Peak Performance for Table Tennis Tournaments

Jena Newgarden
Many professional table tennis players peak for certain tournaments each year.  By having a systematic training cycle, these players can perform well at the important tournaments.  There are usually four parts to the six-month season:  Pre-season, in-season, the peak tournament and post-season.  Here are some tips for how you can learn to “peak” for that one important table tennis tournament six months from now.


For the first few days before the intense training begins, you should take out a notebook and write out your main goal.  What do you hope to win or accomplish in the major table tennis tournament six months from now?  Next, make a plan.  How often do you plan to practice table tennis drills?  How often do you plan to play practice matches?  How often do you plan to play tournaments?  And finally, determine what changes need to be made to your basic, foundational table tennis strokes.


At the beginning of the season, it is very important to work on your base strokes and develop excellent consistency in the long table tennis rallies.  Also, during the beginning of the season, you should try to make some improvements to your table tennis game.  Realize that it will likely take at least 30-60 days to change a bad habit.  During the beginning of the season, it is also important to strengthen your body – especially your legs and core.  With better fitness, you will be able to train harder and longer during the season and will be less likely to get injured at your main table tennis event six months away.  As the season progresses, it is very important to begin doing more game-like drills starting with the serve.  As you play table tennis matches, make sure that you take plenty of notes and adjust your practice according to your findings.  Before the peak table tennis tournament for the season, it is also important to play in other tournaments.  Playing tournaments is the best way to understand every aspect of your game and is one of the best ways to improve your mental game as well.

The Peak Tournament

Now, it is time to play your best at your peak table tennis tournament.  If you have properly prepared physically and mentally and have played plenty of practice matches and tournament matches, then performing well at your peak tournament should not be a huge issue.  During the competition, treat this tournament as any other tournament, go through your normal tournament routine, focus, and have FUN.


After your peak table tennis tournament, it is important to rest for at least one week to allow your body to fully recover.  During this rest week, spend some time to re-evaluate your season and your peak performance.  Adjust your training plans accordingly and begin strategizing how to come back even stronger the next table tennis season!

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Your Morning Wake-Up Call or Table Tennis Loss?

Jena Newgarden
You were the top seed in the under 2300 event at the table tennis tournament.  Based on the draw, you knew that you didn’t have a strong opponent on your opening 9:00 am match; in fact, he was only rated 1600.  You woke up at 8:25 am and drove to the venue at 8:55 am.  You figured that after your opening table tennis match, that you would grab some breakfast and then begin your full warm-up for your 11:00 am match.  After dropping the first game, you decided that it was just your opening match and you would snap out of it.  You thought that it would still be an easy 3-1 win.  At the close of the second game, your opponent did the unthinkable.  He scored 4 consecutive points with 3 net balls and an edge ball.  Now, you were down 2-0 in games and your nerves got the best of you.  Your morning wake-up call?  Well, it was more than a wakeup call, it was the worst table tennis loss of your life!

So how could you have prevented it?

#1 Serious

You needed to take that table tennis match seriously, even when your opponent was rated below you.  By waking up early enough to eat a good breakfast, by jogging and stretching, by playing a few practice matches, by doing a bit of research on your opponent, and by mentally gearing up prior to the match, you should have given your best from the very first hit!  For future tournaments, you need to learn to be serious and give your opponent the proper respect.

#2 Fear

After losing the first table tennis game, you should have had some fear.  Instead of taking the match seriously, you just dismissed it as an early morning match that would turn out fine in the end.  Instead, you should fear losing.  This fear of losing would have driven you to give 100% focus and to evaluate your opponent and possibly change your tactics.  Some types of fear are good.

#3 Learn

Walking off the court after losing the match 3-0, you should have learned how to deal with your loss.  So what did you do next…  Quit?  Mope around the tournament complaining?  Following your opponent around hoping that his rating gets adjusted?  What did you do?  I suggest that you should have learned from that match and move forward.  Think back to the match in regards to a tactics change for the next match but DON’T think back to the match in a depressing way.  Use that match as fuel to energize your performance in future table tennis matches.

