San Francisco

August 20, 2013

MDTTC Camp - Week Ten

Yesterday we started the final week of our ten weeks of training camps. The kids were restless! I've never had so much trouble getting them to quiet down as we got started. I'm not sure if it was because school's one week away or because it was the last week of summer camps. (A number of them had been with us all or nearly every camp.) I had to send two of them to sit in the lounge, only the second time I'd done that all summer. (The previous time was when two kids got into a pushing fight, I think way back in week one or two.)

The focus on day one, as usual, was the forehand. We had a new group of beginners. Several had surprisingly good forehands to start with - not from coaching, but from watching and playing in their basements or other places. Two of them had been playing regularly at a table at their neighborhood swimming pool.

Watching the Ball

Players often advise beginners to "watch the ball." I always thought this was somewhat silly as I can't imagine anyone, even a beginner, not watching the ball, assuming they are playing serious. It's rarely come up when I coach, even with little kids, who naturally watch the ball intently. There are some technical aspects, such as do you watch the ball all the way to contact, or only to a certain point, since you can't react at the end?

I advise players to try to watch the ball right to contact, to allow for last-second adjustments and to make sure they are seeing the ball as well as possible. Watching the ball all the way especially helps when doing spin shots, where you just graze the ball, such as looping, pushing, chopping, and serving.

Some say you should look up sooner to see what the opponent is doing, but since at that point you can't really change your shot, that's pointless. You have plenty of time to hit the ball and then look up and prepare for your next shot, partially based on what the opponent is doing. Looking up sooner doesn't help any since the opponent doesn't yet know what you are going to do.

Here's something you can try doing - don't just watch the ball, watch the part of the ball you are going to hit. For example, if you are counterlooping, watch toward the top of the ball as the opponent's loop comes at you. The ball may be just this fuzzy white thing zipping at you, but you can still watch the top of the fuzzy thing. (If it's too fuzzy, perhaps you need glasses or contacts.) If you are pushing, watch toward the bottom of the ball.

Problems Reading This Blog?

Someone emailed me saying they were often getting Internal Server Errors when they came to this page. Anyone else having this problem? If so, please email me.

ITTF Level 2 Course in Atlanta

Here's an article from the ITTF on the course recently taught in Atlanta by Richard McAfee, Aug. 11-16.

USATT Tip of the Day

Here's a USATT Tip of the Day that features an excerpt from an interview with USA Olympian and nine-time U.S. Women's Singles Champion Gao Jun by USATT Magazine, from Jan/Feb 2000. The question asked by interviewer USATTM is, "What’s your secret? Can you share with our readers?" Gao's response starts off, "I have three words to share with everybody: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE." (Guess who interviewer "USATTM" is? Yes, that was me! I was editor of USA Table Tennis Magazine from 1991-1995 and 1999-2007, twelve years and 71 issues.)

Gerry Chua's Video Page

Here's Gerry Chua's Youtube page, where you can find lots of table tennis videos.

The Warrior Versus the Mayor

Here's an article and video (15 sec) from Table Tennis Nation of Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors playing San Francisco mayor Ed Lee in San Francisco‘s Third Annual Ping Pong Tournament and Festival in Chinatown.

Fancy Tables

Here are four fancy tables: Donald Duck and University of Oregon, Earth, some sort of texture, and Oregon State Beavers. (Click on each picture to see the next one.)

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April 27, 2011

Crystal Wang: 2031 at age 9!

Recently Lily Zhang became the youngest player to break 2500 at 14 years 9 months. Now I think another record has been broken. Crystal Wang (from Maryland Table Tennis Center), recently achieved a rating of 2031 at age 9 years 1 month. While a few players have broken 2000 at age 10, and possibly even age 9, I don't think any have done so this young.

She could have been rated even higher. In her last three tournaments, she's gone five games with players rated 2329 (up 2-1!), 2260 (up 2-1!), 2210, and 2176 (up 2-0!), and gotten games off players rated 2361, 2280, 2266, 2260, 2176, 2148, and a 2105 player twice. Her best win was a 2144 player in her last tournament. (Hopefully she won't get infatuated by ratings - but we can!)

She started in the summer of 2008. Her first rating was 602 in Sept. 2008. She didn't break 1000 until November 2009. Exactly one year ago, she was rated 1013, and that was her highest rating. Starting in May, 2010, she's been shooting up. At the Nationals in December, Crystal was 8 and rated "only" 1839.

Coached by Jack Huang, she plays a pretty orthodox shakehands inverted game, looping backspin from both wings, and then mostly hitting. She has surprising power - if you think you can beat her blocking or even lobbing, good luck! (I play her regularly at MDTTC.)

Seven minutes of the Best Points Ever?

Here's a compilation of some of the best points ever.

Touring San Francisco with ping-pong balls

Yes, you can tour a toothpick San Francisco with ping-pong balls! It's about four minutes long.

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