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So when the initial Paralympic bids came out on January 15th, Pam had earned a Paralympic bid and I was on the outside looking in as the number one alternate because the 12th spot which I was in was a Bipartisan Pick. I was battling for the last spot with athletes from France, Great Britain and Brazil. This was an awful spot to be in because now I had to wait until March 12, to see if I was the chosen one out of the three other athletes to be selected as the Bipartisan Pick.

The wait between the initial picks on January 15th and the second round of picks on March 12th seemed like an eternity. I spent countless hours talking and thinking about the position I was in with no control over what the outcome would be. Pam and I wanted our dream to become a reality so badly because at this point Pam had already been selected as a Paralympian and if I was not selected Pam would only be able to play in the Singles Event at the Paralympics and not the Team Event.

On the morning of March 12th after waking up every hour of the night to check the website to see if I was selected to be the Bipartisan Pick the information was finally posted about 5: At first I did not want to open the document because the possibility existed that my Paralympic dream could end up being a nightmare. So with my husbands urging I finally got the courage to open the document and see where I stood.

Words cannot express the joy and honor I felt after I saw my name in the 12th and final spot as the Bipartisan Pick to be a member of the Paralympic Team representing the United States in the sport of Table Tennis. After waiting weeks to hear this awesome news and remembering that Pam had told me countless times that she wanted the news as soon as I found out I decided to call her at 4: The road back to being a Paralympian together for Pam and I started out as a far fetched dream back in December of and ended up as reality in March of Who could have asked for a better ending after four years of chasing a dream.

Photo by Rick Thigpen Quest to Be a Winner by Tara Profitt When I returned to table tennis about four years ago I needed to find a local club that was wheelchair accessible. The first local club I visited was just that and I thought the club would work until I doscovered that most players at the club were not willing to play with a beginner, let alone a female beginner in a wheelchair. Feeling alienated, and knowing it would take me awhile to feel welcomed, and in order to obtain the best play possible, I was forced to search for an alternative. My next attempt to find a place to play was at a local senior center.

My first experience playing at this senior center went better than the local USATT club a few weeks prior. Coming in as a beginner and a female wheelchair player, to an all male club, was a barrier I had to work hard to break through. After the men at this senior table tennis club finally realized that I was not going away because I kept coming back week after week and my play was getting better I felt more and more welcomed.

As time went on, more females came to play and now that club has about 20 members with half being women.

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It just so happens I manage the club now along with a longtime male club member. Later, I started a table tennis club at another local senior center-- so, going between the two clubs allows me to play table tennis five days a week for at least two hours a day at either location. Because I am a class 2 player, and due to the nature of my disability and the physical limitations I have, chances are that my USATT rating will probably not get much higher than There are 11 classes in Para Table Tennis, with the 11th class being for Intellectually Challenged athletes.

The first five classes are wheelchair athletes and the next five classes are standing disabled athletes. As the handicap class goes up, the severity of the disability and physical limitation goes down. While the competition and skill level at the local senior center clubs I manage is basic compared to the level at most USATT clubs, I feel that it fulfills my needs as a class 2 player in many different ways.

I feel fortunate to have my senior center members, they are some of my biggest fans and supporters and are more than happy to do whatever it takes to help me achieve my table tennis dreams. It was my great fortune to attend the LNVTTC back in May of for a tournament and here I approached Roman about being my coach after recommendations from several others. I think he was a little apprehensive at first because he had never coached a wheelchair player before, but he was willing to give it a try to see what would happen.

Little did he know what he was getting into, and at times, I imagine he wonders as to why he took me on as a student. Certainly, it appears that we worked it out because Roman helped me achieve every table tennis goal I set for myself since I started playing again I practice with Roman at least once a week.

There was a learning curve at first because some strategies of the wheelchair game are different than the able-bodied game. Play can vary depending upon the handicap class the athlete is in. As I said, I am a class 2 player; I play with my racquet strapped to my hand, and I am unable to adjust my grip on the racquet at all which can make some shots harder to achieve. Roman and I do the standard forehand, backhand, and multi-ball drills. We also work on deep serves, angle shots, and shovel shots. Shovel shots are usually high arcing shots that land on your opponents side of the table within about six inches of the net.

If you can hit a shovel shot with a lot of backspin so the ball bounces just over the net on your opponents side and bounces away from them, usually the point is yours. These shots are used mostly in wheelchair play due to the limited reach and mobility of If your opponent cannot reach the ball there is no way to win the point.