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Newgy Ohio Open Table Tennis Tournament Results

Jena Newgarden
137 table tennis players competed in 11 divisions at the Newgy Ohio Open Table Tennis Tournament this past weekend, March 20 & 21, 2015 in Uniontown, Ohio. This USATT Sanctioned 3-Star event featured over $4000 in cash and prizes!

Congrats to all the winners!

Open Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Samson David Dubina, 2nd Place: Alex Legaria

Under 2600 Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Samson David Dubina, 2nd Place: Youssef Chalhoub

Under 2400 Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Alex Legaria, 2nd Place: Ahmed Hendawi

Under 2200 Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Don R. Hamilton, 2nd Place: Chandru Krishnan

Under 2000 Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Aydin Aykanat, 2nd Place: Richard W. Akers

Under 1800 Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Tadao (Tom) Inui, 2nd Place: Edward A Zadrozny

Under 1600 Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Bojan Stojmilovic, 2nd Place: Igor Botkin

Under 1400 Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Carlos Morantes, 2nd Place: Kristopher Williams

Under 1200 Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Logan Herman, 2nd Place: Mike Burchfield

Under 1000 Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Jordan DePoy, 2nd Place: Matthew Seeds

Under 800 Giant Round Robin – 1st Place: Sarah Jalli, 2nd Place: Andrew Schneider

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Table Tennis Coaches – Avoid This Word

Jena Newgarden
As a table tennis coach, I think it is very important to praise and encourage your students when they have played well. If a coach compliments their student and then follows it with the word “but”, it basically discounts the positive that was just said and can be discouraging to the student.

For example:

My student asks, “So Coach Samson, what do you think about my performance at the last table tennis tournament?”

I reply, “Your looping was very powerful, your footwork was fast, you had good strategy, BUT you missed every smash.”

By using the word “but” it puts the focus on what my table tennis student didn’t do.  In light of all the good things that I said, he will remember that I was focusing on his one weak point.  Instead, here is how I should have worded that sentence.

I reply, “Your looping was very powerful, your footwork was fast, you had a good strategy, AND we need to continue to work on perfecting your smash.”

By using the word “AND” I have not degraded him but instead I show that we have areas to continue improving while building his confidence.

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Table Tennis Tips – Short and to the Point

Jena Newgarden
I have written hundreds of table tennis articles and blogs throughout my career as a professional table tennis player and coach.   I realize that sometimes it can seem overwhelming to try to figure out which articles to read and which tips that you should be applying to your game.  For this reason, I have written this summary article which will summarize many of the table tennis tips I discuss in my articles in just one sentence – short and to the point.

When developing a good loop, focus on spin rather than speed.

When developing a good push, contact the ping-pong ball early and keep the ball low with spin.

When developing a good block, try to bend your knees, lean forward, get your feet in position, and relax your grip on your table tennis racket.

When developing a good smash, focus on getting your feet in position first then take your backswing to the appropriate height depending on the ball placement, ball depth, ball height, and spin.

When developing a good serve, focus on serving low with spin while using the serves that best setup your game, training them in a table tennis tournament environment, varying the quality of spin, and using them in practice matches as well.

When developing a good serve return, focus on having the proper ready-position, reading the spin from your opponent’s table tennis racket, moving to the ball, reading the bounce, then adjusting and readjusting just before contact.

When developing a good table tennis strategy, focus on your opponent’s strengths, weaknesses, serve, and serve return.

When developing a good perspective on winning and losing in table tennis, read the book 7 Days in Utopia.

When developing a good level of confidence, remember that: trust is a must or your game is a bust.

When developing a good deception, focus on varying the spin, speed, placement, and type of shot while still staying within your means to maintain at least 70% consistency.

