February 5, 2024

Tip of the Week
Types of Topspin Contact.

Weekend Coaching, Doubles Book, and USATT, Oh My!!!
I split my coaching weekend between feeding multiball (yes, lots and Lots and LOTS of footwork drills), and as a practice partner at the end. I used to be in charge of running these group sessions, but now that I’m semi-retired others have taken over, and I get to just coach. My primary function in most sessions is feeding multiball, where I put them through a series of drills while working on their technique. Different players are rotated to me (the multiball station) throughout the session, so I work with a lot of the players.

I also had a session with Navin Kumar, where I’m getting him ready for the upcoming US Parkinson’s Championships, April 13-14 at the Westchester Club in New York. Opening Ceremonies are on Friday night, April 12, though at $75/person, I will likely skip it. There are also some sort of Parkinson’s workshops during the event, though I’m not yet sure what those are about. Here’s I Love Ping Pong (2:48, by Nenad Bach), the official tournament song and the anthem from the 2019 ITTF Parkinson's World TT Championships. I’ll likely be coaching Navin at the tournament. A lot of my focus with Navin right now is being more aggressive with the long pips against pushes and weak balls, and brick-wall blocking against attacks.

I’ve also been working on my upcoming book, Table Tennis Doubles for Champions. The text was basically done a few weeks ago, but I decided I wanted something more – and so arranged a series of interviews with elite doubles players and coaches. I’m working on page layouts now, and hope to have it done this week. I’m still waiting on one photo sequence I’ve arranged, plus getting photo permissions is a huge headache. I’m debating whether to have the book read and critiqued by an Editorial Board before publishing, which would postpone things a few weeks. I’m hoping to have copies to give out at the US Junior Team Trials, March 24-31 in West Monroe, Louisiana, where I’ll be one of the MDTTC coaches. It'll be about 120 pages, with numerous photos. Chapters are (and now I’m debating whether to take off the “in Doubles” in chapters 6-9):

  1. Introduction to Doubles
  2. Secrets from the Pros
  3. Doubles Stories
  4. Great Partnerships
  5. The Start of a Doubles Match
  6. Serving in Doubles
  7. Receiving in Doubles
  8. Rallying in Doubles
  9. Footwork and Positioning in Doubles
  10. The Wacky World of Doubles
  11. Doubles Rules
  12. World and Olympic Doubles Champions

Regarding USATT, this week I’m taking action on one major USATT issue. Full details in my blog next week. The hardest part was narrowing it down to which item to act on now. I’m sure sparks will fly.

The Ultimate Challenge: 1000 Forehands in a Row!
Here’s the video (11:47) from PingSkills. It is a big challenge. Many coaches, including me, often tell students they don’t have a forehand or backhand until they hit 100 in a row . . . but 1,000??? That’s a lot! I’ve done it – my forehand record is actually about 3,000 circa 1979 (alas, we lost count, so I could be off by a little), while my backhand record is exactly 2,755 (with Ben Nisbet at a 1978 Seemiller Camp in Pittsburgh). Here are two stories about junior players I coached who hit 1,000 in a row.

  • Sameer Shaikh – 99, 97, 94 . . . 1,000!
  • Ryan Li – age 7, not just 1,000, but he did it last summer while doing side-to-side footwork!

Butterfly Training Tips

Talkin' Smash by JOOLA Ep8: The Evolution of Table Tennis Daily
Here’s the video (51:03) with Matt Hetherington talking to TT Daily’s Dan Ives.

Choosing the Right Tactics
Here’s the article by Tom Lodziak. I like this one – it quotes from my book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers: “Tactics isn’t about finding complex strategies to defeat an opponent. Tactics is about sifting through all the zillions of possible tactics and finding a few simple ones that work.”

How to Improve Your Mental Game
Here’s the video (3:40) from Damien Provost/PongSpace.

New from Ti Long

New from EmRatThich/PingSunday

All Pros Use This Shot You Should Too!
Here’s the video (9:33) from Sean Pech – the “no-spin loop.”

Effective Method & Exercises for Beginners
Here’s the video (3:40) from Pingispågarna. Also note the Pingispågarna ad/link on the left – they’re a pretty established and high-level coaching group, and we’ve exchanged ads.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Major League Table Tennis
Follow the action!

Ping Pong Trademark
Here’s all you need to know about it – but the short version is Escalade bought the trademark from Parker Brothers in the 1970s.

Ping Pong Challenge
Here’s the game – but it has little to actually do with ping pong! I wonder if Escalade knows about this? See segment above!

NCTTA--2024 (Singles, Divisions, forms and more!)
Here’s the article from National Collegiate Table Tennis Association.

Introducing USA Table Tennis’s New Ranking System Pilot
Here’s the USATT news item.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

New from ITTF

Very Bad Ping
Here’s a page of French TT cartoon! They’re pretty good even if you can’t read the captions.

Fear My Racket
Here’s where you can buy the shirt at Amazon!

Pros Vs New York Ping Pong Hustlers For $1000!
Here’s the video (9:56) from Table Tennis Daily. They are playing in Bryant Park in New York City, where they have two outside tables with nonstop play. (The linked Wikipedia article mentions the table tennis there.) I toured NYC in 2021, and visited and played in Bryant Park. Here’s my writeup – see paragraph 4.

Adam vs. Daniely
Here’s the video (15 min) from Adam Bobrow! That’s Puerto Rico star Daniely Rios.

Non-Table Tennis - Super Rex
Here’s the great video preview (28 sec, make sure sound is on) from storiaverse.com of my upcoming story, Super Rex – seriously, you should see it. Storia takes science fiction & fantasy stories and animates them along with the text. They recently bought two stories from me. Super Rex is a superhero fantasy with SF and horror elements, and perhaps the only Superhero T-Rex story ever written. A paleontologist digs up a T-Rex skeleton in the Yucatan – only it comes alive. It’s a heroic superhero (basically a T-Rex Superman) that’s been trapped under the remains of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs for 66 million years, after it failed to save them from it. It’s friendly (though slightly mad after all those years trapped underground) . . . but its priority is to bring back the dinosaurs, even if that means the end for humans.

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