Roman and I play matches with him sitting in a chair to simulate the matches that I experience when up against other wheelchair players. At first Roman was a little intimidated playing this way because it was a totally different style of play for him. I think this quote from the Hartford Courant sums up his initial experience: When I first sat down, I was intimidated, I really was. Now that Roman is comfortable playing in a chair our matches can get a little heated due to my overly competitive nature. There are times I wish I could place the ball where he has to stretch just enough to tumble from his perch on the opposite end of the table.

Not to hurt him or anything, but just to send a message! I cannot thank Roman enough for the time and dedication he has given to me along with his willingness to learn the wheelchair game. Unfortunately there are a limited number of coaches with knowledge of the wheelchair game, so I would also like to thank all the other coaches out there who take the time to learn the game and embrace wheelchair table tennis athletes. Now that I have established myself in the sport of table tennis and am accepted at any USATT club I decide to play at, I think we as the USATT community need to embrace new members that frequent our clubs regardless of skill level or personal situation.

The only way to grow a sport and encourage participation is to make table tennis a positive experience for all. My hope in writing this article is to broaden the knowledge of the USATT community as to the opportunities out there for athletes with disabilities within the sport of table tennis. While you may not fit the bill yourself, maybe your neighbor will, and word of mouth will help build the PTT community in the US.

To become eligible to participate in PTT events a person has to have some form of a permanent physical disability. Whether a person was born with a disability or became disabled due to illness or accident it does not matter. Athletes need to be seen by a classifier to determine if the nature of their disability falls within the guidelines to be a PTT athlete.

Table tennis athletes are classified into classes ranging from 1 to Classes1 to 5 are for athletes competing in wheelchairs, while classes 6.

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As the class number goes up the severity of the disability goes down. The purpose of classification is to create fair and equitable play. The process involves an assessment by a certified classification officer. To be classified, a player will have to attend an ITTF tournament or be seen at a classification clinic at a major tournament in the United States.

Para table tennis follows the rules of the International Table Tennis Federation ITTF with only a slight modification to the serve for those athletes competing in wheelchairs. When serving in singles to wheelchair classes, the serve must come off the end of the table, it cannot exit the table off the side. When a disabled player visits your club for the first time treat the person as you would any other beginner that comes to your club. While the person may look or play differently, you should still feel encouraged to hop on a table with them and make them feel welcomed.

As a former Paralympic athlete for ten years in the sport of wheelchair basketball the first lesson I needed to learn was that player profiling has nothing to do with that players ability to play and exceed in the sport of table tennis. As a basketball player, often times just by watching our opponents in warm-ups it would apparent that they stood no chance of winning based on speed and strength. Instead, it is the psychological aspect which includes controlling the tempo, pace, attitude, and emotional equilibrium that is most important.

I have been pounded easily by girls that are inferior to my strength and speed, because their mental aptitude and technical skills were superior to mine. Therefore, it was important for me, in competing at a high level, to find a balance of both physical and mental preparation for the sport. Another difference I have found training for table tennis versus my other sports is that table tennis actually requires more preparation time. I spend multiple hours on the table practicing serves, multiball, individual drills, practice matches, and off table time watching videos, visualization, journaling, goal setting, positive talk and thoughts, and staying focused on improving the technical aspects of the sport.

I can honestly say there is no fast track in the sport of table tennis. To reach an elite level requires time, dedication, and focused preparation. As a player, the harder you work, along with your willingness to listen to coaches and try new drills to improve your weaknesses,. Working on your weaknesses is frustrating and it makes you feel vulnerable, but our largest gains can occur during those training sessions.

This is the time a coach can make a huge difference. Strongly suggesting that we continue to follow a previously devised plan and not altering from it, will in the end permit us to meet our goals. Setting goals that are too high without adequate time to achieve it can be devastating for an athlete. Consequently, developing a plan that will fit into your lifestyle is important to maintain individual accountability.

Dreams are imaginings of what we can make happen in our lives. It gives us direction and hope to accomplish things that are bigger than us. After my automobile accident that left me paralyzed from the chest down I never gave up on my dreams. Actually it made me work harder than ever to prove that I can still accomplish anything that I set my mind to.

My original vision for myself may have been altered slightly but never allowed to perish. Our dreams require small steps and these practical steps build a strong foundation for success. TENSION II, introduces special polymer material to the rubber and sponge giving a huge improvement in performance, in addition to a new high porous sponge to provide both better speed and spin.

