July 1, 2024

Next Blog
Next blog will be July 15 Aug. 26, since I’ll be out of town next Monday for most of the next five weeks.

Tip of the Week
Should You Guard Against the Long or Short Serve?

Illegal Chair of the Board
It’s now been 511 days (73 weeks) since USATT elected Richard Char to an illegal third term as chair of the USATT board on Feb. 6, 2023. Here’s my email to the USATT Board in February on the matter. I also blogged about it on Feb. 12, 2024 and Feb. 19, 2024, where I also wrote about other abuses of power.

The key issue is simple. The bylaws say a chair cannot serve more than two consecutive full terms. It defines a full term as any term over one year. The current chair became chair of the board on June 1, 2020, and continued as chair until the next election, on Dec. 6, 2021, 18 months later. Since 18 months is more than a year, that’s a full term, with his second term starting on Dec. 6, 2021.

As explained in the email, in the Dec. 6, 2021 election, the board voted to make the election “effective as of Jan. 1, 2021,” eleven months earlier, so that the chair, who had already served a full term, could claim that he had not served a full term – thereby creating the fiction that his first full term started seven months after it actually began. But the bylaws are specific – 8.3: “The Chair shall hold office until the Chair’s successor is elected and qualified.” (The successor includes himself if reelected.) That election took place on Dec. 6, 2021, after 18 months on the board – a full term. (This is in addition to three months as chair of the Interim board.) He then served a second full term, which Char claims was his first, and then was elected to an illegal third term on Feb. 6, 2023.

A little clarification. They held the election on Feb. 6, 2023 to continue the fiction that his first full term had started on Jan. 1, 2021; in reality, his second term would have ended on Dec. 6, 2023. But by holding that election, his second term was from Dec. 6, 2021 to Feb. 6, 2023, which is 14 months, and since that’s over a year, it’s a full term.

Here’s an even simpler way of looking at this. According to the bylaws, a chair stays chair until the next election for chair. It doesn’t say anything about “effective as of” dates; it says until the next election, and no vote of the board can change that unless they change the bylaws. Char was chair continuously from June 1, 2020 to Dec. 6, 2021. That’s a full term. He was chair from Dec. 6, 2021 until they held an election on Feb. 6, 2023. That’s a second full term. He was then elected to an illegal third term on Feb. 6, 2023.

As I wrote in the email, it’s likely that some board members did not understand the implications of the wording at the time. The USATT lawyers, who were brought in by the CEO (who backs the chair) essentially represent the CEO and chair (instead of the whole board) and argue their case to the board instead of apprising the board of the actual situation. That’s an ongoing problem that needs to change. (The previous USATT lawyers represented the whole board and apprised them of the actual situation rather than just argue the case for the CEO or chair.) Whenever I confront board members about these bylaw violations and other issues, they invariable say some variation of, “We’re just doing what the lawyers told us to do.”

History will not look fondly on this chair and a majority of the current board that has gone along with these shenanigans, the lawyers who rationalized them, or the CEO who wrote an email supporting this. Neither will voters in the USATT elections this Fall. (Plus, of course, the CEO shouldn’t be involved in decisions about who chairs the very group she reports to.)

USATT Board Member Denied Access to USATT Financials
USATT Board member Thomas Hu, who was elected to the board by the membership and has an MBA, said he didn’t understand something in the budget during the budget meeting late in 2023, including the formulas and the assumptions that went into creating the budget. He asked for the detailed financials. Response? On the recommendation of the USATT lawyer (brought in by the CEO who oversees the budget in question), the board voted that Thomas had a “potential conflict of interest” because of his 1/3 ownership of PongSpace (an organization devoted to promoting table tennis) and his position as CEO of AYTTO since 2017 (a non-profit devoted to promoting youth table tennis), and he was denied access to detailed financials.

I’ve been in the sport since 1976 and this is the first time in their history that I know of where a USATT board member was not allowed to see the full USATT financials. So, do you think this is a matter of finding he had a conflict of interest and then barring him from seeing the financials? Or do you think it was a matter of not wanting him to see the financials and so finding a way to bar him from seeing them? I think the answer is fairly obvious. (Here are the minutes of the Dec. 18, 2023 board meeting – see “Conflict of Interest Determination.”)

