The Newgy Table Tennis Center – Pierce Scott

Jena Newgarden

When I went in the front door, I saw the pro shop on my right that sells various table tennis items and equipment, and their offices just past that. Next, I went past their lounge area and then on to the main playing arena. The next room is called their “Robot Room” where there were five Robo-Pong table tennis robots set up. The Center has the Olympic red mat flooring and was very nice.

Now on to my training. I was introduced to Coach Barney Reed, Sr., who was very nice and hands on with his teaching. We started off slow with just a warm-up drill while Coach watched. We then went into more detailed things. He saw one of my problems was with my footwork and where my feet were actually going on the ground. He got some tape and taped it on the ground where he wanted my feet to go. This was helpful seeing each time where he specifically wanted me.

As this part of the session was coming to an end, we moved towards the end of the room where there was a ping-pong® table set up that can be lowered for little kids. Part of the training at the Newgy Table Tennis Center includes filming different aspects of the training so the Coach can analyze it, point out certain things to the student later and then improve on them.

When we came back from lunch it was now time to actually hit with the Coach. We warmed up and did some drills. He corrected me throughout the drills and really helped me apply what I learned on the robot to the real game. We closed it out with a match. The area where you play matches is very spacious, closed and individual courts and also had the same Olympic red mat flooring. Overall I would give my experience an A+ at the Newgy Table Tennis Training Center.

Pierce Scott

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New Table Tennis Movie Coming Soon! by Pierce Scott

Jena Newgarden
I’m sure you have heard of “Balls of Fury”, right? How about “Forrest Gump”? What about “Korea”? If you answered “yes” to the last one, you must be thinking of some other movie. But next year sometime there will be a new table tennis movie coming out called “Korea”.

It is based on the true story of the division of North and South Korea. During this, the women’s table tennis teams of North and South Korea combined at World Championships. It is told through the eyes of the head coach of the team at the time. She even played a large role in making the movie. She edited the script and even taught the actors to play with the correct technique. So look for this next year in theaters.

Pierce Scott

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Controversy – by Pierce Scott

Jena Newgarden
If you play table tennis then you know controversy can arise at any time. Some situations you might run into are – your opponent won’t start the table tennis match, you think their paddle is illegal, someone thinks your paddle is illegal, disagreement over the score, disagreement on whether or not the serve is legal and disagreement over whether a point should be played as a let or not. There are also other situations that could occur, but these are the most likely problems a tournament player can come across.

The best way to solve one of these problems is to be calm, listen to the other side of the story, and come to an agreement that seems fair. If you cannot seem to do this, you need to go get help from the Tournament Desk. If you can specifically ask for the Referee (designated to handle any tournament conflicts) he/she is the one in power. A common mistake in table tennis is mixing up the referee and the umpire. The umpire only controls one match (he/she is the one in the chair watching your match). The referee controls the tournament and has the power to assign an umpire, default a player, and also disqualify a player. Once you report your problem to the referee he will assign an umpire for the match and that umpire will most likely go back to the point in the match/game of where both players agree. Remember, they cannot rule on something they did not see.

Tournaments are supposed to be fun, and competitive at the same time, so try not to let too much controversy get in the way.

Pierce Scott

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The Importance of Bending Your Knees – By Pierce Scott

Jena Newgarden
Footwork is very important in table tennis. Most players do not have great footwork. This is either because they don’t know how to move correctly, or they just flat out don’t move. A key part to moving is bending your knees. If you do not bend your knees you will not improve very much.

The first type of footwork is short distance footwork. This is when you are moving one step (or shuffle) to get a ball. You always move your outside foot first. The outside foot is the one that is farthest away from the ball. For example, if you’re moving to hit a wide backhand, you would need to move your right foot first. In order to do this you need to have a good spring in your legs. The only way to get a good spring to the ball is if you bend your knees and use the energy of your body going from down to up to move to the ball. Think of bending your knees like a spring. You push down on a spring and all that energy is waiting to explode. Then you release and all the energy makes a big impact. This is the effect of bending your knees.

Long distance footwork is almost the same as short distance, but in long distance you need to be more explosive and cover more ground. You need even more of a spring now which will require you to bend your knees.

The last common type of footwork is moving in and out of the table. If you are moving in to make a push or flip you need to have your right foot under the table. This will give you more reach. It is important to stay low (bending your knees) when flipping a short ball because you need to catch the ball at the top of the bounce. When you catch the ball at the top of the bounce you are catching it when it is highest, which means you will not have to lift the ball as much. If you don’t bend your knees you will not know when the ball has reached its highest point.

Bending your knees is very important in table tennis. Basically every single shot has something to do with bending your knees. If you do not bend your knees you are not going to improve very much and you will not reach the highest part of your game.

