For decades, table tennis coaches world-wide have been teaching all of their students in a similar way. As we open the NEW Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy in the spring of 2019, we will be re-structuring the daily training in both private lessons and group classes to meet the needs of each individual table tennis player here in Akron, Ohio. We believe that each person is unique and requires his/her own personal approach. Here is a breakdown of the different ways table tennis students learn:
This student does well by trying a new table tennis skill – like trying to serve that new serve, trying to balance properly, trying that new movement, trying to play the correct timing. With personally trying it out, the player can best learn the new skill.
This student does well by seeing the new table tennis skill – in person with his coach, in a YouTube video, or even in a photo. As this student can visualize the correct way to do it, he can learn to imitate the new skill.
This student does well by reading or listening to instructions about the new table tennis skill – drawing charts and diagrams on the dry-erase board helps the linguistic learner quickly improve his new skills.
This student does well by understanding the Whys – why does a topspin ball dip down in the air… Why does the first bounce on the deep serve need to be to this location… Why does the ball react differently when my opponent is using long pips or anti-spin rubber?
This student often does well in a group – discussing various table tennis tactics and techniques and feeling teamwork in partnering with others. Table tennis is usually seen as an individual sport, but some find it much more enjoyable and exciting to learn new skills together as a group or team.
This student often does well learning alone in a private table tennis lesson with a coach where he can focus exclusively on small details.
If you are a table tennis coach, consider adjusting the way you teach table tennis, especially if your traditional methods don’t always work. If you are a table tennis player, consider what type of learner you are and adjust your training routine accordingly. For example, if you aren’t able to understand how to move well, maybe you are a visual learner… So, consider spending 15-20 minutes watching online videos each day of professional table tennis players in training and tournaments and seeing how, when, and why they move. Also, consider explaining it to your coach so that he better understands how to teach you.
In closing, realize that some of the learning types do overlap. You need to be able to intellectually understand the skill, you need to be able to visualize the correct movement, you need to be able to explain it, you need to be able to do it in training, and you need to develop the confidence to use it in match play!