Placement of Loops

October 11, 2012

Placement of Loops

I coached a lefty junior yesterday, and was working on his backhand loop when he said, "I don't like backhand looping. Every time I do it, my opponents smash." I asked him to show me the backhand loop that kept getting smashed, and sure enough, it was a soft, spinny one that went crosscourt from his lefty backhand to a righty opponent's forehand. No wonder it was getting smashed!!!

Slow, spinny loops are effective if they go deep to the backhand, but only to the forehand side of a player with a relatively weak forehand. Soft loops to the forehand are easy to smash for many players since the body isn't in the way - you just hit through it. On the backhand side, however, if the slow loop goes deep, the body is in the way and so the player is jammed, and smashing them can be difficult. So slow loops that go deep to the backhand are usually just blocked back, and usually not that well. (Slow loops that go short to the backhand, however, are dead meat to any player with a decent backhand. They should be smacked away.) 

In general, soft loops should go deep to the wide backhand, aggressive loops to the wide forehand (since the forehand block is usually slower) and to the middle (i.e. the playing elbow, midway between forehand and backhand, so the opponent has to make a quick decision on which to use, and then move into position).

There are many exceptions to this rule. Some players, including myself, are looking to step around to use the forehand from the backhand side, and so even a soft loop to the wide forehand can often catch us going the wrong way if we over-anticipate or stand too far toward our backhand side. And others try to counterloop everything on the forehand, and are often too slow to react to a slow loop, especially if it lands short. It all depends on the opponent. 

I had the student spend the next five minutes working on backhand loops down the line (to a righty's backhand), and I expect he'll have more success now, and gain confidence in using the backhand loop. An added benefit is that this junior has a much stronger forehand than backhand, and backhand loops that go to an opponent's righty backhand will tend to come out toward his forehand.

Coaching Seminars in India

Here are more pictures from the ITTF Coaching Seminars that USATT Coaching Chair Richard McAfee is running in India.

Video Profile of Brooklyn Club

Here's a video profile (7:16) of the Brooklyn Table Tennis Club, with lots of action shots and interviews with Coach Nison Aronov and others.

Beer Pong with the Stars

Here's TMZ's gallery of celebrities playing beer pong, featuring Holly Madison, Kate Bosworth, Sofia Vergara, Jay Chandrasekhar, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kevin Heffernan, Maria Sharapova, Angie Harmon, Candice Bergen, John McEnroe, and Jennifer Garner. And here's Stephen Colbert on Beer Pong (4:18). And since we're on the topic, here are some amazing beer pong videos. (And I'm a non-drinker!!!)

Non-Table Tennis - Capclave SF Convention

This weekend (Fri-Sun) I'll be attending the Capclave Science Fiction Convention. (It's really SF, fantasy, and horror, but we often shorten that to just science fiction.) Since the convention is only five minutes away from the Maryland Table Tennis Center, I'm going to be running back and forth attending the convention and coaching table tennis. (I have 8.5 hours of coaching this weekend, minus three hours that I cancelled or postponed.) If any readers are local to Gaithersburg, Maryland (that's USA), and are into SF, come join us, and make sure to hunt me down! I'm on four panels, so I have an online bio. And here's my schedule (it's also online):

Friday 4PM, Rockville/Potomac Room
Comic relief

Panelists: James Maxey (M), Doug Fratz, Larry Hodges, Lawrence M. Schoen
How much comic relief can you put in a book before it gets shifted into the humor category? Does humor hurt or enhance a serious novel? Does it throw you out of the story if you expect Song of Ice and Fire and get a line right out of Xanth? What are examples of writers who get it right/wrong?

Saturday 1PM, Bethesda Room
21st Century Classics
Panelists:
 Michael D. Pederson (M), Laura Anne Gilman, Larry Hodges, Walter H. Hunt
What makes a book a classic? What modern works, published since 2000 do you think should be added to the list of classic SF and Fantasy works. What do you think people will still be reading in 50 years? Will Harry Potter be an eternal children’s must-read like Narnia?

Saturday 11PM, Bethesda Room
Shortest fiction
Panelists:
 Jamie Todd Rubin (M), Larry Hodges, Dina Leacock, Craig Alan Loewen, Jennifer Pelland
There is Flash Fiction, Tweets, and Drabbles. How to write for an instant gratification society.

Sunday Noon, Bethesda Room
My First Time
Panelists:
 Diana Peterfreund (M), Chris Dolley, Larry Hodges, Alan Smale
Authors discuss their first science fiction and fantasy novels. Have those novels stood the test of time. Did they spur you to become a writer.

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