My Journey to the Perfect Forehand Stroke – Part 1

Jena Newgarden

Whenever I watch good table tennis players warming up with perfect forehand strokes, I feel a little bit of envy. It always looks so easy for them. Why can’t I do it? I can watch them, I can imitate their motions, but yet, when I am there at the ping pong table, and the ball appears in front of me, my whole body wants to do its own thing. I was so frustrated with my inability to do correct forehand stroke, that I even contemplated giving up on table tennis all together. For a while my Robo-Pong table tennis robot was left alone, locked in my garage. If you saw our last short horror film It Plays, filmed by Adrian Kohann, you will know what inspired that movie. We all may have been there; frustrated that things we know how to do, we can’t do, especially during our table tennis matches. We give up. Yet, in my case the love of this sport, doesn’t let me give up for too long. Last year I made the decision, that I will have to make every effort possible to finally get that forehand stroke correctly.

“How can I help you?” asked coach Leszek Kucharski during my first ever sport camp in Poland.

“I want to feel my forehand.”

“What else? he asked.

“That’s it. I don’t want to think: do this, do that. I want to feel it without thinking. I want to feel it, like I feel my backhand.

My journey to master my forehand stroke started. At the end of my seven-day camp, coach Kucharski was giving us our last tips, while he was comfortably bouncing the ball against the side of the ping pong table. 50 to 100 perfect small bounces against the narrow side of the table, while he is talking! We looked with disbelief. We all tried and couldn’t do even 2 bounces.

“Gosh, it looks so easy for you. Why can’t we do it?” we kept asking.

“ Oh, you can,” he assured us. “The difference between you and I is only a few thousands strokes a day.”

I think I finally got it. I need to accept that it will take me probably much longer than other table tennis players, as I don’t have natural talent, but I do have something that will help me succeed: I have persistence, and a huge desire. I also need to accept the fact that I learn differently. I will have to have courage to ask better players for help. Now it is up to me to commit to those 1000’s of strokes a day.

In my following blogs, I will be sharing with you my journey to the perfect forehand stroke. I will specify my challenges and share with you my strategy to overcome those challenges. I am excited and determined to succeed!

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Robo-Pong – Your New Workout Partner

Jena Newgarden
Are you looking for a new and fun way to exercise and get fit in 2015? How about ping-pong! Playing ping pong is not only a fun and social game, it can also be a great workout.

If you don’t have anyone to play ping pong with, or at least not anyone that can really challenge you and get you moving, then the Robo-Pong is the perfect workout partner for you!

Playing ping pong with Robo-Pong is a great cardio workout and can really get your heart rate up. You can burn up to 500 calories or more per hour depending on the settings, intensity levels and drills you choose.

Playing ping pong with Robo-Pong provides a low-impact workout while still allowing you to reach your exercise and health goals, no matter what age or fitness level you’re at.

Exercise in general is known to help reduce stress and using the Robo-Pong is no exception. Plus, it’s fun, so you’ll want to work out with your Robo-Pong every day.

Besides the physical benefits of playing table tennis with Robo-Pong, it also has many mental benefits such as helping to improve your focus, hand-eye coordination and reflexes.

Now is a great time to start your new workout with Robo-Pong! Choose from five different models at

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The Top 5 Reasons That Make ROBO-PONG the Perfect Holiday Gift

Jena Newgarden
1.) Practically anyone can play ping pong with Robo-Pong – any age, gender, skill or athletic level.

2.) Learn a new sport. Did you know table tennis is an Olympic Sport? If you already play, advance your table tennis skills and take your game to the next level.

3.) Playing ping pong with Robo-Pong is a great workout, for both your body and your brain. You can really work up a sweat, burn lots of calories and help improve your hand-eye coordination and balance.

4.) Robo-Pong is the perfect ping pong partner. It’s always ready to go and won’t ever get tired.

5.) Most of all, it’s fun! It’s fun to play Robo-Pong solo or with friends and family.

Bonus: Robo-Pong is available in five different models, so there’e one for everyone’s budget and level of play. It’s also user-friendly and easy to set up, take down, store and transport.

This holiday season, you can’t go wrong… with Robo-Pong!