When developing a good base of physical training, focus on lower body and core strength and speed – focus on speed and flexibility, not bulky muscle.

When developing a good table tennis tournament plan, be sure to set goals – when you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

When developing good rallies in table tennis, focus on anticipating the incoming ball based on the placement of your hit, the type of your hit, the spin of your hit, watching your opponent’s racket, while watching the incoming ball.

When developing a good tournament game, try to play at least one table tennis tournament per month to test your skills and test your ability to perform well under pressure.

When developing a good strategy against loopers, try to attack first and force them to block or lob.

When developing a good strategy against blockers, be patience and work the point until you are ready to hit a winner.

When developing a good strategy against choppers, try to attack the middle often and move them in-and-out instead of side to side.

When developing a good strategy against lobbers, try to see which balls are hitting near the net (smash down) and which balls are hitting near your endline (smash forward).

When developing a good strategy against lefties, try to expose the wide forehand with explosive loops then curve wide the backhand when they are away from the ping-pong table.

When developing a good strategy against long pips, try to push deep to the pips in order to get an easy no-spin ball to loop.

When developing a good strategy against female table tennis players, try to loop with plenty of spin deep on the table, which will be difficult for them to smash or block.

When developing a good power shot, focus on using your core muscles while relaxing your arm as much as possible – at contact, focus on the acceleration.

When developing a good mental game, try to focus on the performance and strategy rather than the benefits of winning or the consequences of losing.

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Two-Star 2014 Newgy Wang Table Tennis Open Results

Jena Newgarden
Congrats to all the winners of the Newgy Wang Open Table Tennis Tournament! 60 table tennis players competed for trophies and cash prizes at the Academy Park Gym in Franklin, Tennessee on Saturday, October 11. Newgy Industries and the Wang Vision Institute were proud to sponsor this great event that attracted players from all across Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Virginia. Newgy’s Coach Roger Dickson did a great job, once again, organizing and refereeing the tournament, with the help of the Nashville Table Tennis Club. The format was Two-Tier Round Robin.

“A youth movement and new faces in local table tennis could be seen at the 2014 Newgy – Wang Vision Institute Open. It was a mix of local new young players and several of the Atlanta International Table Tennis Academy students making up the youth movement. Even the US Nation Jr. Boys coach – Shigang “Alex” Yang was here to see his students compete. One boy kept Coach Yang’s attention for most of the event, Andrew Yang at 7 years old and the Coaches son not only competed against all comers – but managed to capture 3rd in Division F!

The new faces were lead by Mina Boushra. Formerly a player in Egypt, Mina has started playing again and his left handed forehand attack and good use of his long pips backhand not only lead him to victory in the Qualifying groups but got him to the Open Final! Not a new face to finals in events throughout the South, John Mar from Atlanta used his pose, patience and power to bring home the Championship and to hand Mina his only lost matches of the day.” – Coach Roger Dickson, Newgy

Here are all the groups and event winners:

Top Tier AM – Mar, John, Skripnik, Ivan, Weishaeupl, Robert, Boushra, Mina, Neuendorf, Tim, Zhang, Kui, Handoko, Leidy, Flowers, Donny

Tier 2 AM – Glasscock, Michael, Mann, Eli, Fox, Bryson, Hurt, Jonathan, Kavanaugh, Robert

Open Singles          

Mar, John

Boushra, Mina

Handoko, Leidy

Skripnik, Ivan

Top A      

Chen, Cuiren

Patton, Charles

Dailey, Tommie

Arabov, Iliyan

Top B      

Cook, Joshua

Bagchi, Ayan

Jordan, Archie

Ruan, Ethan

Top C      

Guo, Xiaofeng

Mann, Thomas H.

