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

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My Mistake

Read about my worst loss this year

This year, I had one of my most devastating losses…
 
     I was playing at the 2013 US National Team Trials against 2x Olympian Khoa Nguyen.  I won the first 11-6.  I won the second 11-5.  I was winning 10-4 in the third game (best 4 out of 7 match) and lost that game and the match.  What went wrong…

What Just Happened?

Learn about an eye-opening experience that happens to many players

You are focused and ready for a huge battle.
You surprisingly win the first game 11-0.
You start thinking about how amazing you are playing.
You start thinking about how easy it is.
You aren’t thinking about strategy.
Your opponent relaxes and changes strategy.
You start losing in the 2nd game.
You are shocked by the change of events.
You start to mentally freak out and your mind goes blank.
You lose the match 3 games to 1.

Stay in the Zone

How hard should I loop?

Professional players clearly understand their potential and limitations.  They know how hard they should loop, where to loop, when to loop, and when not to loop.  Ma Long loops most of his balls with 60-95% power.  His selection on how hard to loop depends on his positioning, his distance from the table, his opponent’s return, and his opponent’s positioning.   Timo Ball loops most of his balls with 40-80% power; this is the zone that he feels most comfortable playing.
 
Now, let’s move the scenario to YOU…

Prepare For Disaster

What to expect...

When you serve, return serve, or hit any shot throughout a table tennis match, your opponent will have a variety of choices on how to return the ball.  You need to prepare yourself for the worst-case-scenario then adjust if he does something easier.
 

Mental Strategies - Part 8

The Dangers of Successes and Failures!

The Dangers of Success and Failures
 
You are a 1800-rated player competing at the 2014 North American Teams.  So far, you have had a great tournament with several good wins.  Your goal is to break 2000, and you need one more good win.  You are playing in the last team match of the tournament against three 2100-rated players.  Your goal is to win one match.  That’s all you need, one win.  Surely you can beat one of them.
 

Mental Strategies - Part 7

Find You Best State of Mind For Every Tournament!

Find Your Best State of Mind
 
Most club players across the US give about 70% effort during club matches while socializing, playing relaxed, and hitting great shots throughout the night.  The average club players try much much harder in tournaments and often play a much different style in tournaments.
 
Sometime, when I see a player at the club hit a very good shot, I will pose the question,
“Could you do that in a tournament?”
 
The answer nearly always come back with, “No.”
 
I respond with, “Why not?”
 

Mental Strategies - Part 6

Hesam Hamrahian
Learn to analyze your opponent in less than 10 seconds

Blog --- Mental Strategies Part IX
Think Quickly!
 
 
     In practice matches, you probably play against opponents that you feel comfortable playing against.  You understand your opponent’s basic strengths, weaknesses, serves, and common patterns.  Often, in a tournament, you will compete against a variety of styles.  From the first few points, it is critical that you quickly make a game plan then continue to readjust your game plan as the match progresses.

Mental Strategies - Part 5

Learn about the proper amount of anticipation to use

Mental Stratgies – Part VIII
Guess or Not to Guess?
 
     In table tennis, there are 2 aspects of anticipation.  The first is to have a reasonable guess as to where your opponent will hit the next ball.  The next aspect is watching his body position and racket angle and adjusting based on the direction of his swing.

Mental Strategies - Part 4

Learn how to make your game unpredictable!

Blog – Mental Strategies Part IV
Throw a Curve Ball
 
You have heard the expression many times, “My boss threw me a curve ball,” or “my day threw me a curve ball.”  The expression basically means, something happened that you didn’t expect.  In a close table tennis match, it is important to “throw a curve ball” to your opponent;  something that he doesn’t expect.  At the same time, it is critical that you do something that you can reasonably achieve.
 
Here might be some good options for you:
Serving from a different location

Mental Strategies - Part 2

Dealing with a Trouble-Maker

Mental Strategies – Part II
Dealing With a Trouble-Maker
 
Some opponents like to cause controversy to break your concentration.  This trouble maker might cheat on the score, break the ball, complain about your serve, delay the game, or try to distract you in many other ways.  So what should you do in this particular situation?
 
1. Stay Calm
If you get worked up over this cheater, he will have accomplished his goal.  If you stay calm, you can keep your focus.
 
2. Get an Umpire

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