The rubber surface undergoes special treatment. The high adhesiveness and high resistance produces strong spin. High level coaches and training partners. Best Western, Special rates for table tennis players. Breakfast included at no extra charge. Please send form with full payment to: Attila Malek, Olympic Ave. Now this year the U. But, while supportive of one another, this Team—Adam Hugh, Mike Landers, Grant Li, Barney Reed, and Tim Wang—had no experienced player, no professional, the Team could count on to rally them, keep them in contention to come first in their inherited Third Division.

In winning 6 out of 9 ties, they finished not as best they could, World 49, but World Initially, 24 teams, divided into four round robins of six teams each, contest for the title. Which meant that for the coveted third position the drama centered on the remaining three teams—Sweden, Greece, and Korea DPR North Korea —all of which finished with records. How was the tie-breaker resolved? Korea DPR began by downing Sweden with Par Gerell—he comes from the famous glassware town of Vaxjo— losing, as if a little glassy-eyed, two five-gamers. Then in the fourth round, Greece all three of its players contributing defeated 4 finisher Korea DPR, Former flamboyant Greek star Kalinikos Kreanga, his ranking fallen to World 60, is now opting to spend less time with table tennis and more with his family.

Thus Sweden at least theoretically stayed in contention for the Championship. The Czechs were beaten, first, by Serbia.

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Three-time U. Open Champ Aleksander Karakasevic took two. Photo by Diego Schaaf Hero in this tie, along with Karakasevic, was the Serbian 3 the 3 positioned player plays only one match , Marko Jevtovic, who bested the valorous Czech, Lubomir Jancarik, in an unusual 6, 8, , 2 finish. The Czechs again went down, , to Spain—this despite an opening two-match sweep, after which all three Czechs lost in five-games.

Portugal, playing without their injured 1 Thiago Apolonia, pulled off an opening every-game-close win against Spain when their World 54 Jiao Monteiro— somebody said for the first time—defeated World 73 He Zhiwen. When penholder He serves, the paddle goes up by his ear. Once whiffing a shot, he dropped said paddle, retrieved it from the Gerflor and immediately showed it to the umpire—he knows the rules. And so do his teammates. The offense: The Letter of the Law, if you can find it here, is one thing, the Spirit of it is another.

Then in the fourth round, Singapore followed with another win—over Serbia that allowed them and not the Serbs to advance as 3. Group C saw, right off the bat it was some first-round 8: Down in matches to a much inferior team on paper, Korea staged the most exciting rally of any early-round play: But despite such resistance, Chinese Taipei did not come second in the Group—Austria, losing only to Korea, beat them though had Chen not lost a in-the-fifth thriller to Robert Gardos, Chinese Taipei would have had a start and the outcome might well have been different.

However, when in their last tie, France and Simon Gauzy succumbed in a in-the-fourth last gasp, Chinese Taipei went on to Positions 1-to12 play, and France, along with 5 Hungary and 6 Denmark did not. Cause for worry? Surely not—Maharu Yoshimura was up Only he, too, lost…in a sickly in-the-fifth match to Bartosz Such. Such an ending—for Kishikawa was back and again went south in the fifth.

So, o. Did it matter? Just maybe. True, Belarus might have only one loss too, but the head-to-head tie-breaker would go to Japan. No way… Except Jun Mizutani, World 8, did have to go five in the first match of that. The men entered the tournament as the top seed in the Third Division the 49th rated team of entries. The best that they could have finished would have been However, the coveted prize of each division is to finish in the Top 2 and move up to a higher division for the next championships.

The US finished fifth in their Division 53rd overall. Lithuania won the group with 5 wins and no losses. Team USA finished second, having tied with Malaysia with a record but advancing due to the head to head results. In order to accomplish this, the draw would have required beating Cyprus, then the Dominican Republica, and then either Thailand or Lithuania.

The results did not turn out well for Team USA. The first match was three close games to Lin Ju who defeated Adam Hugh , , and in straight games. The second match was a quick start by Juan Vila Batista who ran off three straight dominating wins over Timothy Wang , , and And finally, after losing the first game , Barney Reed lost to Emil Santos as well. The Dominican Republic moved on to edge out Lithuania before falling in the Final to Paraguay The US then moved to a Consulation Round to decide positions Timothy Wang by Rick Thigpen.

Japan was nervous? Tie What was going on? But, yeah, alright, Matsudaira regained control. And Mizutani had no trouble at all with the energetic two-time U. Open Champ Keinath. When in their last tie Poland swept by Russia, , the best the Russians could do in this Group was fourth. Meanwhile, IF, in their last tie, Croatia could beat Belarus, three teams, Poland, Croatia, and Belarus, would be tied for the second and third positions. Thus Belarus secured a 2 finish. Poland would place third. Croatia fifth.

