Tip of the Week:
My Favorite Statements at the U.S. Open
After one of my players lost a close match I told him, "Except for a few careless points, you played really well. But that's like telling a tightrope walker he did really well except for the part where he fell off and got killed."
Another Maryland junior was tied 2-2 in games. I had been coaching another match, and came over just as she lost game #4, and so didn't see any of the match, and I didn't know the opponent. Her mom asked if I'd coach before the fifth game. I told her, "Keep doing the things that are working, and stop doing the things that are not working." She won the fifth game and the match. (Actually, I also had her tell me what was working and what wasn't working so she it would be clear in her mind what she should do.)
One of our top juniors didn't have to play until late that afternoon, so for breakfast I told him he could have whatever he wanted. He had a chocolate donut, a chocolate pastry, and hot chocolate. I asked him, "You are what you eat. Your opponents are going to eat you up." (That was the last time I let him have final say on his food.)
Table Tennis Players on Cereal Boxes
Name: Michael Landers
Rank: Rated 2634 and 2009 U.S. Men's Singles Champion
Serial Number, I mean Cereal: Here he is on the lower left on the back of this Kelloggs cereal box. And here he is again on the front of a Wheaties box. So tell us Michael - what's your favorite? Kelloggs Vanilla Flavored Multigrain Cereal, or Wheaties?
Michael now has a 2-1 lead over Hall of Famer George Hendry, who appeared on the back of a Wheaties box in 1936.
Tennis and Table Tennis
Roger Federer just won Wimbledon for the seventh time. Here are three pictures of Federer playing table tennis: photo1, photo2, and photo3 (as a child), and . But guess who else won Wimbledon, and in fact won eight tennis grand slams, tied for eighth place all time (with Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, and Ken Rosewall)? Yes, it's Fred Perry. After winning the 1929 World Table Tennis Championships, he went on to win the Australian Open (1934), French Open (1935), Wimbledon (1934, '35, '36), and US Open (1933, '34, '36).
World Veterans Championships
In case you missed it, here are the results of the World Veterans Table Tennis Championships, held in Stockholm, Sweden, June 25-30. I haven't gone through the results to see if there are any USA medallists, but if someone puts together a list, I'll post it in my blog.
How to Play Ping Pong with Soon Yeon Lee
Here's a basics coaching video (3:57) from the famous table tennis player and model.
Ping-Pong 3-D Game Revisited
On Friday I linked to this online ping-pong game and wrote, "I don't think it's possible to win, but you can spend endless time trying." Well, Aaron Avery won, and sent me a screen shot to prove it. He wrote, "Hang back in a defensive location to give yourself some time to mouse. Swinging left or right does allow you to go for angles, unlike many online TT games."
Ping-Pong Balls of Fire
Table Tennis Nation brings us ping-pong balls on fire. (But I like the "of Fire" in my title.)
Non-Table Tennis: "The Dragon of the Apocalypse"
Despite the fantasy-sounding title (with the word "dragon") it's actually a science fiction story, and it's now published in Penumbra Magazine as their #1 story in their table of contents. They are one of the higher-paying "pro" magazines, so I was pretty happy when they bought it. The story is about the decisions the president of the U.S. faces when an apparent dragon lands on the U.S. Capitol. My name is on the cover. (Here's my science fiction & fantasy page.)
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History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 12
As mentioned in this blog, USA Table Tennis Historian Tim Boggan moved in with me for two weeks starting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, so that I could do the page layouts and photo work on his next volume of History of U.S. Table Tennis. Yep, it's volume 12! I've done the layouts for all except the first one. I get to read a lot of it as we work, with him sitting next to me and pointing at the screen saying, "That photo goes there. No, I said there, you fool!"
We've now finished the covers, Acknowledgements, Introduction, and 25 chapters (370 pages) of the 31-chapter book. We should finish it all on Friday. He'll spend Saturday proofing the pages, and on Sunday and Monday we'll be making the corrections. Then I'll do all the pre-press work, and send the 500-page PDF file to the printer. Since we're not leaving for the Cary Cup until Thursday morning, we should finish two days early. What'll we do on Tues & Wed? I don't know. Movies, sight-seeing, maybe even some ping-pong.
Here's an excerpt, from page 332 on the Rochester Michigan Open between Danny and Ricky Seemiller (as written by Cody Jones), when matches were still best of three to 21:
Ricky won a seesaw first game from brother Danny, 28-26, and seemed to be in the driver’s—or looper’s—seat. Ricky was aggressive, took chances, while Danny played more of a control game. The second game Danny won at 14. In the third, at 22-21 his favor, Ricky missed a set-up kill—which, since Danny went on to win this game, might well have cost him the match.
Said Danny, "At ad down I had to lunge to my left to return the ball, and when I saw it float back high, I knew Ricky was going to put it away and that I had no chance to get back into position and return it. So it flashed into my mind that my only chance was to keep on going to my left and hope wildly that Ricky would be so surprised by my movement that he’d be watching me instead of the ball. And, unbelievably, that’s just what happened."
50 forehands, 50 backhands
I have a new informal "policy" for beginning/intermediate juniors I coach. They have to hit 50 forehands and 50 backhands in a row before we do anything else. This forces them both to groove their shots while improving their focus. (I also tell them that they don't really have a forehand or backhand until they can hit 100 in a row, a goal I want them all to strive for.)
As if having an injured arm weren't enough, on Tuesday night I strained my hip. I'm walking with a limp, and will have to somehow find a way to coach. It's not too bad, but these (mostly minor) injuries are a real problem. It's not easy coaching one-on-one when you're 52 and have very stiff muscles. The good news is the arm is healing nicely. I'm going to play as a chopper in some matches this weekend, and hope to start playing regular (i.e. lots of forehand hitting and looping) in perhaps two weeks.
Mark your Calendars for Saturday, April 7
That's the Grand Opening for the expanded and renovated Maryland Table Tennis Center. Lots of activities that day, starting around 11AM - demonstrations, exhibitions, coaching seminar, junior program, raffles, refreshments, parade of champions tournament, with lots of top coaches and players. Details coming soon! (If you would like to be on the MDTTC mailing list, send me an email.)
Spring Break Camp at MDTTC
We're having our first camp at the newly expanded and renovated Maryland Table Tennis Center, April 2-6, with coaches Larry Hodges (that's me), Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, and Jeffrey Xun Zeng. It's mostly for junior players (locals are off school that week for spring break), but all ages are welcome. Here's more info. Come join us!
Who was having a ball yesterday?
Yesterday I asked if anyone knew who this player was, with all the balls in the air. Aaron Avery emailed that it was Polish paralympic player Natalia Partyka, and sure enough her web page includes that photo. Thanks Avery!
Tampa Bay baseball and hockey stars playing table tennis
Here's baseball star Evan Longoria and hockey star Martin St. Louis playing table tennis (1:45). They play for the Tampa Bay Rays and Lightning, respectively.
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