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August 1, 2011

Tip of the Week: Jerky Strokes and Jerkyitis

Yes, you can cure that terrible disease that plagues table tennis - Jerkyitis. Here's how.

Comments on this Blog

While there are a lot of readers on this blog - we're averaging well over 300 per day - there are few comments. Feel free to express yourself! It doesn't have to be Q&A, where readers grill me over what I wrote. Feel free to comment with your own experiences, suggestions, dumb puns or jokes, etc.

Funny table tennis terms

Table tennis has some funny terms. Here are three examples:

  • Heavy no-spin - a serve where you use an exaggerated motion to make it look like there's spin but instead serve no-spin.
  • Fishing - if you don't know what this is, it's explained here.
  • Inside-out off-the-bounce sidespin forehand counterloop - say that fast five times.

What are your own favorite table tennis terms, either real or made up?

Americans in China

A lot of USA juniors are training in China this summer, and it's getting lonely at the club without the pitter-patter of their feet as they race around ripping winners past me. Six top juniors from the Maryland Table Tennis Center (my club) are in China training this summer - Tong Gong, Linan Liu, Pamela Song, George & Derek Nie, and Crystal Wang. Others, like John & Nathan Hsu, stayed home, and are training daily with Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, Jeffrey Zeng Xun, Sun Ting, and others.

Table tennis movie

The movie "Korea" is coming out next year. It is based on the true story of the South Korean and North Korean women’s table tennis teams combining forces at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba, Japan, where they upset the dominating Chinese team. (At the time, China had won women's teams at every worlds since 1973, when South Korea had won. China would go back to winning afterwards, winning every time until the Singapore team upset them in 2010, with a team made of mostly former Chinese players.)

Problems with the "Winner Stay On" club format

Scott Gordon explains why this isn't such a good format; I concur. Scott also gives his own club's solution to the problem.

Zhang Yining plays the Milwaukee Brewers

Find out how Corey Hart, John Axford and Zack Greinke fare against one of the greatest women players of all time (2:28). (Here's info on Zhang Yining.)

2011 US Open Sandpaper Finals  

In case you missed it - and let's face it, these rallies are great! Alas, there are few such rallies in sponge table tennis.

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June 7, 2011

Reader comments

We're getting about 200 readers per day on this blog, but strangely few comments. Feel free to comment! That's why I always have the "comments on" option turned on. Don't worry, if you say something I disagree with I won't bite your head off. I might hunt you down at tournaments and coach your opponents. :)

USATT CEO Report

In case you missed it, here's USATT CEO Mike Cavanaugh's Report in the May/June USATT Magazine. He talks about Ping-Pong Diplomacy's 40th Anniversary, Milwaukee (site of the 2011 U.S. Open), new USATT co-webmaster and media specialist Sean O'Neill, and upcoming events.

Never miss an opportunity

At the club this weekend I watched a top cadet player play against a weaker player. As he admitted afterwards, he wasn't really into the match even though he won the match easily. (He's had an earlier loss that was bothering him.) The opponent was a lefty, and it so happens that the cadet's been having some trouble with lefties - and here he lost an opportunity to practice against one. Never miss an opportunity to take advantage of an opportunity. Just about any opponent has something you can get practice against. (If I did a second lecture here, it'd be about shaking off losses and playing your best in the next match. Okay, okay . . . </End lecture mode>.)

Doing the Journey

Here's a test of your ability to create and control sidespin on your serve. I call it "Doing the Journey." It's something I challenge many of my students to do. I'm going to describe this for a right-handed player with a forehand pendulum serve. Those with other types of serves and lefties should adjust.

Stand on your wide forehand side. Put a box or other container down the line from you, on the far right. Now serve so the first bounce is on your backhand side. The ball should cross the net, hit the far left side, then bounce sideways and end up in the box on the far right. See if you can do this consistently, then you can create and control sidespin. Congrats!

My next BIG project

Should I write a new book, "Table Tennis Tactics and Playing Styles," or set up the "Larry Hodges Coaching Academy" (or do I need a better, less personalized name?) to recruit and train professional coaches? I've outlined the book; the hard part was figuring out the best way to present it, other than a comprehensive "this style versus that style" listing. (I found a good way to present it, but will not divulge that. I also have a number of introductory essays planned on tactical thinking.) The Academy would focus 50% on the professional side of coaching, i.e. setting up the business, recruiting and retaining students, etc., and 50% on actual coaching techniques. I'm leaning toward writing the book first. Or maybe I should just go visit a museum.

Off to the Museums!

I have some editing/proofing work to do. So what better way to do that then spend the day at the Smithsonian Museums, with a two-hour lunch break to do the paperwork? Shortly after I post this, since I have no coaching scheduled for today or tonight, I plan on visiting the National Museum of Natural History (I practically grew up there - my parents both had offices there), the National Museum of American History (haven't seen the relatively new exhibit on the American Presidency, and I'm an amateur presidential historian), and the Holocaust Museum (never been there). I'll probably stop by the Lincoln Memorial as well. It's always good for inspiration.

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