World Cadet Challenge

November 22, 2013

What I Did Yesterday

Normally I coach from 6-8PM on Thursdays, but the ten-week 6-7PM class I teach ended last week and doesn't restart until January, and my 7-8PM person was out of town. So what did I do on my "day off"?

  • I mostly finalized the USATT Hall of Fame Banquet Program Booklet, which I sent to the HoF Committee to proof. It'll go online at the USATT web page at some point, as well as the printed version for those at the banquet. This year's inductees are Todd Sweeris and Terese Terranova, with Yvonne Kronlage getting the Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • I updated my book Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers. I'd found a few typos, as had Jeff Smart, and Mark Dekeyser found a zillion or so, so I inputted all the corrections to both the print and kindle versions and uploaded both. The new versions are online now. Other than the typos (and adding a few words in the Choppers chapter to emphasize even more the importance of attacking the middle) there were no other changes. (If you have a copy of the book, look at the title page and a couple lines under my name, just after the copyright 2013 notice, it has a "v" followed by a date. That's the version number. So the new version is v11-21-13. If you don't have a copy of the book . . . buy one!!!
  • I prepared for the testing aspect for our Junior Progress Reports in our Beginning/Intermediate Junior Classes, which I teach. This weekend we'll be testing the kids on various TT skills, from ball-bouncing and rules questions (for the younger kids) to looping and counter-looping for the older and more advanced ones. This is the first time we've done this.
  • I set up the new computer I got from John Olsen and copied over all my files. Today I'm going to make the big transition from my current one to that one.
  • I responded to about a dozen emails asking table tennis questions, mostly coaching related.
  • I had a battle with, where they sell Dragon Speaking Naturally software. I decided to give it a try and ordered it last Friday morning. I paid extra to have it one-day UPS expressed, but it still hadn't arrived six days later. So I gave them a call. They explained that even though I'd paid extra for express shipping that didn't mean they'd ship it any sooner - just that it would ship faster once they got around to actually shipping it. They also admitted it still hadn't been shipped yet. They said it should go out "soon," and promised to send me a tracking number "within three business days." I wonder if Dragon Speaking Naturally software could translate what my thoughts were at this point?
  • I sent out 29 review copies of my novel Sorcerers in Space to possible reviewers. 15 were hard copies mailed at the post office, 14 were PDFs emailed.
  • The cover of Sorcerers in Space features a sorcerer's apprentice, but his lips are rather bright red and some thought it looked like he was wearing lipstick. So yesterday I opened the cover in Photoshop and slightly desaturated and lightened the lips, and sent the new version to the publisher. The new version should be up soon.
  • Got news that I'm now one of the 15 novels and 14 authors featured on the Science Fiction Writers of America website. (See box on lower right.) It's a rotating thing so you might have to hit reload a few times before I come up, both with my picture as an author on top, and the cover of "Sorcerers in Space" on the bottom. Or just click on the "More Member Authors" or "More Titles by Members" links and I come up with the others.
  • Since I had no coaching last night, I watched "Big Bang Theory" on TV, and then saw the new Hunger Games movie.
  • Oh, and I wrote my morning blog!

USATT Tips of the Day

USATT has been putting up as "Tips of the Day" the 171 Tips of the Week I wrote for them from 1999-2003 as "Dr. Ping-Pong." Here are the Tips they put up this past week. (Click on link for complete tip.) There are actually ten this time - I think the ones from Nov. 12-14 weren't up yet last Friday (Nov. 15) when I last put these up.

Nov 21, 2013 Tip of the Day - Improving a Level
What does it mean to move up a level in table tennis? I’d define two players to be on different levels if it would be a major upset if one defeated the other.
Nov 20, 2013 Tip of the Day - The Backhand Sidespin Push
You’re out of position, and your about to do a backhand chop to stay in the point.
Nov 19, 2013 Tip of the Day - The No-Spin Backhand Chop
You’re out of position, and your about to do a backhand chop to stay in the point.
Nov 18, 2013 Tip of the Day - The Quick Backhand Topspin Receive
One of the more effective ways to receive backspin serves to the backhand is with a right-off-the-bounce backhand topspin flip.