And the shut-out Slovaks sixth. Open Champ Chen Weixing one. Chinese Taipei prevailed over Hong Kong, Back and forth wins and losses here from first to last. But would you believe such an experienced player mis-served at 9-all in the fifth! Jiang evened the tie with a win over Chuang. But then, down in games, Gao in the fourth escaped, and easily took the fifth.

Then, despite having the largely European crowd with him how they love it when lobbing, lobbing, lobbing their Vladi suddenly counters for the point , Samsonov could not muster much of a challenge and was beaten in straight games by Gao. Gardos won a game from Olympic Champion Ma Lin—then took a bow to appropriate applause.

The order of play had changed since their First Stage tie—now there was no Oh over Chuang, in the fifth, no Joo over Chen, in the fifth. And after Ryu showed he was much too accomplished for hefty World Wu, Joo was back to make amends for his hard-to-understand earlier loss to World Chen.

Until of course it was stopped. Against Kenji Matsudaira, the powerful Yang Zi won the first from up, but then lost the second from the same score. Then, in grave danger of blowing the third after the young Japanese had again rallied to deuce it from down, Yang staggered to a win. And he did—won the third, the tight fourth, but then in the even tighter fifth had finally to give way. Patrick Baum stopped Par Gerrel. Sweden has no higherranked player than World 57 Persson, now 46 years old. Open Champion Oh Sang Eun. Then, though down in the third game, he tied it up Oh returns and fast-serve catches Ma off guard.

However, in the second and third games, Wang is dashing around, shouting with every winning point, and has convincing, wins. Then from 8-all in the fifth, continuing to show energy and enthusiasm, he runs out the game. The second half of the second and third games, however, are not won so easily.

It takes Ovtcharov four ads to eke out the second. Then in the third, though up. Next up, lefty Timo Boll vs. Of course Boll is a huge favorite with the audience. And maybe he is with the young Japanese too. For, after losing the first game , Niwa makes a series of errors from the mid-game second that drops him into a two-gamesdown Japanese sand-dunes pit. Can he dig out? The Germans are up 2-nil this tie. Still, the third match of the tie looks to be a dead-even one—World 17 Kishikawa vs. World 18 Baum.

In the first game, a whirligig of a wind-up forehand goes in—make that two whirligigs—for the wired Japanese youth. In the second, from 6-all, Kishikawa runs it out. He rallies, however, until Kishikawa forces him back and cleanly puts away his lob return. Germany 2-Japan 1. Boll is back to claps, and caps his return by going up on Mizutani. But in the second, from up, Mizutani falters.

Among his errors: But he went on to win a long counter-exchange and go up Of course not—he was up double-match-point, and his supporters were already clapping and singing. But Mizutana got to on a perfect placement. A great moving-all-around-the-court exchange brought Boll the penultimate point, and a sharp wristy kill the clincher. They come through a corridor formed by a cheerleading acrobatic troupe that had periodically been entertaining the audience. The Chinese, conscious of the attention given them, wave informally to the audience.

The usual individual introductions of the players and officials are made to prolonged cheers, especially for the Germans. And starting the third with a point-winner, Zhang with seemingly unlimited energy was jogging round the court. On into the fifth. Or was. How explain it to the unbelieving spectators: But give him lots of credit. So why play the next? But, hey, no World-class competitor can afford to take to heart such a creep-in thought like that. Wang had been making errors, playing poorly.

Rather soon into the second game however, his whole demeanor changed. By 4-all he was making guttural sounds of encouragement to self—and, taking 7 of the next 8 points, emerged a new player. Home-crowd rhythmic clapping, horn-honking was to no avail. Wang, winning the third , was too fast, too powerful, too eruptingly there. Soon the winning players were in the center of the court linking salutes to all four corners of the Halle, of the world. It was the 18th time China had won this Championship, and of course they got a sporting ovation. Cameras flashed from all over.

At the other extreme, was our USA Team. Still, our players had their moments. In our beginning match against the repeatedly extended 2 finisher Romania —with three stumbles , our Lily Zhang, World , upset Daniela Dodean, World This was a major accomplishment, especially after losing that third game to go down in games and then persevering, unintimidated, to take the fifth.

In the opening match, during the first two split games, Ariel held her own against Viktoria Pavlovich, World 28, dropping the first game, , but taking the second , thus winning 23 points, losing But there was a huge difference in tactics here as Pavlovich, the year-old lean-faced professional, went on to take the last two games from the year-old, not-yet-seasoned Ariel who, though having improved the consistency of her loop against chop, had little of the needed variety in her play to beat this very experienced European Champion.

