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

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Healthy for the Mind!

Merry Christmas from the Samson Dubina TT Academy

On behalf of the Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy, we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and just thank you for your support throughout 2020.  It has been a tough year, yet you have continued to send us encouraging e-mails, continued with regular donations, and continued attending our events!  Without you, we could not continue.  As a Christmas gift from us, we decided to share a portion of our new book with you.  Check it out below and consider purchasing your own copy (It would make a great stocking stuffer)!
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Why Table Tennis?
Book by Samson Dubina, Jacob Boyd, Sarah Jalli
Edited by Larry Hodges
Healthy for the Mind
Table tennis is healthy for the minds of children, teens, college students, working adults, and senior citizens. Scientists now believe that table tennis is the #1 BRAIN SPORT as it enhances brain function, unlike any other sport. According to Dr. Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at New York University and Dr. Daniel Amen, Clinical Neuroscientist and Psychiatrist, table tennis enhances motor functions, strategy functions, and long-term memory functions. Studies show that up to five parts of the brain can be stimulated simultaneously while playing table tennis.
These include:

  1. Primary Motor Cortex - responsible for balance, motor movements, and hand-eye coordination
  2. Prefrontal Cortex - responsible for strategic planning and decision making
  3. Frontal Temporal Lobe - responsible for controlling focus, concentration, decision making, and problem-solving
  4. Hippocampus - responsible for retaining long-term information
  5. Basal Ganglia - responsible for maintaining composure

Two recent studies showing the effectiveness of table tennis on the human brain include “The Effect of Table Tennis Practice on Mental Ability (Kawano M.M., Mimura K., Kenoko M.)”, and “Effects of Physical Exercise Intervention on Motor Skills and Executive Functions in Children with ADHD (Pan C.Y., Tsai C.L., Chu C.H., Sung M.C., Huang C.Y., Ma W.Y.)”. These studies concluded that regular table tennis training can help maintain mental capacity and prevent or delay senile dementia in addition to providing a therapeutic alternative to medication for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and mild mental disabilities. It has been scientifically proven that if you play table tennis for 10 minutes a day, it boosts activity in the prefrontal cortex and cerebellum. A study of 164 Korean women aged 60 and over showed that table tennis improved more brain function than dancing, walking, gymnastics, or resistant training. 
     Other studies have shown that table tennis can also improve the dynamic visual activity (ability to see objects when they are moving fast) of the general population, the biomotor capacities (strength, endurance, speed, flexibility, and balance/coordination) of children in general, and the static balance (ability to maintain equilibrium when stationary) of deaf children. Table tennis also triggers the increase of neurotransmitters in the brain which can help reduce depression and stress while improving memory and moods. Many parents complain about their children having short attention spans or lack of focus which can lead to poor performance in school. Table tennis is a sport that emphasizes extreme focusing skills that can help improve schoolwork and long-term skills that are healthy for the mind. The repetitive approach to practice and drills requires that players become experts in the maneuvers and tactics that they’ve learned which is also teaching life-long skills in memory and work ethic. 
     When Sarah Jalli first started playing table tennis, she wore glasses. After just a year of training, her eyes dramatically improved and she now sees 20/20 without glasses. Fiona Dubina is having similar benefits for her eyes. She currently has strabismus (cross-eyed) and she can’t see depth; everything looks 1D instead of 3D like all of us. With daily table tennis training, she is now beginning to see depth. Fiona is now using table tennis training as one of her primary means of improving her eyesight.
     There are many aspects to why table tennis is good for the mind, but one of the best is that it uses multiple senses in the human body - hearing, feeling, and seeing! According to ESPN Sports Science, auditory stimuli reach the brain up to 0.03 seconds faster than visual stimuli. Your brain recognizes sound faster than sight, so when the ball leaves the opponent’s racket, the first clue to the ball quality is hearing the contact for more friction (lighter brushing sound) or more force (harder, pounding sound). Next, you see the entire picture of the stroke and incoming ball. Finally, you feel the vibration of the hit, giving you feedback regarding your own ball quality of speed and spin ratio. Table tennis involves all three senses – hearing, feeling, and seeing, and sometimes we jokingly say that it also involves smelling the win and tasting the victory!
     Okay, okay so we see that table tennis is great for kids, teens, and young adults, but what about senior citizens? Well, table tennis is now recognized by medical practitioners for its benefits on the brain and for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies show that playing table tennis can grow the parts of the brain that are shrinking from these conditions and can activate up to five areas of the brain simultaneously. The results of a recent research study conducted by Bounce Alzheimer’s Therapy Foundation (BAT) and a neuroscience team at King’s College London showed that playing table tennis regularly can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by as much as five years. Studies also show that the sport improves long-term memory, reduces the need for medication, improves awareness and cognitive thinking, decreases brain deterioration, and enhances motor skills. Considering that there are approximately 5.5 million people living in the United States with either Alzheimer’s or a form of dementia and approximately 44 million people worldwide with these conditions, table tennis has proven to be a huge benefit in helping to fight these diseases.
     What about other conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease? According to a recent study (Ken-ichi Inoue, MD, of Fukuoka University in Fukuoka, Japan), Parkinson’s patients who played a five-hour table tennis session once a week for six months, experienced significant improvements in speech, handwriting, getting dressed, getting out of bed, and walking. As you can see, table tennis is not only beneficial in developing young minds but can also be a game-changer in later years to help keep the mind sharp and reduce the struggles of aging and disease. No other sport can challenge the brain quite like table tennis does! 
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