Coach Samson Dubina 2016 US National Team Coach 2015 - 2018 USATT Coach of the Year
 

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An article related to improving players table tennis skills.

Competing Against Girls

Learn to use the proper tactics!

Competing in tournaments against girls is much different than competing in tournaments against guys.  I have played against many top female players including Shen Yanfei, Wang Chen, Gao Jun, Chiharu Yamazaki, Mo Zhang, Watanabe Yuko, Jiaqi Zhang, and many other Olympic level female players.  There are some general strategies that I have learned from competing against them.
 
Use Different Strategy

The Amateur vs The Pro

Boost Your Level By Making Small Adjustments

 
When an amateur player becomes inconsistent with his backhand loop, he just starts pushing…
 
When an amateur player becomes inconsistent with his forehand smash, he just starts blocking…
 
When an amateur player can’t keep his best serve short, he stops serving it…
 
When an amateur player has a problem, he can’t fix it. 
 
When a professional player encounters an inconsistency in his game, he realizes the problem, and immediately fixes it.
 

This Will Hurt

Learn About the #1 Most-Detrimental Shot in Your Game!

There is 1 shot in table tennis that will really hurt you.  But before I tell you what the shot is, I’ll first make a couple of observations about your body positioning.
 
If you attack with your forehand from your forehand side, it doesn’t really matter where you attack.  You should mix up your placement – wide forehand, wide backhand, and middle transition.  Because your body is centrally located in relation to the table, you will likely be able to recover quickly for the next ball.
 

You Can't Stop Him!

Learn how to deal with an aggressive opponent

 
Your opponent is attacking your short serve and you are frustrated that you can’t stop him from attacking your serve.
 
What should you do?
 
Well, you must realize that with modern equipment and modern strokes, he will likely be able to attack all of your serves, regardless of how spinny, how low, and how short you serve. 
 

Notice the Trends

Learn to Maximize Your Tournament Performance

 
In tournaments, do you notice any trends to your wins and losses?  You must be like a detective and figure out why.  Figure out if there is anything that you can possibly do to fix these losses. 
 

FAQs - Part I

Learn about the contact point

 
 
 
Samson, I have a question.  Where should I contact most of the balls – when the ball is rising, when the ball has reached the peak in the trajectory, or as the ball is falling?
 
 
 
Good question.  I’ll give a separate answer for each stroke.
 
When blocking, it is important to contact the ball on the rise; this will help you to keep your block low and give your opponent less time to react.
 

A True TT Story

Trust is a must or your game is a bust

I once had a student who was very ambitious about learning to attack.  Prior to taking lessons, he had only developed a pushing and blocking game.  For 9 months, I taught him to attack.  He said that he was using his attack against other players at the club.  Finally, the day arrived that I was ready to watch him play against another opponent, instead of just giving him a lesson.  Before the match, I told him not to worry about the score, but merely to focusing on using the weapons that he had been trained to use.
 

Learning Through Tournaments

Read a short tip from the world champion!

What do you think about after you lose a match?
 
 
Are you angry?
 
Do you make-up hundreds of excuses?
 
Do you feel like a loser?
 
Do you learn from your losses?
 
Do you grow stronger through the trials?
 
The former world champion (Jean-Philippe Gatien) gives us some helpful insight on losing…
 

What Next?

Developing Game-Winning Strengths

Through my articles, I have often described how to overcome problems and how to develop game-winning strengths.  Strengths in your game are important because they allow you to possibly win 5-6 easy points.  Without strengths, you might need to battle for each point through long rallies.
 
HOWEVER
 

Pedagogy

Read an Excerpt From the ITTF Advanced Coaching Manual

It is very difficult for the players to imagine a motor action that is only described with words.  Nothing can replace the image.  It is therefore strongly recommended to put the proposed exercises into an image either by letting the players or the coach demonstrate it or by showing a video of a high level player.
 
Questioning is an important part of the pedagogy employed because it allows to rephrase what has been said and to get a better idea of the player’s understanding of the instructions they are meant to follow.
 

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