COACH CARL’S COLUMN: Coaching Technique by Carl Hardin

Jena Newgarden
Table Tennis coaches need to be aware of how their students learn— some by watching, some learn by hearing, some learn by doing, and some learn by feeling. All are important, but the coach needs to focus on the way the student learns best. The coach can determine this by trying each method out or a combination. When you know which method works best, practice using it and then learning will become much easier for the student.

Keep records on your students’ fundamentals. Do not proceed on to the next assignment until your student can perform the current activity with 80% accuracy. For example, when training with a table tennis robot, set it to a faster level of speed and/or oscillation if the student can perform 50% accuracy without footwork or stroke break down. Then continue the drill until the student can reach the 80% accuracy level. Then overload the student again by increasing the drill difficulty until the student reaches the 80% level. If the footwork, stroke breaks down or if success is below 50%, then you need to lower the difficulty.

By keeping records you can your keep your students advancing according to their ability.

Carl Hardin

Read more →

Moving Up a Level by Samson Dubina

Jena Newgarden
Everyone wants to improve; however, most table tennis players will plateau at a certain level – 1200, 1800, 2100, etc… Here are some of the strategies that I have used to advance my table tennis game far beyond my fellow club members.

1. Know your strengths and weaknesses

Once you clearly understand your strengths and weaknesses, you can strategize on how to play your strengths against your opponent’s weaknesses. Do you win points with a strong attack or by being consistent? Do you make more mistakes with forehand or backhand?

2. Get a coach

A table tennis coach will see and understand things that you won’t see – strokes, footwork, serves, mental game, or an endless list of other common problems. If there isn’t a coach in your area, record yourself and compare the video to the pros.

3. Improve every aspect of your game

Advancing one part of your game might help against one particular opponent, but you need to progress all aspects. For example, if you develop a great forehand flip – excellent! But what happens if your opponent only serves long and pushes long?

4. Place a priority on serve and serve return

Each point starts with serve and return. If you can serve effectively, you can possibly win 3-4 more points each game. This is valuable. If you can return serve well, you will force your opponent to rally and lose his serving advantage.

5. Serving practice 20%, Drills and/or Robot 40%, Matches 40%

Serving, as stated previously, is the fastest way to progress in the shortest amount of time. Drills and/or table tennis robot practice will improve your basics and give a solid foundation. Matches are vital; this is the time to implement what you have been practicing.

Samson Dubina

Read more →

What Age to Start Playing Table Tennis by Roger Dickson

Jena Newgarden
As the head coach at the Newgy Table Tennis Center, I get this question quite often. There really is not a simple answer as the motor skills of all children develop differently. In China they may test motor skills for sports as young as five years old!

Under Age Eight

My general rule of thumb is to introduce some basic racket skills and have a lot of fun for the younger ages. Remember that the attention span is very short with younger players, so short and simple instructions are very important.

Using the Newgy Robo-Pong table tennis robot is actually quite good as the ball can be adjusted to bounce twice in front of the player with good depth and height. Control the racket for the student when you first start until they can maintain the position by themselves to simply block the ball back over the net. This is just basic racket/ball control and will help them gain confidence. If you have a group of kids, using the Pong-Master with your Newgy Robo-Pong will allow them to compete against the machine and each other!

Eight to Ten Years Old

Starting to learn table tennis in this age range, the players will start to be able to do more active programs with footwork and racket position changes very quickly. Some of the first pre-programmed drills on the Newgy Robo-Pong 2050/1050were thought of with this age group in mind. Just add time to the WAIT ADJUSTMENT to give the kids a chance to learn the drills and speed them up to challenge them as them reach an 80% success rate.

Table tennis is a great cross training sport for all sports, so you can’t really start too young or too old!

Roger Dickson

Read more →

Attacking First by Samson Dubina

Jena Newgarden
You have practiced your attack for months…

Hired a physical trainer…

Perfected your favorite table tennis robot drills…

Purchased the newest equipment…

Watched every table tennis video on the market…

Held tight to your diet…

Prepared mentally for your first tournament…

BUT failed to win a single match! What went wrong? As an offensive player, your experienced opponents were probably able to attack first.

Seventy-five percent of the time, whoever attacks first wins the point. (This statistic applies to two offensive players in competition.) One of the questions players most frequently ask me is, “Samson, how can I attack first?” Here are four tips for the beginning player on how to attack first:

1. Get ready to attack. You must anticipate every ball coming long enough to loop. After serving, get back in your low ready-position waiting for the deep ball; when receiving serves, look to attack if the ball comes long.

