Larry Niven, Piers Anthony, David Gerrold, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Joe Haldeman, Connie Willis, Frederick Pohl, Ray Silverberg, Walter Jon Williams, Terry Brooks, Stephen Donaldson, Harry Turtledove, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Allen Steele, Jack McDevitt, James Morrow, Gregory Benford, Robert Asprin, Jerry Pournelle, Michael Swanwick, Charles Stross, Carry Vaughn, Nancy Kress, David Louis Edelman, Cory Doctorow, Karl Schroeder, James Maxwell, Lawrence Schoen, and MANY more - apologies to those left out.

SCIENCE FICTION EDITORS: Stanley Schmidt, Sheila Williams, George Scithers, Gardner Dozois, Gordon Van Gelder, Ellen Datlow, Shawna McCarthy, Eric Flint, Scott Andrews, Jeanne Cavelos, Mike Resnick, C.C. Finlay, Trevor Quachri, Mike Resnick, Lezli Robyn.

OTHERS: Will Shortz (puzzlist and owner of Westchester TTC), Craig Newmark (founder and owner of craigslist.com), Tom McEvoy (world poker champion), Julian Waters (famous calligrapher), Sol Snyder (famous neurologist - my uncle!)

Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy . . . FOR SALE
Alas, they were not able to get enough players and the rent went up. So now they are hoping to stay open by bringing in a buyer, with the coaches (Samson Dubina, Chance Friend, and Jeff Yamada) staying on. Below are the two news items Samson posted on this. I've been there numerous times for tournaments and camp, and hope they manage to continue. So . . . wanna buy a nice, large, well-established, fully-equipped club with three professional coaches? It's a big opportunity!

Three Blog Posts from RevSpin
I ran into these recently, three postings I did a while back that were featured at RevSpin. Here they are!

9 Expert Ping Pong Tips For Beginners From The World’s Best Creators
Here’s the article. The first tip is by me on Daily Shadow Practice.

WTT Champions Macao
Here’s the home page for the vent held Apr. 17-23 in Macao, China, with results, news, and video. The big upset of the tournament was Alexis Lebrun (world #22, #1 player from France) over world #1 Fan Zhendong of China in the quarterfinals, 7,-8,5,-5,9, the last point an edge ball. Lebrun lost to all-time great Ma Long (but now #4 in the world in the semifinals, 8,-7,5,8,8. Ma Long lost in the final to world #2 Wang Chuqin in the all-Chinese final. Here are videos of those three matches and three articles on the tournament by Steve Hopkins/Butterfly.

Butterfly Training Tips
Six new ones this week! They sure make it look easy – and with practice, it is.

How to Level Up With A Robot!
Here’s the video (20:35) from Seth Pech.

How to Chop Block
Here’s the video (2:16) from Pingispågarna.

Chinese Team – How They Train to Be the Best
Here’s the video (3:10) from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

New from PongSpace

New from Drupe Pong

New from Ti Long

New from EmRatThich/PingSunday

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Interview with Adriana Diaz “Just enjoy the process!”
Here’s the video (19:34) by Stephanie Sun with the world #14 from Puerto Rico.

New from NCTTA
This includes the final article on the National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships held last weekend. Page down on the page to see the other articles, which I linked to last week.

New from USATT

New from ITTF

Reaction Time Training with FastPong
Here’s the video (51 sec), and here’s the product.

Robot with a Racket
Here’s the video (12 sec) – not how instead of shooting balls at you, like most robots, it hits them at you with a racket, which is much more realistic. That’s always been my concern with most robots, that you aren’t learning to react to a racket, which is what you have to do in a real game.

I Challenged a Table Tennis Pro in Virtual Reality
Here’s the video (7 min) from Table Tennis Daily, where they took on world #6 Truls Moregard of Sweden.

Doorway Double-Paddle String Pong
Here’s the video (35 sec)! I believe she is using a RYGRZJ Indoor Hanging Table Tennis set.

Net-Edge Return with Backspin Return
Here’s the video (10 sec) – an “unreturnable” shot is returned unreturnably!

Up and Down, Up and Down...
Here’s the table tennis gif! Here’s where you can find lots more.

Impossible 0.0001% Odds
Here’s the video (8:01) from Pongfinity! “We’re going to attempt the 20 candle extinguishing shot, team up with the best trampoliners, and more.”

Quit Spying on Us! No, You Quit Spying on Us!
Here’s the US-China cartoon!

Send us your own coaching news!