Nov 17, 2013 Tip of the Day - Playing With Everyday Objects
What could be more impressive than beating your non-table tennis friends and relatives very badly in table tennis? Beating them with ordinary household objects?

Nov 16, 2013 Tip of the Day - The Pre-Match Calm-Down
To play table tennis effectively, you need to have a calm, clear mind. How often have you actually played a tournament where you entered every match with a calm, clear mind?

Nov 15, 2013 Tip of the Day - Play the Middle Against Tall Players; Wide Angles Against Short Players
A tall player’s forehand and backhand shots are farther apart than a short player’s. So he is weaker in the middle area, where he has to decide whether to hit a forehand or backhand.

Nov 14, 2013 Tip of the Day - Play Against Conventional Wisdom
Conventional wisdom is usually correct that’s why it’s conventional. The problem is that if everyone follows conventional wisdom, opponents get used to it, and so become strong against what should give them trouble.

Nov 13, 2013 Tip of the Day - Playing Choppers
There is nothing more infuriating than losing to a patient chopper who lets you beat yourself with your own errors.
Nov 12, 2013 Tip of the Day - How to Play Against Hardbat
Let’s start out by realizing that if your opponent is using hardbat, and you are using sponge, you have an advantage. If it weren’t so, most players would be using hardbat!  

Positioning to Return a Smash

Here's the video from PingSkills (2:52).

22 Awesome Table Tennis Stamps

Here they are!

World Cadet Challenge

Here's a video (3:40) from the ITTF on " Table Tennis Future Stars - World Cadet Challenge | Faster Higher Stronger."

Top Ten Points

Here's a Top Ten Points video (6:11) from last year that I don't think I posted.

Outdoor Table Tennis

Here's a video documentary "Ralliers" (2:10) about outdoor table tennis in London.

Ma Long and Ball Collision

Here's a video (18 sec) showing Ma Long about to get smacked by a ball. Did it hit him in the face or did he manage to block it in time?

Ping-Pong Topiary Sculpture

Here it is, from China (of course)!

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November 13, 2012

Tip of the Week

Complex or Simple Tactics?

Crystal Wang

This past weekend 10-year-old Crystal Wang (from MDTTC) had a great tournament at the Potomac Open. You don't know who she is? Last year Crystal achieved a rating of 2150, the highest rating ever for a 9-year-old, boys or girls. She also made both the USA Mini-Cadet Girls' National Team (Under 12) and the USA Cadet Girls' Team (Under 15) at age 9, competing against girls much older. Unfortunately, this year she played three tournaments in a row where she struggled (including the U.S. Open), complaining her wrist hurt. They finally had it x-rayed, and discovered she had been playing with a fractured wrist from a fall! Her rating had dropped from 2166 to 2099, and she couldn't play for a couple months.

But now she's BACK! At the Potomac Open, at age 10, she beat players rated 2334, 2240, 2205, and 2149, while making the final of Under 2300. She didn't lose to anyone lower than 2200. I'm pretty sure she'll be adjusted well over 2200, which could definitely be the highest rating ever for a 10-year-old girl, and possibly for boys as well. (I'm pretty sure Kanak Jha is the only 10-year-old boy to break 2200.)

It's no fluke. In the MDTTC Elite League last week she knocked off two players over 2300 without losing to anyone below 2300. Even at 2099, she was the top rated girl in the U.S. in Under 11, Under 12, and Under 13.

Crystal plays a very modern two-winged looping game, hitting and looping on both sides. I've watched as she's gradually gone from basically hitting to looping from both wings, and her off-the-bounce backhand loop can now be a terror. She and Amy Wang (a year younger, rated 2069, from NJ) are essentially Ariel & Lily, Part II, east coast version - the new Dynamic Duo.

Potomac Open

Here are results, photos, and videos from the Potomac Open in Maryland this past weekend. Wang Qing Liang came back from down 0-3 to win against Sean Lonergan in the final. Sean upset Chen Bo Wen in the semifinals, also in seven games. Sean's been in China the last few years - not playing table tennis much - but started training recently to get ready for the North American Teams and the USA Nationals. You can see all of the final in the video page above, and many other big matches.

