With the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, one would think that coaching table tennis and preparing a new book that focuses on attracting new club members, would be put on the backburner. This is not the case for hardworking coach Samson Dubina, owner of the Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy in Akron, OH.
He’s always coming up with innovative and creative ways to stay engaged with the table tennis public. According to Dubina, his online lessons can be arranged through Skype, Facetime, Zoom, and Facebook Messenger and has thus far 154 scheduled lessons in April!
And being recognized by the USOC as well as the USATT for Coach of the Year adds even more credibility to Dubina’s methodical and innovate outlook. He’s also a four-time USATT Technology Coach of the Year, and says he has been implementing Skype lessons for almost 10 years, long before the current pandemic has been plaguing us and restricting our table tennis time.
“Not everyone has a professional coach in their neighborhood, so skype lessons are a great way of getting expert advice from a coach without having to fly to another state. I think the most important aspect is... receiving coaching on a regular basis. Players need weekly advice on what they should be practicing, how they should be practicing, and they also need accountability.”
Complementing his table tennis prowess are his wife and 6 children, who as one can see in many humorous and educational social media posts, are fully engaged in the #pongpositive mantra we all as table tennis brethren have begun to embrace. From one of his youngest attempting the words “Pingpong!” to performing an entertaining “tunnel pong” activity with the whole table tennis clan, Dubina is a true family man at heart.
In addition to his online tutorials and lessons, Dubina also has another passion project: creating and distributing a book to USATT member clubs in order to help them promote table tennis to the fullest and increase their membership many times over. The book, entitled Why Table Tennis?, is coauthored by US National Team Member Sarah Jalli, and Ohio #1 cadet Jacob Boyd.
According to Dubina, table tennis is the sport that has the most opportunity to expand in the US. He goes on to say that a much larger portion of Americans play “recreational ping pong” and the way to attracting more people to table tennis is by “properly educating the public on what the Olympic sport of table tennis is and how it can change their lives.”
The main theme of Why Table Tennis? is about having valid information backing claims as to why table tennis is the best sport to play. “I have a list of about 80 reasons people play table tennis. I have narrowed them down to 10 categories and I have proven facts about table tennis quoting experts to prove my points,” Dubina asserts.
As is understandable in these uncertain times, clubs around the USA are hurting and will need help more than ever to get back on track. Dubina has a few words of wisdom for the current ailing club. He says due to all clubs being on lockdown, this is a pivotal chance to get a leg up in the recruiting department, to promote their club to parents of kids who would normally be in other sports and activities. And, Dubina remarks, “Oh, so you don’t know what to say? That is what the book is about.”
Be sure to help contribute to Coach Dubina’s GoFundMe page so he can reach his fixed cost goal for his Academy and, according to him, in doing so he will donate a free copy of his new book to every USATT Club.