Again, the U. Following that loss to Belarus, Gao Jun played for the only time in these Preliminary matches, against the defensive-minded Ukraine, and handily won her two matches. But neither Ariel nor Erica Wu alternating with Judy Hugh in the one-match-per-tie 3 position could win the needed closer. Open Champion Georgina Pota, World Had Ukraine won this tie, they would have advanced as 2 in the Group. Now they would end up where? The third-place finish in a Group was important, for it advanced that team to the Single Elimination play for positions rather than , thus giving them a little added prestige and a paper chance for the Championship.

Ukraine opened with a might-have-beenreversed win over Hungary Ganna Gaponova rallying to take the fourth and then the fifth game from Petra Lovas, and Pesotska, repeatedly a Pro Tour Under 21 threat, rallying from down to 9, 12, 8 snatch victory from Pota. The last ties, however, were key. In the fourth round, Ukraine, having been beaten by China, lost their second match to Belarus. Pesotska, having. Then, as expected,Viktoria mercilessly finished off a hopelessly outclassed Bilenko, 1, 2, 4.

That fourth-round loss, plus the fifth-round one to Romania, gave Ukraine a sour-tasting finish. With the result that Hungary advanced as 3, and the valiant Ukraine , along with Belarus , fell into the category. Could Group B be so contested? Defending Champion Singapore, , versus the Netherlands, , was the top-two-positions decider. But eventually unattainable. Wang won, 5 in the fifth. No hint in the beginning matches, though, that this tie would go five. Sweden, down , survived Chinese Taipei by last-minute heroics. World Daniela Moskovits won in the fourth, then in the fifth to embarrass to the nth degree Huang Yi-Hua and give her teammate Matilda Ekholm the chance to be a co-heroine.

Which she was—winning in five over Cheng I-Ching. Sweden, however, lost the hoped-for 3 position to Korea DPR in a 5, 6, 2; 2, 5, 3; 4, 6, 6 wipe-out. Chinese Taipei was fifth. And Turkey, sixth. In Group C, Japan, , spread out three lost matches, but was never threatened. Germany came 2 to 3 Poland who actually had less of a struggle than revered Deutschland. Then Kristin Silbereisen followed with the clincher over Galia Dvorak. Hence both teams gave their weakest players some action—and they all played very even. Strangely, this was the only tie Russia won—and, on losing to both the Croats and the Czechs, finished dead last.

But this was the only tie 5 finisher Croatia could win. Boros, 34, once World 2, now World , though not giving up playing, has just signed to coach at the prestigious Werner Schlager Academy just outside Vienna. As play progressed, both Tie and Jiang won at their first opportunity. But then in the fourth match, Tie was beaten by Seok Ha Jung in five. The 3 finisher would be determined via the Czech Republic-Austria tie. This went unexcitedly in four three-straight matches to Austria— Austrian newcomer Elena Waggermayer losing the 3-positioned match to Katerina Penkavova.

Partyka, now 22, was born with one severely shortened forearm just below the elbow, has no wrist or hand at all, but can adroitly stump serve. In the Korea Republic-Hungary tie, World 16 Kim Kyung Ah opens against World 56 Petra Lovas, so no big surprise when the favored year-old Korean rallies from down to take the first game , then. Lovas just scored on a slam-dunk forehand and is up ! Then goes on to win the game In the fourth, Lovas is up , caught at 5-all, then is again ahead Now, though, Kim shows she, too, can attack… Kim goes down swinging in another game.

Korea is playing its listed 2, Park Mi Young, World 23, only sparingly. Now, with Korean names, they, along with Kim, bear the brunt of the play here. But, er, no mistake—Seok, at all, wins a counter exchange, then whacks in a forehand to take the first game. Georgina is able to challenge—and win—only the third. That is, until the Hungarian goes to what some would consider her forte—lobbing. She takes the third, , is emboldened to win the fourth, imitatively socking in a forehand, and, from an awful start in the fifth, chasing down the ball like a teenager, scores five in a row.

Which, unfortunately for her is not enough. The women in general are not getting the attention given the men. When Ivancan loses her one game, it elicits both a scream and a groan—the scream of delight from Kim Jong, and the groan of defeat from the partisan spectators. But not to worry. Like Ivancan, DuDu dood it—twice.

What did you expect? Flip a coin for the fifth? Sorry, says Ti, just having been the victim of two edge balls in the last three points of the fourth, I play on…for an win. Lefty Li, though she served into the table edge that last game, has an uncannily straight-up vertical toss must have had lots of practice, huh? End of balancing act, though— same lopsided fifth-game result: Jiang for Hong Kong, But Kim, to accompanying horn hoots, takes both the second and third games , then loses the fourth. At 7-all, she gets into the right position for a pick, but misses. Then, down , she continues to attack, scores.