"He's the One" - Starring Derek Nie

Here's a funny music video (4:02) by the band E.D. Sedgwick that features U.S. Open 11 & Under Boys' Singles Champion Derek Nie. (Derek is from my club, MDTTC - I coached him in all his U.S. Open matches.) They had been planning this video for some time, and were originally going to use a regular actor to play the kid, and put the ball in via computer afterwards, but then they saw this Washington Post video (3:26) in August on the Maryland Table Tennis Center, which featured our juniors, including Derek - and thought he'd be perfect for the role. All the action scenes where you see one player playing I'm feeding multiball to the player, both to Derek and to the members of the band. It was great fun helping them put this together. It also taught us what I already knew but hadn't really experienced - that much of film-making is waiting around. Derek and I filled the time with lots of smashing and lobbing and various trick shots.

World Cadet Challenge

Here's an article on the USATT web page on the recent World Cadet Challenge, which included several USA cadets.

USATT Minutes

Last week the minutes to the April 19, 2012 USATT Board meeting finally went up. Now there's been a flurry of activity, and the minutes to the July 16 and Sept. 22 meetings have also gone up. Here are the USATT minutes dating back to 1999, including the new entries.

2012 World Fair Play Awards

Here's info on the awards. "If you had a fair play act within your association’s activity in 2012 or you consider a person or organization worth to be nominated for the Trophies, please submit your your application on the attached form before 1st December 2012."

Dancing Table Tennis

Here's a dance video tribute to table tennis (2:10).

OK Go Ping Pong Tips

Here's a humorous "how to" video on table tennis (4:34). It's from 2006, but I don't think I'd seen it before.

Non-Table Tennis - Update on U.S. Presidential Election

As I noted last week, I called all 50 states and the exact electoral count (332-206) in my blog last Tuesday morning. Now we have the essentially final popular vote. I predicted Obama over Romney, 50.5% to 48.5%. Final count was 50.6% to 47.9%. Not bad, considering everyone over at Fox News thought Romney was going to win, many predicting a landslide. (It's tricky predicting the vote turnout for third-party candidates, since many who say they will vote for one change their mind at the last minute rather than "waste" their vote. In this case I thought they'd get about 1% of the vote, but they got 1.5%, which is why I over-estimated Romney's final numbers.)

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November 5, 2012

Tip of the Week

Developing Your Forehand Smash. (Note - this is a greatly expanded version from a blog entry from Oct. 19, 2012.)

USATT's Newsletter Blog and a Possible New USATT Partnership with Clubs

My blog on Friday about the USATT's Newsletter and ways USATT could promote themselves and non-USATT table tennis programs around the country, was by far my most read blog ever, with 1690 reads (so far), versus 605 for the day before. It also led to some helpful email exchanges among USATT officials and myself, leading to a possible new emphasis on promoting leagues and junior programs around the U.S. with the newsletter and web page. The last paragraph of the blog was the key part, so I'll reprint it here:

Why not use the USATT eNewsletter (and webpage) to systematically promote the leagues and junior programs from around the country, even if they are not USATT programs? This brings players into the sport, and these players usually become USATT members. Specifically, they could have a central online listing of these leagues and junior programs, and use the eNewsletter to refer readers to them. (They already have this for tournaments, so they just need to refer to them in the eNewsletter. But there's far greater membership potential in leagues and junior programs, as demonstrated in Europe.) If a kid or parent gets the USATT eNewsletter (or goes to the USATT web page, for that matter), they don't learn about the great junior programs at clubs around the country. They don't learn about the great leagues in SF, LA, NY, and other regions, or in individual clubs. They don't even know these things exist. And so we lose them. Tennis and European table tennis actively refers people to these programs as their central focus. Why not use these non-USATT programs to promote table tennis, referring to them constantly in the eNewsletter and webpage, leading to a more prosperous USATT?

