Weird Table Tennis Dream

October 4, 2012

Coaching Footwork

Someone posted on the table tennis forum on how difficult it must be to coach footwork in the U.S., since most coaching here is done one-on-one rather than in groups. Because of this, he thought that coaches can't really see what the student is doing, and so can only coach strokes, not footwork.

It's a good point, but it's not really a problem for good coaches. You teach footwork one-on-one by having the student do it without the ball, where you often do it together, with the student matching the way the coach does it and making corrections as necessary. If you have a student shadow practice footwork this way regularly, they learn it. Then, when you get to the table, you can tell by their body posture and positioning if they are doing it correctly.

The most important aspects to stress are foot and body positioning; balance (which involves moving with your feet, not with your hands, i.e. reaching); and the idea that you don't decide whether you have to move, you assume you will always have to move. 

Yesterday Was a Bad Day (mostly non-table tennis)

Let's see, Obama didn't perform well in the debate, the Orioles lost, the Yankees won, two of my three TT students cancelled, I had a headache half the day, a new online video of our club got our web address wrong (see below), the sole of my shoe broke, and from my todo list I didn't update the "Celebrities Playing Table Tennis" page or work on the Codex contest SF story I started last night. Can we have a Groundhog Day replay?


County Cable Montgomery in Maryland runs a regular TV segment called Parks Rec n Roll. They did a feature on racket sports here in Montgomery County, featuring tennis, badminton, racquetball, and of course table tennis at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. The entire video is 30 minutes long, but here are the table tennis segments, which are a little under six minutes total. The video features me, Tong Tong Gong, Derek Nie, Crystal Wang, Amy Lu, Nathan Hsu, Wen Hsu, Timmy La, Chen Bo Wen, Mort Greenberg, and Sammy Snitskovsky. (One little problem: at 28:05 it puts the MDTTC web address on screen, but they got it wrong, putting in "org" instead of the "com" in Here are links:

Ariel Hsing for USOC Female Athlete of the Month

You can vote online for USOC's Female Athlete of the Month. Ariel is up against 19 other athletes - but she's currently in the lead! Okay, she has 8 votes, two more than three of her competitors (hmm, 6-6-6?), so it's still early. Ariel's had a good month, as verified by this ITTF article. You can also vote for Male Athlete of the Month and Team of the Month, though strangely there aren't any table tennis players there.

Richard McAfee in India
USATT Coaching Chair Richard McAfee is running ITTF coaching seminars in India. (Here are some photos.) Here's his Facebook postings about the first two days:
Day One: I am getting ready to start day two of the ITTF-PTT Level 1 Course in Ajmer, India. There are 14 coaches taking part and we are mixing in some of the local juniors during some of the practical sessions. The facility we are using is a full-time table tennis academy with 14 tables, wood flooring, good lighting, and a large conference room/class-room. There is also an attached hotel where I am staying. Most of the coaches are very experience and some have travel 36 hours by train to reach the course. Ajmer is an ancient and beautiful city.
Day Two: I just finished day two of the Ajmer, India ITTF-PTT Level 1 Course that I am conducting. The second day is the hardest one (physically) for me as it is on "on the table". We have had a group of 12-16 kids hanging around watching our course in the afternoons and it seems that they do not receive coaching. There is a very high level (national team members) of junior training at the academy but these kids are not good enough to be in the coaching group. Today, I couldn't stand the longing in their eyes any longer and after our 6 hours of course work, I stayed and did another session for these kids. One of the other coaches in the course also helped out. What fun! There is nothing more gratifying than to watch sheer joy in the faces of kids playing a sport they love. Now for a much needed rest. I understand that more kids will be coming tomorrow so I will try to continue our little training group while I am here.

Table Tennis Boosting - Our Version of Doping?

Here's an article in the Huffington Post from August about table tennis boosting. I haven't tried boosting myself, but I should probably do it just to see what it's like. (I'm retired from tournaments so it's not like it's going to "boost" my rating!)

The Real Housewives of New York City Play Pong

In last night's finale, the characters in the show visited Spin New York to play table tennis with Marty Reisman and others. Here's the report from Table Tennis Nation.

What's Really on His Mind on a Date

Yes, the truth.

Another Weird Table Tennis Dream

Last night I dreamed I was playing in the North American Teams. I'm not sure who my teammates were; they were sort of shadowy. As I went out to play my first match, I realized I was carrying a thick sheaf of papers and a keyring full of keys. So rather than play the match, I decided I needed to go home to drop these things off. I ran outside and began jogging. Then I seemed to go through a montage of cars, buses, and running through an airport. Finally I arrived "home" - except the house was from the haunted house picture I had just yesterday made my computer's background picture. I ran inside and pushed the elevator button for the 15th floor (which doesn't make sense since the haunted house didn't have 15 floors, but perhaps it was bigger on the inside). I kept waiting and waiting impatiently, worried that if I didn't hurry I'd get defaulted from my match. Finally, I got to my room, which seemed some sort of dormitory room, I think from my years at the Olympic Training Center. I opened the door with the keys and went to a mirror. Looking into it I saw that I was wearing the funny hat that Q wore when we first met him in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I tore it off, tossed the keys inside, and left, closing the door as I went out, thereby locking myself out with the keys inside. (But I didn't realize this at the time.) I went outside and began to run as fast as I could, worried again that I'd get defaulted. I ran faster and faster in a panic, and finally, in a nervous sweat, arrived back at the Teams. I hurriedly went out to play the match, and found that the other guy was there, waiting for me. I then realized I was still carrying the sheaf of papers I'd had at the beginning. I decided to use them as my racket, and got set to play. Then I stopped, realizing just then that I'd locked myself out. I began to panic again, thinking I had to run home again to get my keys, and that's when I woke up.


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