March 18, 2024

Next Blog on April 1
Not an April Fool’s Joke! I’ll be out of town, March 24-31, coaching at the US Junior Team Trials. See segment below. So no blog or tip on March 25. 

Tip of the Week
Let’s Talk About Shoes.

Table Tennis Doubles for Champions
It has come to my attention that you - yes, YOU, the one reading these words - have not yet bought a copy of my new book, Table Tennis Doubles for Champions. I know who you are. I have a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long table tennis career. If you buy the book now that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you and I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will beat you in ping-pong and take your rating points. (Oh My God, Liam Neeson has Taken my words and used them in his movie!)

Weekend Coaching, Neck Injury, and a Lot of Blocking
As mentioned in my blog last week, I injured my neck last weekend while coaching. (I was chopping to the student and wrenched it.) I was in a neck brace Mon-Wed, and part of Thursday. I debated whether I could coach this weekend, but it seemed a lot better by Friday, so I came in. While it was still stiff and I had to be careful, I was able to coach. Of course, a lot of coaching is walking around and yelling out tips (“Move your feet!”), and feeding multiball, which weren’t a problem. I had to be careful with both forehand and backhand looping as both put a strain on the neck. But what I could do with no problem was block. For our top group (1800-2550), I spent two hours blocking to a rotation of players, ranging from 1800 to 2200. There were times where my block felt like old times, and nothing could get past me. (Then the player would loop at a wide angle that I couldn’t get to, which would be a wake-up call that my feet aren’t as fast as they used to be.)

At the end of the session with the Intermediate Group they played up-down tables, games to 11, with a one-point tie-breaker at 10-all. There was one player who, over and over, served short backspin, opponents would push to this backhand, and he’d step around and forehand loop and dominate the points. He had a one-point tie-breaker with another kid, and it happened again – serve, push to backhand, step-around forehand loop which won the point. I pulled his losing opponent aside (age 11) and pointed out that he’d been pushing to the backhand over and over, and asked why. He said, “Because his forehand is good, so I want him to play backhand.” I asked him if that had worked, or had the opponent just forehand looped from the backhand corner, since he knew the push return would go there. That’s when it hit him what the problem was. I told him next time he played someone like that, fake a push to the wide backhand, and then, at the last second, push to the wide forehand. I told him not only would it likely be a winner, but then the opponent would have to watch for that – and THEN you could push to the backhand and he wouldn’t be so quick to step around. The kid then moved down a table and played someone else – and on the first point, he did exactly what I’d suggested – and the kid he was now playing also had stepped around, and so the push to the forehand was an ace!  

US Junior Team Trials
I’ll be coaching at the US Junior Team Trials next week in West Monroe, Louisiana. (If I put down “West Monroe, LA,” many will think it’s a suburb of Los Angeles.) I fly down on Sunday, March 24 (the last day of the US Olympic Trials at the same venue), we have a practice day on March 25, then the Trials are March 26-30. MDTTC has five players in the Trials (Stanley Hsu, Mu Du, Ryan Lin, Winston Wu, and Richik Ghosh) and three coaches going (me, Cheng Yinghua, Wang Qingliang, plus a guest coach from Taiwan who will be coaching Ryan Lin). This is the first of two Junior Trials, with Part 2 at the 888 TTC in Burlingame, CA, May 24-27. You can see the results each day at Omnipong – see 2024 US Junior National Team Trials - Part 1.

Major League Table Tennis
Follow the action! They have two events left this season, a West Division event in Wichita, KS, Apr. 5-7, and the Championship Weekend at Loyola University, Chicago, IL, Apr. 27-28.

Mental Training Tip: Focus on the “WIN” to Help You Win
Here the article by Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Ph.D.

With Stefan Feth and Larry Thoman.

  • FETHOMANIA 5: Drill 1 (52 sec) - Forehand Topspin against backspin that comes half long to Forehand. (I linked to this one on March 4.)
  • FETHOMANIA 5: Drill 2 (53 sec) -  Backhand Topspin against backspin that comes half long to Backhand.
  • FETHOMANIA 5: Drill 3 (57 sec) - Forehand flip against short backspin in Forehand to Forehand or Forehand.
  • FETHOMANIA 5: Drill 4 (57 sec) - Backhand flip against short backspin in Backhand to Backhand or Backhand.
  • FETHOMANIA 5: Drill 5 (54 sec) - RANDOM HALF LONG BALLS all over the table and Forehand Topspin.

Butterfly Training Tips

How to PLAY against LEFT-HANDERS
Here’s the article (8 min) from Pingispågarna.

How To Return the Sidespin Serve Tutorial
Here’s the video (6:31) from Nick Rudd.

New from PongSpace

New from EmRatThich/PingSunday

New from Ti Long

New from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

New from Taco Backhand

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

Dan Seemiller’s Top 12 Table Tennis Moments (in his own words)!
Here’s the article from Around the Table. They are doing two per week, so they only have moments 9-12 so far. And perhaps pick up a copy of one of Dan’s books!

Talkin' Smash by JOOLA Ep10: Bridging the Gap from Social to Pro Table Tennis
Here’s the video (63 min) from Matt Hetherington with PingPod's Max Kogler.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

United States Coastguard Becomes NCTTA Sponsor!
Here’s the article from the National Collegiate TTA.

New from ITTF

Ping Pong Greeting Cards
Here’s where you can buy them at Fine Art America.

T-Rex Hates Table Tennis
Here’s the shirt at Amazon!

Cow Pong

Two Nancy Cartoons that Feature Table Tennis
Both involve playing in Nancy’s crowded basement with Sluggo.

Hide and Seek Pong
Here’s the video (7 sec) with Marek Záškodný!

5 Best Shots In Table Tennis History Recreated!
Here’s the video (8:56) from Table Tennis Daily!

Non-Table Tennis – The Personary
My very short fantasy story, “The Personary” (500 words) was published last week by New Myths Magazine. If a person goes to the library to read books, where does a book go to get a person to read it? Why, the Personary! And what if adventurous books have to avoid bullying books to get to the Personary?

My humorous science fiction story, “Confederate Cavalry on a Plane” (4700 words) was published at Metastellar on March 20. A physics professor and his student on a large passenger plane argue about the possibility of infinite alternate universes, while being robbed blind by a bratty kid. The professor bets the student that even the most unlikely event possible must happen, leading to three very confused Confederate Cavalry charging down the aisle of the plane.

Send us your own coaching news!