I think the key is that new players who come to the USATT home page or receive the newsletter have no idea there are leagues and junior programs out there, often right in their backyards. USATT doesn't have the resources to set up and run these programs, but others are already doing them - so a natural partnership is practically slapping us in the face, where USATT promotes these programs on their highly-trafficked web page, and these programs bring in USATT members. (In my emails, I explicitly pointed out I have a conflict of interest in this, since I run junior programs at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, which also has leagues.)

Developing Your Deep Serves

Here's an article "Your Deep Serves Should be a Weapon" by Olympian and three-time U.S. Men's Singles Champion Jim Butler. This is a must read for anyone who wants to turn their serves - long or short - into a weapon. Jim not only talks about how to make the long serve effective, but how it makes your short serves effective. (I find it almost astonishing how his thinking on this topic parallels my own - and he has the "moral" authority of someone who's beaten many of the top players in the world - including Waldner - with these serving tactics.) Here's my own article on the topic, "Turn Opponents into Puppets with Long Serves," the Tip of the Week on Oct. 22, 2012.

World Cadet Challenge

The World Cadet Challenge in Guam ended yesterday. Here's the ITTF page where you can get full results, articles, and pictures, and see how the players from your country did. (Here's another page that has lots of pictures from the event.) And here's a highlights video (2:52) that features USA Cadets Jonathan Ou and Allen Wang.


Here's a video feature (1:35) of USA's table tennis star and model Biba. When you only need one name to be known, you're good!!!

That is Table Tennis

Here's a new table tennis highlights video (14:54) from ttGermany. The second point shown (between Kalinikos Kreanga and Tokic Bojan) might be the best counterlooping point of the year.

"Ping Pong Summer"

The filming in Ocean City for the upcoming movie "Ping Pong Summer" (starring Spin NY owner Susan Sarandon, Lea Thompson, John Hannah, Robert Longstreet, Amy Sedaris, and of course the great Judah Friedlander - who I've coached several times!) just finished. Here's an article on it, and here's the IMDB page. "The story is a coming-of-age tale involving one boy's love of hip-hop and ping pong during a summer in Ocean City in the 1980's."

I'm Running for President of the United States

Yes, I, Larry Hodges, am throwing my paddle into the ring. Here is my platform where I answer the hard questions facing our illustrious nation. I'm ready to debate Obama and Romney anytime (today) and anywhere (within driving distance of my house in Maryland) - or we could just settle it, mano-a-mano, on the table.

  1. Foreign Affairs. We're too soft on the Chinese. Next time I see Zhang Jike I will punch him in the nose. This will show the world we're serious about these foreign affairs thingies and gain us respect so other countries will cower in fear and do our bidding.
  2. Immigration. If your name is Wang, come on in. (Penhold or shakehand?) If your name is Rodriquez, sorry.
  3. Economy. I will require all Americans to play table tennis for one hour every day. With 300 million people regularly buying exorbitantly priced table tennis sponge, rackets, shoes, and other table tennis necessities, it will spur the economy.
  4. Health Care. Who needs it when everyone's getting in such great shape from an hour of ping-pong every day?
  5. Energy Independence. I've tried oil, coal, even radium, and all it did was get my paddle all gooey, dusty, and gave me cancer. We'll just have to rely on Japan for our tenergy needs.
  6. Taxes. I will neither raise nor lower taxes. I believe taxes should stay right where they are, at street level, ready to transport Americans from airports and hotels to tournament playing halls every weekend. You should tip your hats to these hard-working Americans, and tip them well.
  7. Bi-partisanship. I am willing to work across the aisle with anyone, except those stupid pen holders who can't shake hands without jabbing you with their pen. Pen holders should be banned; we have things called word processors.
  8. Vice President. I want a vice president who is level-headed, thoughtful, and without ego. Marty Reisman is my choice. (We'll ignore for now that his name is an anagram for "Misery Mantra," "Remain Smarty," "Martyr is Mean," and "My Rat Seminar.")
  9. Service. I have nothing but praise for the service, whether it be pendulum, tomahawk, or backhand. The service is our front-line defense, and I have nothing but contempt for those who receive the service aggressively rather than give it the respect it deserves.
  10. Hard bat. I am very much in favor of the hard bat movement. In fact, I keep a toy plastic bat on my desk. Go ahead and wrap your knuckle against it, it's hard as rock.
  11. Core Values. Unlike some candidates, I do not flip based on the situation just to score political points. I pledge to you that I will only push against short balls. Let my opponents be the flippers we all despise.
  12. National Debt. We've been building up a national debt for many years, while China, Japan, Sweden, Hungary, and other countries have had an imbalance with us. I figure we should sweep the next ten World Championships, and we'll call it even.
  13. Self-sufficiency. There's an old saying, "Give someone a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish, and he eats for a lifetime." It's true - some of the best fishers play in the European leagues, and with their topspin defense, make hordes of money. They'll never go hungry.
  14. Capitalism or Socialism? Yes.
  15. Table Tennis or Ping-Pong? Yes.
  16. Size of Government. I want government to keep their dirty hands off our social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and off our streets and out of our schools and libraries. Why can't they just build ping-pong centers and leave us alone?


