February 26, 2024

Tip of the Week
Be the Lawnmower.

Table Tennis Doubles for Champions
Last Wednesday I sent the draft of the book to the Editorial Board. They are supposed to get back to me by Monday, March 11 with any edits, suggestions. They bring a wide range of talents to the job, from table tennis to editorial expertise.

Who is this Super Seven? Stellan & Angie Bengtsson, Mark Dekeyser, Sean O'Neill, John Olsen, Dan Seemiller, and Dennis Taylor. That’s a pretty nice group. (Edit- it's now the Great Eight, with Dell Sweeris joining the Editorial Board.)

The book is 133 pages (9x6 inch pages), with 108 photos or graphics. If all goes well, it’ll be on sale  and I’ll have copies printed by the end of March. I’m hoping to have copies with me on March 24, when I go to coach at the US Junior Trials in West Monroe, Louisiana. A number of people who helped with the book will be there. For example, Nandan Naresh helped in doing photo sequences of forehand and backhand flipping (and is in a number of other photos), and I’m hoping some of the photographers for the book will be there. I’ll also give copies to some coaches who helped in some aspects of the book, such as Gao Jun – she and I had a great discussion about doubles footwork last year, and she has a nice video on doubles (4 min). The US Olympic Trials end the day I arrive in West Monroe, so some of the people I interviewed for the book will likely be there, including Gao, Nikhil Kumar, Amy Wang, Jasna Rather, and others.

Weekend Coaching
Once again I split my time between feeding multiball to a rotating set of players, and then as a practice partner for rotating pairs of players, where they’d take turns hitting with me. Theme for the day was consistency, and so we counted how many shots they’d do in a row while doing a footwork drill. One thing they need to learn is that accuracy is part of consistency. If you are spraying balls all over the table in a practice drill, then even though they are technically hitting the table, they aren’t really controlling the ball – and in a game situation, where they don’t know where the ball is going as much as they do in a drill, this lack of control means outright misses. So I kept putting my water bottle in various places on the table and they had to keep the ball between that and the playing corner.

One issue that keeps coming up, and so I keep harping on, is recovery from the previous shot, especially with the forehand. If you hit a forehand from the wide forehand or wide backhand, staying balanced and returning back into position as you follow through is part of the technique. But the return-to-position direction and therefore technique is different depending on where you hit the shot. If a righty hits from the wide forehand, he follows through back to his left. If he hits a forehand from the wide backhand, he follows through to his right.

It’s become a local tradition that every weekend I get a new name. When I show up on Saturday morning for our Intermediate Class, the kids come running up to me, all excited, and ask, “Who are you?” And then I explain that whoever I was the previous week, along with Coach Larry, is in prison for terrible crimes, and I am Coach [Fill In The Blank]. This weekend I explained that my first name was I, my last name was You, and that my middle name was Hate. So, for the weekend I was Coach I Hate You. And if the kids had a question, they’d say, “Coach, I hate you.” In previous weeks I’ve had names such as Coach Hit Me, Coach Spit On Me, and Coach You Have The Best Forehand. I think next time I’ll be Coach You Have The Worst Forehand. (I should sit down and brainstorm on names for the next few months.)

World Table Tennis Team Championships
Here’s the home page where you can find results, etc. for the event held in Busan, South Korea, Feb. 16-25. Here’s the ITTF News page on the Worlds. As expected, China swept both Men’s and Women’s Teams – but the men’s team was down 1-2 in the semifinals of Men’s against South Korea, and in the women’s final they were down 1-2 to Japan. In the Men’s Final, China beat France (and the Lebrun brothers), with Alexis almost defeating Fan Zhendong:

  • Wang Chuqin (CHN) d. Felix Lebrun (FRA), 4,8,3
  • Fan Zhendong (CHN) d. Alexis Lebrun (FRA), -9,4,-8,10,7
  • Ma Long (CHN) d. Simon Gauzy (FRA), -7,2,4,6.

France defeated Taiwan in the semifinals, 3-1. Here’s the China vs. South Korea semifinal battle, with Lee’s upset over Ma Long giving Korea a 2-1 lead:

  • Jang Woojin (KOR) d. Wang Chuqin (CHN), 7,02,11,6
  • Fan Zhendong (CHN) d. Lim Jonghoon (KOR), 8,6,8
  • Lee Sang Su (KOR) d. Ma Long (CHN), 7,-4, 10,10,-6,4
  • Fan Zhen Dong (CHN) d. Jang Woojin (KOR), 6,7,10
  • Wang Chuqin (CHN) d. Lim Jonghoon (KOR), 5,7,6

On the Women’s side, in the semifinals China defeated France 3-0, and Japan defeated Hong Kong 3-0. In the final, China came from down 1-2 to defeat Japan:

  • Sun Yingsha (CHN) d. Miwa Harimoto (JPN), 5,8,4
  • Hina Hayata (JPN) d. Chen Meng (CHN), -6,8,9,12
  • Miu Hirano (JPN) d. Wang Yidi (CHN), 8,11,10
  • Sun Yingsha (CHN) d. Hina Hayata (JPN), 2,7,6)
  • Chen Meng (CHN) d. Miwa Harimoto (JPN), -4,7,8,7

=>Worlds Coverage by Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

There was a major controversy regarding Team USA. USA had clinched advancing out of the RRs and into the main draw – when disaster struck. Jishan Liang (USA) apparently did not turn his racket in to racket testing in time as he was using it to warm up for his next match. Normally rackets are tested before the match, but because of this, it wasn’t tested in advance. Jishan won his match against Kazakhstan which seemed to clinch USA advancing. But when it was tested afterwards, his sponge was found to be 4.19mm thick, over the 4.0mm limit. (I’ve been told they allow up to 4.04mm.) And so he was defaulted from the match, and USA did not advance.

USATT protested and put out two statements on this, but the default was upheld. I’ve linked the statements below to their Facebook pages, where there is a lot of discussion. (Neither statement has been posted on the USATT home page, only on Facebook. There’s nothing on the USATT News Page on the Worlds at all – no new news items since Feb. 16.)
Statement #1:

USA Table Tennis contests the decision at 2024 ITTF World Team Championships to disqualify Jishan Liang due to racket control issues in our pivotal match against KAZ. This decision robbed our Men’s Team of their hard earned place in the final 24 teams. We are challenging the call with the ITTF Jury Committee. We will expect a just and fair response from ITTF in the next day. We support our Men’s Team and congratulate them on their performance at the competition.

Statement #2:

At the 2024 ITTF World Team Championships, USA's men's team was poised to advance to the knock out rounds as long as they won at least 2 matches and 2 more games against Kazakhstan. Jishan Liang played against Aidos Kenzhigulov from Kazakhstan in the 3rd match and won 3-1, giving the US a 2-1 lead. However, he was disqualified because one side of his racket was 0.19mm over the thickness limit. Jishan’s racket VOC was within range.

USATT submitted the following 4 points to the ITTF Jury Committee to contest the decision to disqualify Jishan Liang.

Jishan Liang had competed with the same racket for 3 days of competition prior to the disqualification call on day 5. Prior to the test in question, his racket had passed all visual inspections.

The umpires and referees have no time log indicating Jishan Liang was late to turn in his racket prior to his match. Jishan was not informed his racket would be tested after his match because of the time in which he submitted it.

The announcement of the racket failing came after Nikhil had lost to Kirill, despite the test result occurring earlier. This did not give the US Men’s team an opportunity to adjust their play to account for a disqualification.

Jishan’s racket was tested 4-5 times before it was deemed illegal. The necessity for multiple tests raises significant doubts about the reliability and trustworthiness of the testing process itself. Jishan’s racket, which stayed with the umpires and referees overnight, got tested again today and it was within the standard. They also conducted two separate tests and the readings were different

Major League Table Tennis
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Butterfly Training Tips

Serve Into the Cricket Goals
Here’s the video (20 sec). These are good targets to learn to serve into. (But you can improvise with other objects as targets.) A key thing is to serve faster against the deeper ones, slower but with more break against the closer but wider ones. (And today I’ve learned what a cricket goal looks like.

Basic Strokes - Backhand Drive
Here’s the video (17:09) from PingPongPlaybook.

New from Ti Long

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

Talkin' Smash by JOOLA Ep9: The Career Journey from Brazil to the World | Thiago Monteiro
Here’s the video (33:32) from Matt Hetherington/JOOLA.

New from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

Chuang Chih-Yuan Ball Placement vs Qiu Dang
Here’s the video (58 sec) from Drupe Pong.

Behind the Back Stroke
Here’s the video (3:54) from Pingispågarna.

How a Pro Table Tennis Player Packs
Here’s the video (3:43) from PongSpace.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions and answers from PingSkills.

New from Tony’s Table Tennis Talk

Interview with Sid Naresh at the Worlds . . . While Hitting!
Here’s the video (43 sec)! This reminds me of my Hall of Fame Induction, where I had to be talked out of my initial plan, which was to give my acceptance speech while bouncing a ball on a paddle. Was told it would be too distracting. (And the way to calculate 19 x 65 in your head [while hitting forehands] is just do 10 times 65 [650], double it [1300] and subtract 65 [1235. Yeah, I have a degree in math...)

I Challenged The STRONGEST Ping Pong Hustler in New York!
Here’s the video (4:10) from Table Tennis Daily.

A Table for Two
Here’s the cartoon! (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

20 Funniest Moments in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (8:06) from Wave of Trend!

World’s Most Dangerous Ping Pong Table (5000 Spikes)
Here’s the video (8:01) from Pongfinity!

AND NOW – Here’s my challenge to Pongfinity – I want to see them each go to a supermarket, pick out the best frozen fish they can find, and use that as a racket! (Flounder, anyone?) Suggestion - wear gloves while holding the frozen fish.  Afterwards they can have a fish fry.

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