Now, defending, she makes two fabulous gets but loses the point to a wellplaced drop. Finally, down , she lobs long, loses. Japan 1—Korea Republic 0. In the match that follows, Seok Ha Jung falls in the fifth to year-old Kasumi Ishikawa after being ignominiously behind But then: Kim, meantime, had smacked in two forehands to go up match point. Then, though she had the opportunity, Kim failed to attack again…and it just might cost her and her team big time. At the two-two divide before that final game, it was not only the Korean Coach who stood beside Kim for that important advisory moment, but all her teammates who seemed to involve themselves as well.

As changes come, maybe one day, as in other dynamic sports, table tennis coaches will be able to give instructive shouts from courtside DURING play? Germany is ready. In the first game, down , Feng fails to return serve. Not even the debacle of an intruding officious umpire can upend their enthusiasm. He faults Wu who, her hands out expressively, asks Why? He responds by giving her a yellow card. Quite an attention-getter. But never mind. When Du Du does it—wins a great extended point from that will start her on her way to finishing the match—the crowd erupts.

Open winner Li Jiawei—for World 61 Kristin Silbereisen, after losing the first two games at 6 and 8, to have, as it were, cause for a courtside 27th birthday celebration…. One more game for the miracle upset to happen. But in the fifth, Silbereisen is down triplematch-point, How wonderful for the exuberant fans if Germany can get to the final. But, despite this gutsy performance—a win so near, so far—Kristin loses Have the Chinese any stronger opposition? I see among the spectators one lone Chinese flag and hear a flagging chin-a!

Ti, up one game, and with 10 more points in the second, waits, waits, waits while Li, long in serve position, finally decides to give it a go, then is answered by Ti backhanding in a winner. And Li dutifully responds—she wins the third with a hard-hit ball down the middle. But then gets behind , in the fourth—only to rally CHIN-a! Tie tied But then Kim gets a pop-up, chooses not to hit the ball hard and loses the point. However, Feng, not looking at all like World 5, makes two costly errors—so first game to Korea. The second game of course follows the pattern of the first—this is the way they play one another, often through very long points Diego Schaff counted a shot rally.

Then the unexpected happens—a real match-changer: Kim, up with a Korean flag waving in the stands , takes the fourth No expedite here, but the match through four games is 7, -9, -9, 10 close, and had Seok won that fourth game at deuce, the match, the tie, would have profoundly been affected. In the fifth, Wang breaks open the game and goes on to an finish.

Korea leads the World Champions, No time for Korea to savor the lead though—Feng gives up only eight points total in her first two games against Seok. But then in the third the Korean prevails in their battle of backhand exchanges. Can she continue? It takes a while to find out. Balloons that can be bought like elongated Bratwurst, and of course not eaten but beaten, are not so popular here. Claps are much more the preferred noise, though at the In the second, the players are at 9-all. Tie tied …. Singapore is again in the final. Final China vs.

But from the time the players enter this Westfalenhalle court—through a corridor formed by the balance-minded. At 6-all, one could hear an unexcitable CHIN-a! In the second, through 4-all, 5-all, 6-all, 7-all, play is intensified by a more vibrant CHIN-a! Match all even. In the third, the players seem like two wind-up dolls as, countering, they and the balls bounce predictably up the middle. Has it ever happened: Well, no regrets this time. In the fourth, with China up in games, the onslaught anticlimax continues until, after building up an lead, Ding with an easy finish calmly raises her arm.

Wang wins the second after missing a game-winning backhand, then is ad-down, but steadies to even the match. Guo ends the first with a serve and follow. In the second, though Li seems wired to play, Guo is clearly the stronger and noisier player…, , , , then out. Gotta be discouraging playing the Chinese. Compared to Guo as they go into the straight-game end, Li seems lethargic. But she fights until, all smiles, Guo throws up her racket in relief and abandon.

Like a Supercharged! Train strokes, footwork, transitions and other skills. Included software to create, customize and exchange drills with friends by connecting to a PC. Robo-Pong The digitally controlled robot that keeps you on budget! Digital Upgrade Kit: Cost effective way to bring your analog robot into the digital age! Early Cues One of the most common complaints I hear from players is: The deceptiveness of serves in table tennis has been a source of many discussions.

