Samson Dubina

“There is nothing I can do!”

“He is just on!”

“It’s like he is on fire!”

“There is no shame in losing to this guy!”

“He is playing out of his mind!”

“He never misses!”

These are some of the common expression that I hear from low-rated players at tournaments.  When I hear these comments during matches from a student, I know that the student has already mentally conceded the match.

Rarely, will your opponent be “on fire” in every aspect of his game.  Professional players realize this and are able to somewhat play away from the strength.  Most players aren’t “on fire” with their serve, serve return, push, flip, block, loop, smash, counterloop, lob, and every other aspect all at once.  If your opponent’s backhand flip is “on fire,” what should you do?  If your opponent’s forehand loop is “on fire,” what should you do?  If your opponent’s smash is “on fire,” what should you do?  These are questions that you must be asking yourself prior to your next tournament.

Weak players suffer at the loss to a player “on fire.”

Strong players clearly understand that the opponent is playing well in one particular area and understand ways to “put the fire out!”

Instead of mentally conceding the match, look at the opportunity as a challenge.  Look to find out what part of your opponent’s game is exceptional and look for the opportunity to avoid that area.