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Newgy's Blog

Welcome to Newgy’s blog!

Filed under: Newgy/Robo-Pong — by Jena N. on August 10, 2010 @ 9:00 am

 

Welcome to Newgy’s blog! We are excited to share some interesting articles about the table tennis world as well as valuable table tennis training tips, upcoming tournament information, tournament results and much more. We feature a great selection of blog contributors including some of the top table tennis pros and coaches, as well as recreational ping-pong players and Newgy team members. Thanks for stopping by!

Table Tennis Tip – Devastating “John Doe”

Filed under: Samson Dubina,Table Tennis Tips — Tags: , — by Jena N. on January 19, 2017 @ 8:00 am

By Samson Dubina, Professional Table Tennis Athlete and Coach

The table tennis tournament published the draws the night before the event.  You found out that you are going to play against Hou Yingchao in your opening table tennis match of men’s singles at 9:00 a.m.  You immediately take out your pen and paper and write down some notes of how to play against him.  You arrive to the gym at 7:45 am and train accordingly.

Just then…

Without warning…

You hear a tournament announcement for you to play your opening round against John Doe.  What?  You had mentally and physically prepared to play against Hou Yingchao.  Who is John Doe anyway?  What style does he play?  What should your tactics be?

There are basically two main elements to winning against an unknown table tennis opponent – knowing your game and learning your opponent’s game.

Your Game
The main things that I always remind myself are that my serve is good ¾ I am very confident in serve return. Also, I have very spinny loops, I can move very fast, I can block with excellent placement and I can rally longer than anyone.  With a bit of a pep talk to yourself, you can learn to play with confidence and force your table tennis opponent to adjust to YOU.  Hesitation (especially on serve return) will make you inconsistent and not very threatening to a new opponent.  If you can play without hesitation and strike hard from the beginning, the fear of your shots will bring out more errors from your new opponent.

Your Opponent’s Game
The second element is knowing your opponent’s game.  From the time that you greet him to the middle of the first table tennis game, you should know the following:

#1 Table Tennis Equipment
Regardless if he has pips or inverted, inspect the top sheet of his racket to see if it is grippy or not.  Also inspect the sponge to see the thickness, hardness, and speed.  All of these elements will help you begin forming a general impression.  If you opponent has a recreational ping pong paddle with absolutely no spin, then from the very first point, you realize that you don’t need to lift much on the opening loop.  Every aspect of the table tennis equipment is a slight indication of what the player can and cannot do.

#2 Handedness (right or left handed)
This should be so obvious.

#3 Shakehands Grip (forehand or backhand oriented)
If the table tennis racket is shifted more towards the index finger, this is called a backhand grip. If the racket is shifted more towards in the thumb, this is called a forehand grip. Typically, backhand grip table tennis players tend to play more towards your forehand side of the table.  Typically, forehand grip table tennis players tend to play more towards your backhand side of the table.

#4 Penhold Grip (traditional or reverse)
Traditional penhold table tennis players use only one side of the racket mainly blocking and pushing with the backhand while attacking with the forehand. Modern reverse penhold table tennis players use both sides of the racket attacking from the wings – these players are usually a bit weaker from the middle. Even in warmup, you should be able to tell if they are traditional or reverse penhold.

#5 Overall Style – offensive or defensive
Within the first few points, you should be able to tell if this table tennis opponent is looking for the power shot or looking to be consistent and keep the ball in play.  This is one of the main things that you need to know – this will put you in a tactical direction.  If he is a power player, you need to stop his weapons.  If he is a defensive player, you need to work the point, be selective, and your play game at the right time.

#6 Forehand or backhand dominant
The grip doesn’t fully tell you if he is backhand or forehand dominant.  As the table tennis match progresses, evaluate if your opponent likes his backhand or forehand better.  It may be that he likes forehand better for some shots (like looping and smashing) while favoring backhand better for other shots (like pushing, blocking, and serve return.)

#7 Near the table or far from the table
If your opponent likes to play near the table, then look to play some sharp angles to take him away from the table.  If he feels comfortable away from the table, then consider using some variations to move him in closer then back deeper.  You don’t want to allow your opponent to get in the groove or in a comfortable position.

