August 10, 2011

MDTTC Coaching Camp - Day Two

Yesterday's highlights:

  • We focused on the forehand loop. Some common problems I saw were not dropping back shoulder against backspin; muscles too tight (need to think of them as rubber); moving forward while stroking, with the head moving toward the table, instead of rotating body in a circle (as if there were a pole going through your head); not pulling with the non-playing side (to increase body rotation and torque); and going for too much speed instead of spin, i.e. not grazing the ball enough.
  • One 7-year-old girl who didn't seem happy to be there the first day made friends with another girl her age, began to learn the strokes, and suddenly is all-enthused. Her parents came by to thank us, telling us that table tennis was all she talked about now.
  • The "cup game," where we place cups on the far side of the table and the players get ten shots to see how many they can knock down, continues to be highly popular. (We end each session with games.) Usually we put them in a bowling pin formation. Yesterday we stacked them in pyramids, so that one shot to the base could knock most of them down. The kids loved that, so that's now our "default" formation.
  • The surprise of the day was when I introduced "around the world," and the kids couldn't get enough of it. I would feed the balls multiball style, and the kids would each hit one shot, then run around the table as the others hit their shots. When they missed a certain number of shots ("lives," as they quickly named it), they were out. We handicapped the beginners, giving them extra lives. Every time we finished a game, they begged for more. They were pretty exhausted at the end, and probably slept well last night. 
  • One of the players in the camp, 13-year-old David Bachman from Philadelphia, asked if I would mention him in my blog. I said no.

Table Tennis History and the Science of Spin

Want to know how something about the science of spin in table tennis, as well as the sport's history? Here's a video from CNTV (18:08) that does a great job in covering this topic, with lots of nice video.  (It's part of their "Science in the Olympic Games" series.) It gets to table tennis about 1:20 into the video, and the first ten minutes are on table tennis history. The last eight minutes are all about spin. Want to read more? Here's my article, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Spin - But Were Afraid to Ask!" (This is one of my most popular articles.)

Ping-Pong Clubs popping up in South Florida

Can a ping-pong club really pop? They are in South Florida!

No more celluloid balls?

As I wrote in my blog on August 5 and August 8 (the latter with a note from ITTF president Adham Sharara), the International Table Tennis Federation is moving away from the use of celluloid balls due to their flammability. I emailed with Adham Sharara about new rules I'd seen posted on this, and he verified they are correct. (I don't think they have been posted yet on the ITTF web page.) Here are the new rules:

F - Proposed by the Executive Committee - PASSED
The ITTF Executive Committee and the Equipment Committee shall request from Ball Manufacturers to produce 40mm non-celluloid balls after the 2012 Olympic Games, in preparation for the total ban of celluloid production by national governments around the world, and the Equipment Committee shall adjust the Technical Leaflet in terms of description of the new material and tolerances.

22 - Proposed by the Equipment Committee - PASSED
To modify Technical Leaflet T3, The Ball (B.3 Size conformity); only applying to balls not made of celluloid.
The minimum diameter of every ball must be at least 39.50mm 40.00mm and its maximum diameter must not exceed40.50mm 40.60mm. The sample mean average diameter, i.e. the mean of the average of the maximum and minimum diameters for each ball, must be in the range 39.60-40.40mm 40.00-40.50mm. Values below 39.25mm 39.70mm or above 40.75mm are considered in our calculations as outliers.

 The Marlboro Massacre

Perhaps the ITTF is right to ban celluloid ping-pong balls. After all, they are dangerous, as shown here by Marty Reisman, care of Scott Gordon, in this 74-second video.


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