2. Serve short, low, backspin. With a very low serve that bounces twice on your opponent’s side, it will be very difficult for him to get beneath the ball because the table is in the way.

3. Return short serves short. If you can’t attack your opponent’s serve, then keep him from attacking by dropping it back short. You might get the opportunity to attack the following ball.

4. Flip your opponent’s serve. The flip is an attack which is especially effective if placed to the backhand or middle. Your opponent will often block your flip, which can be followed up by your strong attack.

If you and your opponent are exactly the same level and both able to attack an equal amount of times, then consistency is the key. Within being the most consistent, the one who has the best spin variation, speed variation, and ball placement will control the table and ultimately win.

Using the Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 table tennis robot, drills 16, 21, 22 and 56 will be the most useful in practicing these strategies. With practice, you will improve; but with the RIGHT practice, you will improve ten times faster.

Samson Dubina

Read more →

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

Read more →

Table Tennis Rule Change by Samson Dubina

Jena Newgarden

Character must come as the highest priority in table tennis, before winning. Table tennis players must give their best at all times, yet still remain honest and have excellent sportsmanship throughout the table tennis match.

In the past, table tennis has had one major controversial issue – double hit. Because it was very difficult for umpires to be 100% sure, the decision was often left to the honesty of the players. The honest players were calling it on themselves. The dishonest ones were cheating. To correct this, ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) has changed the rule as of September 1, 2010.

Previously, the rule stated that a point is won:

2.10.1.6 if an opponent strikes the ball twice successively

Now, the rule states that a point is won:

2.10.01.06 if an opponent deliberately strikes the ball twice in succession;

Note that the hand that is holding the racket counts as part of the racket and that making a good return off one’s hand or fingers is allowed. As of September 1, 2010, it is not a fault if the ball accidentally hits one’s hand or fingers and then subsequently hits the racket.

Samson Dubina

Read more →

COACH CARL’S COLUMN: Build a Solid Foundation for your Table Tennis Game by Carl Hardin

Jena Newgarden
To maximize your potential, it is important to start by building a solid foundation for your table tennis game. It is best to build this foundation by developing each skill one step at a time.

1.Start by developing the proper blade grip:

When you play you see the ball but your blade angle and direction of swing is by feel, therefore you must develop a feel for the blade angle. You can develop this feel by bouncing the ball on the blade; forehand side 25 bounces, backhand side 25 bounces, next alternate 1 bounce on the forehand side and 1 backhand side for 10 bounces. Make sure you can do these drills with no more than 2 misses.

2. Stance:

The width between your feet should be greater than the width of your shoulders, knees bent, and lean forward until the heels of your shoes start to come up off the floor, now you are in position to do your footwork.

3. Footwork:

The outside foot moves first, (example) when you want to move to the right direction, your left foot is the outside foot, to move left your right foot is the outside foot.

Watch for my next blog which will teach you how to develop perfect strokes in table tennis.

Carl Hardin

Read more →

Flat-Hitting with the Newgy Robo-Pong by Eric Owen

Jena Newgarden
Whenever players first start out in table tennis they typically want to start looping right from the beginning. They go to a tournament or watch videos of world-class table tennis players and see them looping every ball that goes over the net. What beginners neglect to realize is that these players have been looping for many years and certainly didn’t learn to loop as their first stroke. I can promise you that nearly every one of them began with the flat hit prior to looping, and the Newgy Robo-Pong table tennis robot is the perfect tool to learn this technique.

Set the robot up so that a slow-paced, topspin ball is going to one corner (either forehand or backhand). As the ball approaches, remember to use proper timing and backswing at the same speed as the ball. Do not focus on using the wrist on either forehand or backhand, but rather let the wrist flow naturally. After backswinging the same speed as the ball, contact the ball out in front of your body and follow through where you want to hit the ball. The follow through is very important when trying to control ball placement. You never want to cut it short, and it should be very relaxed and smooth. At the end of the follow through, return to the ready position and repeat. Try to contact every ball slightly away from the middle of the blade toward the outside edge. Every contact should be at the same location on the blade, and you can monitor this by looking at the marks on the rubber from the contact of the ball. If you have spots all over your rubber, then you are not being consistent in your contact and your control will suffer. Do this drill until you can comfortably hit each ball with very few mistakes and have proper contact. Once the forehand is mastered, move on to the backhand and vice-versa. You can increase the difficulty by increasing oscillation and speed of your Newgy Robo-Pong table tennis robot. When you can comfortably maintain a setting of 10 on oscillation AND speed, you are ready to begin looping.

Train Hard!

 

Read more →