New Yorker

August 06, 2012

Tip of the Week

The Feel of Good Technique.

Sore arm and shoulder

After a week of coaching at the Southern Open and Junior Olympics in Houston, where I barely hit any balls myself - the players matched up evenly, and so I wasn't really needed - my body is about as stiff as diamond neutronium in a black hole. (Physicists, please do not comment.) Unfortunately, this meant that when I began coaching again upon my return, the muscles rebelled. We're talking full-scale rebellion of the Syria and Libya kind, where the muscles are fighting a civil war that'll make us all forget about Gettysburg. If Assad is facing anything like this, he's history.

On top of that, I mistakenly used my multiball racket, with old, deader sponge, while coaching a drill where I was looping, and this meant I felt myself straining harder than usual to loop.

Net result is my arm and shoulder are pretty sore. I've been icing it, and I think they'll be okay in a few days. Fortunately, most of my coaching this week is in the MDTTC camp where I mostly do multiball, so the arm will get to rest. Of course, this means my muscles will get even tighter.

How dense are my muscles? While down in Houston we went swimming in a pool one time. Nathan Hsu took pictures of me showing off as I lay down on the bottom of the pool, and then did pushups. Yes, I sink that fast. I may post the pictures later, but don't have them right now.

Surprisingly, I think I need to go back to weight training combined with stretching to get them back in shape. The muscles not only are tight but don't feel as strong - I sometime find myself straining to create power that used to be easy to do. The weight training strengthens and loosens the muscles, if I stretch afterwards. Or that's what it seems like. (I'd always thought weight training would tighten the muscles, but that seems to be the case only if you do very heavy weights and don't stretch. Anyone care to enlighten us on this topic?)

If I do weight training again, I will only use light weights for my arm and shoulder. I used weights to recover from back problems and to get back in table tennis shape last fall, but earlier this year I hurt my arm doing so and stopped. I need to remember which parts of me injure easily (light weights) and which don't.

MDTTC a National Center of Excellence

USATT has a program where clubs that fulfill certain criteria become a National Center of Excellence. Last Tuesday the Maryland Table Tennis Center became the seventh club to so named. (We would have applied a while ago but decided to wait until after the recent expansion and renovation.) We had applied back on May 23, so it was a nerve-biting ten weeks. Here is the listing; at some point presumably they'll add our name to the list and do the press release.

MDTTC Featured in Asian Fortune

The Maryland Table Tennis Center and Timmy La are featured in an article in Asian Fortune Magazine. The article went online on Saturday, and will be in the upcoming print edition. That's him pictured at the top; the second picture is from one of our recent camps.

Airport Pong, Part 2

Here's another episode of Airport Pong (2:48). I posted Part 1 in my blog on Friday.) As noted last week, this is what happens when our flight back from the Junior Olympics in Houston is delayed four hours. The two girls are Lilly Lin (righty), Amy Lu (lefty), with Nathan Hsu and I the other players. (I come in at 1:14; Nathan I hit for about half an hour.) Nathan did a lot of lobbing in this video - his arm was sore from five days of playing at the Southern Open and Junior Olympics, and so I didn't want him to do any serious smashing or looping. This episode was put together by Nathan, who flew the following day to Hong Kong where he's currently in a two week training camp. (And is currently Facebook messaging me - as I write this - about a fantasy story he's working on. Yes, I've gotten him hooked on writing SF & fantasy!) The singing at the end was in the "echo chamber" at Houston International Airport.

How to Maximize Your Forehand Power

Here's a video from Table Tennis University (5:03, though the last 90 seconds is an advertisement) on maximizing forehand power. When he demonstrates it early on I think he's exaggerating the forward body movement to make it more obvious; see the looping demo that starts at 3:03, where he moves more in a circle (though of course forward as well), creating great torque.

Table Tennis in The New Yorker

Here's an article in The New Yorker that covers that gamut of table tennis issues - the Olympics; Ariel Hsing and her Bill Gates/Warren Buffet (Uncle Bill and Uncle Warren); octogenarians; China, Chuang Tse-tung and Chairman Mao; and Fred Astaire’s tap shoes

Mary Carillo Plays Table Tennis

Broadcaster and former tennis star Mary Carillo gets a table tennis lesson from comedian and "World Table Tennis Champion" Judah Friedlander in this video (3:30). And here's where I gratuitously mention that I've given Judah several private lessons.

Erica Wu Assaults Umpire at Olympics

Okay, during her swing she apparently hit doubles partner Lily Zhang, with the result that the racket went flying at said umpire. Here's a picture of the racket flying away (see it on right) and the aftermath.

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