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Table Tennis .com

Welcome to our blog! We are excited to share some interesting articles about the table tennis world as well as valuable table tennis training tips and much more! We will have a great selection of guest writers from top professional table tennis athletes to recreational ping-pong players, and other fans of the sport. If you would like to contribute an article or tip about table tennis or have a suggestion for something you want to know more about, leave a comment and we’ll be in touch. Thanks for stopping by!

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2017 U.S. National Table Tennis Team Trials

Table Tennis .com

The 2017 U.S. National Table Tennis Team Trials take place March 24-26 at the Triangle Table Tennis Center in Morrisville, NC.

Top table tennis athletes compete for seven fully-funded qualification spots to the 2017 ITTF Leibherr World Table Tennis Championships!

This intense competition features three Rio Olympians – Kanak Jha, Lily Zhang and Wu Yue along with 2008 Beijing Olympian Wang Chen.

The Men’s Trial Entries include: Adar Alguetti, Anil Godhwani, Chance Friend, Gal Alguetti, Gregg Robertshaw, Kanak Jha, Krishnateja Avvari, Kunal Chodri, Nathan Hsu, Nicholas Tio, Nikhil Kumar, Richard Perez, Richard Ciz, Roy Ke, Seth Pech, Sharon Alguetti, Shuja Jafar-Ali, T.J. Beebe, Victor Liu, Yu Shao.

The Women’s Trial Entries include: Amanda Malek, Amy Wang, Angela Guan, Crystal Wang, Grace Yang, Lily Zhang, Rachel Sung, Rachel Yang, Tiffany Ke, Wang Chen, Wu Yue.

Check out the live stream action, plus draws and results here.

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Table Tennis Tip ― Devastate the “Top Dog”

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Everyone wants to pull off the biggest upset of the tournament – that is everyone’s aspiration when entering a table tennis tournament.  In this article, I’m going to outline some of the major tactics that can turn your dream into a reality.

Forget About It

Forget about winning, just play your best.  You have about 4-7 seconds between points during the table tennis match.  Instead of spending those 4-7 seconds on calculating your new rating with the big rating adjustment you will get, focus your attention on your performance.  Are you moving well?  Are you spinning the ball? Are you adjusting?  Are you making good decisions?

Expect a Fight

You need to expect this table tennis match to be a huge battle.  Hoping that your opponent will be injured or hoping that his racket fails the thickness test won’t put you in the best mindset for an upset.  Of course, things do happen – elite table tennis players get cramps, get injured, get into arguments and have equipment problems – these external factors could seriously help you with a win – but you shouldn’t be hoping for these traumatic events to happen to your opponent.

Take Some Risk

If you play normal and your high-level opponent plays normal, then you will likely lose.  Especially in the beginning of the table tennis match, you must take measured risks to put pressure on your opponent and steal the first table tennis game.

Don’t Be Risky

Ok, I thought that I was supposed to be risky?  I’m going to re-emphasize the point I just said……       …..MEASURED RISK!  MEASURED RISK!  About 90% of elite table tennis players don’t need to perform against the low guy because the low guy goes for too much risk.  Please don’t try to smash every serve, please don’t try to smash every loop.  Don’t be TOO risky!

Continue to Adjust

For sure, the elite table tennis player is smart.  If he starts losing, you might make some adjustments.  As the table tennis match progresses, continue to think of tactics between points and make the necessary adjustments.  Just because a particular tactic won the first table tennis game 11-2, doesn’t mean that it will continue to work.

Remember It

After the upset, you can go back to the table tennis club the following week.  Instead of just remembering the look on your opponent’s face, you should remember the tactics that you used, remember the mindset that you had, remember the aggressiveness or consistency that you played.  My game is structured around my upsets.  When I had my biggest upsets, I was able to mentally list the factors that contributed to the upset and continue to restructure my game around those aspects.  You can do it too – just remember, write it down and train accordingly!