While it raises the difficulty level of the sport and constitutes one of the reasons why those transitioning from recreational play to the competitive sport meet such a high entry threshold, it is also the factor that keeps top players from blasting the first ball past the server, and thus it makes the sport viable in the first place. Difficulty in returning serves rests on two separate factors. In recent articles, I have addressed the techniques of returning different serves.

But before we can choose the correct technique, we have to read the spin. This article will delve into that portion. Players, who serve well, generally receive well. This is because they have spent much time studying the issue. They know, for example, that moving the racket hand differently generates quite a difference not only in the spin but in trajectory and speed. So they know to look for that when receiving. You must know what to look for. His serve game is very effective and has. One of the reasons for that is that he belongs to a generation of players, who has enjoyed relative stability in the service rules and was not forced to drastically change movements that were grooved over thousands of hours of practice, unlke what happened to those before him.

That stability has lead to a very nuanced development of serving techniques during his formative years as a player, and he was able to focus on that without the disruption of a rule change. The result is excellent timing and razor sharp precision. I encourage you to look at the pictures, or even at the video posted on my YouTube Channel, and, if you had not been specifically drawn to the issue by the topic of this article, all three serves we show might look similar. His body moves with similar speed and in a similar rhythm, even though the toss height varies widely in each of the serves.

The better a server, the more consistent his serve motion. But that also means if you can detect clues, they are more reliable. It is unlikely that such a sharply grooved player delivers a particular serve with much variation in their movement. Sequence 2 is side-under spin in the opposite direction, and sequence 3 is a side-topspin serve that breaks to the left, AKA inside-out. The service motion starts well before the toss, and early clues are more informative than. Hints can be drawn as early as when the server sets up in his serving position.

For both underspin serves, Zhang sets up about 4 or 5 inches farther forward than for serve 3, with his left hip outside of the table in front of the end line, but for the topspin serve his whole body is behind the end line. In all cases his left hand presents the ball roughly in the same spot, which means that for the underspin serves, his body is slightly more rotated to the left.

Now look at the racket. Before the underspin serves, the racket face is close to vertical, while for topspin, it is more horizontal. There is also a distinct difference in where the racket hand is relative to the ball when he presents the ball. Both underspin serves have a medium-high toss. But if you look at 5 in sequence 1 and 2, not only the racket position is clearly different, but also the tossing arm. The difference is also clear in 6, where the racket angle indicates the intended serve.

In contrast, sequence 3 shows. Then, of course, there is the contact, the most important clue, but also the most obvious one. Late indicators are ball trajectory, its bounce, and sometimes seeing the label on the ball. They should serve to confirm you assessment rather than being primary. One hint: Always touch the ball with the racket when the opponent has served a net ball, and watch its deflection. This will give you confirmation — or correction — of your. You can, in essence, learn the serve without penalty.

This way, you will learn them more quickly. Against A Defender This month I tell attacking players how to handle modern defenders, while also equipping defenders to disrupt attackers. May the best tactician win! Here are your keys to beating a defender: Stop the attack: Ironically enough, the only way a defender actually can win points against you versus you making mistakes is by attacking. The threat of attack can also disrupt your game, and create error-causing anxiety. So your first task against a modern defender is to find a way to stop his attack reliably.

Often, this is done through the placement of your shots, avoiding offering up loose serves, and changing directions against a bat-flipper to force the ball to the spinless side when he does start looping. Make this a priority from the start. Find a comfortable rallying approach: You need a way to keep the point going, but without any genuine risk. This can be a simple roll, a repeated steady loop, or just pushing to good locations. If you have a combination of shots you can execute very consistently and without being attacked , there is no pressure on you to try for a low-percentage winner.

This becomes your baseline game through while you can continue rallies for as long as needed. Win points with sudden attacks: Many players seem to imagine themselves gradually building an attack over several consecutive shots, culminating in a big winner. Instead, you want to win points when a you hit a sudden, strong shot and b the defender is not in a good position.

For example, you might push short to one side, and then loop strongly to the other. Looping at wide angles is another way to put the ball out of comfortable reach. Opening with a fast, hard loop off a pushing rally can be useful. Look for those opportunities especially when the defender is close to the table. And, if the defender makes a strong return of your strong shot, you can just push it back and continue with your baseline game until the next chance develops. When defenders are weakest: Defenders are often vulnerable in the serve and return game, and when they are attacking.

In both cases, they are up at the table or moving forward and can have trouble setting up for a chop against your strong shot. If a defender serves simply and deep, loop it hard just as you would against anyone else. Likewise, third and fourth ball attacks can be your easiest points to get. Serve for position, not spin: Finally, long pips can allow a defender to neutralize heavy spin on your serves. Instead, conceal the location where you are aiming the serve, and keep moving the ball around. If you serve basically nothing balls, you will obtain reliable spin on the return to attack whenever the position is right.

