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DonRocks

Northern Virginia Table Tennis Center - Master Zhongxing Lu's Professional Facility in Chantilly, VA

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The Northern Virginia Table Tennis Center (NOVATTC) is one of very few professional-level table tennis facilities in the Washington, DC area, and is owned and operated by Zhongxing Lu, who I'm proud to say is my coach. 

Coach Lu was on the Chinese National Junior Team, was a Top 16 player in China, and has kept up an extremely high level of playing throughout the course of his life - in 2013, he got to the semi-finals in the United States 45-and-over national championships. 

Coach Lu speaks almost no English, but we manage to communicate very well, and nearly everyone else at the club speaks English, so language is never a barrier.

I once asked Coach Lu if he was the best player in Virginia. He looked at me like I was crazy - to this day, I still don't know if he didn't understand me, or was shocked that I'd ask such a trivial question (yes, he's *that* good). He did tell me that there are players in the Gaithersburg and Germantown area who are world-class - Olympic-level players from China. 

Last weekend, the Lu family traveled to Houston, where his 13-year-old daughter, Jie, won the 14-and-under division in the Junior Olympics - she'll also be eligible to play in this event in 2017 - it's very possible that one day, a few years from now, Jie will be in the Olympics representing the United States.

Here is a video of Jie accepting her Gold Medal. And a picture taken by the proud parents:

JieGoldMedal.jpg

For non-members, Coach Lu charges $45 an hour for lessons, and considering you're getting instruction from a legitimate, world-class player, that is incredibly inexpensive. 

NOVATTC has open, walk-in play each night from 5-10:30 PM. I cannot imagine another table tennis facility that is so well-equipped, and so expertly staffed - certainly not in Northern Virginia, and I cannot recommend a coach more highly than I recommend Coach Lu - he is one of the kindest men I know, and if you're an advanced player: Avoid his forehand loop like the Bubonic Plague.

Here's a video of Coach Lu and Jie I took about six months ago, just having a casual rally (this looks impressive, but they're really just having an easy back-and-forth - both players are capable of hitting lethal shots at any time - you'll notice that Coach Lu doesn't even come close to missing: Initial error aside, both players could potentially keep this type of rally up for an hour without an error).

If you're a table tennis player, or want to learn how to become one, write me, and I'll put you in touch with Coach Lu - you'll be glad you did. If you're a beginner, there are other coaches available that aren't quite as expensive or, um, "intimidating."

Don Rockwell

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That video is ridiculous.  So controlled.  OK, I'm in, I've been looking for a place to play and looked into George Mason's club, but this is better.  Thanks, Don.  And you are right, $45/hour for a lesson from a world-class coach is incredibly inexpensive.  Can't wait for my college table tennis buddy from California to come and visit me -- we always battle it out and he's usually a tad better, but this is going to change things!

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I got this email last night from my coach - first time anyone has complimented me, athletically, in almost ten years - brought tears to my eyes, given the living hell that I've been through for almost a decade.

---

You are very strong, have been playing well, now a lot better than before! After the old game!😀

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Come to Jacksonville to play the Senior Games silver medalist??? LOL .................really great to hear you are doing something in sports again, its got to be good for your health both mental and physical!   maybe give your teacher the O Cedar angler shot!!  Or the GeeYairMo backhand!!!  somthin tells me that only works in the basement......... 

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9 hours ago, NiceDocter said:

Come to Jacksonville to play the Senior Games silver medalist??? LOL .................really great to hear you are doing something in sports again, its got to be good for your health both mental and physical!   maybe give your teacher the O Cedar angler shot!!  Or the GeeYairMo backhand!!!  somthin tells me that only works in the basement......... 

I haven't thought about the O-Cedar Angler shot in 40+ years - I can't even remember what it was. (BTW, I switched to a normal backhand when I was about 22 (for those not in-the-know, I grew up hitting my forehand and backhand with the same side of the paddle, imparting extreme topspin on my backhand, but at the cost of velocity and weakness against chops)). 

Here's an interesting story: I was, at first, the best player at Clemson (intramural champion, and believe me when I say "that ain't saying much"), but the guy who straightened out my backhand arrived from Nigeria, and played on Clemson's national-championship soccer team. We played about three times a week, because we were the only good players at the university.

I heard he was really good in soccer - a starting defender, and quick as hell - but I only saw him play once, and never knew just *how* good he was until I read this a few years ago: Adubarie Otorubio: named to Soccer America's TEAM OF THE CENTURY!

Meh, screw it - if I'm going to Humble Brag, I may as well swing for the fences (if you all knew what I've been (and am still going) through, you'd forgive me). I just this morning found out that my jogging partner at Clemson was a four-time All-American who took *Martina Navratilova* to 6-0, 6-4 in the second round of Wimbledon!

And one of my fraternity brothers was Clemson's only four-time fencing All-American (his biological sister, who was my fraternity Big Sister, reportedly a great fencer herself, is Moe Mantha's wife).

I had *no idea* about any of this, other than Mantha, until this past hour. These aren't people I engaged with in their primary sports, not even the tennis player.

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