California Dreaming - 2013 U.S. National Table Tennis Team Trials

Newgy Robo-Pong

Once again this past December I found myself with a training dilemma and big question “What am I training for?” I had this same issue last year and jumped into the Olympic Table Tennis Trials – this year with the Trials in San Jose, California I decided to go and see the current hot bed of U.S. table tennis! All four of the U.S. Olympians train in the San Jose area, and when I arrived I got a quick tour of 11 places to play! So it is always easy to find an open table and a quality player or coach to practice with.

I was lucky to have Barney J. Reed as my tour guide, host, practice partner and training coach. Barneys’ many years of Trials experience and preparation were very helpful as he forced me to practice a couple times when I thought rest was more suited for how I was feeling, but Barney was right. Two hours doesn’t sound like much but your body gets adjusted for your schedule and wants to rest at certain times and play/practice at normal times, but now everything is two hours behind. When match time came the sessions with Barney proved very useful in I felt mentally fresh and adjusted to the two hour time difference.

Unlike the Olympic Trials - where it was one match and done, the National Team qualifying was done as seven groups of three. All first place finishers moved on and one “lucky” loser would be drawn from the pool of second place group finishers to get eight players for the quarter finals. As it worked out I played some very tough guys in the group and finished third and was out of the competition. That did not mean I was done working, I had applied to umpire so on Friday I started that phase of my trip. It was an education in procedure and tolerance, as each umpire I worked with was focused on different details of my on court duties.

Overall I had a great experience with the Trials and hope the mixture of youth and experience that made the team will enjoy playing for the U.S. Table Tennis Team and represent us well at the World Championships in Paris.

Men's Team - Timothy Wang, Yahao Zhang, Khoa Nguyen, Jim Butler and Kunal Chodri - coach Stefan Feth.

Women's Team – Lily Zhang, Erica Wu, Ariel Hsing, Prachi Jha and Tina Lin - coach Doru Gheorghe.

Roger Dickson

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