May 8, 2023

Tip of the Week
Five Tips to Increase Forehand Looping Power.

Weekend Coaching
Five group sessions, two private sessions, nine hours total, and yes, I’m exhausted, as I always am on Mondays after coaching on the weekend. (Yet, the other coaches at MDTTC do far more hours, as I did when I was younger before I semi-retired.) I spent much of the sessions either feeding multiball or (in two sessions) as a practice partner with rotating players. There was a lot of work looping backspin and in general on consistency. We did a lot of box-bashing, where I put on the table one of the plastic boxes or bowls we use for serving practice, perhaps a foot from the end-line, and the player has to knock it off as I feed multiball – it takes a bunch of hits to do so. Often I do this two at a time, with each player typically doing three shots – perhaps a forehand from the backhand corner, middle, and forehand corner, then rotating around while partner does three. Or they do the backhand-forehand-forehand drill – backhand from backhand side, forehand from backhand side, forehand from forehand side, then rotate around. I time it each time to see how long it takes them to knock it off, so they compete on this – and so they have fun while developing their footwork, strokes, consistency, power, and accuracy.

I had two private sessions, both with para players. The first was with Navin Kumar, where the focus was on smashing. We also did a lot of random drills. I’m also working with him on being more aggressive with his backhand long pips (no sponge) against backspin – you can’t just pat it back. We’re also working on flipping his racket so he can use the inverted side sometimes on the backhand to attack. I gave him an assignment – watch lots of TV, but hold your racket as you do so and twirl it until you can do it in your sleep (as well as while watching TV or playing TT). Here’s video (62 sec) Navin took of the session.

I also had a session with Sam Altshuler, a para junior star, ranked #39 in Para Men’s Class 6. (That’s against men, and he’s a junior player.) He also has long pips on the backhand, but with sponge and so is more aggressive – both on that side and with his forehand. His normal coach is Lidney Castro, but USATT para coach Jasna Rather asked if I could work with him on playing against long pips, since he faces that so often in para tournaments where long pips is far more common. The irony is that the other junior players at MDTTC get regular practice against long pips by playing Sam, but he doesn’t since he can’t play himself. So for this session I got out my racket with long pips, no sponge, and let him go after it for 30 minutes. (I keep in my playing bag a variety of rackets, many of which I pull out in tournaments for student to warm up against if they are about to play someone with that surface. All of them have Tenergy 05 on one side, with the other side being long pips no sponge (for blocking); long pips thin sponge (for chopping); medium long pips; short pips; antispin; and hardbat. Sam has endless energy and enthusiasm - when I said it was time to rest so we could be ready for the upcoming 90-minute group session, he didn't want to stop!!!

Dan Reynolds and USATT
On February 7, I blogged about various USATT shenanigans and bylaw violations, including how the current chair of the board isn’t even eligible to be chair, and how the board member who was planning to run against him – Dan Reynolds – was suddenly accused (anonymously) of misconduct, and so “Temporarily” suspended by SafeSport. Well, he's been reinstated and is now off the suspended list. But he wasn’t allowed to attend USATT events for over four months, including tournaments (he’s a national referee), and of course USATT board meetings, including the one where the ineligible board chair was re-elected chair, while Reynolds was suspended and so unable to run or vote. While I can see why a person accused of misconduct with, say, a minor would be suspended from events with minors, there’s little justification for suspending such a person from other activities when all we have is an anonymous accusation that has nothing to do with board activities. I’m not going into details here, but this makes three times in the last couple of years or so where a USATT member was “conveniently” suspended and so not able to participate in important issues or events. Two were reinstated, including Reynolds; the other is ongoing. (NOTE added on Wednesday - I initially said the third case would "likely" be the same, but I took that out since that's purely speculative.) Guess what could happen to me if I were to, say, run for the USATT board next year? No, I don’t plan to (but haven’t ruled it out), but the fact that all a political “opponent” or any crank who doesn’t like you has to do to derail an opponent these days is make an anonymous accusation to SafeSport at the right time . . . is chilling.

Tournament Software
I have a pet peeve. This is the year 2023, and some tournaments are still using software that doesn’t put the results online. There’s nothing wrong with using older software if it’s updated so it can do what most modern tournament softwares can do, including putting the results online. There are free softwares that do that – in particular, Omnipong, which probably runs the majority of USATT tournaments these days (and is the software USATT uses for their major tournaments), as well as TTlive, which a number of other tournaments use.

For tournaments that don’t put complete results online, we have to wait for the results to be processed for USATT ratings - and they don’t show the actual draws and so you can’t really see what happened, just a listing of wins and losses for individual players, by event and round. It’s like wanting to see the box score for a baseball game, but all you can do is wait up to a week, and then look up each player’s disconnected results for that game, one by one.

There were ten USATT tournaments last weekend, but none were processed until Friday. So we had to wait 5-6 days to see those results, and then only one player at a time, rather than seeing the draws themselves. In essence, since the draws for those tournaments aren’t online, they are lost to posterity. For comparison, here are the results for the Cary Cup in North Carolina, which was a four-day tournament, Thu-Sun, that used Omnipong. We had about ten players from my club there, and I was able to check the results for them every night. You can look up the full results and draws of every tournament ever run on Omnipong, so those results are up for posterity. We had two players in another tournament that I won’t name, and I couldn’t see their results until the following Friday, and those draws are essentially lost to posterity. One problem – tournament directors who don’t put the full results online rarely hear from the numerous people who are irritated at this, and so when someone like me does complain, they think it’s an isolated case that nobody cares about.

Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy For Sale
Here’s the notice for those interested in buying. Here’s the video (4:18) from a couple of weeks ago. There are other updates on their News page that I linked to last week.

Thomas Hu Interview
Here’s the video (3:25) with the CEO of AYTTO and USATT board member. “October 26, 2020, a beloved legend in the US table tennis passed away. In honor of his immense contribution to the table tennis community and world peace, NCTTA and AYTTO teamed together to honor him with the Annual George Braithwaite Community Service Award for those high school seniors demonstrating a consistent and positive contribution to the AYTTO community.”

The Importance of Communications on Doubles
Here’s the video (2:52) from PongSpace by Angela Guan.

New from Ti Long

New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

Basic Guide for Table Tennis Forehand Topspin
Here’s the video (79 sec) from the Aspire TTC.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Enjoying WTT Youth Star Contender 2023
Here’s the article by Patryk Zyworonek

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

China’s Biggest Threat Right Now
Here’s the video (2:23) featuring world #7 Truls Moregard of Sweden, from Tacobackhand. (Truls and world #4 Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan do seem to be the biggest threats.)

The Greatest GIANT In Table Tennis History
Here’s the video (3:25) featuring Zoran Kalinic.

New from ITTF

Mini-Pong Forehands
Here’s the video (22 sec)!

I Feel Like I Play Better on Clay
Here’s the cartoon!

The INDONESIA Challenge
Here’s the video (16:18) from Adam Bobrow!

World's Most Ridiculous Ping Pong Serves
Here’s the video (4:04) from Pongfinity – I’m going to learn some of these!!!

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