Crazy Shot

May 30, 2014

My Table Tennis Books

Just a reminder that if this table tennis blog isn't quite enough to satisfy your table tennis itch, you can buy one of my table tennis books!!! As noted in my blog earlier this week, Table Tennis Tips is now out. Or, if you haven't done so, you absolutely and positively must buy Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers!!! Here's the Larry Hodges Books page where these and my other books are listed and described.

While you're at it, if you have a liking for history, then check out Tim Boggan's page, where he sells the 14 volumes of his History of U.S. Table Tennis. (Disclaimer: I do the page layouts and maintain the web page for him.)

Practical Ways to Overcome Nervousness

Sports psychology is one of the most under-utilized aspects of table tennis. One problem is that it's easy to get bogged down wading into all the literature on the subject. Here are some of the simple methods I use with students to overcome nervousness. Most of these I've done for years, though I've fine-tuned some after reading material and books from Dora Kurimay's table tennis sports psychology page.

  1. Take all the nervousness and ball it up inside your stomach. Then cough it out your mouth, and toss it in the trash. It's surprising how well this simple mental exercise works.
  2. Breathe deep into the stomach through your nose. Hold it for a couple of seconds. Then slowly exhale through the mouth. You'll be surprised at how this relaxes you. It's key that you exhale slowly.
  3. Pick out something on the wall in the distance and just stare at it for 5-10 seconds. This clears the mind.
  4. Watch the ball, both during and between points. This helps you to focus. That and simple tactics is all the conscious mind needs to do while letting the subconscious do the rest.
  5. Imagine you are playing a match back at your club. It's just another match. Have fun!
  6. Remember what Ariel Hsing used to write on her arm before every tournament: "Let go. Have fun." This works.
  7. Focus on a few simple tactics. This gives your mind something else to do other than worry that your fate and the fate of humanity in general will be determined by the next few points.
  8. Learn the three-second rule. Don't let anything in a match bother you for more than three seconds. Don't start another point until those three seconds are up and you are back to being the calm, clear-headed champion inside you that's dying to come out.


This Sunday WETA TV will come to my club (MDTTC) to do a segment on table tennis. They will likely come in around noon, though the exact time is not set. MDTTC has its Elite League on Sundays starting at 12:30, which is why they chose that time. All or most of the top MDTTC players and top juniors should be there.

Ariel Hsing in Chinese League

Here's a picture of her with her new teammates!

96-Day Countdown to Change in the ITTF's Presidency: Striving to Attain 225 Affiliated National Associations:  It’s in Our Blood!

Here's the article, Day 96 in Sheri Pittman Cioroslan's 100-day Countdown. I linked to the previous four in earlier blogs, but they are all linked from the USATT News Page.

Hugh Jackman Plays Table Tennis

Here's video (15 sec) of Hugh Jackman - yes, Wolverine! - playing table tennis, including a little dancing between points!

Dominic Moore Plays Table Tennis

Here's video (59 sec) of hockey star Dominic Moore playing table tennis.

Crazy Shot

Here's video (30 sec) of one of the greatest and craziest shots you'll ever see.

National Spelling Bee and Table Tennis

Here's an article from Table Tennis Nation showing the connection between table tennis and spelling at the highest levels of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. But could they spell Dimitrij Ovtcharov?

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July 12, 2012

How Good was Eric Boggan?

Eric was easily the U.S.'s best player internationally since the hardbat era in the 1950s. Ironically, while he was the best U.S. player, he sometimes lost to fellow U.S. players who were familiar with his game, with the result that while he was in the finals of Men's Singles at the USA Nationals seven times, he only won twice. (He lost in the final four straight years, 1980-83, three times to Dan Seemiller, once to brother Scott, before winning his second and last title in 1984.) Ironically, the first time he won (1978 at age 15) was the only year he wasn't seeded #1.

Eric played with the Seemiller grip. Few players these days still remember some of the things Eric could do as he confounded opponents with his inverted and anti receives, flips, and blocks, along with more conventional loops and smashes. Much of what he did is a dead or dying art.

Here is Eric's record, care of father and USATT Historian Tim Boggan. Make sure to browse over his list of international wins!

Eric Boggan (born 8/14/63) - Career Highlights:

Note: On beginning college in the fall of 1986, Eric went into retirement: he didn't try out for the '87 World Team or the '88 Olympics; didn't play in the '86 or '87 U.S. Closed; didn't play in the '87 U.S. Open. He began playing somewhat regularly again in Jan. '88. Then, in 1990, on graduating from Long Island University, and beginning his full-time job as a letter-carrier (22 years with the P.O. as of now), he soon retired from serious play.

