May 22, 2023

Tip of the Week
Table Tennis Gems.

Weekend Coaching
I coached five group sessions this weekend. I only had one on Saturday, with the other four on Sunday – including three in a row without a break, totaling five hours. I used to coach five hours straight somewhat regularly, but not anymore – and these days, it’s pretty tiring! And yet, the reality is I wasn’t that tired during the sessions where I was focused, mostly afterwards, when I felt like a ping-pong ball that had been used in a smashing drill and then stomped on by an army of over-excited kids.

As usual, I’m constantly harping on “active feet.” As an amusing side, it means I know everyone’s shoes, and even asked a few of them why they chose those particular shoes. In the higher groups, one wore volleyball shoes, which work can for table tennis, but the rest had various TT shoes. I also stressed always doing something with each shot, don’t just blindly do them. Choose and place each shot for a reason – the more you do that, the more reflexive it becomes. For example, don’t just push the ball back – do it quick and fast, or super heavy, or short, or aim one way and go another, or use an extreme angle, or something.

A local 2000 player, Konstantyn “Stan” Salatov, emailed me about the problem of slow starters, as both he and his son, AJ (13, rated 1787) tend to be slow starters in tournaments. It’s a common thing which I also had problems with long ago. I wrote a rather long email about this, as well as a follow-up. I was going to put it here, but it’s more of a Tip of the Week – so I instead wrote it up as one, which will show up at some point, maybe next Monday. (I’ve already written enough Tips to go through July.) But the super-short version is there are two equally important aspects to solving this problem – physical and mental. To prepare physically for a tournament, you shouldn’t just warm up with a bunch of rote drills. You also need play points and do random drills, as these allow you to “play free” instead of just robotically, where you know where the incoming ball is going. You need to do this both before your first match, and also in the days before. To prepare mentally, you need to remember the best match you have ever played, and remember the mentality you had in that match – and go into your first match with that mentality.

I also did a player analysis of one of our top junior players, whose parents sent me video of him from a recent tournament. I won’t go into my analysis here, but it’s important to look at videos from tournaments and figure out from there what needs to be worked on – both things that need fixing, and things that can become overpowering strengths. In this case, I had four main things. One was about active feet on receive, which will likely become an upcoming Tip of the Week.

2023 World Championships
Here’s the ITTF home page for the event, with lots of World Championships news. It also links to the World Table Tennis page for the event, which has complete results. Here’s the Youtube video page. They are being held in Durban, South Africa, May 20-28. Here’s the SUATT news item, USA Draws for the 2023 World Championships in South Africa.  

Here’s more on the Worlds from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly.

Proof of Citizenship at the US Nationals
Last week I received the following email from USATT Tournament Operations about the upcoming US Nationals:

Please note that in order to participate in the Championship Events (event #1-31) and Doubles Events (event #32-66) in this Tournament, a participant must be a citizen of the United States. All participants in the 2023 US Nationals who are registered in a Championship Event (singles and/or doubles) must provide a copy of his or her US passport, an original U.S. birth certificate, a naturalization certificate, a certificate of citizenship, or some other document recognized as legally proving US citizenship, as well as a photo ID, at the registration desk in order to pick the participant's player package.

The key thing here is we have to bring a birth certificate, passport, or some other proof of citizenship and show it at the registration desk. This makes no sense except for new players or those who just received citizenship. USATT maintains a “citizens” list, and once you are on it, you should be set and no longer need to bring proof to every event. That’s how it’s been done for decades - I haven't shown citizenship in about 35 years. I'm the one who created and maintained it for USATT for several years during my first tenure with them in the late 1980s (a paper list back then!), and I believe it has been maintained since. The USATT rating page (which comes from the USATT database) has a “Citizens” category you can list by, so they still have that in their database. So why are they asking us to bring proof of something they already have??? Do we have to bring proof now at every Nationals and Open again? It is sort of funny that I’ve been a USATT member since 1976, have been to every US Nationals since 1984 and numerous Team Trials where citizenship was required, am listed in their database as a citizen after showing them my birth certificate several decades ago, and once again I would have to bring proof! I’m curious if they will ask last year’s Men’s and Women’s singles champions, Nikhil Kumar and Lily Zhang, for proof of citizenship, as well as others who played championships events last year, or Olympians, which also required citizenship to compete. 

Dan Reynolds Resigns
This morning Dan Reynolds resigned from the USATT Board of Directors, citing exhaustion. I could write volumes on various issues related to this, but frankly, I’m tired of USATT coverage for now. Sometimes I have to remind myself and others that this site is, not (Hmmm, that’s an idea for a web page.) And having said that...


Coaching the Coach
Here’s the article by Massimo Costantini.

Butterfly Training Tips

New from Ti Long

Hitting a Drop Shot Off of High Balls
Here’s the video (1:49) by Damien Provost from PongSpace.

Don’t Panic! How to Learn from Your Serve Receive Errors
Here’s the article from Tom Lodziak. Nice cartoon picture!

Three Classic Mistakes with Backhand
Here’s the video (3:19) from Pingispågarna.

On Spin and Anticipation in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (6:45) from Drupe Pong.

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

NCTTA Collegiate Nationals
Here’s the article by Joanna Sung.

Tashiya Piyadasa Receives a Long Term Scholarship from OCTTA
Here’s the article by Tashiya.

Interview with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran – Winner of the 84th Indian Table Tennis Championships
Here’s the article.

What’s a Ping Pong Olympic Champion Home Like?
Here’s the video (7:21), featuring Zhang Jike. “We renovated an Olympic champion home.”

Today’s Forecast - 100% Chance of Ping Pong
Here’s where you can get the shirt at Amazon!

Sports at the Dinner Table
Here’s the cartoon!

The Most Satisfying Ping Pong Challenge
Here’s the video (8:01) from PongFinity! Also, I found another one from them that I don’t think I’ve ever linked to - Ping Pong Meets Trampoline Park (8:01)!

US Presidents Play Wii Sports Table Tennis
Here’s the video (8:10)! Hilarious. Features Obama, Biden, and Trump, with Bush Jr. appearing toward the end. Warning – lots of profanity.

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