By Samson Dubina, Professional Table Tennis Athlete and Coach

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Table Tennis Tip ― Devastate the One-Wing Looper

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If your table tennis opponent’s primary shot is an extreme topspin attack, he is considered a looper. Loopers can play far from the ping pong table or close to the ping pong table; some loopers are penholders while others use the shakehands grip; some loop from both forehand and backhand and some just forehand.  In this article, I’m going to describe the table tennis opponent who loops with just his forehand.

If you have a chance to watch your opponent prior to your table tennis match, that’s perfect because you can have somewhat of an idea what he is going to do and you can think to yourself, “Ok this one-wing looper is looping with his forehand, so when I push deep to his backhand, he will just push back OR he will pivot and play a forehand OR he will try to smash with his backhand OR he might try to develop a backhand loop during the table tennis match and give it a try.”  As you can see, there are multiple ways to cover up a lack of strong backhand looping.  If you don’t have time to watch him prior to your match, then you might need to do some testing.  See what he does on all the shots.  If you immediately find some weaknesses, then pick on those weaknesses and use that to your advantage.  If you aren’t sure within the first few points, then you need to continue searching.  Here are some tips that apply to nearly all one-wing forehand loopers.

#1 Play Wide Angles

Interestingly, most one-wing loopers are very lopsided in all their strokes.  Your opponent might have a very high level forehand loop and almost no-backhand loop, a very high level backhand block and almost no forehand block, a very high level backhand push and almost no forehand push.  Regardless of what he prefers, playing angles will force him to use both sides.  For example, serve very sharp with your backhand to his short wide forehand, on the next ball try to push or loop to the extreme backhand side.  Anytime you use opposite angles, it will be tough for him to cover.

#2 Double-Up

Sometimes the one wing looper will understand your pattern of playing angle then the other angle and he will be anticipating the pattern.  In this situation, you need to double up with the same angle twice.  In general, is pattern play preferred?  It depends!  If the pattern is working in your favor, keep it.  If you opponent understands your pattern and is reading you like a book, then that particular pattern is bad.  So many club level players think patterns are bad because they want to be “unpredictable.”  However, if a pattern like short angled forehand then deep angled backhand is working, then why let your opponent off the hook?

#3 Play Long Rallies

The one-wing looper might have many weaknesses.  The longer the table tennis rally goes, the more likely that he will need to use his weaker stroke.  If you lengthen the rally and remain steady, then you will likely have a good opportunity.  For example, you push sharp to the wide backhand, your opponent steps around and loops with his forehand from the backhand side, next you block to the wide forehand, your opponent does the crossover step and loops the wide forehand, next you block to the backhand, your opponent lobs, and you smash for a winner.  Imagine if you had tried to counterloop his opening shot; it could have been good or it could have been wild.  When you chose to wait and lengthen out the point with a steady rally, then you had the opportunity.  Not “had” the opportunity, you CREATED the opportunity.  That is an important distinction.  When you are just looking for the opportunity, it implies that you are the passive one, just sitting back looking.  I prefer to use created because you created the chance with your well placed push and tactical blocking.

#4 Attack First

One-wing loopers know that they have weaknesses and know that they can’t play long rallies ― yes it isn’t a secret, they know it.  As a result of knowing it, they often will try to finish the point early with a very strong loop.  It is vitally important that you attack first with extreme angles and immediately put them on the defensive.

#5 Adjust to Variations

Because the one-wing looper is stronger is some areas and weaker in some areas, you must always be ready for variations.  For example, he might have the ability to push with his forehand and backhand; however, his forehand push is much quicker and much spinnier than his backhand.  In this case, you need to be ready to adjust when looping his forehand push vs looping his backhand push.

#6 Be Ready for Transitions

When playing table tennis against one-wing loopers, be ready to quickly transition from offense to defense and vice versa.  Maybe you are looping and he is blocking, suddenly he backs up and throws a massive counterloop into the mix.  In this situation, you might need to block controlled to the angle.  Maybe he is looping and you are blocking, after using great placement, he just rolls up a simple light-topspin ball; this is the one you have been waiting for, in this situation, go for the counterattack.

