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2018 Knoxville Joseph Newgarden Memorial Open Table Tennis Tournament 0

Sign up today! Newgy is proud to be one of sponsors for the Knoxville Joseph Newgarden Memorial Summer Gold Dollar Upset Open Table Tennis Tournament set for August 4, 2018 at the Cecil Webb Recreation Center at 923 Baker Ave., Knoxville, Tennessee 37920. 

The tournament format will be giant round robin and will have two stages. The first stage will be a giant round robin in which 36 table tennis players will be split into two divisions. The top 18 rated players will be in the Upper division and the lower 18 rated players will be in the Lower division.  For each division, there will be two groups of 9 players.  So each player will play 8 table tennis matches within the group.

The top two finishes of each group will advance to the division’s semi-finals and final.  The looser of the Semi-Finals will play for a 3rd place match.  Please note that unrated players will not be allowed to advance to the single elimination stage if the estimated rating is grossly incorrect, i.e. if the highest rated player beaten by the unrated player has a larger rating difference of 200 points.  The next qualified player will take the spot instead.

The Gold Dollar Upset format - the winner of every upset match played between two USATT rated table tennis players will receive Upset Gold Dollar.  The rules for winning the upset Gold Dollar are:

  1. Gold Dollars will be paid to winners of all upsets, regardless of player’s rating.
  2. Winners of each and every upset will receive gold dollars using the following payout schedule:
    1. Rating difference: 100 or less, Gold Dollar reward: $5.00
    2. Rating difference: 101 to 150, Gold Dollar reward: $10.00
    3. Rating difference: 151 or larger, Gold Dollar reward: $15.00
  3. The gold dollars will be paid immediately upon confirmation of match sheets showing upsets on a first come first get paid basis until the funds run out. KTTC reserves $200 Gold Dollars for this payout.  So sharpen your table tennis game and hit the court ready to win!
  4. Rating used to determine the upsets will be the USATT ratings of record as of 09:00 a.m. Friday August 03, 2018. Only USATT rated players prior to the date of the tournament are eligible to win gold dollars.

Entry deadline is August 1, 2018. Early entry discount deadline is July 23, 2018.

To download the tournament blank entry form, please click here.

To sign up online, please click here.

For additional tournament information, please contact Jude Lam at 865-300-4829 or email to knoxvilletabletennisclub@gmail.com.


We look forward to seeing you at this tournament in memory of Newgy's wonderful Founder, Mr. Joe Newgarden, Jr.

2018 U.S. National Table Tennis Championships 0

Register now for the 2018 U.S. National Table Tennis Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada July 2-7.

The main events will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the U.S. Open Final Table Celebration location is still to be determined.

Tournament events include: Men's and Women's Singles, Men's and Women's Doubles, Mixed Doubles, Cadet Boys and Girls, Junior Boys and Girls, Teams, as well as many more including Veterans, Seniors, Legends, Para, Hardbat and Sandpaper.

Entry deadline is May 25, 2018.

For more information and to register, click here.

How Low Can You Serve in Table Tennis? 0

Most beginner/intermediate table tennis players think about isolated shots.  Most professional table tennis players think about shot sequences.  These two mindsets are poles apart.  When serving, professionals know that setting up the sequence in their favor begins with a serve, maybe not an ace, but controlling the rally from the very first touch.

With a strong short serve that is deceptive and low, what options will your opponent have?  Can he smash?  Not likely!  Can he push?  Sure!  Can he flip?  Absolutely, but the speed and quality on his ball won’t be as much!  It is hard to generate as much forward speed because of the net being a blockade. Also, it is harder to generate spin because the table somewhat limits that backswing capabilities.  So a low serve can still be flipped, BUT usually the speed, spin, placement, and variations won’t be nearly good enough to hit past you.  A 60 mph flip at 5000 rpms is difficult to loop.  But a 30 mph flip at 500 rpms is much more manageable.  The next table tennis skill in the sequence that you need to develop is a quick loop that applies pressure to your opponent.  The next skill is another follow-up loop to continue putting pressure on your opponent.  Do you understand the mindset here?  It isn’t that your low serve is going to get you 5-6 more aces per game!  It is the fact that it will make your opponent more limited on his returns making it easier for you to keep him under pressure.

I often hear beginner table tennis players talking about…

“I pulled out my secret serve at 9-9!”

“I knew his backhand was weak, so I just pushed there 2x at the end and he choked!”

“I was fearless, I just swung big with my forehand and nailed it at 10-9 to take the title!”

Do you hear this language?  It is all referring to one isolated shot.  If you are going to make progress, you need to begin thinking in sequences.  How can I serve in such a way to get a weak flip and begin my attack against his middle?  How can I block his loop low enough to his wide backhand to stop his forehand loop and implement my counterattack?  How can I work the point long enough to expose his wide forehand and push him away from the table so that I can control the point?

