July 12, 2012

How Good was Eric Boggan?

Eric was easily the U.S.'s best player internationally since the hardbat era in the 1950s. Ironically, while he was the best U.S. player, he sometimes lost to fellow U.S. players who were familiar with his game, with the result that while he was in the finals of Men's Singles at the USA Nationals seven times, he only won twice. (He lost in the final four straight years, 1980-83, three times to Dan Seemiller, once to brother Scott, before winning his second and last title in 1984.) Ironically, the first time he won (1978 at age 15) was the only year he wasn't seeded #1.

Eric played with the Seemiller grip. Few players these days still remember some of the things Eric could do as he confounded opponents with his inverted and anti receives, flips, and blocks, along with more conventional loops and smashes. Much of what he did is a dead or dying art.

Here is Eric's record, care of father and USATT Historian Tim Boggan. Make sure to browse over his list of international wins!

Eric Boggan (born 8/14/63) - Career Highlights:

Note: On beginning college in the fall of 1986, Eric went into retirement: he didn't try out for the '87 World Team or the '88 Olympics; didn't play in the '86 or '87 U.S. Closed; didn't play in the '87 U.S. Open. He began playing somewhat regularly again in Jan. '88. Then, in 1990, on graduating from Long Island University, and beginning his full-time job as a letter-carrier (22 years with the P.O. as of now), he soon retired from serious play.

  • 6-time U.S. World Team member ('79, '81, '83, ' 85, '89, '91).
  • 5-time North American World Cup participant ('80, '82, '83, '85, '86).
  • Reached eighths of World's in 1983.
  • Highest World Ranking-- #18 (1983)—best of any native-born U.S. player in the last 53 years, since '59.
  • Eric was the #1 rated player in the U.S. for 7 years—from Nov., '81 through Dec., '88. His highest rating was 2728 (May-June, 1984). Won many U.S. prize-money tournaments in those years.
  • Won Men's Singles at the 1983 U.S. Open, the only native-born player to do so in 47 years, since 1965.
  • He's twice won the U.S. Closed (1978, 1984).
  • Won Mixed Doubles with Kasa Gaca in 1979.
  • Won Men's Doubles with Sean O'Neill in 1988.
  • Has 5-times been the U.S. Closed runner-up ('80, '81, '82, '83, '88).
  • 1974-80: Won more than 20 U.S. Open/Closed Junior Championships.
  • At U.S. Open Team Championships was MVP in 1977. Was on the Championship Team in '78, '80, '90.
  • Played consecutively five full seasons in European Leagues (and in many International Opens all over the world)--#1 on team in Swedish League; #1 on teams in Bundesliga.
  • 1981: Won (from a strong field) the Scandinavian Junior Open.
  • 1982: Won Jamaica 'Love Bird' International.
  • 1982: Runner-up in Seoul Open to Waldner.

Historically, has one of the best International Records EVER compiled by a U.S. player. Here are the world-class players I KNOW he's beaten and their world ranking when he beat them - he might have beaten some of them when they were better ranked.

  • Jiang Jialiang, CHN (#1)
  • Mikael Appelgren, SWE (#7)
  • Zoran Kalinic, YUG (#10)
  • Seiji Ono, Japan (#10)
  • Istvan Jonyer, HUN (#10)
  • Jan-Ove Waldner, SWE (#10)
  • Milan Orlowski, CZE (#11)
  • Andrzej Grubba, POL (#12)
  • Kim Ki Taek, KOR (#12)
  • Chen Longcan, CHN (#12)
  • Desmond Douglas, ENG (#13)
  • Erik Lindh, SWE (#13)
  • Kiyoshi Saito, JPN (#14)
  • Dragutin Surbek, YUG (# 15)
  • Yashihito Miyazaki, JPN (#18)
  • Jacques Secretin, FRA (#18)
  • Stellan Bengtsson, SWE (#20)
  • Leszek Kucharski, POL (#20)
  • John Hilton, ENG (#20)
  • Tibor Klampar, HUN (#23)
  • Patrick Birocheau, FRA (#24)
  • Hiroyuki Abe, JPN (#28)
  • Jindrich Pansky, CZE (#28)
  • Zsolt Kriston, HUN (#28)
  • Peter Stellwag, GER (#30)
  • Ulf Bengtsson, SWE (#33)
  • Cho Jong Cho, PRK (#35)
  • Gabor Gergely, HUN (#36)
  • Ralf Wosik, GER (#40)
  • Patrick Renverse, FRA (#40)
  • Christian Martin, FRA (#43)
  • Georg Bohm, GER (#44)

Table Tennis Tactics Book - Update

Between our summer training camps, the U.S. Open, the Junior Olympics (I'm probably going), the ITTF Coaching Seminar I'm running in August (four days, 24 hours), this blog, and 246 other things, guess what's been put on hold? Don't worry, I'll get back to it soon. The writing is done (though I've got notes for a few additions), and the page layouts are about half done.

Difference Between a Coach and a Player

I noted this while coaching recently. When I'm playing a match and I have to move or stretch for a shot, I instinctively place the ball to make things as difficult for the opponent as possible, such as attacking at wide angles or at the opponent's middle. When I'm coaching and doing a practice drill with a student, on the same shot I instinctively place the ball where the ball is supposed to go in that drill. Somehow the brain reflexively remembers which mode I'm in (player or coach) and instinctively does the appropriate shot.

Crazy Table Tennis Shot

Here's a nine-second video that ends with one of the craziest shots I've ever seen.

Monster Table

A demonous ping-pong table?


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