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Newgy Cincinnati Open 4-Star Table Tennis Tournament – Results

Jena Newgarden

Congrats to all the winners of the Newgy Cincinnati Open 4-Star Table Tennis Tournament this past weekend!

Open Giant RR
1st Samson Dubina
2nd Tapabrada Dey
3rd Hesam Hamrahian
4th Danny Dulkin
5th-8th Ali Khatami, Alex Averin, Seth Pech, and John Allen

U2400 Giant RR
1st Danny Dulkin
2nd Seth Pech
3rd-4th Nick Snider and Tapabrada Dey

u2000 Giant RR
1st Harsh Khandelwal
2nd Kosal Tith
3rd-4th Willians Calipo and Greg Smith

U1600 Giant RR
1st Chad Ryan
2nd Kevin Swan
3rd-4th Joe Ciarrochi and Yi Yan Xue

U1200 Giant RR
1st Yueling Zhang
2nd Newell Millard
3rd-4th Matt Seeds and Lin Wang

U1000 Giant RR
1st Laura Paglin
2nd Aubrey Morris

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Nashville Predators/Newgy/NTTC Table Tennis Tournament Results

Jena Newgarden
The Nashville Predators/Newgy/NTTC Table Tennis/Ping-Pong Tournament was a hit!  75 pro table tennis players, recreational ping pong players and students competed on the main floor of the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Saturday, April 19, 2014.

The tournament featured three divisions to include players of all levels and ages. The pro division featured players with USATT ratings of 1200-2200.

Roger Dickson, Newgy’s Head Table Tennis Coach, did a great job running the tournament. We had several volunteers from the Nashville Table Tennis Club to help with registration and scorekeeping.

A big thanks to the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena for hosting this fun table tennis event!

Congrats to all the winners!

Pro Division

1st Place:   Jude Lam, Knoxville, TN

2nd Place:   Donny Flowers, Memphis, TN

3rd Place:   Roger Jett, Murray, KY

Recreational Division

1st Place:   Rick Sati, Smyrna, TN

2nd Place:  Radu Rusu, Franklin, TN

3rd Place:  Iqbal Indawala, Nashville, TN

Junior (18 & Under) Division

1st Place:   Steven Dickerson, University School of Nashville

2nd Place:  Chance Waller, Smith Co. High School

3rd Place:  David Shayne, University School of Nashville

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Strive for Dexterity in Table Tennis – Samson Dubina

Jena Newgarden
Every table tennis player should strive for dexterity.  This is a skill that some players are naturally more gifted with and some players are not.  The good news is that it can be trained as well.  So what is dexterity?

Dictionary Definition of “Dexterity”


noun \dek-ˈster-ə-tē, -ˈste-rə-\

: the ability to use your hands skillfully

: the ability to easily move in a way that is graceful

: clever skill : the ability to think and act quickly and cleverly

In regards to table tennis, dexterity can mean several different things.  It can mean…

1. Having the ability to learn a new stroke

2. Having the ability to relax even while swinging hard

3. Having the ability to be extremely precise and accurate

4. Having the ability to put impart speed and spin on the ball with very little effort

5. Having the ability to adjust the stroke for various types of balls

I will focus on the fifth type of dexterity in table tennis.

Dexterity is the ability to adjust to various aspects of the ping pong ball – adjust to the speed of the ball, adjust to the placement of the ball, adjust to the depth of the ball, adjust to the height of the ball and adjust to the spin on the ball.  I will use the forehand loop as my example.

In order to develop more dexterity in your forehand loop, you must be able to adjust your swing based on the different speeds of the incoming balls.  Ask your table tennis training partner to block to your forehand and vary the speed of the block – sometimes slightly harder and sometimes slightly slower.  Keep your racket in front and backswing once you see the approaching ball.  If the ball is blocked quickly, then shorten your loop while still generating a lot of spin.  Always keep your weight leaning forward and contact the ball in front of your body.

In order to develop more dexterity in your forehand loop, you must be able to adjust your swing based on the placement of the incoming balls.  Ask your training partner to move the ball around in the forehand 50% of the ping pong table.  Watch your opponent’s racket and adjust your feet into position before swinging.  Once your feet are set, then take a swing.  If you are in good position, loop slightly harder with a longer swing.  If you are off-balance and forced to reach or lean for the ball, shorten your swing, focus on control, brush the ball with spin, then get in better position for the next loop.