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November 2, 2012

USA Table Tennis Newsletter

USATT's monthly eNewsletter came on Wednesday. (Go here to join their mailing list.) Kudos to USATT and editor Andy Horn for putting this together!

Now a little history and comments. The newsletter was "born" at the Strategic Meeting held in Colorado Springs in September, 2009. I put "born" in quotes because there were already plans to create it before the meeting, since nearly every other Olympic sport was already doing them. During the meeting we came up with three "priorities," with a task force for each: Communication, Juniors, and "Grow Membership Through Added Value."  (I wrote a lot about this in my blog on the two-year anniversary, on Sept. 26, 2011.) At the meeting I was initially against making Communication one of the three Priorities, but was convinced otherwise by attendees. However, I argued that Communication as a Priority would be meaningless unless we had programs to communicate about. I thought the three priorities should have been Leagues, Club-based Junior Programs, and (with those two to communicate about) Communication.

Unfortunately, nothing came of the Junior and "Grow Membership Through Added Value" task forces, and so we were left with just Communication. We did get a new website, as well as the eNewsletter. But my point from 2009 is still the same - Communication is somewhat pointless if you don't have programs to communicate.

The current eNewsletter has interesting stuff, with headlines about the USATT's Athletes Advisory Council Accepting Applications; Remembering Olga Feingold Kahan; News on the US Cadets medaling in international tournaments; Ping-Pong film making debut in New York City; Ariel Hsing competing against a celebrity; Playing table tennis with Peter Gabriel; the Annual Giving Campaign; and an item on Renewing Your Membership. These are all nice items, but they do not promote any USATT programs.

Contrast this with the October newsletter I received from the U.S. Tennis Association. Their first headline is about the 2012 League Division Champions (i.e. like a USATT rating event but with teams). It includes a picture of the "2.5 Men's National Champions," which is roughly the equivalent in table tennis of "Under 1500 Men's National Champions." Their second item is titled "Get Your Kids Active - Attend an Event!", which is about "Play Day," an event to bring kids into tennis. Below that there's a headline "10 and Under Tennis - a Whole New Ballgame," which also promotes kids to play tennis. And then there's a link to "The Road to Jr. Team Tennis Nationals." (They also have an item about USTA membership, which includes the headline "Enjoy a Sport for a Lifetime." They also include a tennis coaching tip in each issue.)

All of these items are geared toward getting people to play tennis and join USTA. Over and over in their newsletters USTA focuses on promoting their core programs - leagues, junior programs, and the U.S. Open (which is highlighted in most newsletters, but not this one). The key is that USTA has nationwide leagues and junior programs to promote. USATT does not. So there's not much to put in the newsletter regarding USATT programs. (I'm talking about programs for the masses, not just elite players, which USATT tends to focus on.) This is why Andy gets kudos for putting the issue together, despite it not really promoting USATT programs that don't exist.