As the table tennis match progresses, you should be forming a clear picture in your mind of your opponent’s serves, returns, preferences, tendencies, and game patterns.  However, don’t get too caught up in changing your game.  Play your dominant game with your best serve, strongest shots and play with full confidence.  As the match progresses, you can adjust if necessary.

The Tactical Mindset in Table Tennis

Filed under: Samson Dubina,Table Tennis Tips — Tags: , , — by Jena N. on January 16, 2017 @ 8:00 am

By Samson Dubina, Professional Table Tennis Athlete and Coach

Just like any other table tennis skill, developing a tactical mindset takes discipline.  As I work through the various styles over the coming weeks and teach you how to play against various table tennis opponents, I want you to understand that you too can think of your own tactics.  I’m not very smart, I’m just an average guy.  However, I do spend quality time thinking.  You too can develop this same discipline.

The best time to think of developing future tactics for your own table tennis game is at the conclusion of a club night or on the way home from a table tennis tournament.  Think about the various tactics that were used against you, think about all the annoying things that your opponent did to frustrate you.

Remember that first opponent who kept pushing sharp angle pushes to your backhand.  By reaching for the ball, you weren’t able to spin much and your opponent kept blocking your weak opening quick to your wide forehand.

Remember that second guy who kept serving no spin to your forehand.  He was waiting for your weak flip and just teed off on every flip.

Remember that third guy that took his time and walked slowly to get the ball, then proceeded to bounce the ball 5 times before every serve.  Remember how it frustrated you to wait a few seconds before every serve.

Remember that fourth guy who initially couldn’t return your serve.  Then suddenly just started pushing deep and high to your backhand.  Remember how your own spin high to the backhand gave you issues.

Remember how that fifth guy kept blocking quick to your middle transition point.  After you gave a weak loop, he would just counterloop wide to your forehand for a winner.

Between each point in the table tennis match, you have a few seconds to think about tactics.  However, on the ride home, you have plenty of time to think about more details.  The longer that you think deeply about the tactics, the more possibilities will arise.  Let me illustrate, you are playing a game of chess and your opponent just made a move; it is now your turn; you quickly decide to move your queen to F3; it looks like the best move.  At the time, that was as tactical as you could have been in 10 seconds.  However, let’s suppose that I gave you two hours.  In two hours, you can think through more possibilities… possibly 7 or 8 other moves that would be better.  The same is true in table tennis.  You start the match with you serve short backspin and your opponent kept pushing to your backhand, you loop into the net several times.  If I gave you 10 seconds to give me a solution, you would probably say, “Oh, I could just solve this problem with pushing!”  True!  That is ONE answer!  But if I gave you 2 hours to solve the problem, could you come up with other solutions.  Before reading the rest of the article, I want you to take out your pen and paper and list other solutions to this problem.

Here are some other solutions:

  1. Push the ball back with your backhand
  2. Push the ball back with your forehand
  3. Forehand loop
  4. Backhand loop but adjust your racket’s starting position
  5. Backhand loop but adjust your racket angle
  6. Backhand loop but use more wrist to generate more spin
  7. Backhand loop but use more legs to help lift
  8. Serve no spin instead so the push will be lighter
  9. Serve deep topspin so that your opponent is less likely to push
  10. Serve wide off the forehand side to the table with sidespin so your opponent is less likely to push to your backhand

As you contemplate the hundreds of tactics that were used against you, then you too can begin practicing these tactics against others.  Just remember that more years playing doesn’t necessarily mean that you will play smarter and have better tactics.  The key is that you need to have the discipline to think deeply for 20-30 min after each session about the tactics used against you.  Think about which tactics you can implement immediately and which tactics take longer to develop.  Adjust your table tennis training sessions accordingly so that you aren’t merely training your basic strokes, but you are also implementing tactical drills into your practice sessions.

Table Tennis Tip – Devastate the Short Pips Smasher

Filed under: Samson Dubina,Table Tennis Tips — Tags: , , , — by Jena N. on January 13, 2017 @ 8:00 am

By Samson Dubina, Professional Table Tennis Athlete and Coach

The short pips smasher is often described as one of the scariest opponents in table tennis… unless you use the proper tactics.  You give a weak push – bang! It gets smashed at 90mph!  You give a weak loop – bang! It gets smashed at 90mph!  You block the smash and it goes into the bottom of the net!  Wow, how frustrating!

