Tara Profitt

September 21, 2012

Table Tennis Tactics

This past week I've been jumping back and forth from working on the page layouts of "Table Tennis Tactics: A Thinker's Guide" and 246 other things. Here's an excerpt from the book:

Table tennis is a game of utter complexity and utter simplicity. If you get too caught up in the myriad of complex strategies available, you'll be lost in a sea of uncertainty. Think KISS—"Keep It Simple, Stupid." On the other hand, if your thinking is too simple, you aren't maximizing your play.

There's no conflict here. Much of tactics involves simplifying things so the game becomes simple and easy. If you use tactics that force your opponent into predictable returns that feed into your strengths, you've won the tactical battle and made the game simple and easy. In this book we'll cover the tactical and strategic ways of doing this, as well as the tactical frame of mind that makes tactical play come naturally.

Most matches are tactically won on at most two or three tactical things, not the zillions that are possible. It's finding those two or three out of the zillions that's key. (Hey, I may add this to the book! Addendum - just did.) And if you can't think of zillions of tactical things to do, you need to start thinking tactically! To further quote the book:

Tactical thinking is a habit. I know some brilliant people who do not think at the table, and some not-so-brilliant ones who know exactly what they are doing out there. Which do you choose to be? It’s a choice.

Help is on the way! The book should be out by December in time for the USA Nationals, and perhaps sooner. (If I get going on it, it might be ready by November.)

One Day Till the MDTTC September Open!

Have you entered yet? Deadline is past, but for only $5 late fee you can still enter until 7PM tonight, and avoid others talking and making cracks about you behind your back. This weekend could be the beginning of your professional career, the big breakthrough where, out of nowhere, you suddenly are looping and smashing like a pro, and nobody can stop you, allowing you to drop out of the drudgery of work and join the elite athletes who spend their days sipping tea by poolside (after training eight hours/day) while you are slaving away at a desk.

USA's Ariel Hsing wins Intercontinental Title at World Cup!

Here's the ITTF Story. This puts her in the Final Sixteen. 

Drill Your Skills with the Chinese National Team

Here are three coaching videos. I may have posted the first two in my blog sometime in the past, but the third one (Forehand Receive) is definitely new. (It has four parts - Pushing Short, Pushing Long, Looping, and Flipping.) They are in Chinese with English subtitles.

  1. Forehand Serve (7:42)
  2. Backhand Serve (6:36)
  3. Forehand Receive (7:47)

Journal of My Paralympic Journey

Tara Profitt's journal about her time at the Paralympics and the table tennis competition.

Table Tennis on a Gigantic Rock Slab

This is great (4:16) - but it's practically tennis! Now we know how to handle short balls - don't step in like coaches teach you, just crawl on the table! Can anyone recognize the language they are speaking?

White Ping-Pong Table

We have a White House, white chocolate, and Gandalf the White (yeah, he didn't stay grey long). Now we have a white ping-pong table - and it looks snazzy! White balls, anyone?


Yes, that's Batman with a ping-pong paddle, in an illustration used at the Buenos Aires Grand Prix by the Argentina Table Tennis Federation.


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May 7, 2012

Tip of the Week

How to Play and Practice with Weaker Players.

Returning the tomahawk serve

This is the serve where you serve with the racket tip up, and contact the ball on the right side, so it curves to the left, and the spin makes the ball come to your right off the opponent's paddle. It's awkward for many to take a ball spinning away from them on the forehand side and aim to the right, especially if the ball is short - try it and you'll see why. Until you reach the advanced levels, nearly everyone returns this serve toward the forehand side, and often they miss by going off the side to the left, or they allow the opponent to camp out on the forehand side. (This is for two righties; lefties make the usual adjustments. Sorry.)

Now think about this. Have you ever missed returning this serve by returning off the right side? Probably not. So just take it down the line, to the (righty's) backhand, knowing the sidespin will keep you from going off the side. Contact the back of the ball, perhaps slightly on the left side, so that the ball goes to the right, down the line.

Keep the racket relatively high - don't lower it as you chase after it as it bounces and spins away from you, or you'll end up lifting the ball high or off the end. Better still, don't chase after it - anticipate the ball jumping away from you and be waiting for it, like a hunter ambushing his prey. It's often this last-second reaching for the ball that both loses control and forces the receiver to hit the ball on the right side, thereby making down-the-line returns impossible. (An expanded version of this might become a Tip of the Week.)

Learn to Pong Like a Champ

Here's Part 3  of 3 from 2011 USA National Men's Singles Champion Peter Li, covering 1) Making Your Service Count; 2) Ball Placement; and 3) Staying Low. It's given both in text form and video (2:05). (Here's Part 1 and Part 2.)

ITTF Global Junior Circuit

Here's info on the Global Junior Circuit Events to be held at the 2012 U.S. Open in Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 30 - July 4.

Ariel Hsing takes on Uncle Warren and Uncle Bill

To find out who won in the Olympian's match-ups against the two richest people in the world (depending on the date - the rankings change regularly but Gates and Buffet usually lead the list), see the article, which includes a video of them playing (1:18). Here are some pictures. And here's an article about it in Chinese!

U.S. Olympian Erica Wu

Here's an article and video (2:28) on new U.S. Olympian Erica Wu from a demonstration at her school. (Here's another article about it, which I posted on Friday.)

Tara Profitt and the Paralympics

Here's a Fox New Video of wheelchair player Tara Profitt (4:33), who will be playing the 2012 Paralympics.

Trek Stemp and baseball

He's not in the big leagues yet, but here's an article about the young phenom, which includes the following quote: "A big thing that helps playing infield — it may sound weird — pingpong," Stemp said. "Me and my friends play a lot of pingpong. A big part of pingpong is hand-eye coordination. That ball comes at you so fast."

The first table tennis political ad

Now they are using table tennis officiating to criticize political opponents! Now they've gone too far....


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