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

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Sarah Jalli - Rated 2516

8 Keys to Success

Sarah Jalli – Rated 2516
Eight Keys to Success
After a series of great wins in August-September, 14-year-old Sarah Jalli now finds herself rated over 2500 in the Paddle Palace Ohio League here at the Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy.  So, what is her secret to becoming more and more successful?  Well, there are a number of secrets that I would like to share here.  I have detailed out these secrets with eight simple keys…
Key #1
Steady Progress
No matter how much you practice, it is difficult to reach a world-class level in 6 months or 12 months or 18 months.  Sarah has consistently trained for years with a structure that helps her have daily goals, develop in a systematic way, regularly check her progress, and make necessary adjustments each day.  The first secret to her success is steady progress (making daily improvements) over a long period of time.
Key #2
Parent’s Support
Without the support from her dad Sudhakar and mom Vimala, this progress would not be possible.  Here in the US, no player will reach a national-team level without the daily financial support and time commitment from their parents, and this is definitely true for Sarah.  A few years ago, Hoban High School in Akron started a table tennis club.  Each Tuesday, about 50 kids played at their high school and absolutely loved it.  I went there and sadly found that there was no hope for those kids…  WHY?  Because none of them had support from their parents to take it to the next level – none of them could go to the academy or take lessons or do anything.  The passion from the kids was there, but sadly no support from the parents.  The second secret to success is support from the parents!
Key #3
Chance Friend
Coach Chance and I are both coaching Sarah each week in private lessons, group classes, and training camps.  During the last 16 months, Chance has helped Sarah so much with her positioning, balance, weight transfer, and timing.  As these elements have been improving, she has had more confidence fast rallies and counterlooping.  The third key to success is having competent coaches and daily assist you.
Key #4
Here at the Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy, Sarah has a community of supporters to daily encourage her and inspire her to continue on the path of success.  Out of state, Sarah also has many supporters.  She is currently sponsored by Nittaku and Paddle Palace and is happy to promote them and use their equipment – Nittaku Acoustic Carbon blade with Nittaku FastArc G-1 rubber.  The fourth key to success is have a great community of encouragers and sponsors.
Key #5
Extra Hours
In addition to training at the Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy, Sarah also does daily serving practice at home, Power Pong robot training, strength training, speed training, agility training, balance training, and flexibility training.  She regularly goes to the gym with her dad and pushes the limits to get her body in Olympic condition.  The fifth key to success is to put in extra hours – beyond the call of duty and beyond what your competition is doing.
Key #6
Attitude and Maturity
During the last 1-2 years, Sarah has grown so much in maturity.  In addition to listening to her coaches, she tries her best to think on her own, watch videos of her practice and league matches, scout her opponents, and develop new ways to improve herself.  The same day that she plays league matches, she goes back and watches and analyses her play.  This isn’t something that I’m imposing on her, this is something that she wants to do and is necessary for maximum improvement.  The sixth key to success is that you must have the attitude of a champion and the maturity to take a professional approach.
Key #7
League vs Tournaments
Before you can win matches, you need to win games.  Before you can take down top players in important tournaments, you must first be able to beat them in practice matches, league matches, and less important tournaments.  You might say…  “Well Sarah is 2500, but that is ONLY league rating.”  Yes, you are right, but first it starts off by beating many players in league that are 2500, then it later leads to winning in tournaments against 2500 players.  The seventh key to success is that there are different stages of winning – winning at a lower stage later leads to winning on a major stage.
Key #8
The Future
For Sarah Jalli, huge successes as well as tough times are ahead.  She will have success and failure, but both of these aspects are part of the journey.  This year, Sarah wrote a couple chapters in a published book called “Why Table Tennis?”  One of the chapters she wrote is called…  Winning and Learning.  Let me read you the last paragraph from that chapter.  It says…
In conclusion, competition is about having the right perspective on winning and losing.  As Stephen McCranie said, “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”  As an athlete who just won a major title, you know deep down inside that you wouldn’t have won a major championship without failing first.  Winning and learning…  that’s what tournament play is all about.
The eighth key to success is having the right perspective on winning and losing – allowing winning continue motivating you to stay on the path and to see losing as an opportunity to better understand your weak points and improve upon them to make you stronger and stronger.
Final Takeaways
In conclusion, I don’t want to leave you today with the impression that Sarah is perfect.  I want you to understand that she has bad days, she has problems in her game, she still has much more to do – JUST LIKE YOU!  But what I do want you to understand is that you too can have success if you use the same steps of success that Sarah has used:
~Making daily progress!
~Staying on track!
~Going the extra mile!
~Developing the right attitude!
~Having the right perspective on losing and winning!