May 22, 2017
Local table tennis phenom David Gonzalez-Montoya and his coach, Barney Reed, of Stickman Skills Center, San Jose, drove to Los Angeles for the American Legal Net Cup (ALN) with JUMPSTART founder, Ann Maurice and two other high-performance players for a fun-filled weekend of table tennis matches.
David's USATT rating rocketed upward from a mere 850 last October to 1573 in May after a stunning defeat of an 1875 rated player in L.A. "I can't believe how fast he's improved, and after only about 6 lessons! Unbelievable!" exclaimed Coach Reed after David demolished the much higher rated player. David, ever modest, just shrugged his shoulders, said he was having lots of fun, laughing all the way on the long drive down from Santa Rosa and then from San Jose to L.A. for the ALN Cup with Barney's congenial Stickman team, and just readied himself for the next match.
In the ALN Cup final, Tao Wenzhang of ICC (India Community Center, San Jose) battled Lubomir Pistej from Slovakia. Pistej prevailed in a tight 7 game match using blistering, twisting, curveball loops from 10 feet behind the table. Both players leaped over and knocked down barriers chasing down "impossible" shots from their opponent to the cheers of a packed gymnasium! You can watch this spell-binding match on You Tube, the ALN, or USATT websites.
Only a week later, May 6th and 7th Coach Barney of Stickman Skills led a "Skills Workshop" with his celebrated Coach father, Barney Reed, Sr., at the Cavanagh Center, Petaluma. "Two superior coaches", "I picked up great tips", "He told me just to raise my elbow --- what a difference in my stroke", "First class", "A 5 star rating", were some of the candid remarks by attendees from as far away as Trinity County, Daly City, Sacramento as well as our own Sonoma County locals representing Occidental, Petaluma and Santa Rosa. Ann Maurice was thrilled by the passion and enthusiasm of the players who clamored for more coaching. "I'll have to rearrange my life to stage a repeat JUMPSTART workshop in August! Folks want me to put this on quarterly and to get more kids involved." Ages ranged at the workshop from 9 to 80 with all skill levels represented -- beginners and experienced, accomplished tournament players together, each learning from all, whether lesser or stronger.
A tiny tot, 9 yr old Akul, stole the show. With eyes no more than 12 inches above the table, the astonishingly capable kid held his own against top players, skipping around the gym between exercises and galloping after stray balls. Nicknamed "Skippy" by Forestville's own Alix Geller, who plays regularly at Alan Gulick's Northbay Table Tennis Club near Montgomery Village, Santa Rosa, Monday evenings, Akul learned new strokes during all 8 hours over the weekend. Likewise Alix, worked the tables both days. "Now, if I can just put what I learned into competition and stay smiling like Skippy," she proclaimed, "I'll wow them all at Senior Games in June".
For more information on future JUMPSTART table tennis coaching and tournaments contact Ann Maurice 707 874-3855 firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds are used for coaching and tournament scholarships for local Sonoma County table tennis talent.
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