My latest invention, the TT-Serve®, isn’t going to improve your game 200 points overnight.  It is called TT-Serve® not TT-Miracle.  But it is guaranteed to lower your serve, which gives you a stronger 3rd ball attack which gives you a better 5th ball attack which gives you a better 7th ball attack and strengthens your GAME SEQUENCES.

Samson Dubina

Losing in Table Tennis 0

I have received this particular question from over 50 of my followers.  I decided that it was time to answer it.  This week, Luis Sergio Chavez wrote, “It would be great if you could cover also the mental strength aspects or techniques to mentally recover from 0-4 where you are the one who made 4 mistakes in a row.  I would love to learn from your experience and knowledge on how to get back on track.”

This is an interesting question.  As I said, many table tennis players are asking this.  It is similar to saying, “I don’t know the answer to the first 4 questions on my math exam, can you please tell me the answer?”  Of course, I would say, “Please tell me the problems, and I’ll give you the answers.”  You see, without me being there and knowing HOW you lost those 4 consecutive points, it is absolutely impossible for me to give you a solution.  Furthermore, do you even remember how you lost them?

Many table tennis players say, I was winning 10-6 in the 5th game and lost six in a row, what did I do wrong?  I always respond with, what happened?  They don’t know.  They don’t remember what they served, how they received, what shots they used, or where they hit.  Here is the key…  If you want to stop a momentum swing in the score, you need to realize what is going on.

Did you change your placement and start feeding his forehand?

Did he suddenly start lobbing?

Did he change his serve?

Did you lose confidence in your attack and begin full table backhand pushing?

Once you can understand the problem, you are then on the right track for finding a solution.  Consider reading a previous article that I wrote last year called “The Think Circle.”  Check it out below…

The Think Circle

Between pitches in baseball, the batter steps out of the batter’s box to re-focus.

The same thing is true in table tennis; the pros often call this the “think circle.”

Between points, step back about 4-6 feet away from the table and draw an imaginary circle around yourself and collect your thoughts in your think circle.  Every professional athlete has a different method of processing the points, relaxing, and gearing up for the next point, but I’m going to give you the method that I personally use.

#1 Ask yourself the question, “What just happened?”

While the point is fresh in your mind, you should replay the details of each hit.  If you can’t remember how you messed up, you will likely make the same mistake again.  If you can’t remember how you scored, then you won’t likely be able to capitalize on your opponent’s weak points.

#2 Remind yourself of your primary tactics.

From the first few points of the table tennis match, you should be forming some specific tactics based on your strengths and the opponent’s weaknesses.  Point by point, you should be willing to adjust your primary tactics, especially if you are losing.

#3 Breath deeply.

Deep breathing has a calming effect allowing you to forget about that missed smash, calm your anger, and come back focused for the next point. 

#4 Ask yourself the question, “What’s next?”

If you are serving, first determine exactly what you plan to serve and what the possible returns will be.  If you are receiving, then ask yourself how you plan to deal with fast serve, how you plan to deal with short backspin serves, how you plan to deal with no-spin serves.  Remember, you must stay fairly neutral when receiving and be ready for anything while at the same time, having general tactics against various serves.

This method that I briefly explained is the method that I use to analyze the point, remind myself of the plan, calm myself down, and get to the specifics.  I would encourage you to develop your own method and be consistent at using it during drills, club play, leagues, and tournaments.  As with any skill, it takes time to develop, but it is definitely worth the effort!

Samson Dubina

Investigating, Implementing, Performing - Developing a Table Tennis Tournament Goal 0

One year at the U.S. National Table Tennis Team Trials, I was leading 3-2 against Mark Hazinski* and leading 9-3 in the 6th game.  After a series of aggressive mistakes by me, he closed the gap 9-8.  I simply pushed and blocked the next 2 points to end the match 11-8 in the 6th.  Walking off the court, my coach said, “I would rather have you lose the match than to win it like that.”  I replied, “The goal was to win.”

There are different types of tournaments that I would like to address in this article.

Investigating

Most table tennis players want to improve and break the 1200 rating barrier or 1800 barrier or 2000 barrier, or whatever.  When I ask them what necessary areas of their game they hope to improve, they are often speechless.  If you don’t know what to improve, then play a table tennis tournament to investigate what you need to work on this year.  Record your matches and watch them within 1-2 days of playing.  You should be able to come up with a list of 5-6 things that you need to perfect during the next 12 months.  Investigating tournaments are critically important for long-term planning.

Implementing

When you are developing new table tennis skills, it is often good to avoid match play and tournaments initially.  After several weeks of training, you need to learn to implement your new skills into club matches, league matches, and tournaments.  The tournaments where you implement new things are usually “bad tournaments” because you need to force yourself to do the right thing, which means sacrificing some matches and often sacrificing lots of rating points. 

