Coach Samson Dubina US National Team Coach 4x USATT Coach of the Year
 

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An article related to improving players table tennis skills.

Wang Zhen's Experience

Read a Coaching Tip From a Player Rated 2815

I asked Wang Zhen if he had any thoughts to share with us about his recent match against Fan Zhendong at the ITTF Grand Finals.  Here is what Wang says...
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BreKhWaa5ZY
 
Let's talk about the match. Before the match Dejan (my coach for the match) helped me to analyze Fan's game, we both agreed I need to be more aggressive then usual, otherwise I won't have any chance to challenge him with my regular performance.

Beat the Champ

Learn Mental Strategies Against Elite Players!

When you play against high-rated opponents, do you play better or worse?
 
If you play better against them, it is probably due to the fact that you are more mentally relaxed having a “nothing-to-lose” mentality.  If you have this focused, relaxed attitude – wonderful!  Try to go into every match and every practice session giving your best, having fun, and not putting the pressure on yourself.  This is a great experience!
 

Tournament Advice

Learn from Blake Cottrell

It is important to always keep a positive attitude even when you are losing.  In my short table tennis career, I have seen many players beat themselves as they gave up when losing or beat themselves up after playing a poor point.  Everybody makes mistakes in their strategy and/or technique during matches, even the most elite players in the world.  I have made comments to younger players that were losing to stay positive and heard back “Positive?  This guy is killing me!  I have no chance.”  I often say to myself, “This isn’t over yet.  I can do it.”

Beat the Lefty

Learn 6 New Strategies!

Generalizing all lefties into one category is difficult, but I’ll do my best to explain some general strategies that would apply to most lefties.  I’m assuming that you (the reader) are right-handed.
 
Serve Return
When the lefty is serving a forehand serve from the backhand side, adjust your position slightly more to the right.  The lefty will often use a sidespin serve to curve the ball away from your wide forehand.  By standing more to the right, you will be able to better cover the wide forehand.
 
Down-the-Line Block

Asian and European Training Centers

Learn about 4 recent changes!

During the last 18 years, I have practiced at many table tennis training centers in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia.  In recent years, I have recognized four modern changes at the elite level.
 
Blocking with More Variation
In the past, one player would consistently block in a set pattern and the attacking player would attempt to loop 10-20 balls in a rally.  Now, the blockers have added more variation – sometimes harder, sometimes softer, sometimes flat, sometimes with a little topspin.
 
Multi-Location Blocking

Beat the Chopper

Learn How to Beat 2 Different Types on Choppers...

In this blog, I’m going to outline the strategies in beating 2 types of choppers…
 
 
Choppers Who Strictly Defend (and don’t attack)
 
What he wants to do
The chopper wants to extend the rallies and win points from your mistakes.  He will often serve long (hoping that you will attack) and give low, deep pushes.  If you loop, he will go away from the table and give spinny chops.   He moves well side-to-side and reaching the wide balls fairly easily.
 
What you should do

A Daring Challenge

Try this out for 2 weeks each year...

 
 
Each year, you should take about 2 weeks and try to experiment with some new skills in your table tennis game.  During this time, instead of focusing on matches, focus on practice.  Try to play every day with a robot or training partner.  Here are some possible new things to try…
 
Distance. 
Instead of playing only 1 distance, try playing slightly closer to the table or slightly further back from the table.
 
Spin.
Instead of looping with the same spin, try to add slightly more or less spin to give your loops more variation.
 

The Best Coach

Read About My Criteria For Selecting an Assistant Coach

 
Within the next few years, I plan to open a professional table tennis training center here in Akron, Ohio.  As I look into the possibility of hiring some elite coaches, I have written out some criteria.  Today, I want to share my thoughts with you as to what I feel would make an excellent coach.
 
He must first know the info.  He must know table tennis at an elite level. 
 

Stepping Forward

Learn from watching this short video clip!

In table tennis, footwork is important for all levels.  Using the Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 is one of the best ways to improve footwork.  Most players try to improve their side-to-side footwork, which is important.  However, only a few players try to improve their in-and-out footwork.
 
In-and-out footwork is vitally important for the slow block, especially when you are away from the table.  Watch how Joo Se Hyuk demonstrates the stepping in on this video:

Practicing the right things!

Find out which strokes are the most IMPORTANT

I have received hundreds of table tennis e-mails with questions regarding table tennis.  One of the most common questions is…
“Which skills should I be working on?”
 
That’s a good question.  My answer will vary because of…
1. The age of the player
2. The game-style of the player
3. The mental game of the player
4. The physical condition of the player
With that said, I’ll attempt to list some general items that should be learned at each level.
 
Novice
A. Rules of the game
B. Basic footwork (side-to-side)

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