The Newgy Table Tennis Center – Pierce Scott

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I have been to the Newgy Table Tennis Center several times but I would like to tell you about my first training there. The Training Center (which is also Newgy’s headquarters) is located in Gallatin, Tennessee just outside of Nashville.

When I went in the front door, I saw the pro shop on my right that sells various table tennis items and equipment, and their offices just past that. Next, I went past their lounge area and then on to the main playing arena. The next room is called their “Robot Room” where there were five Robo-Pong table tennis robots set up. The Center has the Olympic red mat flooring and was very nice.

Now on to my training. I was introduced to Coach Barney Reed, Sr., who was very nice and hands on with his teaching. We started off slow with just a warm-up drill while Coach watched. We then went into more detailed things. He saw one of my problems was with my footwork and where my feet were actually going on the ground. He got some tape and taped it on the ground where he wanted my feet to go. This was helpful seeing each time where he specifically wanted me.

As this part of the session was coming to an end, we moved towards the end of the room where there was a ping-pong® table set up that can be lowered for little kids. Part of the training at the Newgy Table Tennis Center includes filming different aspects of the training so the Coach can analyze it, point out certain things to the student later and then improve on them.

When we came back from lunch it was now time to actually hit with the Coach. We warmed up and did some drills. He corrected me throughout the drills and really helped me apply what I learned on the robot to the real game. We closed it out with a match. The area where you play matches is very spacious, closed and individual courts and also had the same Olympic red mat flooring. Overall I would give my experience an A+ at the Newgy Table Tennis Training Center.

Pierce Scott

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My Table Tennis Training in Canada by Pierce Scott

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I have traveled a lot for table tennis. I have been all over the U.S. and to a few different countries. I have found that the most beneficial training came from Montreal, Quebec in Canada. Even though it was only a short flight away from Cincinnati, it felt like another continent because the city of Montreal is the second largest French speaking city in the world.

I typically went there for two weeks at a time. Most people think training should be something that is long, intense and lasts the whole day. In Canada, training is intense but it is just enough so you can handle it. I trained at a former Olympic site that is now turned into a sports school. The head coach there (Dejan Papic) is a former Olympic coach along with the assistant coach (Christian) who is also a former Olympic coach.

I would start off my day with a training session from 8:30 - 10:00 am. There was a study done that an athlete can only focus for one and a half hours straight. This session is normally very intense and ended with physical training/conditioning. Usually we would run laps, lift weights or play basketball or soccer. Then we’d eat at the cafeteria in the school or go somewhere around the training center. The next session was from 1:00 - 3:00 and then 5:00 - 8:00 or just 4:00 - 7:00 depending on whether the kids are in school or not. That next session would typically start off with the same theme as the morning session and then play some sort of game towards the end.

After this session you have physical training. This was very intense. This was usually sprints and laps. Occasionally we would lift weights. Each week they would have one thing they would work on. That whole week was used to practice the skill in every situation.

After the training was done you have the night to go out into the city of Montreal.

Pierce Scott

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My Training with Coach Carl Hardin by Pierce Scott

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Carl Hardin is one of the best table tennis coaches in the United States. He has a different coaching style than most coaches. He is very strict and pounds into your head the importance of great form.

I started receiving coaching from Carl when I was rated 543. We would start off by warming up my forehand on the Newgy Robo-Pong table tennis robot. Then I hit some backhands on the robot. He hadn’t said anything to me yet about anything I had done wrong. I thought my strokes were fine. I was extremely wrong! He said there was no use of hitting balls coming out of the robot if all of my strokes were wrong. So we grabbed a box of balls and I dropped the ball and then hit it. After each ball I hit, I was given criticism on what to fix. After about an hour of that we did the same thing on the backhand.

I had no idea so many things that went into one shot. Carl saw everything I did wrong, every single time. After we got that taken care of, we started to do drills on the robot. He would stand there and move the frequency up until my strokes broke down, then would immediately shut it off. He taught me correct footwork, forehand, backhand, push, flip, serve, loop, and serve return. I am glad I got to experience Carl’s coaching. I would not be where I am today without it.

