2018 U.S. Open Table Tennis Championships

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Don't miss the 2018 U.S. Open Table Tennis Championships in Orlando, Florida!

Location: Orange County Convention Center - 9800 International Drive, Orlando, Florida 32819

Date: December 16-22, 2018

This tournament is open to all USATT/ITTF table tennis players from around the world!

With the new event format, players can compete in either the Elite Track or Performance Track. Tournament events include Men's and Women's Singles and Doubles, Junior Boys/Girls, Para, Classic table tennis events of Hardbat and Sandpaper, plus more.

Early bird deadline is November 9, 2018.
Final entry deadline is December 1, 2018.

For more information and to register, click here.

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World Class Table Tennis Fun

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It usually takes about 10-20 years for a table tennis athlete to reach a world class level.  Most kids get burned out after 2-3 years and never reach their peak potential.  If you want your child or your student to become the best, then focus on having fun.  If they enjoy the sport, if they are excited to play, then they will want to focus, want to work hard, want to put in extra training hours, and want to compete in table tennis tournaments.  Instead of forcing your five-year-old to be the best in the country, focus on having fun.  If your child enjoys the sport, gets the right coaching, trains regularly, and works from age 5 to 25, for sure your child has a chance at becoming a world class table tennis player.

Here in the United States we often want everything IMMEDIATELY.  We want extremely fast internet because we don’t have the patience to wait 10 seconds, we want to get through the fast-food drive through in 2 minutes because we don’t have 5 minutes to spare, we want our packages to arrive the same day because we can’t wait until tomorrow for our new toy.  This mindset is bad as it relates to teaching your young child to play.  Instead of yelling and screaming because he can’t perfect the forehand loop in 1 day, you should take a long-term approach.   Here is what I suggest you do:

5 Year Old

Have fun for 1 year, keep your training session very short, about 10-15 minutes, or even shorter

6-8 Year Old

Have fun 50% of the time, keep your training sessions to 30-60 minutes

Keep the sessions interactive with other kids

9-12 Year Old

Have fun 20% and be serious 80%, keep your training sessions to less than 2 hours

Structure an actual table tennis training program including drills and match play with other kids

Allow the player to enter table tennis tournaments

13-14 Year Old

Have fun 10% and be serious 90%, begin intense training sessions

Develop a great communication level with the player talking often about goal-setting for the future

Consider playing some international table tennis competitions

At 14, the player already has 9 years of experience.  If you push your 5 or 6 or 7 year old too hard, they will despise it and quit.  If you have a 20-year approach, then forcing them today or this week isn’t a huge problem.

Additional Tips:

  1. Implement doubles! Table tennis is often a lonely sport with 1 player out there battling another player.  Implementing a team spirit makes it fun and interactive, especially for young kids!
  2. Keep the drills short. With a short attention span, kids often get bored of 1 drill.  Instead of doing 15 minute drills, consider 5 minute drills.
  3. Have a goal for each drill, this goal with vary from player to player. Verbally express the goal before the drill begins, through the drill, and work toward success.
  4. Give recognition! Table tennis youth players need to be recognized even for small successes – hitting 10 forehands in a row, winning their first match, earning a 4th place trophy in the u500 division, etc. Praise and recognition goes a long way!

Check out one of my kids’ fun table tennis sessions here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TckjEz0rCmM&t

Samson Dubina

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Ten Tactical Timeout Tips in Table Tennis

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Many international table tennis matches have been won or lost based on WHEN the timeout was called and WHAT was said during the timeout.  In this short article, I’m going to give some brief tips about timeouts.

#1 Call It Early

Most table tennis players play better when they are leading in games and leading in points – head up, loud choooing, high confidence.  If your player is a good front runner, I would recommend calling timeout in the 2nd or 3rd table tennis game.  In the first game, the players and coaches are getting a feel for the match.  The 2nd game is often huge.  Up 1-0 in game is leading 7-1, you player loses a bit of momentum and now lead 7-6.  Maybe it is time for a slight tactical adjustment to gain the 2-0 lead.  Of course there are exceptions, but generally calling timeout in the 2nd or 3rd game is best to gain the 2-0 or 2-1 lead or avoid the 0-2 or 1-2 deficit. 

