Playing the Middle
Playing the middle may be the most under-utilized tactic in table tennis. The middle in table tennis is roughly the opponent's playing elbow, the transition point between forehand and backhand, and the most awkward place to return a shot. It's usually much easier to move to the forehand or backhand corners than to cover the middle, which involves making a split-second decision no whether to play forehand or backhand, and then moving sideways to allow the shot. (Beginning and intermediate players especially have trouble getting out of the way to play forehand from the middle, and often instead do awkward backhands by leaning over instead of moving.)
Part of the difficulty in playing the middle is because it's a moving target. Here's a quick cure: shadow practice! Imagine an opponent as you do so, and imagine hitting shot after shot right at his elbow. If he begins to favor one side, the middle moves, and you aim for the new spot. Then go to the table and do middle drills where you play everything to your partner's middle, and he returns everything to a pre-arranged spot, either backhand or forehand. If you watch your partner/opponent, and play it right, you should be able to force awkward middle shots over and over by changing where you aim based on where the opponent stands. If he looks to play forehand, just aim more to the backhand, and vice versa if he looks to play backhand. (This might become a Tip of the Week sometime in the future.)
Week One of MDTTC Camp Ends
Week one of the July MDTTC camp ends today; week two starts Monday! (We're halfway through and I'm still alive. Surprisingly my voice isn't hoarse, as it often gets during these camps. On the other hand, it might just be that I'm deaf from all the screaming kids in the camp, and can't hear my own voice. And we have another two-week camp in August.) I'll celebrate/mourn the end of week one by seeing Harry Potter late this afternoon/tonight, if I can get a ticket.
Table Tennis on TV
The TV Show Victorious featured a table tennis segment. First there's a short Popsicle commercial featuring table tennis, then a funny 90-second clip of the tryouts for the school table tennis team!
Fan Yiyong and a first-time student
Here's an interesting account by a journalist of her going to Coach Fan Yiyong in Seattle for a lesson. How familiar is this scene to coaches everywhere?
Comedian Frank Caliendo and Table Tennis
A nice article about Caliendo and his table tennis. He says he lost 25 pounds from table tennis, not to mention getting a 1670 USATT rating.
Ping-Pong Playing Robot
Meet Topio 3.0 - or is it the Ping-Pong Terminator? You decide. I think we can all agree that he can beat you, though not necessarily at the table. Heck, he's strong enough he might beat you with the table. Sarah Connor, where are you?
Send us your own coaching news!