USATT does have the U.S. Open and USA Nationals (promoted in the previous eNewsletter), but haven't really made any serious attempt to increase the number of entries at these events, which get far fewer entries these days than the 1000+ players at the 1974 and 1975 U.S. Opens or the 700 or so many years in the 1990s, and the 800+ at the Nationals in 2005-2006. (This year's U.S. Open had 564 players, one of the worst showings ever, while the last Nationals had 502 players, the second worst ever ands the lowest since the ratings went online in 1994, which allows us to see the number of entries for each tournament).

I run a monthly eNewsletter for the Maryland Table Tennis Center. Every issue focuses on promoting our programs - private and group coaching, junior programs, leagues, and tournaments. Mixed in with these are interesting news items, like the ones USATT does. Other major table tennis centers do the same. The key is to have a core focus, and focus on promoting it.

USTA has a membership of 700,000, USATT about 8000. By contrast, Germany, England, and France, which focus on leagues and junior programs, have table tennis memberships of 700,000, 500,000, and 300,000. Think about it.

Since USATT doesn't currently have many of its own programs to promote to the masses, other than the U.S. Open and USA Nationals, here's an idea: why not use the USATT eNewsletter (and webpage) to systematically promote the leagues and junior programs from around the country, even if they are not USATT programs? This brings players into the sport, and these players usually become USATT members. Specifically, they could have a central online listing of these leagues and junior programs, and use the eNewsletter to refer readers to them. (They already have this for tournaments, so they just need to refer to them in the eNewsletter. But there's far greater membership potential in leagues and junior programs, as demonstrated in Europe.) If a kid or parent gets the USATT eNewsletter (or goes to the USATT web page, for that matter), they don't learn about the great junior programs at clubs around the country. They don't learn about the great leagues in SF, LA, NY, and other regions, or in individual clubs. They don't even know these things exist. And so we lose them. Tennis and European table tennis actively refers people to these programs as their central focus. Why not use these non-USATT programs to promote table tennis, referring to them constantly in the eNewsletter and webpage, leading to a more prosperous USATT?

Bids Wanted for 2013 National Team Trials

Here's the info sheet. Deadline to apply is Nov. 15, 2012. This is for clubs or cities to bid to run the 2013 USA National Team Trials, scheduled for Feb. 7-10, 2013.

Call for Nominations - Annual Coach of the Year

Here's the info sheet. Deadline for nominations is Dec. 15, 2012. "The U.S. Olympic Committee annually conducts a Coach of the Year recognition program within the family of Olympic and Pan American sports. There are five categories for which nominations may be made and they are: Volunteer, Developmental, National, Paralympic and the Doc Counsilman (Technology) area. USA Table Tennis takes this opportunity to solicit nominations from our membership for these categories."

Opening Ceremonies for World Cadet Challenge

Here's the opening ceremonies to the World Cadet Challenge currently being held in Guam (54:32). The World Cadet Challenge is going on right now in Guam, Oct. 27 - Nov. 4. Team North America (USA and Canada) marches in at 5:41, and are announced at 6:01. Here's the ITTF World Cadet Challenge page, with schedules, results, articles, and pictures.

Fantasy Table Tennis Artwork

Here's the latest fantasy table tennis artwork from Mike Mezyan. Click on the picture and you'll through a whole series of his works. Better still, go to his home photo page, and see all the thumbnails.

Pongress: International Ping Pong Congress

Yes, they almost done with the second "International Ping Pong Congress," and I've never even heard of it. Here's their description - and there's a bit of exaggeration when they say the event "brings together the world's best players." (Somehow I can't picture the Chinese team being there.) "The second International Ping Pong Congress has just taken place at the Cumberland Arms in Newcastle. Ping pong players from around the world came together to celebrate 'Pongress,' a week-long event which brings together the world’s best players (or should that be beer drinkers!). Pongress runs until 3rd November." Make sure to watch the linked video!

Twelve Animals Playing Table Tennis

They may not be Da Vinci's, but they are hilarious! Here are color drawings of 12 animals playing table tennis, including five dinosaurs, an alligator, dolphin, tuna, swordfish, shark, octopus, turtle, and one grouping of six of them.

