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2019 Robo-Pong St. Joseph Valley Open Table Tennis Tournament 0

Sign up now for the 55th Robo-Pong St. Joseph Valley Open Table Tennis Tournament on March 16 & 17, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana.

This USATT sanctioned, 3-star event will be held at the Student Activities Center at Indiana University of South Bend. The venue features wood floors, excellent lighting, 35 ft. ceilings, free parking and more. Prize money and trophies awarded to the champions!

This tournament benefits the South Bend Junior Program, and the South Bend Table Tennis Center relies on this event to keep their progress going.

Newgy Robo-Pong is proud to be the title sponsor of this great event!

For more info and to register: visit www.omnipong.com or click here for the mail-in registration form.

Six Different Ways Table Tennis Students Learn 0

For decades, table tennis coaches world-wide have been teaching all of their students in a similar way.  As we open the NEW Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy in the spring of 2019, we will be re-structuring the daily training in both private lessons and group classes to meet the needs of each individual table tennis player here in Akron, Ohio.  We believe that each person is unique and requires his/her own personal approach.  Here is a breakdown of the different ways table tennis students learn:

Hands-On

This student does well by trying a new table tennis skill – like trying to serve that new serve, trying to balance properly, trying that new movement, trying to play the correct timing.  With personally trying it out, the player can best learn the new skill. 

Visual

This student does well by seeing the new table tennis skill – in person with his coach, in a YouTube video, or even in a photo.  As this student can visualize the correct way to do it, he can learn to imitate the new skill.

Linguistic

This student does well by reading or listening to instructions about the new table tennis skill – drawing charts and diagrams on the dry-erase board helps the linguistic learner quickly improve his new skills.

Physics

This student does well by understanding the Whys – why does a topspin ball dip down in the air…  Why does the first bounce on the deep serve need to be to this location…  Why does the ball react differently when my opponent is using long pips or anti-spin rubber? 

Group

This student often does well in a group – discussing various table tennis tactics and techniques and feeling teamwork in partnering with others.  Table tennis is usually seen as an individual sport, but some find it much more enjoyable and exciting to learn new skills together as a group or team.

Individual

This student often does well learning alone in a private table tennis lesson with a coach where he can focus exclusively on small details. 

If you are a table tennis coach, consider adjusting the way you teach table tennis, especially if your traditional methods don’t always work.  If you are a table tennis player, consider what type of learner you are and adjust your training routine accordingly.  For example, if you aren’t able to understand how to move well, maybe you are a visual learner…   So, consider spending 15-20 minutes watching online videos each day of professional table tennis players in training and tournaments and seeing how, when, and why they move.  Also, consider explaining it to your coach so that he better understands how to teach you. 

In closing, realize that some of the learning types do overlap.  You need to be able to intellectually understand the skill, you need to be able to visualize the correct movement, you need to be able to explain it, you need to be able to do it in training, and you need to develop the confidence to use it in match play!

Samson Dubina

To Serve or Receive? That is the Question. 0

In a table tennis game, if you win the toss, which do you choose: to serve or receive?

This article starts off seemingly insignificant but concludes with the main point. You need to read the full article to understand my thought process...

If you are like most table tennis players, you play better when you are winning. Most players want to be winning because they have more confidence in their shots, stay level-headed, and aren’t as easily upset with an unlucky break or bad call from the umpire. If your serve is good, you should choose to serve because statistically speaking, you have a better chance to gain a 2-0 or 4-2 or 6-4 lead in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th games. With confidence in the first game, you have a better chance to win the first game. Winning the first game, gives you a better chance to continue the table tennis match with confidence.

If you have a good serve return, such as the ability to push with spin variation or flip with excellent placement or loop long serves really well, then you should choose to receive serve first. Many of the world’s best table tennis players have been dedicating much more time to serve receive than serve, in recent years. When I was a kid, many top players practiced their serves so much and some a lesser time practicing receiving. Now that the serves have less spin with the 40+ poly ball, much more time has been dedicated to perfecting the receive and slightly less time on serving.

So, which are you? Are you the player who should serve or receive first?

I know that many of you are thinking, “It doesn’t really matter if I get a lead. What matters is the end of the game! Can I handle pressure at 8-8 or 9-9 and win? That’s what matters!” With this mindset, you have a faulty understanding that the point at 9-9 counts as more than 0-0. Really, all the points count equally! Playing carelessly in the beginning then putting tons of pressure at yourself at the end will lead to sloppy play in the beginning and nervous play at the end. You should mentally approach each point the same BUT make tactical adjustments point by point as the match progresses.

Key Point:

Do your absolute best to win every point from the very start! Take measured risks to break out with a 5-1 or 6-0 lead in the first game! You should choose to serve first if you have a strong serve or choose to receive first if you have a strong receive! Every decision you make is important! To warm up or not warm up, to eat breakfast or not eat breakfast, to get 5 hours of sleep or 9 hours of sleep, to choose to serve or receive. Every excellent decision brings you closer to victory!

Samson Dubina

Ohio Winter Mega Table Tennis Training Camp 0

The Ohio Winter Mega Table Tennis Training Camp presented by the Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy will be held December 26-28, 2018 in Akron, Ohio.

All ages and levels of table tennis players welcome to participate in these three days of intense action! Training will be structured based on your individual needs of the game. In addition to the 5 hours/day on the table, there will be optional free lectures giving more details on designated topics.  During the lecture, there will also be Q&A sessions with Coach Samson Dubina and the other table tennis experts.

For more information and to register, click here.

2018 U.S. Open Table Tennis Championships 0

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.

World Class Table Tennis Fun 0

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