Before I jump into the tactics, I want to first give you an explanation on spin.  When both you and your table tennis opponent are using normal, grippy inverted rubber on your table tennis paddles and rallying backspin to backspin, the rubber grabs the ball and changes the rotation in order to maintain backspin.  The grippiness of the rubber is what allows the spin to maintain backspin back and forth.    When playing against short pips, it is very important to know what type of rubber they are using, the grippiness of the pips, length of the pips, width of the pips, the thickness of the sponge (if any), and hardness of the sponge.  Remember, if you and your opponent are both using grippy inverted rubber and you push at 50 rotations per second backspin, when he pushes back, his grippy rubber grabs the ball, changes the rotation, and gives 50 rotations per second backspin back to you.  The grippier the short pips and thicker the sponge, the more the short pips will act like inverted.  Keep in mind, that a thicker sponge gives more spin – hardbat (short pips without sponge) has very little spin, 1.3mm sponge has more spin, and 2.0mm sponge has even more spin. With the spinniest short pips available, your 50 rotations per second backspin push may actually come back with 45 rotations per second backspin.  With the least grippy short pips on the market, your 50 rotations per second backspin push may actually come back with 20 rotations per second topspin!  It also makes different of the skill level of your opponent.  At the beginning of a table tennis match, you may not know your opponent, but you need to know his table tennis equipment.  Ask to inspect his table tennis racket.  Using the ball, test the friction and the bounce.  He is obligated to let you see it.  If he doesn’t, then ask a tournament official and they will force him to show it to you.

So how are you going to form tactics if there are so many different types of short pips in table tennis?  We are going to go middle-of-the-road assuming that your opponent is using a somewhat grippy short pips with very thin sponge.  For the sake of this article, when you push with 50 rotations per second backspin and your opponent pushes back, it come back with 5 rotations per second backspin.  We are also going to assume that this short pips smasher is playing with the shakehands grip and using both backhand and forehand fairly equally.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, the short pips smasher might be scary to play against.  When he smashes, most of the energy on the swing is transferred to ball speed instead of ball spin.  This is why the ball often comes faster, flatter, and louder.  With a thinner sponge and using the smash touch, your opponent hits deeper into the wood giving it a louder “crack” sound when making contact with the ball.  No need to fear, it may look scary, but there are plenty of weaknesses.  Lacking in spin, your opponent won’t likely be able to play nearly as consistent as you can.  Instead of landing 80% of his attacks, maybe he will only land 70% of his attacks.  Not only will he be less consistent on powerful attacks, but he must be more selective by picking and choosing only higher balls to attack.  Instead of your focus being to keep every ball short, your focus should be on keeping the ball low.  The short pips smasher will likely have a tough time with low pushes and low loops because the pips don’t give much arc.  With the 6” net in the way, it is difficult to smash a very low ball with pips.

Tactics

#1 Adjustments

If you can watch your opponent in a previous table tennis match, that is a really good idea.  If not, you can begin your adjustments by inspecting his table tennis racket prior to the start of the match and testing to see how the ball reacts off his racket with counterdriving, looping, and blocking during your two minute warmup.  Realize that you will need to make adjustments to your stroke, positioning, and timing.

#2 Angle

The one main adjustment to your table tennis game will be racket angle.  Typically you will need to be slightly more closed when pushing, slightly more closed when looping against the push, slightly more open when looping against the block, and slightly more open when blocking an attack.  Why?  Because there is typically less spin on the ball.

#3 Positioning and Timing

This is the toughest part.  Imagine that you loop first against a short pips block, should you stay close or back up slightly?  It depends.  Short pips give the most depth variation in table tennis when blocking.  By popping the ball with a quick block, it will be a very fast deep block, you need to back up a bit.  When relaxing the grip and deadening the block, it will be a very short, almost two-bounce type of block; you will need to move forward.  So how in the world do you know which one is coming?  It is based on two main things, the quality of your opening loop (speed, spin, height, depth) and the action of your opponent’s block.  If you see him take a big backswing and forcefully approach the ball, you need to quickly step back while staying on your toes leaning forward.  If you see him take no backswing and pull back or to the side at the point of contact, the block will likely be dead and very slow.  Just remember, you prefer to loop the ball at the top of the bounce, this will require much better in-and-out movement from you.

