Top Ten Rallies

February 23, 2012

Topspin on the backhand

One of the junior players I coach has been struggling to put topspin on his backhand. They all come out either totally flat (i.e. spinless) or even with slight backspin. This greatly hampers the pace at which he can rally consistently.

I'd tried for weeks to get him to put a little topspin on the shot, but nothing seemed to work. I had him exaggerate the rolling motion, almost like a mini-loop. I had him watch top players as they hit their backhands. I guided him through the stroke. But as soon as we went to rallying, he'd be back to his super-flat stroke.

Yesterday I tried something new and yet simple. I told him to just take the ball right off the bounce, with the racket at table level, and perpendicular to the table. At contact, I told him to lift the ball up over the net. It seemed so simple, and was nearly the same as the way I'd guided him through the stroke, and yet it worked - the rest of the session his backhand had that light topspin needed to control the ball. (Occasionally he'd fall into his old habits, but I'd remind him, and he'd go back to doing it properly.) He said it was the different sound of the contact that he was trying to match each time. Hopefully he'll still have this better backhand when he comes in to play this weekend, and at our next private session next week.


Recently I've been way too busy on way too many projects. Simultaneously, there's been some really irritating people doing irritating things, making it hard to focus on the way too many projects when other activities beckoned, such as watching TV or reading a good novel. So I printed out a big sign saying "Determination" and put it on my bulletin board just over my computer, where I can't help but see it constantly. It seems to help. (I keep hearing in my head the song "Tradition" from the movie Fiddler on the Roof, except I hear "Determination" instead of "Tradition." I'm not religious, but it's still a great movie.)

Ping-Pong Hero

Here's a news broadcast about Daryl Sterling, Jr., U.S. Paralympic Table Tennis star (5:36). I've actually coached against Daryl in several tournament matches - never successfully, alas. He lost a leg at age five in a car accident, and plays while leaning on a crutch.

Top Ten Rallies

Here's a Top Ten Rallies video (3:30). I don't think I've posted this one before.

Anagrams of U.S. Team Members

As promised yesterday where I did anagrams of the U.S. Men's Team, here are anagrams of the U.S. Women's Team - but as you'll see, they weren't nearly as many good ones, other than the ones for Ariel. Don't criticize or I will run you down and smite you, for not only is "Hodges" just an anagram for "He's God," but "Larry Hodges" is just an anagram for "Dasher Glory."

Gao Jun

  • On A Jug

Ariel Hsing

  • Irish Angel
  • Shinier Gal
  • A Shine Girl
  • Her Ailings
  • Sir Healing
  • English Air
  • I Signal Her
  • Rein His Gal
  • Nag I Relish
  • Has Lie Grin

Lily Zhang

  • Hall Zingy

Erica Wu

  • I Cue War


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