#7 Keep Track

The one-wing looper might seem a bit erratic.  However, he is likely limited in what he can do.  If he cannot do certain things well, be persistent at exposing those weaknesses.  If your push to the wide backhand continues to win points, be persistent at doing that shot.  Between points, step back and continue to evaluate and re-evaluate what he can and cannot do.

#8 Remember These Basic Rules

If this article seems overwhelming, remember these closing tips when playing table tennis against the one-wing looper:

  1. Attack First
  2. Serve Short Angled Serves
  3. Loop the Serve to the Extreme Angles
  4. Stay Close Throughout the Rally
  5. Work the Point and Play Long Rallies

By Samson Dubina, Professional Table Tennis Athlete and Coach

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2017 Arnold Table Tennis Challenge

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The 2017 Arnold Table Tennis Challenge is set for March 3-5 in Columbus, Ohio.

The 14th annual event will feature over 60 ping pong tables on 70,000 square feet under world class lighting. The Newgy Robo-Pong table tennis robot will be on site to practice on and see it in action, as well as elite athlete exhibitions.

$10,000 in prize money is up for grabs along with trophies and medals in 36 different table tennis events.

This 4-star table tennis tournament will include USATT Round Robin and Giant Round Robin events (Open Singles, Junior, Over 50, Over 65, Under 800- Under 2500) and non-USATT recreational events (hardbat, family doubles, youth, adult)

Play 6-10 table tennis matches whether you win or lose.

All table tennis matches are best 3 out of 5 games, played to 11 points except handicap and harbat. Quarters, Semis and Final of Open are best 4 out of 7 games.

Register to compete in this tournament by February 20, 2017.

For more information, click here.

For entry form, click here.

The Arnold Table Tennis Challenge is part of the Arnold Sports Festival which will feature approximately 18,000 athletes from 80 countries competing in 70 different sports and events, including 14 Olympics sports. This annual event also includes the Arnold Fitness Expo which features 1,000 booths of the latest in sports equipment, apparel and nutrition and two stages that host non-stop competitions and entertainment.

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2017 World Championship of Ping Pong - Results

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20 year-old Weihao Yan of China won the sixth annual World Championship of Ping Pong at the Alexandra Palace, London this past weekend, January 28-29, 2017!  Alexander Flemming of Germany is this year's runner-up.

Yan stated that he has actually only been playing sandpaper ping pong for six months and hasn't received any professional table tennis training.

More than 25 countries were represented with 64 table tennis players competing in this tournament.

This event attracted a large, excited crowd of 1,200 fans.

$100,000 total prize fund was up for grabs!

For complete tournament results, visit http://www.worldchampionshipofpingpong.net/knockout/.

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The $3000 Newgy Ohio Open Table Tennis Tournament

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The $3000 Newgy Ohio Open Table Tennis Tournament is set for Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18, 2017 at the Shaw Jewish Community Center (JCC) - 750 White Pond Drive, Akron, Ohio 44320.

This 2-star USATT sanctioned event will include international competition, prize money and trophies, free lunch and dinner, free parking and discounted hotels.

The format is Giant Round Robin with groups of seven table tennis players with four table tennis players advancing from each group. Competitors should expect to play 5-10 table tennis matches per event.

Giant Round Robin (RR) Events include:

  • Open Giant RR
  • Under 2600 Giant RR
  • Under 2400 Giant RR
  • Under 2200 Giant RR
  • Under 2000 Giant RR
  • Under 1900 Giant RR
  • Under 1800 Giant RR
  • Under 1600 Giant RR
  • Under 1400 Giant RR
  • Under 1200 Giant RR
  • Under 1000 Giant RR

This tournament will also include Fun Mini Round Robin Events with groups of 3-4 table tennis players with 1 player advancing from each group. (USATT membership not required for these events)

Fun Mini Round Robin Events include:

  • Open Doubles
  • Recreational Doubles
  • 31-Point Handicap
  • Recreational Singles

All table tennis matches are best 3 out of 5.