Ghostly Table Tennis

Here's an animated gif of two ghosts playing table tennis - Happy Belated Halloween!


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October 29, 2012

Tip of the Week

The Falkenberg Drill.

Malware Illusion

If you are using Chrome as your browser (as I do), you may still be getting some malware warnings when you come to this site. It's an illusion, since Google inadvertently listed this (and many other sites I've found) as having malware problems recently, and Chrome is still picking up on this for some reason. (Explorer, Firefox, and other browsers are not.) I'm calling my server today to find out how best to fix this problem quickly. It turns out the site never had any malware at all. None. Zilch. Clean as a fresh sheet of table tennis sponge.

Hurricane Sandy

As I write this, Hurricane Sandy approaches with the sole purpose to disrupt my table tennis coaching schedule. Yes, that's my theory, and I'm sticking with it. The winds haven't reached here yet, but it's pouring rain outside. So here's a special hurricane section.

  • HHH: In the junior class I teach on Saturday and Sunday I asked everyone which of the three H's they found most exciting, Hurricane Sandy, Halloween, or Hodges Table Tennis Class. Alas, I didn't fare well in the voting. (John Hsu, who assisted on Sunday, pointed out that he's also an H, so I guess the class was a 4-H meeting.)
  • Hurricane Sandy Anagrams: Insured Anarchy, Rude Anarchy Sin, Rich Nerdy Sauna, Rush Rainy Dance, and Dry Insurance? Ha!
  • Hurricane Sandy Paddle: Yes, They've already got a Hurricane Sandy Paddle!

Grip Problems

Perhaps the biggest problem with coaching younger beginning kids is getting them to stick to a good grip. This weekend I found five different problematic grips various kids were using. The problem is that even when you correct their grips, they go back to the bad one almost immediately, often without even knowing it. Here are some of the grip problems the beginning kids had this weekend:

  • Hasegawa grip. This is where they put the index finger straight down the middle of the paddle. This leads to tight muscles and awkward, wristy strokes.
  • Low grip. With this grip, there's a big gap between the hand and paddle. (It's a less extreme version of the Hasegawa grip.) Developing players who use this grip often end up with wristy problems and a lack of control.
  • Seemiller grip. This very short kid kept rotating the racket so that he'd hit his forehand with nearly a Seemiller grip, with his thumb off the racket and pointing at his opponent, and essentially block the forehand. Then he'd change his grip to normal for his backhand.
  • Thumb grip. This is where they put the soft part of the thumb on the paddle, essentially an extreme backhand grip.
  • Hunched shoulder grip. This kid hunched up his playing shoulder, and to compensate, held his racket with the top rotated to his forehand side (an extreme backhand grip). I'm not sure if the hunched shoulder led to the grip or the grip led to the hunched shoulder.

Olga Feingold Kahan - R.I.P.

We've lost one of our illustrious members and a hard-working volunteer. Here's Tim Boggan's tribute to Olga Feingold Kahan, who died over the weekend.

World Cadet Challenge

The World Cadet Challenge is going on right now in Guam, Oct. 27 - Nov. 4. Here's the ITTF World Cadet Challenge page, with schedules, results, articles, and pictures. Here's a picture of the North American Team, which includes USA players Allen Wang, Jonathan Ou, Isabel Chu, and Diane Jiang.

Four Tips from a Teen Olympian

Here's an article in Forbes Magazine that features advice from U.S. Women's Champion and Olympian Ariel Hsing. The short version? 1) Master the fundamentals; 2) Take risk; 3) Be willing to fail; and 4) Practice, practice, practice. Pretty good advice for table tennis, business people, or life in general.

Changing Your Grip

Here's a video from PingSkills (1:51) on changing the grip from forehand to backhand.

Pongcast Episode 18

Here's their latest episode (16:25), showcasing the 2012 European Championships.

Ping-Pong Dance

This video can best be described as a mixture of table tennis and break dancing (4:07).

I don't know how to describe this dance (4:07), which seems a mixture of table tennis and break dancing.


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