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

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The Common-Sense Way to Adjust

Winning tournaments primary consists of playing your best while adjusting your tactics based on your opponent’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall playing style.  The last thing that you want to be doing in tournaments is adjusting to strange equipment.  If you want to play your best in the next tournament, please, please, please, do this one thing for me…
Practice for at least 2-3 weeks with the tournament ball!
It seems very simple.  If you are playing a tournament with the Nittaku ball, then you should be practicing with it.  If you are playing a tournament with the DHS ball, then you should be practicing with it.  Here in Ohio, we are very fortunate to have most players, most clubs, most leagues, and most tournaments playing with the Nittaku 40+ Premium 3-star ball, which is the highest quality ball in the world.  However, most of the country is in total chaos playing tournaments with up to 10 different types of balls.
It seems like a rather basic article that I’m writing.  However, everyone need to follow this advice.  I have seen many 2500+ rated players lose matches because they aren’t used to how the ball bounced.  Each ball is different in size, hardness, roundness, color, texture, and consistency!
One of my friends from Lebanon recently told me that he intentionally hand picks the very bad Stag balls from the box.  I asked him why he would choose those.  He responded by saying that there are only 2 types of Stag balls that are sanctioned in Lebanon…   The very bad ones and the very very very bad ones.  So he chooses the best of the worst.  I personally, I’m very happy that USATT doesn’t force us to use bad equipment.  Moving forward, I would love to see USATT choose the Nittaku Premium ball as the ball of choice for all USATT sanctioned tournaments.  Meanwhile, just take my advice…  practice for at least 2-3 weeks with the tournament ball.  There are plenty of adjustments that need to be made during a match, adjusting to the ball shouldn’t be one of them.