Ready Stance

November 5, 2014

Ready Stance

What is a proper ready stance? Any decent coach could go over this in great detail. I've written about it before, such as in Grip and Stance and Use a Wider Stance. But there's a simpler way. (This might be expanded later into a Tip of the Week.)

Next time you are trying to show someone the proper ready stance in table tennis (or trying to work out your own), imagine playing basketball. Pretend to dribble a ball, and tell the person to cover you. Invariably he'll go into a perfect crouch that allows him to move quickly side to side - he'll widen his stance, with his feet aimed slightly outward, knees slightly bent, and bend slightly forward at the waist. (You can also tell someone to imagine being a shortstop in baseball or a goalie in soccer - same thing.) Other than not holding the arms up (as one does when covering in basketball), the player is now in a proper table tennis stance, and you didn't have to go into all the specifics.

Have the player do some side-to-side movements, and he'll quickly realize the benefits of playing in such a stance.

Table Tennis Authors Unite!

I've self-published my last few table tennis books on Createspace.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com. Along the way I've become something of an expert on it. I've been advising a few other writers on it, and at the upcoming USA Nationals I'm doing an informal demo for three prospective table tennis authors who are writing table tennis books. If you also are interested in this (i.e. are writing a book on table tennis - or perhaps some other topic - that you'd like to self-publish), email me and I'll see if we can find a time at the Nationals where we can all get together.

Mostly Non-TT - World Fantasy Convention and Stupefying Stories

I'll be spending much of the next four days jumping back and forth between table tennis and the World Fantasy Convention, which is happening nearby in Arlington, Virginia, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Thur-Sun. I have a reading scheduled Saturday at 1:30 PM. I have a lot of coaching on Thursday and Friday nights, and Sunday all day, but I'll likely spend my free time over there, plus I've got Saturday completely off. If anyone wants to join me, email me.

On a related note, at 5PM today (Eastern time) my dark fantasy story "The Roads to Hell" will go live at Stupefying Stories. It's a political story about what happens to political ideologues after they die.

The Powerful Backhand Loop of Werner Schlager

Here's video (42 sec, including slow motion replay) of Schlager ripping five backhand loops in a row against chopper Joo Se Hyuk. Many top players use backhand loops as variations against choppers, but five in a row, like this? Wow! (Ironically some of our top up-and-coming stars at MDTTC are also experimenting with backhand loops when playing local chopping star and coach Wang Qing Liang.)

Cast Your Vote for USOC Athlete of the Month - Kanak Jha!

Here's where you can vote.

Plastic Ball Testing

The Preston Table Tennis Association has put together a pair of videos that test the new plastic balls. Here they are:

Zhang Jike's Prize Money Goes to a Fund for Annual Fair Play Award

Here's the ITTF press release.

Table Tennis Rock & Roll

Here's the inspirational music video from the ITTF (1:32). However, there's a problem with this. Go to 1:09, and you'll see they are using highlights of the infamous Zhang Jike scene where he's destroying the barriers after his World Cup win. How can they fine him his entire $45,000 prize money for this, and then use it for promotional purposes? I'm guessing this is a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing.

Table Tennis Daily & Editingsports Trick Shots

Here's the video (1:28) that shows some great trick shots. One of my great sorrows of life is that my shoulder is too stiff to do any of the behind-the-back shots they show here!

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August 07, 2012

11-point vs. 21-point games

I miss playing 21-point games. Games to 11 are still, to me, like cheap soft drinks rather than something more substantive, like a milk shake. Sure, you get a quick rush when you gulp down that Coca-cola, but then it's over and you're left wondering, "Is that all?"

When games were to 21, when you won, you WON. A game to 11 is more hit and miss. A few nets or edges and it's over. A random hot or cold streak, and it's over. You blink and it's over.

There are, of course, more games in a best of five to 11 than in a two out of three to 21. But you used to have to score 42 points to win those two games. Now you can do it in 33. It used to be you could spend the first game figuring out your opponent. Even if you lost the first game, once you figured him out, there was no way they could beat you in a game to 21 (if you were truly better), and they only had two chances at it. Now, if you lose the equivalent of a game to 21 you instead lose the first TWO games, and with games to 11, to win all they need is a few lucky breaks, or a hot streak, or a cold streak by you, and they have THREE chances to do it!!! So instead of spending time trying to tactically figure out an opponent, the strategy tends toward throwing everything at them right from the start and hope for the best.

And don't get me started on serving only two points in a row. (Too late.) It used to be you served FIVE times in a row, and smart players used the serves to set up the next ones. There was serious strategy involved. Now you only get two, and by the time you get to serve your next two, your opponent has probably forgotten what you served before, and so you have to start over. So forget all the tactical subtlety of past years and just throw out your two best serves over and Over and OVER.

Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit. There's still plenty of service strategy, just not as much as before, and it's often less subtle. You really could maneuver opponents about more with five serves in a row, like a baseball pitcher setting up a batter for the strikeout pitch. With two serves, you have to rely on your opponent remembering your past serves from before they had their two serves, and alas, many players never reach that point of awareness. (Yes, there are advantages to playing in ignorant bliss.)

They still play games to 21 in hardbat at the U.S. Open and Nationals, where you get to serve five in a row. Those are fun. Except . . . to my astonishment and embarrassment, after spending much of the year playing to 11, I find myself tossing the ball to the opponent to serve after I've served twice. I've been domesticated to 11-point games!!!

MDTTC Camp

We're into Week 9, Day Two of the MDTTC eleven weeks of summer training camps, Mon-Fri each week. These week we have a lighter turnout, with "only" 22 players yesterday, but many are resting from the Junior Olympics. I'll give more coverage of the camp in future blogs. 

Olympic Coverage

I haven't really been blogging much about the Olympics, both because it's covered everywhere else, and because I'm too busy coaching to really follow much of it. The ITTF is doing an excellent job of daily coverage, with lots of articles, results, and photos.

Ready Stance Part 2

A few weeks ago ICC Head Coach Massimo Constantini wrote about The Importance of Stance and Posture to the "Ready Position." (I linked to this in my June 26 blog.) Here is Part 2! It's a video (4:36.)

The Sounds Players Make

Here's an ESPN article on the sounds table tennis players make, ranging from "Sssahhh!" to "Sa. C'mon" to "Saa!" to the usual "Cho!"

Play Ping-Pong Like a Pro

That's the title of this article in Men's Health Magazine that features USA Olympian Timothy Wang talking about perfecting your reaction time, handling rackets, engaging the core, increasing your speed, and sharpening your serve.

Getting an edge: Table tennis players tamper with rackets in sport’s version of "doping"

Here's an Associated Press article on table tennis "doping"

Why do Olympic table tennis players toss the ball so high when they serve?

Here's an article on the topic that's been in a number of major news outlets recently. And here's my article on the high toss serve.

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Here's my take on it. It has nothing to do with table tennis except it was something I did to put off doing some table tennis stuff.

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