For more tournament information and to register, click here.

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Robo-Pong Broward Open Table Tennis Team Tournament

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The Robo-Pong Broward Open Table Tennis Team Tournament is set for Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12, 2017 at the Broward Table Tennis Club - 3371 N. University Drive, Davie, Florida 33024.

This 4-Star USATT sanctioned team table tennis tournament includes the following event categories:






Tournament Director: Carlos Zeller

Tournament Referee: Terese Terranova (NR/IU)

Entry deadline is February 4, 2017.

Click here to register.

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Table Tennis Tip - Devastating “John Doe”

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The table tennis tournament published the draws the night before the event.  You found out that you are going to play against Hou Yingchao in your opening table tennis match of men’s singles at 9:00 a.m.  You immediately take out your pen and paper and write down some notes of how to play against him.  You arrive to the gym at 7:45 am and train accordingly. 
Just then…
Without warning…
You hear a tournament announcement for you to play your opening round against John Doe.  What?  You had mentally and physically prepared to play against Hou Yingchao.  Who is John Doe anyway?  What style does he play?  What should your tactics be?
There are basically two main elements to winning against an unknown table tennis opponent – knowing your game and learning your opponent’s game.
Your Game
The main things that I always remind myself are that my serve is good ¾ I am very confident in serve return. Also, I have very spinny loops, I can move very fast, I can block with excellent placement and I can rally longer than anyone.  With a bit of a pep talk to yourself, you can learn to play with confidence and force your table tennis opponent to adjust to YOU.  Hesitation (especially on serve return) will make you inconsistent and not very threatening to a new opponent.  If you can play without hesitation and strike hard from the beginning, the fear of your shots will bring out more errors from your new opponent.
Your Opponent’s Game
The second element is knowing your opponent’s game.  From the time that you greet him to the middle of the first table tennis game, you should know the following:
#1 Table Tennis Equipment
Regardless if he has pips or inverted, inspect the top sheet of his racket to see if it is grippy or not.  Also inspect the sponge to see the thickness, hardness, and speed.  All of these elements will help you begin forming a general impression.  If you opponent has a recreational ping pong paddle with absolutely no spin, then from the very first point, you realize that you don’t need to lift much on the opening loop.  Every aspect of the table tennis equipment is a slight indication of what the player can and cannot do.
#2 Handedness (right or left handed)
This should be so obvious.
#3 Shakehands Grip (forehand or backhand oriented)
If the table tennis racket is shifted more towards the index finger, this is called a backhand grip. If the racket is shifted more towards in the thumb, this is called a forehand grip. Typically, backhand grip table tennis players tend to play more towards your forehand side of the table.  Typically, forehand grip table tennis players tend to play more towards your backhand side of the table.
#4 Penhold Grip (traditional or reverse)
Traditional penhold table tennis players use only one side of the racket mainly blocking and pushing with the backhand while attacking with the forehand. Modern reverse penhold table tennis players use both sides of the racket attacking from the wings – these players are usually a bit weaker from the middle. Even in warmup, you should be able to tell if they are traditional or reverse penhold.

#5 Overall Style – offensive or defensive
Within the first few points, you should be able to tell if this table tennis opponent is looking for the power shot or looking to be consistent and keep the ball in play.  This is one of the main things that you need to know – this will put you in a tactical direction.  If he is a power player, you need to stop his weapons.  If he is a defensive player, you need to work the point, be selective, and your play game at the right time.
#6 Forehand or backhand dominant
The grip doesn’t fully tell you if he is backhand or forehand dominant.  As the table tennis match progresses, evaluate if your opponent likes his backhand or forehand better.  It may be that he likes forehand better for some shots (like looping and smashing) while favoring backhand better for other shots (like pushing, blocking, and serve return.)
#7 Near the table or far from the table
If your opponent likes to play near the table, then look to play some sharp angles to take him away from the table.  If he feels comfortable away from the table, then consider using some variations to move him in closer then back deeper.  You don’t want to allow your opponent to get in the groove or in a comfortable position.
As the table tennis match progresses, you should be forming a clear picture in your mind of your opponent’s serves, returns, preferences, tendencies, and game patterns.  However, don’t get too caught up in changing your game.  Play your dominant game with your best serve, strongest shots and play with full confidence.  As the match progresses, you can adjust if necessary. 

