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Young Players Excel at 2017 Maryland Hopes Camp and Trial

By Larry Hodges/MDTTC | March 08, 2017, 2:27 a.m. (ET)

2017 USATT Maryland Regional Hopes Training Camp and Trial

Maryland Regional Hopes Camp and Tournament

Maryland Table Tennis Center, March 4-5, 2017

By Larry Hodges

They were held this past weekend at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, with 25 players taking part. The camp was on Saturday, with two 2.5 hour sessions, with the tournament on Sunday. A great thanks goes to ITTF and USATT (especially Andy Horn and Gordon Kaye) for arranging these events, and to HW Global Foundation, which helped sponsor it. Here is the USATT Hopes Info page.

Head coach for the camp was Wang Qing Liang (“Leon”), one of the USATT National Cadet Coaches and one of nine full-time coaches at MDTTC. Also coaching were the MDTTC coaching staff, and Jessica Lin helped out as a practice partner. Here’s a group picture of the players and some of the coaches. (Not all the players in the tournament were in the camp.) Here’s a picture of me in action, with Wang Qing Liang on far right. (Notice how attentive the kids are?)

For the morning session I acted as a practice partner, doing one-on-one coaching. There were lots of footwork and serve & attack drills. The afternoon session was mostly multiball. I had a group of three players and went through nine drills:3-point forehand footwork (forehand corner, middle, backhand corner, repeat)

  1. Backhand-forehand-forehand footwork (2-1 drill, with backhand from backhand side, forehand from backhand side, forehand from forehand side);

  2. Random topspin;

  3. Side-to-side footwork forehand looping against backspin;

  4. Side-to-side footwork backhand looping against backspin;

  5. Backhand flip against short backspin and no-spin;

  6. Random backspin;

  7. Alternate backspin and topspin (forehand loop vs. backspin followed by forehand vs. topspin);

  8. Repeat previous drill with backhand. 

The tournament was on Sunday, with five events. I ran the tournament, with Wen Hsu assisting. Another great thanks goes to Referee Paul Kovac and Umpires Joseph Lee and Stephen Yeh, who umpired all of the Boys’ and Girls’ Final Four matches. Here is a group picture of the players in Boys’ and Girls’ Singles, and staff (with Stephen Yeh missing).

The two main events were Boys’ and Girls’ Singles, for players born in 2005 or 2006. (Alas, many of our top juniors were born just before or after this.) The top three finishers at each of the four Hopes Tournaments become members of the USA Hopes Team and qualify for the North American Hopes Qualifier, to be held April 29-30 in New Jersey. The top four finishers got medals and certificates. There were also three rating events, with players under age 16 eligible. Congrats to the two champions, Jayden Zhou and Faith Hu, both from New Jersey, and to the others who qualified or won medals! Here are complete results from Omnipong. Below are the main results – click on the names to see pictures.

Hopes Boys – Final: Jayden Zhou d. Avi Gupta, -11, 5,3,1; SF: Zhou d. Robert Sun, 8,-5,-9,3,7; Gupta d. Alexander Yang, 7,6,5. 3-4: Robert Sun d. Alexander Yang, 8,9,3.
Hopes Girls: 1st Faith Hu, 3-0; 2nd Linda Shu, 2-1; 3rd Nicole Deng, 1-2; 4th Hina Sheikh, 0-3.
U2100: 1st Linda Shu, 3-0; 2nd Nicole Deng, 2-2; 3rd Kallista Liu, 2-2; 4th Stanley Hsu, 1-3.
U1700: 1st Ainish Dassarma, 4-0; 2nd Daniel Sofer, 3-1; 3rd Jackson Beaver, 2-2; 4th Andy Wu, 1-3.
U1300: 1st Kay Okawa, 3-0; 2nd Jason Liu, 2-1; 3rd Kurtus Hsu, 1-2; 4th Hina Sheikh, 0-3.