Looping Backspin

November 19, 2013

Weekend Coaching

I had a long weekend of coaching. Here's a rundown.

FRIDAY: I had "only" three students that day. First up was Orioles pitcher Darren O'Day. I've blogged about coaching him; normally he comes in on Wednesday afternoons, but he asked for an extra session and came in on Friday afternoon as well. One irritating thing: In the 21 years since we opened the Maryland Table Tennis Center I'd only been late for a session twice. Yes, you read that right; I always come in early to make sure I'm not late. Well, on Friday I had my times with Darren mixed up and so ended up coming in 15 minutes late, making it the third time I've been late in those 21 years, or once every seven years. (I'm sort of like a cicada.) The other two I was late for were both in the last three years - I wasn't late for a single session the first 18 years! (The other two - once with a joint session with John Olsen & Kevin Walton when I also had my times mixed up, and once with Sameer when there was an accident that kept me in traffic for an hour for the ten-minute drive to the club. Coincidentally I coached all three of the people or pairs that I had been late for this weekend.)

After Darren came Tim (30 min, a new student) and Sameer (90 min). With Tim we're working hard on the foundation of his game, especially on the forehand side. With Sameer we're mostly getting him ready for the North American Teams in ten days. (Key factor - he's still adjusting to a lower, wider stance, and often forgets that and stands up too straight.)

Then I spent some time watching Nathan Hsu and Derek Nie practice and play points as prep to coaching them at the Nationals. (I'm also coaching Derek at the Teams.)

SATURDAY: I taught classes from 9:30-10:30AM, and from 10:30AM-Noon, both for groups of kids. The 9:30 session was the last of the season; that group starts up again in January. Highlight of the sessions: the kids love to set the robot at full speed and frequency, but usually just end up having the balls shoot off the end. As a special treat I set the robot up at full speed and frequency at the end of both sessions, and let them try to keep the ball in play. I showed them how to just hold the racket out and block the balls back, and even though they were relative beginners in the 7-11 age range, they picked up on it. I also demoed smashing those balls with my forehand, which stretched my own game to its limit - those balls are coming fast and quick!

From 1:30-3:30 I coached and fed multiball for John & Kevin. They too are getting ready for the Teams, so we've upped the amount of random drills.  Afterwards I normally am a practice partner for a 4:30-6:30 session, but because of my recent knee problems I skipped that session; I'll be back next Saturday.

SUNDAY: This is the one day per week I coach outside MDTTC, driving to the homes of two students (Anton and Sameer) for private sessions. (Yes, they pay extra.) Then from 2-4PM we had a table tennis birthday party for a local player (with 17 kids roughly age 10), where I ran the table tennis portion from 2-3PM, with 30 minutes of instruction, 30 minutes of organized games (hitting targets on table as I fed multiball, such as stacked paper cups and a large rubber frog), and 30 minutes of free play.

Then I taught another class, from 4:30-6:00PM, with 12 kids. Once again we ended the session by setting the robot at full speed and frequency.

Monday: This is my "rest" day, but in reality it's my catch-up-with-everything day, as well as doing the Tip of the Week before I do the blog. So it's probably the busiest day of the week even though I don't do any coaching normally. I spent the entire day going through my todo list (mostly table tennis items), and got to most of them. (There were some serious time-consuming problems involving my recent novel, Sorcerers in Space. I had proofed the interiors, but they hadn't sent me the back cover to proof. I'd assumed they would just cut & paste the text I'd written for the back cover, but it turned out the designer had retyped the last paragraph - and inserted four typos!!! So we have to do a new version of that. This was only one of about a dozen problems involving the novel that I've been dealing with.)

I also managed to do laundry, get a haircut, change the oil and windshield wipers on my car, proof a letter of invitation to top Chinese players for a top-secret table tennis event coming up next year (more on that when it's time to go public!), and updated the junior table tennis program accounting. And while taking a break, I put together this "Top Twelve Ways the Orioles Can Improve" list which is now featured at Orioles Hangout!

TODAY I'm coaching Darren O'Day again, since he can't come in for his usual Wednesday time. He's my only coaching today - Wed through Sun are my busy days. I'm also working on the USATT Hall of Fame program booklet, and a bunch of other minor things on my todo list. One important item on today's list if I get to it - readers have found a few typos in my Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers book, so I hope to find time to make those corrections and upload a new version, both print and Kindle versions. I also have a new computer which I plan to put up soon - I got it in trade with John Olsen, and while not brand new, it's eons younger than the relatively ancient one (in computer years) I'm working on right now. I've already backed up everything on my current one.

Contact the Ball Sooner When Looping Backspin

Here's the article: One Myth About Attacking Backspin That You Probably Believe

ITTF Monthly Pongcast

Here's the video (12:03) which covers ITTF events and news for the month of October.

NBA Stars VS NFL Stars in Ping Pong

Here's the video (1:31) as part of the TopSpin Charity. And here's a synopsis of the event:

"The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) was proud to help support the efforts of TopSpin Charity's recent event in New York City. This year's event featured celebrity, corporate and individual table tennis tournaments. Numerous NBA players were in attendance including New York Knick Kenyon Martin and Brooklyn Nets Deron Williams. New York Giants Jason Pierre Paul and Shaun Rogers also made an appearance. TopSpin, a national philanthropic group dedicated to empowering America's youth through education, is donating all proceeds to nonprofit organizations as part of their efforts to better the educational opportunities for underserved youth."

Ping-Pong Paddle Reading in Bed

Here it is!

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