For the weekend clinics at the Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy, we usually have a theme such as strokes, footwork, tactics, serving, etc., and each player will do similar drills throughout the weekend that are level appropriate all geared toward the topic.
On Tuesday evening, the kids’ group class goes from 6:00-7:30 pm and the teen/adult group class goes from 7:30-9:00 pm. For the kids, I’ll be personalizing training programs for them in the future. But for now, most of the kids are doing similar table tennis drills.
For the teen/adult table tennis class, there is a wide range of levels from 100-2300 USATT rated table tennis players. Each of these players have different goals and aspirations in the sport – some might want to have fun, others want exercise, others want to play better at the club, while others want to become world class table tennis players. In order to meet all of these needs, we must personalize the drills specifically for each player. All of the kids and adults are strongly encouraged to participate in the Thursday night league as well. Both aspects of improving are important – getting the good foundation in the Tuesday classes and applying the skills in real matches on Thursdays.
Is it more important to work on foundational strokes or to work on game strategies? How good do your foundational strokes need to be? It depends. Imagine that I’m building a very small house. Does my foundation need to be good – yes, somewhat good. Now imagine that I’m going to build a skyscraper the size of the Empire State Building. Does my foundation need to be good – yes, very, very good. The same is true in table tennis. The higher the goals, the better the foundation needs to be.