Top D      

Zhu, Sabrina

Tillery, Glenn

Chen, Ben

Sun, Qi

Lower E  

Mann, Eli

Kavanaugh, Robert

Xing, Xuejing

Hurt, Jonathan

Lower F   

Magee, Daniel

Williams, Wayne

Yang, Andrew

Taylor, Laura

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September Newgy Akron Table Tennis Tournament Results

Jena Newgarden
On September 26-27, the Newgy Akron Table Tennis Open took center stage at Walsh University’s Alumni Arena.  The new facility hosted the northeast Ohio’s largest table tennis event with 133 registered players with excellent conditions including 800 lux lighting, wood floor, and 28’ ceilings.  Friday’s events kicked off with the warm-up events:  Open doubles, family doubles, handicap, and junior recreational.  The elite Lindenwood University team dominated Friday’s play with taking first in Handicap and top 4 in Open Doubles.

Saturday featured Round Robin groups of 8 players with the top 4 advancing from each group.  In the Open Giant Round Robin quarterfinals 2600-level Xue Feng Jia chopped and looped his way to a 3-0 victory over Lindenwood’s top player Alex Legaria next up Jiaqi Zheng rated 2548 took down Santiago Seville 3-0.  Khoa followed suit with a 3-0 win over Gabriel Skolnick.  Micaiah Skolnick nearly broke the trend with a 8-5 lead in the fifth over Samson Dubina.  Micaiah was stopped short with an 11-9 loss.

In the Open semifinals US #1 ranked Olympic eligible female table tennis player Jiaqi Zheng took down 2x Olympian Khoa Nguyen 3-1 to advance to the finals.  In the other semifinals, former Chinese Superleague player Xue Feng Jia, using excellent spin variation and consistency, took down Ohio’s #1 table tennis player Samson Dubina 3-0.  With the experienced Xue Feng Jia easily cruising through 10 straight matches, it looked as if he would take the title and $1000 first place cash.  However, Jiaqi Zheng played a smart game and Xue Feng Jia was not able to adjust to her pips attacks and drop shots.  Congrats to Jiaqi Zheng for winning her first Newgy Akron Open title.  Best wishes to her as she prepares to represent the US at the 2016 Olympics!

We would like to thank our dedicated tournament sponsors:  Newgy Robo-Pong, Studio 330 Wedding Professionals, Union Institute & University, Wil-Cut Engineered Abrasive Solutions, Clear Choice Custom Lasik Center, Paddle Palace, Nittaku, CLJ Studios, Simplex Creative, PainZone, and Butterfly.  We would also like to thank our friendly tournament staff:   Greg Thompson, Pierce Scott, Randy Burnett, Joyce Burnett, Larry Loutzenheiser, Harsh Khandelwal, Gabe Stauffer, Cathy Steele, Sam Dubina, Nancy Dubina, Marissa Dubina, Heather Dubina, Rachel Detwiler, Ron Martin, Craig Krum, and Orlando McEwan.

Tournament video

Tournament Photos

Here are the tournament results:

Open Giant RR
1st Jiaqi Zheng
2nd Xue Feng Jia
3rd-4th Khoa Nguyen/Samson Dubina

Under 2400 Giant RR
1st Alex Legaria
2nd Felipe Morita
3rd-4th Gabriel Skolnick/Santiago Sevilla

Under 2000 Giant RR
1st Anthony Lewis
2nd David Pech
3rd-4th Shreyans Bafna/Zuo Li

Under 1600 Giant RR
1st Ashwin Turakhia
2nd Zach Spies
3rd-4th Adam Hemker/Bobo Shi

Under 1200 Giant RR
1st Ishaq Kothari
2nd Anwen Harris
3rd Nathen Eldridge/Jeff Pitrof

Open Doubles RR
1st Gabriel Skolnick/Felipe Morita
2nd Micaiah Skolnick/Ahmed Hendawi

Family Doubles RR
1st Anwen Harris/Zane Harris
2nd Sarah Sommers/David Sommers

Handicap RR
1st Zach Spies
2nd Alex Averin

Junior RR
1st Daniel Daum
2nd Andrew Schneider

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Why Does This Happen in Table Tennis?

