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Stroke Considerations | Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy

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Considerations for stroke
-By coach Samson Dubina

If you’ve played the wrong trick for years, should you change it OR keep it and improve other aspects of your game? This is a tough question. I personally think YOU should be the one to answer this question. But while you’re thinking to answer it, there are some stroke considerations to make when evaluating your own stroke and how a change would help or harm your progress in the short, medium, and long term.

(the questions below can be applied to any stroke)
At what point is your stroke the best?
At what point does your stroke tend to break down into drills and matches?
Does your stroke look relaxed and adjustable?
Are you able to hit anywhere on the table with that shot?
How Consistent Is Your Stroke? Can you make it at 50% or 80% or 90% in match play?
Are you able to easily go from slow to fast to medium with that stroke?
Can you easily adapt to different incoming speeds, spin, heights and depths of your opponents’ shots?
Can you set this particular stroke with your service and reception pattern?
Can you have another stroke after this stroke?
What is your balance, positioning and timing like for this particular shot?
How much time have you spent developing your current stroke?
How much time do you plan to spend in the next 12 months changing stroke?
How mentally strong are you to make the change, even if it seems to temporarily hinder your progress?

Print this coaching article.
Grab your pencil.
Write answer to the above questions.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll begin to have a starting point in case you want to change your region. Making minor adjustments is somewhat easy (such as holding your racket slightly higher in your ready position). Making major adjustments is difficult (such as learning a different weight transfer or changing your grip or changing your action on the ball).

If you’ve been playing for less than 2 years, spend the time getting the trick right, especially if you have high and lofty goals to reach an elite level. If you’ve played a particular trick for more than 2 years, it will be difficult to change. I’m not trying to discourage you from trying to change, I’m just saying it will take more time because the permanent muscle memory has set in longer.

Final considerations

# 1 Find an expert coach. Your chances of change are 100x greater with the help of a competent coach.

# 2 Shadow moves day and night in front of a mirror. If you are going to change something, it will be easier without the ball. When the ball comes, your body returns to its original muscle memory.

# 3 Record every hit. Yes, every robot exercise, every coaching session, every game, record it and watch it. If you want to make the change serious, stop practicing and make sure you’re doing it correctly.

# 4 Patience and persistence, that’s what it’s all about. You have to be patient with yourself, realize that it takes time to change, and be persistent to do the right thing!

Thank you for reading!
Samson Depth
USOPC Coach of the Year
4x USATT Coach of the Year
USATT National Level Coach
ITTF Level III certified coach

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