Jerome Charyn

July 25, 2012


I won't bother giving you the week and day number (okay, yesterday was week six, day two), since they start to blend together when you are doing eleven straight weeks of camps.

This week we have about 30 players, mostly advanced, with only 4-5 "beginners." Since it's a more advanced group (and since I could work with the beginners separately), I decided not to bother my usual stroke lectures. So yesterday I gave a talk on ball placement - playing the corners and middle, when to go for the extreme wide angles (outside the corners), opening up the wide angles by playing the middle, taking away the forehand by playing to the forehand first (often short) and then going to the backhand, moving players in and out, etc. After the break I gave short talk on doubles strategy - what types of serves to use (mostly short and low backspin and no-spin) and where to place them (mostly toward the center of the table), how to receive (forehand or backhand, as long as you can loop the deep ball), where to place the ball, etc.

Last week a reporter from the Washington Post came in to do a feature on Derek Nie, the U.S. Open Boys' 11 and Under Champion. (It looks like they are featuring Nathan Hsu as well, and other MDTTC players.) He's coming back this morning, along with a photographer. Not sure yet when the story will run.

On top of that the Baltimore Sun is doing an interview with Derek this morning for a feature in this Sunday's paper. I don't think Derek even knows about this one yet. We also have a local TV station that arranged yesterday to come in and do a special on us on Aug. 16. Plus the local Gazette is doing a special on us, not sure when they are coming in. Plus there was that CCTV American special on us last week. So it's been a busy media week. Meanwhile, I'll be coaching at the Junior Olympics next week (Mon-Wed), and will send out a whole new slew of press releases afterwards.

On break I saw Derek, Allen Wang, John Hsu, and Leon Bi playing a winner-stay-on game where they started each game at deuce, and you didn't have to win by two. (In other words, first to win two points. Leon, who's about a thousand points lower, only had to win one point.) I joined in, and did surprisingly well, winning at least the first game all five times I went on the table, and winning three in a row one time. I had a nice counterlooping point with Derek, and won a point chopping against John.

Larry's Law

This has come up several times recently, so I'll give it again. "Larry's Law" is a law I came up with years ago. Often as a player trains and improves they start challenging stronger players, but still lose most of these matches close, though they'll occasionally win one. The reason is that while they may now be playing at the same level as the other player, the other player has more experience at that level, and so is tactically and mentally more prepared to win the close games. In other words, if you are challenging stronger players and keep training and playing matches against players at that level, it means that in six months or so you'll have the experience to consistently win at that level

Interview with Jerome Charyn

Here's an interview with Jerome Charyn, table tennis player and author of the table tennis book "Sizzling Chops and Devilish Spins: Ping Pong and the Art of Staying Alive" (2001). The book is "part memoir and part history," and "...bounces from Manhattan in the 1940s (where unheralded lions of the game, like Marty Reisman and Dick Miles, hustled their way through the ping-pong underworld) to China in the 1960s (when Nixon used ping pong as a tool of diplomacy) to present-day France (where Charyn, our faithful guide, battles his way through the lower-division tournaments)."

Table Tennis Center Sprouts Up in South Carolina Mall

Here's an article about a table tennis center that opened up Richland Mall in Columbia, South Carolina.

Jan-Ove Waldner Tribute

I don't think I've posted this Waldner Tribute Video (4:21), with lots of great points from the Master.

Table Tennis as It Should Be

On a makeshift wooden table balanced on barrels.

Uberpong: Table Tennis Paddles Artwork

Here's an article and video (3:52) on Uberpong's numerous table tennis paddle artworks.


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July 24, 2012

Table Tennis Shoes

In my SF novel "Campaign 2100" (which covers the election for president of Earth in the year 2100, and is currently making the rounds of publishers and agents), one of the characters was a championship table tennis player who quit the sport to run the election campaign. I stuck in three table tennis scenes. One of the innovations I used was that his shoes had adjustable traction, which he'd vary based on the floors. Why don't we have that?

Okay, the answer is we don't have the technology. But more specifically, why don't we use different types of shoes for different conditions? I see two main variations: grippiness and support. On slippery floors you'd want grippy shoes, but on grippy floors a grippy shoe might be too grippy, making it grippingly difficult to move. (Isn't that a gripping sentence?) Older and overweight players, and those playing on cement, would want shoes with more support, while others might want a shoe with little support so they can "grab" the floor better with thinner, more flexible soles.

I envision a scatter plot on a square graph where the higher on the graph you are, the more support; the more to the right, the more grippiness. Then players could choose the shoe that fits their condition and the playing conditions.

I used to have both my regular playing shoes, and these "suction cup" table tennis shoes from China that were super grippy. On slippery floors I'd pull out the suction cup shoes. Also, when I had knee problems, I started using shoes with more support. But now that I play almost exclusively on red rubberized flooring designed for table tennis (at the Maryland Table Tennis Center), and my knees seem fine, I prefer shoes with little support and thin soles. They don't need to be grippy - you can move on the red flooring with iced soles. However, I never wear the low-support table tennis shoes outside the club. (You do carry your table tennis shoes to the club in a shoe bag, right? NO ONE in their right mind would wear them outside the club, where you might hurt your feet or get the shoes dirty!)

What I Did Yesterday

  • Wrote the Tip of the Week
  • Wrote the Tip of the Week for next Monday
  • Wrote Monday's blog
  • Did three hours of coaching at MDTTC Training camp. (Spent much time with three new beginning juniors.)
  • Took the kids during lunch break to 7-11 (after they'd eaten lunch).
  • Changed sponge on both sides of my racket
  • Weeded yard, then went to Home Depot and bought new mulch, and put it in.
  • Did two rewrite requests on SF stories, one for a story already sold, and one for a story that's a "finalist."
  • Submitted seven short stories to markets (I'd let it go for a while)
  • Responded to about ten emails
  • Watched tapes and took notes on several prospective opponents at upcoming Southern Open and Junior Olympics in Houston. I'll be coaching there Fri-Wed, July 27 - Aug. 1.)

How Ping Pong Saved the World

Here's the trailer (2:18) for the upcoming documentary "How Ping Pong Saved the World." It includes short statements on how they got started in table tennis by Connie Sweeris, Tim Boggan, Errol Resek, Jack Howard, Judy Hoarfrost, Rufford Harrison, George Brathwaite, John Tannehill, and Olga Soltesz.

And here's an email I received regarding the documentary and the book series that features table tennis by Jerome Charyn.

I'm Lenore Riegel, partner-in-crime of Bronx author Jerome Charyn, the well-known player who wrote Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins: Ping Pong and the Art of Staying Alive.  Charyn is featured in the upcoming documentary, How Ping Pong Saved the World

Ping-pong figures heavily in the first two of his ten Isaac Sidel crime novels, recently re-released, and soon to be an animated adult TV series, Hard Apple

I know you already have a picture of Charyn on your site, but it occurred to me that you might like to read Charyn's ping-pong books - I'd be happy to send them.

Meanwhile, the book trailer features ping-pong.

I've attached a sketch from the animated TV series based on Charyn's crime novels - there will be lots of ping-pong in them.  I've also attached a few pictures you might enjoy for your site.

Here is the Facebook page and the Tumblr page

Charyn plays regularly at SPIN in NYC.

Table Tennis Rulez

Here's a new table tennis promotional video with lots of great points (7:12). It starts off with two very long and great points, then the music starts.

Ford Uses Ping-Pong Balls to Measure Vehicle Space

Now we'll know how many ping-pong balls fit in the glove compartment.


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