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Practicing to be a Tournament Player, by Samson Dubina

Vladimir Samsonov, Chairman of ITTF Athletes Commission, looks forward to playing with the new ball.

All excellent tournament players, no matter what their level, need tournament play to practice tournament play!

What is your ultimate goal in table tennis?

To make the Olympic Team?
To become the club champion?
To someday break 2000?
To improve your fitness?
To beat your great-uncle Bob?

Most players’ goals involve some type of tournament performance.  As a coach, I must know the goals that my students have and help to guide them in the right direction to meet their goals.

If someone wants to have a good serve, what should they do?  Hmmm…. Maybe practice their serves.
If someone wants to have good footwork, what should they do?  Hmmm…. Maybe practice their footwork.
And if someone wants to perform well in tournaments and reach their tournament goal, then naturally they should play more tournaments.

If your ultimate goal involves something around a tournament accomplishment, then naturally you should play more tournaments.  In the last 20 years of my playing career, I have talked with many coaches, students, and parents who resistant playing in small, local tournaments.  However, these same players want to have great results in major tournaments.  Hundreds of hours of practice won’t accomplish the best possibly tournament results unless the skills are tested and tried in tournaments throughout the year.  If you want to have the best possible tournament results, here is what you need to do.

#1 Make a plan
#2 Train hard
#3 Play tournaments
#4 Reflect on your performance and adjust your practice accordingly
#5 Train hard
#6 Play tournaments
#7 Reflect on your performance and adjust your practice accordingly

Continue this cycle and you will learn to practice with knowledge and become an excellent TOURNAMENT player, not just an excellent training partner.

–Samson Dubina

 

Updated: January 5, 2015 —
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