#2 Downcast Player

Regardless of the score, if you feel that your player is downcast and frustrated, be willing to call timeout.  Your player lost the first table tennis game and starts off 0-1, 0-2, 0-3 down in the second.  His head is down, frustrated, kicking the barriers, and it looks like he is hungover, laid off work, or attending a funeral, call timeout.

#3 Momentum from the Opponent

Regardless of the score, if you feel that the opponent is gaining momentum, call timeout.  Two equal table tennis players should have a 50/50 chance of winning each point.  However, momentum swings are so critical, that it sometimes feels that the opponent has an 80/20 chance to win the point – in this situation, call timeout.

#4 What to Say

Most of what you say should be in reference to the opponent.  Most trained table tennis players are very aware of their own shots, placement, serves, mistakes, etc...  Typically, most players are less aware of their opponent.  If you give them reminders about the opponent’s weaker points, this is usually the most helpful during a timeout.

#5 Repeat It

This might sound funny but many players who listen to the table tennis coach, don’t actually hear the advice.  Just after giving advice, ask the player, “So, what is the plan?”  If the player gives you blank stare, you need to repeat it again.  If the player is about to verbalize the plan back to you, then you know they “got it”.

#6 When to Say it?

When you or your player calls timeout, you know that you have the full 60 seconds, so take your time.  When the opponent or opponent’s coach calls timeout, you don’t know how long you have.  They can call time-in anytime.  In this situation, you must say the most significant advice within the first 5-10 seconds.  If you wait, you might lose your opportunity.

#7 Who Will Call It?

Both the table tennis players and the coaches are allowed to call timeout.  However, if the coach calls timeout, the player is allowed to shrug it off and not take it.  Some players like to call timeout themselves.  Others prefer if the coach calls timeout.  You need to decide ahead of time who will call it or if either of you will call it.  I have seen many table tennis matches where the coach called timeout, the player called it off.  However, the player was so distracted and the coach was so flustered, that it changed the dimensions of the match and the player played worse and worse.  This can be avoided by proper planning ahead of time.

#8 New Coach

There are situations where the player and coach don’t know each other well.  In these situations, it is important that there be some pre-match communication.  The player needs to explain what kinds of general reminders he needs.  During the table tennis match, the coach can also ask more questions and be less demanding.

#9 Team Events

In a table tennis team event, the coach plus the entire team can give advice.  For the player, this seems overwhelming at times.  In this situation, I would recommend that only 1 person talk at a time.  Remember, this is a time to encourage your player, not roast your player.

#10 Wasted Timeout

With the new coaching rule, the coach can signal or call-out to the player anytime between points.  If the coach is merely going to give general advice, like keep-moving or think-about-your-placement or spin-the-ball, then it is better to just shout out the advice.  During timeouts and between games, you can give more detailed tactics so that the opponent doesn’t hear it.  If you are going to give general encouragement, just shout it out and don’t waist your one and only timeout.

Samson Dubina

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Reverse Preparation in Table Tennis

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Many table tennis athletes begin the season with refining their basic technique and working on developing a solid base for footwork and consistency with many systematic drills.  As they get closer to their peak table tennis tournament, they then begin a more tactical approach.  When they know which exact opponents they will compete against, then they begin specific tactical preparation for that exact opponent. 

This is good, but I’m going to propose a slightly different approach for you.

Consider starting the season by watching your target opponents and begin specific tactical preparation against them specifically.  As you learn the details of their table tennis game, figure out which parts of your game need developed and work the whole season to develop those necessary tools.

Why am I proposing this?

Because many table tennis players spend hours the night before an important tournament (like Olympic trials or Pan Am Games or World Championship) studying their opponents only to realize that their skillset hasn’t be properly training to beat that specific opponent.  With only 24 hours before the table tennis match, they are limited in how much they can adjust their preparation.  If the specific preparation had begun 6 months earlier, it would have been easier to develop specific serves, specific receives, and specific patterns to give the rival trouble.

For sure, the basic technique, consistency, footwork, etc. needs to be solid.  But in addition to those things, if you begin mentally preparing for specific opponents during the season, you can train with more focus and more determination and more specific for specific opponents.

So what if you possibly have 100 different table tennis opponents?  What should you do?