Jena Newgarden
Sometimes table tennis players will work really hard over the summer, training for many hours each day.  At the end of the summer, they play a table tennis tournament and are very disappointed with their results.  They might have spent thousands of dollars traveling to China, hiring professional table tennis coaches, and giving great effort, but still they didn’t have the expected results.

Yet other times, players will take a break from table tennis for a few weeks and practice very little.  Without expecting much from their first tournament of the season, these players are sometimes surprised with amazing results!

So, why does this happen to so many players?

Actually, I think that there are several possible reasons.

1. Sometimes players who aren’t expecting much are able to play worry-free, relaxed without effort.  While others who have trained hard, put too many unnecessary expectations on themselves and the pressure hurts their performance.

2. Sometimes players who are training hard every day are making positive changes to their games – new strokes, new serves, and new strategies.  Before these players can properly implement their new weapons, they first must play several practice matches and tournaments before perfecting these new elements.  On the other hand, players who haven’t been practicing much might not be so worried about the exact technique used.

3. Sometimes game styles have a huge impact into the performance of many players.  If these players are matched up against ideal styles, they can play well.  However, if they are matched up against difficult styles, these players may play poorly.  For example, if a group of players practice speed work for six hours per day in China, they might have difficulty playing slow blockers or choppers.

Regardless of the outcome, these players must remember that practice is a necessary element to long-term major improvement.  Just because they had one great performance after a four-week vacation, does NOT mean they will continue to have great tournaments without practice.  Consistent practice, while making positive changes, with the help from a table tennis coach is the best way to improve long term.

Samson Dubina

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Illegal Serves in Table Tennis

Jena Newgarden
When playing in table tennis tournaments, you will often be up against illegal serves.  With the right actions and attitude, you can easily diffuse the problem and play a fair table tennis match.  Here are the steps of action that I would recommend.

1. Observe the problem.  Preferably in a match prior to your match, try to watch your opponent for possible illegal serves.

2. Try to decide if he is getting some advantage.  Tossing the ball 5” instead of 6” doesn’t really give an advantage.  However, if he is spinning the ball with his fingers, hiding the contact, or throwing the ball into his table tennis racket, then he is probably getting an unfair advantage.

3. If he is getting an unfair advantage, then politely state the problem to him and ask if he could serve correctly because it is bothering you.

4. If he refuses to change, then go ask for an umpire from the tournament desk.  If an umpire is available, your request will be granted.

5. Thank the umpire for his assistance and briefly explain the situation.

6. After the umpire is in charge of the match, don’t argue or dispute with him.  Accept the fact that he will be an un-biased opinion and will judge each of the serves fairly.

7. After the table tennis match has concluded, shake hands with your opponent and the umpire.  Regardless of what happened during the match, be prepared to shake off the match and prepare for your next opponent.

Samson Dubina

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September Newgy Akron Open Table Tennis Tournament

Jena Newgarden
The September Newgy Akron Open Table Tennis Tournament will be Friday, September 26 – Saturday, September 27, 2014 and is open to both recreational players and USATT players.

Walsh University will host the concluding event of the Ohio Circuit.

Walsh University is located at 2020 East Maple Street, North Canton, Ohio 44720 and has space for 30 ping-pong tables and 300 spectators.  The venue features air conditioning, 28′ ceilings, 800 lux lighting and a beautiful wood floor to play on.

Tournament features:
$3,000 in Cash, Trophies and Other Great Prizes!
FREE Tournament Shirts!
FREE Meals, FREE Snacks, FREE Drinks!
Discounted Hotels!
Discounted Flights!

Tournament Sponsors: Newgy, Studio 330, Wil-Cut, Paddle Palace, Nittaku, PongTrac, Butterfly and Simplex Creative.

Sign up soon as space is limited!

Click here for more information and for the Entry Form.

Click here to see a list of the players already signed up.

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