Remember:

Practice makes permanent, not perfect.”Carl Hardin

Pierce Scott

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My Favorite Robo-Pong Drills by Pierce Scott

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The Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 table tennis robot (and 1050 model also) comes with 64 pre-programmed drills. I have also programmed some of my own customized drills into the Robo-Pong. With that said, 64 is a lot of drills. Many people wonder: which one is the best? The answer to that is: they are all unique and were all designed to help you improve different strokes and skills, at various levels of the game.

When I train on my Robo-Pong 2050, I like to make it a fast-paced training session because I know I will lose focus if I’m alone in my basement for more than an hour. So what I usually do is work on a specific part of my game for 35-45 minutes and serve for the rest of my training session.

Here are some of my favorite drills:

Warm Up: Drill #6: 2 backhands, 2 forehands. This drill lets you warm up your footwork a little, and lets you start warming up your loop.

Under-Spin: Drill #16: under-spin anywhere. This drill will give you an under-spin ball anywhere on the table with the spin varying. This lets you practice looping from different locations and looping different amounts of spin.

Top-Spin: Drill #28: one ball to the middle, then one ball to either corner. This drill lets you work on your looping, footwork, watching, and adjusting. You have to constantly move to the ball and watch the robot head so you know where the ball is going to be going. To get the full effect of the drill, only use a forehand on the ball in the middle.

Ending Drill: Drill #31: one high ball to the backhand, then one high ball to the forehand. This drill will give you a chance to smash high balls. I simply do this drill because it feels good at the end of the practice to smash some high balls. This can also be beneficial if you need to work on your smash.

Train hard!

Pierce Scott

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How to become an Umpire by Pierce Scott

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If you have ever had any interest in becoming an umpire, this article is for you. Anyone can be a table tennis umpire if they would like. If you don’t play anymore but still want to stay connected to the game, this is a perfect opportunity. You also get benefits if you are an umpire. You get a great seat for the table tennis match, discount on hotels, discount on entry fee, flight money, and sometimes even get paid.

Here are the basic steps to becoming a Club Umpire:

1. Contact USATT and tell them you would like to take the Club Umpire test.

2. They will mail you the test or you can take it online.

3. Study!

4. Take the test and get at least a 75% to pass. The test is open book (so you can use anything). It has a section of true/false questions and also has situational questions.

5. If you pass, start umpiring at table tennis tournaments and begin to get your matches done to then become a Regional Umpire.

Pierce Scott

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New Table Tennis Movie Coming Soon! by Pierce Scott

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I’m sure you have heard of “Balls of Fury”, right? How about “Forrest Gump”? What about “Korea”? If you answered “yes” to the last one, you must be thinking of some other movie. But next year sometime there will be a new table tennis movie coming out called “Korea”.

It is based on the true story of the division of North and South Korea. During this, the women’s table tennis teams of North and South Korea combined at World Championships. It is told through the eyes of the head coach of the team at the time. She even played a large role in making the movie. She edited the script and even taught the actors to play with the correct technique. So look for this next year in theaters.

Pierce Scott

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Strategies Against a Lobber by Pierce Scott

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A lot of table tennis players find it challenging to play against a lobber because it can be very frustrating. They give us the high ball you want to kill, yet we still struggle on how we can win.

There are many different ways to go about playing a lobber. The best way to play him is to play smart and play with patience. All lobbers depend on your mistakes for points. So don’t throw away any unforced errors. You need to get the serve return in. You don’t need to make an amazing shot because chances are a lobber will not kill your return. He will probably throw up a neutral ball. You don’t have to put this ball away. Be patient! Put this ball to the back hand or WIDE forehand.

Most lobbers can’t attack far from the table with a backhand. You are normally safe to play to the backhand at any time in the match. Once you have the player pinned to the backhand you need to go wider and move them off of the ping-pong® table more. Once you get a really weak ball, put them away to the forehand. But always be ready for the ball to come back! Never assume you have hit a winner! If he puts up another weak ball, kill that one too. Try to move the player around and wait for a good chance to end the point.

Good luck!

Pierce Scott

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How to Stay Mentally Positive by Pierce Scott

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It is very important to stay mentally positive in table tennis. Showing negative emotions can completely change the outcome of your match and sometimes the whole tournament. Whenever you show negative emotions in table tennis this normally gives your opponent a boost of confidence. One burst of anger from you can completely change the outcome of the match.