Just pick 5! Pick five of them and target developing the needed table tennis skills to beat those five players that are at your level or a level better than you.  Having rivals (in your mind) is one of the best ways to up the intensity in your table tennis training this year!

Samson Dubina

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Details of Flipping Serves in Table Tennis

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Flipping is one of the primary ways to return short serves when playing table tennis.  In this article, I’m going to outline the various aspects of developing a professional flip and give some details about each aspect.

Reading the Spin

There are 4 primary ways to read the spin:

#1 Watch the racket movement at contact

#2 Listen to the sound at contact

#3 Read the bounce

#4 Watch for the label

Learning to watch the racket at contact is crucial.  However, seeing exactly what spin is on the ball isn’t easy, so you must confirm the spin by watching the bounce.  When flipping, I would recommend letting the ball rise to the top or even drop slightly. (there are some exceptions to this) Typically, if you contact the ball on the rise, it won’t give you enough time to read the spin.  Listening to the sound can sometimes be helpful especially when dealing with heavy spin or no spin; however, many players tap their foot to cover the sound.  Seeing the label is a sure giveaway for no-spin serves.  Not seeing the label means nothing.  Sometimes on no-spin serves, you still can’t see the label.  So, don’t see the label, means nothing.  See the label means light or no-spin.

Reading the Depth

Within serving short there are various depths – normal short serves, very, very short floaters, and faster half-long serves, and everything in between.  If your body is too close to the bounce, you will force the ball into the net.  If your body is too far from the bounce, you will be reaching for the ball and lose quality.  It is important to read the depth, move into position quickly, pause, then flip at the appropriate timing.

Reading the Height

Most serves are intended to be low.  However, some table tennis pros do have very jumpy short topspin serves.  Regardless if they try to serve low or slightly higher, you must be proficient at adjusting to the height.  Usually higher serves are easier to apply more speed, while lower serve you should focus more on placement.

Getting in Position

It is vitally important to get in position as fast as possible.  The faster you get in position, the more relaxed and tactical you can play the flip.  If you are rushed, you typically can’t place the flip good enough, and your recovery on the next will be delayed.

Adjusting to the Subtleties

No matter how good you are at reading the spin, speed, height, depth, you need to look to adjust to the subtleties.  As you are about to flip the ball, can you make necessary adjustments?  These subtleties can be within the flip or even a change of stroke like choosing to push or loop instead of flip.

Flipping with Backhand

In recent years the backhand flip has become a dominant part of the table tennis game because of the amount of spin that can be produced using the wrist, the forearm, and even the core.  Not only can you produce more spin but you can also produce more variations of sidespin and topspin.  Also, it is somewhat easier to backhand flip half-long balls, meaning there is a blurring of the lines between short and half-long when backhand flipping.

Flipping with Forehand

Even though the forehand flip has less spin, it is still an effective weapon when used with speed, timing, and placement variations – sometimes a fast flip to the middle, sometimes a slow flip to the wide backhand, sometimes an earlier timing flip, sometimes later. 

Adjusting for the Follow-up

The follow-up ball after the flip is just as critical as the flip itself.  It is tough to hit an all-out winner on the flip.  The flip should put you in an offensive position to win the point.  If your flip is allowing your opponent to crush you on the next ball – then evaluated the quality and placement of your flip and evaluated if a push would be tactically better.  Always, always, always, think in terms of shot sequences!  What shots sequenced together will give me the best chance of winning the table tennis rally?!

Samson Dubina

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2018 C4NC NY Table Tennis Tournament

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Sign up now for the 2018 C4NC NY Open Charity Table Tennis Tournament benefiting Care 4 Needy Copts

Date and Time: October 20, 2018: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm ET

Location: Samuel Field Y, 58-20 Little Neck Parkway, Little Neck, New York 11362

Format:  All table tennis matches are best 3 out of 5 table tennis games.

Many high rated table tennis athletes will be competing in this 3-star USATT sanctioned tournament including Mohamed El-Beiali (World ranked 112) and El-Sayed Lashin (World Ranked 311), both currently on the Egyptian National Table Tennis Team. Also attending will be the world famous Ibrahim Hamato, the amazing para table tennis player with no arms. 

For more information and to download the entry form, click here.  

