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

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USATT Interview

11 Questions to Samson Dubina

USATT Interview with Athlete Samson Dubina
1)      Why do you play? 
I like table tennis because it is much more tactical than the other sports that I have previously played.
2)      Which is your favorite tournament? 
My favorite tournaments are qualifying events like the North American Cup, National Team Trials, and Olympic Trials.
3)      Who is your primary nemesis? 
Playing tournaments in the midwest, I have had many big matches against Dan Seemiller and Joey Cochran in the last few years.  Playing in major tournaments, I'm often battling against many of the 2500+ rated players in the US like Jim Butler, Yahao Zhang, Tim Wang, and others.
4)      What is your favorite game tactic to score? 
Serve and third-ball attack.
5)      Thoughts on the Poly Ball. 
I have tried about 15 different brands of the poly balls.  The Nittaku Premium poly ball is excellent.  This ball is harder, rounder, and more consistent than any previous ball in table tennis.  As soon as it becomes available to the public, I highly recommend that all US tournaments switch to this ball.  A premium tournament requires a premium ball.
6)      Toughest Loss? 
For sure, my toughest loss was against Michael Landers  11-9 in the seventh in the finals of the Men's Singles at the 2009 US Nationals.
7)      Greatest Win? 
During the team finals of the Canada Cup in Vancouver, I upset the #1 Cuban player 3-0 to lead our team to victory over Cuba.  At the time, I think that he was ranked around 250 in the world.
8)      How do you prepare for a tournament?  
It depends.  If I'm preparing for a very important tournament (like the Olympic trials) then I'll play smaller tournaments in the weeks leading up to the main tournament.  As I play these smaller tournaments, I'll evaluate my progress and adjust my practice routine to boost my performance at my main tournament.
9)      When you see a new player at the club, what do you do? 
There are a few things that I often talk with them about.  Rules - I want to make sure that they understand the rules prior to playing against other club members.  Equipment - I often give them a Paddle Palace catalog and recommend a starter racket.  Olympic sport - I sometimes give them some info about the professional side of table tennis worldwide.  Practice - I usually recommend some practice routines with their friends or with Newgy robot.
10)   Player you would most like to play in a tournament?  
I enjoy playing against any top players in the world.  I have previously played against about 20 guys who were top 100 in the world. 
11)   If you had to face Jimmy Butler, Lily Zhang or Kanak Jha what would your game plan be?
Because you are asking, I'm assuming that they don't mind if this is public.  
Jimmy Butler counts on his opponent's errors.  He will hit about 2-3 amazing shots each game.  However, the vast majority of his points are won from consistent play from both sides.  My game plan would be to force him to play - force him to go for big shots because I plan to be more consistent than him.
Lily Zhang is tough.  She plays very well in the fast, close-to-the-table rallies.  My plan would be continual change-of-pace and extreme variations.
Kanak Jha is quite consistent.  I feel that he plays best when he is leading and things are going well for him.  Within the first 1-2 games, I plan to change the tactics quite a bit from previous matches and try to gain an early lead.  If I win one of the first games, then I have a chance.  I need to play with full confidence while keeping him guessing throughout the match.