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

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What to Do When You Are Losing

Samson offers some advice on what to do when you find yourself losing a big game

I am playing a very important match in a tournament; I am losing 2-0 in games and now losing 5-0 in the third game. What should I do?
The first thing is… Never give up! I have won many matches because of a third-game comeback. My opponent starts crying to himself that he should have finished the match and the momentum swings to me.
The second thing is… Call time out. A friend or coach might be able to give me tips, insights, or encouragement which could really help.
The third thing to consider is… Am I missing, or is he dominating? If I’m having an off day, which particular shots am I missing? If I’m making many backhand errors, why not move better and play more forehand. If I’m not flipping the short ball well, why not push. If my opponent is dominating, which particular shot is he winning most of his points with? See if I can devise a plan to take away his strengths. 
The final thing to consider is… Maybe I should try a totally different strategy. I might try pushing and blocking instead of all-out attacking. It can’t hurt. I could even play further from the table or closer to the table. Even with a strategy change for a couple points, my opponent might make a few errors and allow me back into the game.