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Improve your game with Coach Samson Dubina!
We are proud to have Samson as part of the Paddle Palace family. In recent years, Samson has achieved many titles while traveling to Europe, Asia, and throughout North America competing in nearly 400 tournaments over the last 20 years. Currently Samson is training, competing in tournaments, coaching the top players in the state of Ohio, and is now coaching the top players in America as a US National Team Coach.
More from Samson.
Everyone has a “biggest weakness” in their game, almost by definition. Beginning and intermediate players may have many weaknesses, but there’s probably a biggest. Even great players don’t do everything great – it’s all relative, and their biggest weakness might be something that would be a powerful strength for an intermediate player.
So what should you do about this “biggest weakness”? FIX IT!!! So how do you go about doing that?
The first step, of course, is really identifying this biggest weakness. Is it a stroking technique problem? Footwork? Weak serve or receive? Choking under pressure? Analyze your results and figure it out. Perhaps watch videos of yourself playing, and compare what you do with what top players do. A coach or top player might be able to help out in this analysis.
STIGA, Escalade Sports, and Paddle Palace are proud to announce their sponsorship of the ICC Elite Table Tennis Team
At the highest levels, many top players don’t even bother to smash – even if the ball is eye-level high, they loop. However, for most players, a smash is a must. Here are some keys to developing a good smash, forehand or backhand. First, get some coaching or watch the top players.
A lot of problems arise when players don’t use their free arm properly. It’s a major problem with a lot of players. Here are two common problems.
First, many players let their free arm just sort of hang down instead of holding it up as a counterbalance to the playing arm. Every time they stroke the ball there is no counterbalancing arm to act as a counterweight, and so they are thrown slightly off balance with each shot. Worse, they become so used to this they don’t even realize it is happening. The cure –
I like to divide tactics into five levels. First, think of your game and your opponent’s game as a combination of strengths, average aspects, and weaknesses. Then there are nine possible combinations, divided into the five tactical levels.
Level 2 tactics
• Your strengths against opponent’s weaknesses
A lot of players have good forehands in practice, either looping or hitting. But once a game starts, they stand facing the table, which is a backhand stance, and while their backhands are fine, when the ball goes to their forehand they mostly face the table, bringing their arm back to stroke rather than turning sideways. This leaves them with an awkward forehand stroke. They have only a small hitting zone, and this small hitting zone is jammed over the table. They have no time or space to actually do a normal forehand swing, and so end up blocking or doing awkward strokes. Their stroke in almost entirely with the arm.
Afterwards, they go to the table and spend hours practicing their already-good forehand, never understanding why they are unable to use it in a game situation.