For example, you miss a high smash and yell “I’m gonna kill you!” This is a very extreme case but if this would happen you would be reported to the referee and probably kicked out of the table tennis tournament. Another example of an outburst of anger that can get you kicked out of the tournament is throwing your racket on the table. If you throw your racket on the table and damage it, you are not allowed to get a replacement racket because the racket was not damaged accidentally. The referee would examine the racket and determine if he wanted you to play with it. If he says it is illegal you would be forfeited from the match. These are just a few examples of ways it can hurt you or your equipment (literally) if you get too angry.

Here are some more common examples of anger hurting your game. Once you start thinking negatively in your match, it is very hard to recover mentally and stay focused on how to win. You shouldn’t dwell on points in the past because they have already happened and you cannot do anything to change them no matter how hard you try. The only thing you have control of now is the future. So forget about the points earlier and focus on how you’re going to win the next point. If you find you’re thinking about past points and not focusing, step back from the table or even take a time out. Another great time to regroup is during towel off periods in the game (which is every six points). If you lose a match and find yourself very mad, you need to forget about this match before starting the next match. Never start a match until you are completely ready for the opponent.

A technique that you can use to stay mentally positive is “positive self-talk”. This is when you talk to yourself out loud or mentally and keep encouraging thoughts in your mind. Some people are more aggressive about this so they will yell out things that make them look weird like “I’m unstoppable! “ or “Go me!” or even quotes from movies like “It’s not over till it’s over!” Some people will even clap out loud for themselves. I prefer to stay quiet and just talk mentally to myself.

It is very surprising how much of a difference staying mentally positive can make on your game. So the next table tennis tournament you’re in, remember to stay mentally positive and watch the affect it will have on your game.

Pierce Scott

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Strategies Against a Looper by Pierce Scott

jena

The most common type of playing style in table tennis is usually a looper. I am going to discuss some strategies to use to your advantage against a looper. The first thing you should know is that loopers obviously LIKE TO LOOP! You need to take that weapon away from them and YOU need to attack FIRST. The easiest way to do this is to make a good serve short and then start your attack into their defensive game.

Most loopers do not have BOTH an amazing looping game AND an amazing defensive game. If you can isolate the defensive game, they won’t get the opportunity to attack. On your service return the best thing to do would be to push short. If you cannot do that, at least make the opponent make a difficult shot. A heavy push to the backhand, a push to the person’s middle or even a wide ball to the forehand would work as a good variation. Chances are if you cannot push the ball short you can either flip it or loop it. REMEMBER THOUGH, THE MAIN OBJECTIVE OF SERVE RETURN IS TO GET IT ON THE TABLE! It is not a point-winning shot. During the rally try to move them around because most mistakes come from someone who is switching over from forehand to backhand. If you know how to counter-loop this is also very effective against a looper. If you cannot counter-loop, a good block to the opponent’s backhand would work just fine. If you use these strategies against a looper, you should do just fine.

Pierce Scott

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Strategy Against a Left-Handed Player by Pierce Scott

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Here are some basic strategies to beat a left-handed player in table tennis, assuming you are right-handed. The very first thing you need to do is figure out the strong side of the player (forehand or backhand). 90% of the time it will be the forehand. When the left-handed player loops crosscourt (which is where most loops go) it will be coming into your backhand. So if the opponent starts looping with his forehand first you are going to be on the defense with your backhand. You do not want to get in this situation. To avoid it, you need to start attacking first. When you attack with your forehand it will be going into his/her backhand. Now this forces them to go on the defense. You need to move them off the ping-pong® table enough to get a good opening down the line so you can move them from left to right. If they return this, move them right back into that backhand into your forehand pattern.

If you happen to lose the attack, it only takes a block down the line to their backhand. This is a tricky shot; if you have not practiced it on your Robo-Pong table tennis robot, don’t expect to make it much in a tournament when the pressure is on.

In conclusion, you need to attack first with your forehand into their backhand, run them off the table, and then finally finish them off!

Pierce Scott

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