By Samson Dubina, Professional Table Tennis Athlete and Coach

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The Tactical Mindset in Table Tennis

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Just like any other table tennis skill, developing a tactical mindset takes discipline.  As I work through the various styles over the coming weeks and teach you how to play against various table tennis opponents, I want you to understand that you too can think of your own tactics.  I’m not very smart, I’m just an average guy.  However, I do spend quality time thinking.  You too can develop this same discipline.

The best time to think of developing future tactics for your own table tennis game is at the conclusion of a club night or on the way home from a table tennis tournament.  Think about the various tactics that were used against you, think about all the annoying things that your opponent did to frustrate you.

Remember that first opponent who kept pushing sharp angle pushes to your backhand.  By reaching for the ball, you weren’t able to spin much and your opponent kept blocking your weak opening quick to your wide forehand.

Remember that second guy who kept serving no spin to your forehand.  He was waiting for your weak flip and just teed off on every flip.

Remember that third guy that took his time and walked slowly to get the ball, then proceeded to bounce the ball 5 times before every serve.  Remember how it frustrated you to wait a few seconds before every serve.

Remember that fourth guy who initially couldn’t return your serve.  Then suddenly just started pushing deep and high to your backhand.  Remember how your own spin high to the backhand gave you issues.

Remember how that fifth guy kept blocking quick to your middle transition point.  After you gave a weak loop, he would just counterloop wide to your forehand for a winner.

Between each point in the table tennis match, you have a few seconds to think about tactics.  However, on the ride home, you have plenty of time to think about more details.  The longer that you think deeply about the tactics, the more possibilities will arise.  Let me illustrate, you are playing a game of chess and your opponent just made a move; it is now your turn; you quickly decide to move your queen to F3; it looks like the best move.  At the time, that was as tactical as you could have been in 10 seconds.  However, let’s suppose that I gave you two hours.  In two hours, you can think through more possibilities… possibly 7 or 8 other moves that would be better.  The same is true in table tennis.  You start the match with you serve short backspin and your opponent kept pushing to your backhand, you loop into the net several times.  If I gave you 10 seconds to give me a solution, you would probably say, “Oh, I could just solve this problem with pushing!”  True!  That is ONE answer!  But if I gave you 2 hours to solve the problem, could you come up with other solutions.  Before reading the rest of the article, I want you to take out your pen and paper and list other solutions to this problem.

Here are some other solutions:

  1. Push the ball back with your backhand
  2. Push the ball back with your forehand
  3. Forehand loop
  4. Backhand loop but adjust your racket’s starting position
  5. Backhand loop but adjust your racket angle
  6. Backhand loop but use more wrist to generate more spin
  7. Backhand loop but use more legs to help lift
  8. Serve no spin instead so the push will be lighter
  9. Serve deep topspin so that your opponent is less likely to push
  10. Serve wide off the forehand side to the table with sidespin so your opponent is less likely to push to your backhand

As you contemplate the hundreds of tactics that were used against you, then you too can begin practicing these tactics against others.  Just remember that more years playing doesn’t necessarily mean that you will play smarter and have better tactics.  The key is that you need to have the discipline to think deeply for 20-30 min after each session about the tactics used against you.  Think about which tactics you can implement immediately and which tactics take longer to develop.  Adjust your table tennis training sessions accordingly so that you aren’t merely training your basic strokes, but you are also implementing tactical drills into your practice sessions.

By Samson Dubina, Professional Table Tennis Athlete and Coach

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