By taking this action, they prevented a board member from fulfilling his duties. According to Bylaw 7.2, Board members do the following – bolds are mine:

c. Review and approve USATT’s strategic plan and the annual operating plans, budget, business plans, and corporate performance;

f. Oversee the financial reporting process,

h. Approve capital structure, financial strategies, borrowing commitments, and longrange financial planning;

i. Review and approve financial statements,

n. Monitor USATT’s operational and management performance. At the minimum, the following should be reviewed on an annual basis: i. Key performance indicators; ii. CEO performance; iii. Strategic Plan; iv. Investments and accounts; v. Fundraising strategies and goals;

US Nationals
I’ll be at the US Nationals, July 3-8, in Huntsville, AL. There are only 621 players, a big drop-off from the 810 last year in Fort Worth, TX. Here’s the player listing by rating and by event. As usual, I’ll be coaching (though we have fewer players from my club going this year than normal) and playing a couple of hardbat events, Over 40 and Over 60. I’ll be doing some sightseeing as well. Here’s an article from WHNT in Northern Alabama, Table tennis nationals coming to the Rocket City

I’m doing a scientific experiment this year. I injured my back while warming players up at the Junior Trials a month ago. Since then I haven’t played except for feeding some multiball. So, I’m out of shape, out of practice, and have various nagging injuries (back, shoulder, neck, knees). How will I do? If I win anything, it’s mind over matter.

First Galactic Table Tennis Championships
Here’s the Butterfly news item on it, by Steve Hopkins.

Two Weird Table Tennis Things
I had a weird dream a few nights ago. I was at the US Nationals. Hundreds and hundreds of players and tables, all battling it out . . . except instead of hitting ping-pong balls back and forth, everyone had a box full of bugs and were throwing live bugs across the table at each other!!! No ping-pong paddles, it was more like snowball fight from across the table.

A few weeks ago I made up a joke during a training session. What do you call a stupid table tennis player who sings? A Ding-Dong Ping-Pong Sing-Song. (Okay, you can throw bugs at me now.)

World's Longest Table Tennis Rally
Here’s the video (6 min) from Table Tennis Daily!

Butterfly Training Tips

New from PongSpace

Use Pre-Point Routines: Mastering Crunch Time Like Timo Boll
Here’s the article by Alan Chu, Ph.D., CMPC.

The Secret to Improving Forehand Push Skills
Here’s the video (4:45) from Ti Long.

Top 3 Most Effective Serves in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (10 min) from Rational Table Tennis Analysis.

New from Table Tennis Daily

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

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

Inspiring Best Points
Here’s the video (9:25) from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis.

Bowmar Sports Tournament Highlights

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

Sandbagging in Utah – Part 4
I hope this is the last I have to write or link to about this! Nam Nguyen - Sincerely Apologized - Apology Accepted by Players and Tournament Staff.

Amy Wang Talks Stepping Up from Developing to Professional Level
Here’s the article from JOOLA.

Classic Table Tennis World Cup
Here’s their YouTube page where you can watch all the matches from this past January! Care of the International Classic Table Tennis Federation (ICTTF).

Ping Pong Players Exhibit Superior Brain Structure and Function, Study Finds
Here’s the article from PsyPost.com.

Are Ping Pong Players Better Than The Rest Of Us? Here’s What The Research Says.
Here’s the article from Early Chirp.


Dan and Lloyd on Top of the World After Breaking Longest Table Tennis Rally Record
Here’s the article from Table Tennis England by Paul Stimpson.

Beware of Long Pimples
Here’s where you can buy the shirt at Amazon!

What’s Your Table Tennis Style?
Here’s where you find out! I’m “Tremendous Lobber.”

Teqball Scissors Kick
Here’s the video (13 sec)!

Hey Man Wanna Play Some Ping Pong?
Here’s the cartoon (8 sec)!

10 FUNNY Table Tennis Moments That Will Make You LOL
Here’s the video (5:27) from SF Sports and Entertainment!

Pongfinity vs. Football Goalkeeper
Here’s the video (6:44) from Pongfinity!

Recent Publications
First Galactic Table Tennis Championships (10,000 words) was published a couple weeks ago at New Myths Magazine, as noted in my last two blogs. Aliens from around the galaxy come to Beijing for the championships! Note that I put a permanent link to it in the menu on the left.

My story First Step (6,600 words) was published just today at Abyss & Apex Magazine. Sorry, no table tennis!!! When Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon in 1969, he said, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." But he apparently left out the "a," and so the quote didn't really make sense. It turns out he didn't leave it out. This is the story of what really happened when mankind first landed on the moon, and about the super-slow, high-tech aliens they found there. It’s up to Buzz Aldrin, using perhaps the most unique communication technique ever invented, to save humanity from being burnt to a crisp.

And don’t forget to buy some of my table tennis books! Perhaps the best-selling Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers, or my most recent, Table Tennis Doubles for Champions.

Send us your own coaching news!