Defenders also tend to overuse their pips usually with the backhand in making returns. You can set up attacks by aiming some serves towards the forehand side where they reach over to cover, along with fast ones to the corners and little short serves just over the net. Against An Attacker How can you handle all those modern attackers with their spinny rackets and loops? Establish your attack early: Ideally, you should start off most matches by attacking strongly against any reasonable opportunity -- including deep serves and pushes.

Pressure is always good, because it encourages attackers to take too many chances and swing too hard. Mix up the tempo: Most defenders have long pips on one side at least. Learn to use it to block right off the bounce, and push short as well as deep. Also, if your opponent pushes with underspin, pick hit with your long pips -- as the spin on the ball will continue and create topspin for your shot, helping to bring your hit down on the table.

Denying time to an attacker is always a good move. Sometimes start the topspin: A careful opponent may just push repeatedly and then loop hard, a difficult combination for you. Learn a consistent reloop: If you can reloop when your opponent loops weakly or even strongly , then you will have a good weapon for varying the spin and pace of the points. In practicing this shot, also try to land it with varying degrees of sidespin which can be confusing to receive.

If you can develop footwork that permits reloops from a wide range of positions, you can have almost a second game to use against many opponents. Pay attention also for chances to mix in a heavy chop in the middle of a relooping rally, as the change in spin can earn a point just by itself.

Learn to sidespin chop both ways: When chopping, you can cut across the ball either to the right, or to the left. The resulting returns will curve in opposite directions. Practice both variations, and mix them up especially when away from the table. Play some combination bat spin games: Use a little creativity to build up spin on the ball with your inverted side, and then throw in the long pips.

For example, your spinny inverted serve or push often will yield a spinny return you can take with the pips. The same holds true for many sidespin balls. Another fun move is to develop a big sidespin serve motion you can execute both with the sponge spinny and the pips not. Finally, watch out when the attacker gets a good swing at a spinny loop. The heavy spin will make the ball fly towards the floor quickly, and you will need to adjust your position forward when chopping.

Many defenders lose points by not paying attention to this, and end up getting caught too far back from the table or too close in to handle the shot well. Returning serve is the most difficult part of the game to master. There are more variations to prepare for than at just about any other time-- reading spin off a fast motion, topspin or backspin, sidespin either way, corkscrewspin, no-spin, long or short, fast or slow, to wide angles or the middle-- there are infinite possibilities. Instead, find someone with decent serves and practice returning them.

And do the same for him. But you also need to know what to do with the serve. There are two possibilities. Here the receiver should play aggressive, take the initiative or even go for a winner , and try to dominate the point. Examples include a short serve that pops up slightly, a serve that goes long that the receiver is ready for and should usually loop , and serves where the receiver reads the serve well early on and is comfortable attacking. A player should always be looking for such serves and be ready to pounce on them.

When flipping very aggressively, you might consider mostly flipping crosscourt at a wide angle, as this gives you more table to aim for. The down side to an aggressive receive is that you will also lose some points from missing. Some players are afraid to attack serves, and return almost all serves passively. This makes things easy. You need at least the threat of an attack to make a controlled receive more effective.

These receives are the most misunderstood. Push quick off the bounce, deep, at a wide angle, low, and with good backspin. Change directions at the last second. Drop it short. Push with sidespin. Push with no-spin, but with a vigorous wrist motion just after contact to fake backspin. Do a steady, well-placed flip. Against a long serve, mostly loop, but go for consistency, spin, placement, and depth. Which of the two receives should you use? Just Keep It On the Table? Recently I took a few months off table tennis, I came back to a buzzsaw! The long pips and junkyard players especially suffer from this condition even when in full practice mode.

He encouraged me with his table tennis wisdom. Sure against someone who keeps missing the shot, by all means, keep it on the table for them to miss. However, against the players who are better and more consistent, you must create some of the action. My shot is usually a fast angled block and Sakai knew that, but instead I was just trying to get the ball back on the table. You will see someone who is starting to lose confidence in their game start pushing against a chopper.

The junk rubber can be used for not just pushing; you must experiment with attacking somehow with the junk. Table tennis is a very mental sport, you must know your strategic role in every game. You must keep going for your shot. Always remember table tennis is a mental game as well as physical. Do not be your worst enemy by just settling for that ball to be in play. Even the best defensive players in the world need to force some action. Lastly, talk to your friends at the club if your game is struggling; most would love to help a fellow ponger and friend.