Pierce Scott

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What to Expect at a Tournament by Pierce Scott

Jena Newgarden
The first thing you should know about table tennis tournaments is there are different kinds of tournaments. Each type of tournament means different things. Here are the most common tournaments:

Open = anyone in the world can play

Closed = only a specific group of people can play (ex. Ohio Closed is a tournament for only players who live in Ohio)

Invitational = you must be invited

US Nationals = the end of the year tournament that is the championship event for this country and decides who plays on the US National Teams

US Open = tournament organized by the USA but competition from all over the world

Teams = to play in this tournament you must have a certain team (the entry form will give more details)

Doubles = you will need a partner to enter the tournament with you

You also need to know how each tournament has a certain rating BASED ON ONLY THE AMOUNT OF MONEY BEING PAID OUT. Tournaments range from 0 stars – 5 stars. USATT (USA Table Tennis) only allows two 5 star tournaments a year and those are the US Nationals and US Open. The higher the star, the more money they give out.

When you first arrive at the tournament site (or sometimes called “hall”) you need to check-in with the tournament so you do not default any matches. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there, check-in, warm up, check out your draws and watch any opponents you might be playing. You also need to make sure you sign the waiver (if you’re under 18 get your mom or dad to sign). After this you need to know what table you play on and what time. This information is usually posted in the draw of your event(s). If you receive a player packet it also could be in there. Player packets are very useful. They will give you free things sometimes, a list of tournament players and sometimes other things that can help you out at the tournament.

If you are coming from out of the area for a tournament or two day tournament, and booking a hotel, make sure you have a hotel fairly close to the playing center. Most tournaments will provide a tournament hotel that is close and has reduced rates for players.

Pierce Scott

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Improving your Serve by Pierce Scott

Jena Newgarden
What starts off every single point? What shot do you have 100% control of? Your serve!

The best way to improve your table tennis game drastically is to improve your serves. If you can improve your serve, you can get into the point better and set up your way of playing. If you can practice your serve about five days a week for a focused 30 – 60 minutes, you can really boost your game.

The best way to practice serves is to pick one or two serves that go with each other. For example, you could just work on short heavy backspin to the forehand. Or you could work on short heavy backspin to the forehand and long fast topspin to the backhand. These two serves go together because you would use these as a combination in a table tennis match. Work on only these two serves for the training session. When you are serving, make sure you don’t lose focus. If you feel you are losing focus, then stop. There is nothing wrong with stopping — quality always wins over quantity when serving.

Another great way to improve your serves is to record yourself serving to look for certain things. You could be looking to see if they are legal, if they look the same as other serves or if they are deceiving. Watching yourself make the mistake is a lot easier to correct than having someone tell you about it and not know what was wrong.

To have an effective serve, you need to have varieties of serves you can use. The main varieties of serves you can have are short and spiny, long and fast, trick serves and dead balls. Short and spiny serves need to bounce twice on the opponent’s side if they weren’t touched. Long and fast serves need to hit within 3-5 inches of the white line at the end of the table. Also, a very useful serve that people often overlook is the dead ball. It can be served short or long. If you serve it short, make sure it double bounces. If you serve it long, a good place to serve it is to the backhand or the player’s middle. Normally a player’s middle is at their elbow. The benefit from serving a long, fast and dead ball serve is normally the opponent is surprised when you serve long and fast so they try to block it on. If you give them a dead ball they will have to create their own spin to get the ball over the net. If they do not create spin then the ball will go into the net. Remember when you are practicing your serves they will not get better overnight. They will require a lot of little improvements to add up after about six months. Now you have an overview of how to improve your serves.

Pierce Scott

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How I Beat Choppers by Pierce Scott

Jena Newgarden
I am very good against choppers in table tennis because they align with my game very well. I am an attacker who loops very hard (and sometimes wild). Some of my good wins in tournaments and during club play come from choppers.

The two main tools I think you need to have to beat a chopper is patience and consistency. Choppers win from your mistakes most of the time. If you play out long points and wait for the right ball to put away you will normally win. I like to serve out to the backhand (the long pips or sometimes anti is normally on the backhand.) They will not usually attach with the pips so they will just push it back to the middle of the table. You need to attack this ball with location to a corner and make them move to get it back. If you loop this ball to the backhand they will normally chop it back. You can either push this ball back to get a less spiny ball, or loop another. I normally loop one, push one. The chopper will eventually put up a week chop that is too high or too dead. This is the ball you need to attack for the win. Once you attack this ball get ready for it to come back just in case. If he/she happens to return it just start the same pattern all over. Chances are if they return this ball it will be very weak and you can attack even better on this ball. Do not attack a ball you aren’t positive you will make. There is no reason to attack a ball and miss. The chopper is most likely not going to hit a ball by you. The last thing you need to do is remember not just to move the chopper left and right but also up and back. Choppers have trouble chopping from different lengths away from the table.

In conclusion, you need to be patient. Wait for the right ball to attack. Use the pattern loop one, push one. Finally, don’t forget to move the chopper in and out. Now you have the tools to beat a chopper.

Pierce Scott

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