In order to develop more dexterity in your forehand loop, you must be able to adjust your swing based on the depth of the incoming balls.  For this exercise, I would recommend starting very slowly.  Set up your Newgy Robo-Pong table tennis robot to throw the ball once every 3 seconds or have your training partner feed multiball.  If the ball is slow and lands near the net, move both feet forward and loop near the table.  If the ball is deep near the end line, then move back slightly and loop the deep ball.  When moving forward (for right-handed table tennis players), step with your right foot then the left foot.  When moving backward, step with the left foot then the right foot.  Both feet actually move simultaneously, however, the outside foot always initiates the movement.  When moving in-and-out, make sure to stay with your weight leaning forward.  Focus on moving your feet very fast while looping with control.

In order to develop more dexterity in your forehand loop, you must be able to adjust your swing based on the height of the incoming balls.  Ask your training partner to adjust his block sometimes higher and sometimes lower.  Keep your racket in front of your body and take your backswing once you see the height of the incoming ball.  For the forehand loop against topspin, try to start your swing directly behind the ball and loop forward with spin.  If the ball is higher, then start your racket higher.  If your racket is lower, then start your racket lower.

In order to develop more dexterity in your forehand loop, you must be able to adjust your swing based on the various spins of the incoming balls.  Ask your training partner to vary the spin on his block, sometimes he should block normal with slight topspin, sometimes he should spin over the ball with more topspin and sometimes he should chop-block.  If he adds topspin, the ball will jump up as it contacts your side of the table.  If he performs a chop-block, the ball with slow down as it contacts your side of the table.  Adjust your racket height and body position to the incoming ball.  This is the most challenging of all the exercises.  Don’t be discouraged if it takes several months to perfect this aspect of dexterity.

Every table tennis player should strive for dexterity.  I am convinced that dexterity should be trained.  In your training sessions, you should make it just as challenging as or more challenging than an actual game.  Be ready to adjust for various speeds, placements, depths, heights, and spins and you will be on your way to success!

Samson Dubina

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Newgy Akron Open Table Tennis Tournament – Results

Jena Newgarden
The Newgy Akron Open Table Tennis Tournament this past weekend, March 21-22, had a great turnout! 96 total table tennis players participated from near and far, including Mississippi, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsyvania, New York and even Canada and Germany.

Here are the results:

Open Giant Round Robin
1st Wang Zhen (rated 2822)
2nd Cheng Li (rated 2598)
3rd Yi Chi Zhang (rated 2584)
4th Samson Dubina (rated 2497)
5th-6th Nachiket Joshi and Junyu Xiao
7th-8th Seyed Hesam Hamrahian and Keith Pech

Under 2100 Giant Round Robin
1st Burak Cevik
2nd Aleksandr Itunin
3rd-4th Roger Liu and James Hamilton
5th-8th Rick Akers, Bob New, Shreyans Bafna, and Harsh Khandelwal

Under 1700 Giant Round Robin
1st Mario Letic
2nd Ed Zadrozny
3rd Raymond Johnston
4th Mike Wilke
5th-8th Ashwin Turakhia, David Sommers, Joe Ciarrochi, and Richard Beer

Under 1300 Giant Round Robin
1st Mike Burchfield
2nd Anwen Harris
3rd Daniel Waugaman
4th Richard Beer
5th-8th Dick Bennett, Jeff Shiff, David Sommers, Ron Martin

Open Doubles
1st Samson Dubina/Shreyans Bafna
2nd Cheng Li/Yi Chi Zhang
3rd-4th Zhiqiao Xie/Keith Pech and Hesam Hamrahian/Ali Khatami

1st Cheng Li
2nd Daniel Waugaman
3rd-4th Ron Martin and Gary Hobrath

Junior Recreational
1st Andrew Heiser
2nd Noah Sussman
3rd-4th Annie Liu and Sarah Sommers

Adult Recreational
1st Stephen Faulstich
2nd Lee Szwast

Check back for dates and details of upcoming table tennis tournaments.

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