Entry Deadline: Oct 13, 2018

Newgy is proud to be one of the sponsors of this tournament along with SATTAPaddle Palace and Donic.

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2018 Knoxville Joseph Newgarden Memorial Open Table Tennis Tournament

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Sign up today! Newgy is proud to be one of sponsors for the Knoxville Joseph Newgarden Memorial Summer Gold Dollar Upset Open Table Tennis Tournament set for August 4, 2018 at the Cecil Webb Recreation Center at 923 Baker Ave., Knoxville, Tennessee 37920. 

The tournament format will be giant round robin and will have two stages. The first stage will be a giant round robin in which 36 table tennis players will be split into two divisions. The top 18 rated players will be in the Upper division and the lower 18 rated players will be in the Lower division.  For each division, there will be two groups of 9 players.  So each player will play 8 table tennis matches within the group.

The top two finishes of each group will advance to the division’s semi-finals and final.  The looser of the Semi-Finals will play for a 3rd place match.  Please note that unrated players will not be allowed to advance to the single elimination stage if the estimated rating is grossly incorrect, i.e. if the highest rated player beaten by the unrated player has a larger rating difference of 200 points.  The next qualified player will take the spot instead.

The Gold Dollar Upset format - the winner of every upset match played between two USATT rated table tennis players will receive Upset Gold Dollar.  The rules for winning the upset Gold Dollar are:

  1. Gold Dollars will be paid to winners of all upsets, regardless of player’s rating.
  2. Winners of each and every upset will receive gold dollars using the following payout schedule:
    1. Rating difference: 100 or less, Gold Dollar reward: $5.00
    2. Rating difference: 101 to 150, Gold Dollar reward: $10.00
    3. Rating difference: 151 or larger, Gold Dollar reward: $15.00
  3. The gold dollars will be paid immediately upon confirmation of match sheets showing upsets on a first come first get paid basis until the funds run out. KTTC reserves $200 Gold Dollars for this payout.  So sharpen your table tennis game and hit the court ready to win!
  4. Rating used to determine the upsets will be the USATT ratings of record as of 09:00 a.m. Friday August 03, 2018. Only USATT rated players prior to the date of the tournament are eligible to win gold dollars.

Entry deadline is August 1, 2018. Early entry discount deadline is July 23, 2018.

To download the tournament blank entry form, please click here.

To sign up online, please click here.

For additional tournament information, please contact Jude Lam at 865-300-4829 or email to knoxvilletabletennisclub@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you at this tournament in memory of Newgy's wonderful Founder, Mr. Joe Newgarden, Jr.

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2018 U.S. National Table Tennis Championships

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Register now for the 2018 U.S. National Table Tennis Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada July 2-7.

The main events will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the U.S. Open Final Table Celebration location is still to be determined.

Tournament events include: Men's and Women's Singles, Men's and Women's Doubles, Mixed Doubles, Cadet Boys and Girls, Junior Boys and Girls, Teams, as well as many more including Veterans, Seniors, Legends, Para, Hardbat and Sandpaper.

Entry deadline is May 25, 2018.

For more information and to register, click here.

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How Low Can You Serve in Table Tennis?

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Most beginner/intermediate table tennis players think about isolated shots.  Most professional table tennis players think about shot sequences.  These two mindsets are poles apart.  When serving, professionals know that setting up the sequence in their favor begins with a serve, maybe not an ace, but controlling the rally from the very first touch.

With a strong short serve that is deceptive and low, what options will your opponent have?  Can he smash?  Not likely!  Can he push?  Sure!  Can he flip?  Absolutely, but the speed and quality on his ball won’t be as much!  It is hard to generate as much forward speed because of the net being a blockade. Also, it is harder to generate spin because the table somewhat limits that backswing capabilities.  So a low serve can still be flipped, BUT usually the speed, spin, placement, and variations won’t be nearly good enough to hit past you.  A 60 mph flip at 5000 rpms is difficult to loop.  But a 30 mph flip at 500 rpms is much more manageable.  The next table tennis skill in the sequence that you need to develop is a quick loop that applies pressure to your opponent.  The next skill is another follow-up loop to continue putting pressure on your opponent.  Do you understand the mindset here?  It isn’t that your low serve is going to get you 5-6 more aces per game!  It is the fact that it will make your opponent more limited on his returns making it easier for you to keep him under pressure.

