March 4, 2024

Tip of the Week
The Definition of Insanity and Its Table Tennis Implications.

2024 US Table Tennis Hall of Fame Inductions
Here’s the announcement! Inducted this year are Glenn Cowan as a player, Stellan Bengtsson and Dennis Taylor as contributors, and Patty Martinez-Wasserman the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner will be held on Oct. 10 at the Houston International TT Academy, in conjunction with the Si and Patty Wasserman Jr. & Open Championships on Oct. 11-13. (I expect to be there, both for the HoF Inductions & dinner and to coach at the tournament.) I’ll be doing the Hall of Fame program booklet, as I’ve done since 2009. Already started on it! (On a side note, both Stellan and Dennis are on the Editorial Board for my upcoming book, “Table Tennis Doubles for Champions,” which should be out by the end of March.) Here are the honorees:

  • Glenn Cowan was on the US Ping-Pong Diplomacy Team to China in 1971 where he is credited with making friends and exchanging gifts with Zhuang Zedong, which helped lead to Ping-Pong Diplomacy. (He was the only player on the team not yet inducted.)
  • Stellan Bengtsson had a stellar career as a Swedish player (1971 World Men’s Singles Champion, 1973 World Doubles and Team Champion, many-time European and Swedish Champion) as well as a coach, both in Sweden and then the US. For the US, he was instrumental in coaching Jimmy Butler and numerous Para players. [NOTE - As noted in the announcement, Stellan will be inducted with the 2025 Class due to travel concerns.]
  • Dennis Taylor was the USATT pro-bono lawyer for 18 years, a member of the board of directors, and chaired a number of committees, including the High Performance Committee.
  • Patty Martinez-Wasserman has won a zillion titles, including three-time US Open Women’s Singles Champion, and even more titles through the years in various senior events, including a total of 14 medals (7 golds) at the 2023 US Nationals and Open.

Here are the results of the tournament at my home club in Gaithersburg, Maryland. There were two notable breakthroughs in this tournament. First, Stanley Hsu, 15, who recently achieved an even 2500 rating, won Open Singles. He’s won a few before, but what’s notable is that he upset Bruno Ventura Dos Anj in the final, rated 2571. (Bruno is one of Stanley’s coaches and practice partners.) The other breakthrough was 9-year-old Ritchik Ghosh’s performance. He came in rated 1632, and won both Under 1900 and Under 2000! Along the way he won 13 matches in the two events, including players rated 1743, 1852, 1877, and 1925, losing only one game to these players, and had no bad losses. I coached him in six of his Under 1900 matches, and he easily won them all 3-0 – I kept waiting for a real match to break out where he might actually need me! His focus is very good, so my coaching is mostly about serve, receive, and ball placement. (He can go from focused champion at the table one minute, to joking around playing other kids on the mini-table the next.) I’ll likely be coaching him at the US Junior Team Trials in West Monroe, Louisiana, March 26-30, where he’ll be in Under 11 and Under 13.

Major League Table Tennis
Follow the action!

Butterfly Training Tips

Tips & Tricks, How to Read and Return a spinny SERVE
Here’s the video (6:19) from Pingispågarna.

New from Ti Long

Do You Practice Returning Serves? If Not, Why Not?
Here’s the article by Tom Lodziak.

Sports Psychology by Dora Kurimay
Here’s her blog page – lots of topics! Here’s her sports psychology books and videos. Who is she? Here’s her bio.

New from Jon Gustavson
They are at his blog page.

  • Roll the Low Ones -Hit The High Ones
  • The Student of Table Tennis
  • A Sticky Situation

Roadmap to Learning the Strokes – Introduction
Here’s the video (5:01) from Drupe Pong.

Attacking with Long Pips
Here’s the video (1:38) from PongSpace, with World #13 Yang Xiaoxin.

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

Backhand “Ghost” Serve
Here’s the video (13 sec), where the heavy backspin serve bounces back over the net. I can do this with my forehand pendulum serve, but not on the backhand side – though with practice I think I could do it. Developing these types of serves are an excellent way to develop heavy backspin and control. They aren’t too effective against top players, who see it coming and run to the side of the table and (as the ball bounces backwards) kill it! I have seen a few players use this against kids, which I find unsportsmanlike.

Passing the Torch: Modernizing Olympic, Paralympic, & Grassroots Sports in America
Here’s the report. While table tennis is only mentioned in passing, one of the two co-chairs of the report is USATT Hall of Famer Han Xiao. (He was from my club, MDTTC.)

Barbara Wei at the Worlds in South Korea
Here’s the video (75 sec) – she was there doing coverage and play-by-play. (She’s another former long-time junior star from my club!)

Singapore Smash Preview: Could this be Three in a Row for Fan?
Here’s the article by Steve Hopkins.

2025 NCTTA Champs Returns to Rockford Stage After Over a Decade
Here’s the article from the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association by Michael Reff.

New from USATT

New from ITTF

Point of the Tournament - Busan 2024 World Teams Table Tennis Championships Final
Here’s the video (52 sec) from Tony’s Table Tennis.

1 Man vs. 4 Pro Women
Here’s the video (12:30) from Adam Bobrow!

Ep2. Ping Pong With Pineapple | 24 Hours with Roger: Shanghai Edition
Here’s the video (4:14) where tennis great Roger Federer takes on 7-year-old Chinese girl!

Polar Vortex vs. Hotter Summers: Climate Change is a Hoax
Here’s the cartoon that mocks the climate change deniers.

Nancy Playing Table Tennis
Here’s the cartoon!

Watching the First Point Between Two Choppers
Here’s the Titanic video (4 sec)!

The PongFather & The Phoenixville Table Tennis Club, Karaoke 2024
Here’s the video (3:56)!

Non-Table Tennis – Eternity and the Devil
I recently sold a science fiction/fantasy story, “Eternity and the Devil,” to the anthology The Devil You Know Best. It goes on sale tomorrow (Tuesday, March 5). There’s also an online Launch Party on Tuesday at 8PM Eastern Time – I’ll be on it, talking about my story. This is actually the fourth time I’ve sold this story! It was published in various anthologies and magazines in 2009. 2012, 2017, and now 2024, and I’ve been paid over $1,000 for it. (Not bad for a 5,000-word story, about 23 pages double-spaced.) The story is a twist on the "Deal with the Devil" story. A physicist sells his soul to the Devil so he can solve the Grand Unified Theory, which he uses to greatly benefit mankind – he’s a good guy. At the end of his life, when the Devil shows up to take him to Hell, the scientist escapes into the future in a time machine he created using what the Grand Unified Theory. He has numerous stops as he goes a trillion years into the future, pursued by the Devil. At each stop, he is surrounded by billions of systematically tortured souls in Hell - including his long-suffering girlfriend, who he is determined to save.

I split my time between my TT and SF worlds. Recently I’ve had a plethora of science fiction & fantasy short story sales, selling three in Feb, three in Jan, and two each in Dec and Nov, and Oct. Several of them are coming out soon – I’ll post links when they do. Some have TT in them!!! Here’s all my short story sales – all 199 of them! #200 should come any time now.

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