Twisted Table

April 18, 2013

No Blog Tomorrow (Friday)

I'm off to the Hopes Trials in at the Westchester TTC in Pleasantville, New York. See you on Monday!

Hopes Trials at Westchester TTC in NY

I'm going up to coach the two Maryland players who qualified, Crystal Wang and Derek Nie. We've been training for this for weeks! I did a 90-minute session with Derek just last night, while other coaches worked with Crystal. What is it?

Every year the ITTF has Hopes Week. This year it's going to be at the Werner Schlager Academy in Austria, June 10-16. (I think it was there last year as well.) The best 11- and 12-year-olds from around the world will be invited there for a week of training, culminating in a tournament. The North American Hopes Trials are this weekend, coinciding with the North American Cup. Here are some info links:

For the Hopes Trials, USATT chose the top four boys and girls born in 2001 or 2002, so they are all 11 or 12 years old. Canada did the same. (USA is only sending three girls - I don't think others applied - but the top two girls are going, Crystal Wang and Amy Wang, as are the top four boys. No, Crystal and Amy are not related.) Because ITTF requires a joint Trials for each continent, the Trials are combined. The top finishing player from each country then qualifies for Hopes Week. (So if USA players finish first and second, and a Canadian third, then the Canadian goes, not the #2 USA player. At least that's my understanding.)

Gal Alguetti (NY, 2283)
Sharon Alguetti (NY, 2271)
Victor Liu (CA, 2226)
Derek Nie (MD, 2215)
Edison Huang (CAN)
Alexander Bu (CAN, 2093)
Edward Ly (CAN)
Boris Kalev (CAN)

Crystal Wang (MD, 2292)
Amy Wang (NJ, 2203)
Estee Ackerman (NY, 1721)
Benita Zhou (CAN)
Laura Yin Lai (CAN)
Sophie Gauthier (CAN)
Christian Lin (CAN)

Backswing Practice

Having trouble smashing against medium-high balls, or (for more advanced players) low topspin balls? One of the keys is to have the exact same backswing every time. Here's a way to learn to do that, as shown to one of my students last night. This is also how I developed my smash many years ago.

First, do a few smashes with someone (ideally have them feed multiball, or just serve topspin, they return the ball, and you smash), and when you make good ones, note where you backswing to. The question is how to repeat this over and over? Go near a wall and shadow practice the shot. Do your backswing just like you did in the good smashes. Then find a mark on the wall and move so the mark is just above where your racket is when you backswing. (You might have to put a mark on the wall yourself, alas.) Once you've done this, you can backswing to that same spot over and over. Get a feel for where the backswing should be. If you do this enough, it'll become so automatic that backswinging any other way will feel awkward.

Expert Table Tennis

Two new articles are up at Expert Table Tennis:

Table Tennista

Lots of new international articles at Table Tennista, mostly featuring China. Here are the current front-page stories:

Table Tennis Spectacular

Here's a new video (1:54) of some nice exhibition play between Jan-Ove Waldner and Jorgen Persson, with Dan Seemiller giving animated commentary.

Ping-Pong Ball in the Face

Here's a new video (25 sec) of someone getting smacked in the face by an opponent's mis-hit smash. Shown in slow motion!

One Twisted Table

Maybe they Hopes Trials should be held on these tables?

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June 18, 2012

Tip of the Week

Playing in Different Time Zones.

Friday Exhaustion

I've spent much of the last week learning to do page layouts for Print on Demand and for Kindle ebooks, and have been up sometimes almost around the clock doing the layouts for some of my books. I first did "Pings and Pongs," my collection of science fiction & fantasy stories as a practice run as it would be easier than the others, since there are few graphics. Since then I've been doing both my new book, "Table Tennis Tactics: A Thinker's Guide" and "A Professional Table Tennis Coach's Handbook." Later I'll do my other three table tennis books.

Unfortunately, I'm paying the price. On Friday I showed up as a practice partner for our Elite Junior Session, and could barely stay awake. Just trying to play gave me a headache, stomachache, and I started getting dizzy. Finally, after about 45 minutes, I had to stop and go home to get some sleep.

Despite a good night's sleep, I was still exhausted on Saturday. I had a relatively full schedule (five hours), and there were times when my legs were in open rebellion, but I got through it. I had another good night's sleep, but Sunday I was still pretty tired. However, there are signs I'm getting better. Unfortunately, with eleven consecutive weeks of training camps starting this morning, I have a feeling I'd better get used to being exhausted.

I do have a few things I'm doing to combat this. The rest of the summer I'm going to regularly go to bed at 11PM, though I will, as always, read for a while before actually going to sleep. (I'll be getting up by 7AM each morning to do my blog before leaving for the club.) I'm also going to focus on eating well. I generally do, but I'll make it higher priority this summer. Also, on the advice of a doctor at the club, I've been taking "B Complex" vitamins (as well as the regular multivitamins I already take) as a supplement. I have no idea if it'll help, but he says it'll help an active person regain energy. We'll see.

One side effect is that I'm probably going to go from doing page layouts at warp drive to a mere sub-light speed. But I still hope to have all the books in POD and ebook format by the end of the summer.

Summer Camp Side Effects

  • Side Effect One: I'll have lots and lots to blog about.
  • Side Effect Two: I'll have less and less time to blog.

President Obama and the ICC Table Tennis Shirt

Here's President Obama holding up an ICC Table Tennis shirt that he accepted from three table tennis Olympians (Timothy Wang, Ariel Hsing, Lily Zhang). He also got a paddle signed by the three, held by Anil Godhwani (standing next to Obama). At first I thought it must be photoshopped, but after investigation, it's for real.

Here are some pictures of Obama playing table tennis, from (a site I maintain).

photo1 photo2 photo3 (Photos 2 and 3 are from a picture on the wall at the White House, contributed by Timmy La)

Here are pictures of Obama playing table tennis with David Cameron, the prime minister of England:
Obama and David Cameron, Prime Minister of England:
photo1 photo2 photo3 photo4 photo5 photo6 photo7 photo8 photo9

And while we're at it, here are two pictures of First Lady Michelle Obama playing table tennis:

photo1 photo2

Best Table Tennis Shots of 2011

I don't think I've linked to this video (3:48). Lots of great shots!

Twisted Table

Now this would be tough to play on. (I already had a picture of this table in the "Fun and Games" section, but this is a better and closer one.)

Non-Table Tennis -SF & Fantasy Sales

Recently I've been on a splurge in my science fiction and fantasy writing sales. On Saturday I sold my sixth short story in six weeks, "Running with the Dead" (7400 words) to Buzzy Magazine, a pro-paying market, along with two of the other sales. (A "pro" paying market is one that pays at least 5 cents/word.) This is the story of a dead kid who wants to attend high school and run as a miler on the track team. He faces not only public pressure to quit - the country is mostly against letting dead people attend school - but also the captain of the track team and leader of the "Mile Mafia," the very person who murdered him one year before.

The six sales add up to $1080 in income. Pretty soon this'll eclipse my coaching income!!! Here's my science fiction & fantasy page.

I've also been on a couple of covers recently, for Flagship Magazine and Penumbra Magazine. Below are all thirteen covers - click on the image to see the full-sized one. 

Thirteen  Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazines with my name on the cover.

Click to see full-sized versions!



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