I often hear beginner table tennis players talking about…

“I pulled out my secret serve at 9-9!”

“I knew his backhand was weak, so I just pushed there 2x at the end and he choked!”

“I was fearless, I just swung big with my forehand and nailed it at 10-9 to take the title!”

Do you hear this language?  It is all referring to one isolated shot.  If you are going to make progress, you need to begin thinking in sequences.  How can I serve in such a way to get a weak flip and begin my attack against his middle?  How can I block his loop low enough to his wide backhand to stop his forehand loop and implement my counterattack?  How can I work the point long enough to expose his wide forehand and push him away from the table so that I can control the point?

My latest invention, the TT-Serve®, isn’t going to improve your game 200 points overnight.  It is called TT-Serve® not TT-Miracle.  But it is guaranteed to lower your serve, which gives you a stronger 3rd ball attack which gives you a better 5th ball attack which gives you a better 7th ball attack and strengthens your GAME SEQUENCES.

Samson Dubina

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Losing in Table Tennis

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I have received this particular question from over 50 of my followers.  I decided that it was time to answer it.  This week, Luis Sergio Chavez wrote, “It would be great if you could cover also the mental strength aspects or techniques to mentally recover from 0-4 where you are the one who made 4 mistakes in a row.  I would love to learn from your experience and knowledge on how to get back on track.”

This is an interesting question.  As I said, many table tennis players are asking this.  It is similar to saying, “I don’t know the answer to the first 4 questions on my math exam, can you please tell me the answer?”  Of course, I would say, “Please tell me the problems, and I’ll give you the answers.”  You see, without me being there and knowing HOW you lost those 4 consecutive points, it is absolutely impossible for me to give you a solution.  Furthermore, do you even remember how you lost them?

Many table tennis players say, I was winning 10-6 in the 5th game and lost six in a row, what did I do wrong?  I always respond with, what happened?  They don’t know.  They don’t remember what they served, how they received, what shots they used, or where they hit.  Here is the key…  If you want to stop a momentum swing in the score, you need to realize what is going on.

Did you change your placement and start feeding his forehand?

Did he suddenly start lobbing?

Did he change his serve?

Did you lose confidence in your attack and begin full table backhand pushing?

Once you can understand the problem, you are then on the right track for finding a solution.  Consider reading a previous article that I wrote last year called “The Think Circle.”  Check it out below…

The Think Circle

Between pitches in baseball, the batter steps out of the batter’s box to re-focus.

The same thing is true in table tennis; the pros often call this the “think circle.”

Between points, step back about 4-6 feet away from the table and draw an imaginary circle around yourself and collect your thoughts in your think circle.  Every professional athlete has a different method of processing the points, relaxing, and gearing up for the next point, but I’m going to give you the method that I personally use.

#1 Ask yourself the question, “What just happened?”

While the point is fresh in your mind, you should replay the details of each hit.  If you can’t remember how you messed up, you will likely make the same mistake again.  If you can’t remember how you scored, then you won’t likely be able to capitalize on your opponent’s weak points.

#2 Remind yourself of your primary tactics.

From the first few points of the table tennis match, you should be forming some specific tactics based on your strengths and the opponent’s weaknesses.  Point by point, you should be willing to adjust your primary tactics, especially if you are losing.

#3 Breath deeply.

Deep breathing has a calming effect allowing you to forget about that missed smash, calm your anger, and come back focused for the next point. 

#4 Ask yourself the question, “What’s next?”

If you are serving, first determine exactly what you plan to serve and what the possible returns will be.  If you are receiving, then ask yourself how you plan to deal with fast serve, how you plan to deal with short backspin serves, how you plan to deal with no-spin serves.  Remember, you must stay fairly neutral when receiving and be ready for anything while at the same time, having general tactics against various serves.

This method that I briefly explained is the method that I use to analyze the point, remind myself of the plan, calm myself down, and get to the specifics.  I would encourage you to develop your own method and be consistent at using it during drills, club play, leagues, and tournaments.  As with any skill, it takes time to develop, but it is definitely worth the effort!

Samson Dubina

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