Performing

When looking for good results, you need to perform according to what will win.  In the above situation that I mentioned (in the beginning of this article), I hit a rut.  My attack wasn’t working.  I needed that win in order to possibly make the National Team.  I did what was necessary and used pushing and blocking to win the 6th game.  Had my goal been to implement my flip or backhand loop or counterloop, then I played wrong at 9-8.  But my goal for that table tennis tournament was performing and taking the title, so I did what was necessary.

You and your table tennis coach MUST talk about the goal for each tournament. 

What is your goal? 

Many players say they are going to implement new things then are furiously mad when they go down 100 points; instead they need to judge their performance by their ability to implement, not their ability to win.  Others say they want to implement something new but then go back to their old ways.  Others want to perform and have good results, but feel guilty for pushing and blocking.  Regardless of your playing style, age, or level, you MUST have a goal for the tournament.  About 3-4 weeks before the competition, have a discussion with your coach regarding the goal, train according to it, and perform according to it!

*By the way, credit to Mark Hazinski, he has beat me over 50 times in table tennis tournaments.  This article was not meant to be derogatory to him.  I just used a personal example to illustrate my main point.

Samson Dubina

Devastate the “Smart/Dumb Guy” in Table Tennis 0

Some table tennis players know how to anticipate and adjust quite well during a table tennis match, usually these players are viewed as being “SMART”; while others don’t anticipate and don’t adjust well.  On the surface, this article might seem like common sense, but there is much more depth here.  Let’s dig in…

Here is the dictionary definition of anticipation:

The action of anticipating something; expectation or prediction.

“Smart” Guy

An anticipating table tennis player might serve short topspin, get his racket up a bit, expecting to loop the fast flip coming.  This same player might push deep to the backhand, move in, and prepare for a fast block against the predictable loop.  This same player might play to your wide forehand and adjust his ready position to cover his wide forehand angle. You see, these players anticipate the most likely return and prepare properly by playing the odds.  Against this player, you might need to take some risk.  You might need to push his topspin serve, you might need to loop to different locations than normal, and you might need to vary the spin, speed, height, and depth more.  This same opponent might adjust well to your serve.  You serve heavy backspin and he pushes into the top of the net.  After the point, he steps back and ponders for a moment and preparing to adjust for the next serve.  In this case, you might want to change your serve because he has mentally made the adjustment.

“Dumb” Guy

A table tennis player who doesn’t anticipate well might stand in exactly the same position for every shot.  He plays to your wide forehand then makes a beeline back to the middle of the table; he serves long and has no idea that you might possible loop; he tries to mentally stay completely neutral for every shot.  In this situation, play your best shot – if he serves an angle, then play the angle sharper back.  If he pops up a high ball, then just smash your best smash crosscourt.  There is no sense in trying to be tricky if your normal plays are working.  Also, if he doesn’t adjust well to your serves, then be willing to repeat them.  If your deep serve to his backhand is working and he continually power blocks it into the table, keep repeating it.  If he is that dumb that he doesn’t make a single attempt to adjust, continue to use your main tactic again and again.  About 1-2 years ago, Han Xiao wrote an article about Not Changing For the Sake of Changing.   I totally agree with Han.  If something is working and your opponent isn’t adjusting, then continue winning points with what is working.  There is no reason to continue experimenting with something that might, possibly, maybe, could work.

I’m going to conclude with a few summary thoughts…

Your Approach

So how can you identify your table tennis opponent as an anticipator or a non-anticipator?  Does it have to do with age, hair style, glasses, rating, equipment, or personality?  No, no, no!  You don’t need to identify them at the start of the table tennis match.  Just play your best and think about it carefully as the match progresses.

Your Game

At the start of the table tennis match, the main thing is to play your best game.  Use your good serves and your strong loops, continue to move and play your best.

Analysis

If you are winning, then don’t worry about labeling him.  If you begin to lose, then ask yourself some questions.  When I hit a normal loop to an obvious location, is he waiting there ready to return it?  When I hit a tricky loop to an awkward location, is he surprised?  When I win a point with my serve and serve it again, does he miss it the second time in the same manner?  As you begin asking yourself questions, then you will know on whether to play normal consistent shots or if you need to be “tricky”.

Your Comfort Level

If you can’t win with your normal game and you must play “trickier” than normal, you must remember your comfort level and try to stay within your range of consistency.  I have seen many table tennis players who tried to do so many weird things each hit, that they just beat themselves. 

Training

After the table tennis tournament, when you get back to the training hall, ask yourself the questions as to which quick tricky strokes you should be developing.  Even during a normal drill in practice (like two backhands and two forehands) you should try to add some variations – faster and slower, higher and lower, deeper and shorter, more spin and less spin, right lateral sidespin and left lateral sidespin.  During the practice sessions, you should develop some tricky variations.  That way, you can feel confident to give variations in your table tennis games at the right time.

Score

This article might be very confusing for some table tennis players.  If you have no idea if you are playing an anticipator or not, then just do this one thing for me…  If you are winning, stick with your main tactics.  If you are losing, then look to make necessary adjustments.  That’s it!

Samson Dubina