Team USA

June 3, 2011

How do you want to follow up your serve?

Have you thought about this recently? Really thought about it? What's your best shot - hopefully an aggressive shot - and how can you serve to set it up? Or do you mostly serve and push? Conventionally, you should serve & loop the return if at all possible; do you? At the higher levels, the most common strategy is to serve short (but usually not too short - second bounce near the endline), usually with backspin or no-spin (disguised so opponent can't always tell which), and follow with a loop. Or do you have an alternate plan? For example, if you have really tricky serves (relative to your level), you might serve over and over to win the point outright (or at least get an easy pop-up). If you have a nice backhand, you might serve topspin to get right into a backhand-to-backhand contest.

Team USA Table Tennis Page

The USATT's sister web page with the USOC is rapidly growing. (Sean O'Neill is in charge of it.) Make sure to check out the coaching page.  At some point I think they need to decide which is USATT's main web page, the USOC page or the regular USATT web page, which isn't updated nearly as frequently, but has the more obvious and more easily remembered web address (usatt.org vs. tabletennis.teamusa.org). The two have a lot of overlap. At some point, probably at the Open next month, I'm going to ask about what the future plans for the two sites are - it's not yet clear to me, and it does seem redundant to have both. But perhaps they already have plans for the future.  

2011 CCY Open Table Tennis Tournament

I'll be coaching tomorrow (Saturday) at the CCY Open Table Tennis Tournament in Alexandria, Virginia. (I'm coaching Tong Tong Gong in singles, and in U3400 Doubles with Allison Wu.) It's a Korean-run tournament; the web page is in Korean, but it's open to anyone. However, I have an English-version entry form. The strange thing about it is that the biggest event is not just the Open (1st $600, 2nd $300, 3rd $200, 4th $100), but Under 3400 Doubles (1st Air Ticket to Korea, 2nd $500, 3rd $200, 4th $100). They also offer (with good prize money, including for the semifinals in all except U1050) six other events: U2100, U1850, U1650, U1450, U1250, and U1050. One team in U3400 Doubles told me that if they reach the final, they plan on dumping so they can get the $500, since they don't want a ticket to Korea. Not sure if that prize is transferable or if they can get the cash equivalent instead.

Back and knee woes

It's tough being a table tennis coach when you have to do a roll call each day to see what's injured. My back has been killing me for over a month, and in the last few days my right knee has started complaining. For now, the left knee and right shoulder and arm are on good behavior, but that could change at any time. (Yes, I stretch before each playing session.) The summer "rush" is coming, and with school out, there'll be a lot more coaching hours, plus five 5-day training camps I help run at MDTTC. Cross your fingers for me.

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