#4 Height

As I mentioned earlier, I must remind you to keep the balls low.  Keep it low!  Keep it low!  This is one of the key tactics.

#5 Depth

Deep pushes, blocks, and loops are most effective against the short pips smasher if they are in the last 6” of the table tennis table.  Typically, short pips players stay very close to the table and are looking to smash down and forward on the ball.  If the ball hits in the last 6” of your opponent’s side, it will cause your opponent to hit the ball on the rise, often forcing him to hit it into the net.

#6 Percentages

Without spin, your table tennis opponent will likely have lower percentage shots when attacking.  How can you decrease the percentages even lower? By hitting quality shots!  By tricking him on the placement, giving quick pushes, giving spinny lower deep loops, you will be able to decrease his percentages.  The next time a short pips smasher blasts every ball past you and starts of 6-0 in the first table tennis game, then just step back, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, “Is my ball quality good enough?  Am I just returning the ball and allowing him to smash?  Can I be trickier? Can I vary the depth of my short and long pushes better?  Can I loop wider?  Can I flip more to the transition point?  Can I block lower?”  You will often find that your opponent is ON FIRE because your ball is weak!

#7 Counterattack

If your serve and serve return are very good quality, it is likely that your opponent will need to give a gentle attack when faced with your deep push, deep serve, or half-long serve.  This is really an ideal time to counterattack.  His opening likely has less spin, making this a much easier shot for you.

#8 Practice

Before playing this guy in your next table tennis tournament, try to find a short pips player and practice with him for 20 minutes before your table tennis match.  Make necessary adjustments in your game and you will dominate against all the short pips smashers.

Table Tennis Tip – Devastate the Long Pips Blocker

Filed under: Samson Dubina,Table Tennis Tips — Tags: , , , , — by Jena N. on January 12, 2017 @ 12:27 pm

By Samson Dubina, Professional Table Tennis Athlete and Coach

The long pips blocker is often described as the most frustrating opponent in table tennis, unless you use the proper tactics.  Before I jump into the tactics, I want to first give you an explanation on spin.  When both you and your table tennis opponent are using normal, grippy inverted rubber on your table tennis paddles and rallying topspin to topspin, the rubber grabs the ball and changes the rotation forward in order to maintain topspin.  The grippiness of the rubber is what allows the spin to maintain topspin back and forth. When playing against long-pips, the ball usually doesn’t grab when it hits the pips causing your own spin to come back at you.  For example, when you serve heavy backspin to the long pips table tennis player, regardless if he hits or blocks or pushes, the ball will come back with some topspin.  If you loop the ball with extreme topspin, regardless if he hits or blocks or pushes, the ball will come back with backspin.  It isn’t so much a matter of what stroke HE did, it is a matter of what spin YOU did.

Now here is one pitfall.  When beginner table tennis players play against long pip opponents, they often give a weak loop then try to push the next ball, the balls goes flying 8 feet high.  What happened?  The loop was so weak with practically no topspin; when the long pips player blocked, it actually came back as “no-spin”.  You must understand that the amount of spin coming back to you is proportional to the amount of spin you impart.  If you loop with 80 rotations per second topspin, the long pips ball will likely come back to you with about 60 rotations per second backspin.  If you loop with 16 rotations per second topspin, the long pips ball will likely come back to you with about 12 rotations per second backspin.

Now here is where it gets very complicated.  When you are playing against a long pips table tennis player that has some friction to his pips, the ball will be different from an opponent that has much less friction on his pips.  Unlike inverted, the pips with some friction will give less spin.  Less spin?  Samson, are you sure about that?  Absolutely!  When the pips with some friction slightly grab the ball, they deaden the spin a bit.  The statistics that I quoted in the above paragraph will actually be different based on the type of long pips used.  If you loop with 80 rotations per second, the grippy long pips ball will likely come back to you with 40 rotations per second whereas the less grippy long pips ball will likely come back to you with 75 rotations per second.