  • 6-time U.S. World Team member ('79, '81, '83, ' 85, '89, '91).
  • 5-time North American World Cup participant ('80, '82, '83, '85, '86).
  • Reached eighths of World's in 1983.
  • Highest World Ranking-- #18 (1983)—best of any native-born U.S. player in the last 53 years, since '59.
  • Eric was the #1 rated player in the U.S. for 7 years—from Nov., '81 through Dec., '88. His highest rating was 2728 (May-June, 1984). Won many U.S. prize-money tournaments in those years.
  • Won Men's Singles at the 1983 U.S. Open, the only native-born player to do so in 47 years, since 1965.
  • He's twice won the U.S. Closed (1978, 1984).
  • Won Mixed Doubles with Kasa Gaca in 1979.
  • Won Men's Doubles with Sean O'Neill in 1988.
  • Has 5-times been the U.S. Closed runner-up ('80, '81, '82, '83, '88).
  • 1974-80: Won more than 20 U.S. Open/Closed Junior Championships.
  • At U.S. Open Team Championships was MVP in 1977. Was on the Championship Team in '78, '80, '90.
  • Played consecutively five full seasons in European Leagues (and in many International Opens all over the world)--#1 on team in Swedish League; #1 on teams in Bundesliga.
  • 1981: Won (from a strong field) the Scandinavian Junior Open.
  • 1982: Won Jamaica 'Love Bird' International.
  • 1982: Runner-up in Seoul Open to Waldner.

Historically, has one of the best International Records EVER compiled by a U.S. player. Here are the world-class players I KNOW he's beaten and their world ranking when he beat them - he might have beaten some of them when they were better ranked.

  • Jiang Jialiang, CHN (#1)
  • Mikael Appelgren, SWE (#7)
  • Zoran Kalinic, YUG (#10)
  • Seiji Ono, Japan (#10)
  • Istvan Jonyer, HUN (#10)
  • Jan-Ove Waldner, SWE (#10)
  • Milan Orlowski, CZE (#11)
  • Andrzej Grubba, POL (#12)
  • Kim Ki Taek, KOR (#12)
  • Chen Longcan, CHN (#12)
  • Desmond Douglas, ENG (#13)
  • Erik Lindh, SWE (#13)
  • Kiyoshi Saito, JPN (#14)
  • Dragutin Surbek, YUG (# 15)
  • Yashihito Miyazaki, JPN (#18)
  • Jacques Secretin, FRA (#18)
  • Stellan Bengtsson, SWE (#20)
  • Leszek Kucharski, POL (#20)
  • John Hilton, ENG (#20)
  • Tibor Klampar, HUN (#23)
  • Patrick Birocheau, FRA (#24)
  • Hiroyuki Abe, JPN (#28)
  • Jindrich Pansky, CZE (#28)
  • Zsolt Kriston, HUN (#28)
  • Peter Stellwag, GER (#30)
  • Ulf Bengtsson, SWE (#33)
  • Cho Jong Cho, PRK (#35)
  • Gabor Gergely, HUN (#36)
  • Ralf Wosik, GER (#40)
  • Patrick Renverse, FRA (#40)
  • Christian Martin, FRA (#43)
  • Georg Bohm, GER (#44)

Table Tennis Tactics Book - Update

Between our summer training camps, the U.S. Open, the Junior Olympics (I'm probably going), the ITTF Coaching Seminar I'm running in August (four days, 24 hours), this blog, and 246 other things, guess what's been put on hold? Don't worry, I'll get back to it soon. The writing is done (though I've got notes for a few additions), and the page layouts are about half done.

Difference Between a Coach and a Player

I noted this while coaching recently. When I'm playing a match and I have to move or stretch for a shot, I instinctively place the ball to make things as difficult for the opponent as possible, such as attacking at wide angles or at the opponent's middle. When I'm coaching and doing a practice drill with a student, on the same shot I instinctively place the ball where the ball is supposed to go in that drill. Somehow the brain reflexively remembers which mode I'm in (player or coach) and instinctively does the appropriate shot.

Crazy Table Tennis Shot

Here's a nine-second video that ends with one of the craziest shots I've ever seen.

Monster Table

A demonous ping-pong table?


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