There are many myths floating around table tennis clubs worldwide as to how tricky long pips players can be.  For the long pips player without much friction, the only thing that they can be tricky about is depth and placement.  Regardless of the stroke he used, the spin will be very predictable.  The trickier version in the long-pips table tennis player is the one who has some friction.  If the rubber has some friction, then the player can give some slight variations.  If you push to the long pips with friction and he pushes very aggressively, then it is possible for him to deaden the ball more.  If you push to the long pips with friction and he does a slight loop swing, then he can add more topspin to the ball.  If these concepts are too difficult to grasp, then I recommend returning to the first paragraph again.  Once you have mastered the basic concept then continue reading the tactics. 

Tactics:

#1 Basic Spins

The basic table tennis tactic against long pips is to know the spin and get in the groove.  If you try too many spin variations, the spin will confuse you more than it will confuse your opponent. Try to avoid varying the spin and definitely avoid putting sidespin on the ball.

#2 Your Serve

Start with a deep backspin serve.  Deep is critically important because your table tennis opponent will be forced to likely return deeper, which gives you an easier first attack.

#3 Attack

Next, loop forward with good speed and spin.  After you serve the deep backspin serve, you will be getting a topspin ball that is likely to be an easy attack.  Drive forward on this shot.  In order to maintain your consistency, make sure that you add spin which makes it more controlled.

#4 The Next Ball

This is the tough one!  When your table tennis opponent blocks back your powerful loop, it will be a fast, line-drive chop coming at you like a bullet.  You need to push it early or late and push with spin.  If you contact the ball high, your push will go flying long.  Push it as soon as it bounces or when it is dropping to keep it low.  This is the most critical ball in the tactics against long-pips.  If you can push well on this ball, then you can again begin the cycle of loop then push.

#5 Repeat

Repeat the pattern of loop one then push one.  If you stay with the pattern, then you will be always be looping topspin and always pushing backspin.  If you “double-up” on your push or your loop, then you will likely get confused by the spin.  If you constantly have to change from various amounts of pushes and loops and dealing with different spins, the joke is on you.  Of course you will be confused.  Keep it simple.

#6 Plan B

Ok so you are using the Samson Dubina long pips table tennis tactics and it isn’t working!!?!!?!!  What next?  Is there an alternative?  Good news!  Yes!  You must remember the various ways to win points ¾ with speed, spin, placement, consistency, and change-ups.  If it isn’t working, maybe you haven’t worked the point long enough.  Instead of five ball table tennis rallies, maybe you need to be mentally and physically prepared for 15 ball rallies.  Maybe you are looping all the balls to the middle, why not try to serve backspin deep to the sharp angles and loop wider and push wider?  Maybe you are looping at 50% speed and you need to ramp it up to 80% speed.  You see, even within the framework of the basic table tennis tactics, there are always adjustments within the tactics that can make you more dangerous.  I have used these tactics for years and haven’t lost to a long-pips blocker table tennis player for at least 15 years.

#7 Practice

Before your upcoming table tennis match against that long-pips legend, try your best to find a long-pips practice partner and warm-up for 20-30 minutes against him.  Chances are that the long-pips opponent is used to playing against your style.  If you can have a 20 minute adjustment period prior to the match, then the adjustment will be much easier when you actually begin the real battle!

The 2017 World Championship of Ping Pong

Filed under: Table Tennis Tournaments/Results — Tags: , — by Jena N. on January 5, 2017 @ 8:00 am

 

The sixth annual World Championship of Ping Pong will be held at Alexandra Palace, London, January 28-29, 2017.

This exciting event features traditional sandpaper table tennis rackets and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

The tournament format includes four sessions, with a double elimination group stage featuring eight groups played out on eight ping pong tables on Saturday afternoon, then the last 32 compete for the finals on Saturday evening.

Day 2 of the tournament on Sunday afternoon includes the last 16 while the evening session includes the four quarter-finals followed by the two semi-finals, then the final championship match.

All matches will be played best of three games and to 15 points, except the final which is best of five sets.

$100,000 total prize fund is up for grabs!

Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit http://www.worldchampionshipofpingpong.net/.

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