Good, Better, Best
by Coach Samson Dubina
Most players have Good practice sessions on a weekly basis but it isn’t THE BEST! Many players continue practicing the same things over and over without pushing themselves to improve their spin, placement, variation, power, and shot selection.
There are improvements that you personally need to make this week during training and matches. Make a note card and set it beside the table. Before each point in practice and matches, glance at the note card to remind yourself of what you need to work on. Here are some examples of a few things that you might need:
1. Bob, Remember to lean forward
2. Remember to keep my racket up
3. Remember to watch the contact point when returning serve
4. Remember to wait on the ball, watch the bounce, read the spin, then contact the ball when returning serve
5. Remember to spin the ball and focus on friction, not force
6. Remember to contact the ball low when I am serving
7. Remember to glance at my opponent prior to serving
8. Remember to get back into my ready position after I serve
9. Remember to adjust my feet based on the position of my hit
10.Remember to watch my opponent’s racket and re-adjust my feet based on what I see
11. Remember to be patient in working the point
12. Remember to have confidence in my loops and complete the stroke
13. Remember to attack the majority of the balls against my opponent’s middle transition point
There are literally thousands of things that you could write on that little note card as reminders. However, I recommend that you choose 2 each session. Review after the session on how you did. Did you actually do YOUR BEST in applying it!
The good, better, best principle applies to matches as well. Are you checked out of the match just because your opponent is 300 points higher? Do you have a defeated attitude because you have lost to this opponent the previous 5 times? Do you feel that you will have a bad tournament because you only slept 3 hours the night before? Do you lack confidence because you didn’t properly warm-up? Don’t give up before you start! And of course, don’t give up during the match either!
I’m not asking you to do the death craw or to begin some Rocky Balboa style fitness program. All I’m asking you to do is give your best.
Give your best physically
When you are doing that robot training, be disciplined in keeping your knees bent and be disciplined in moving for each ball – no reaching and leaning allowed. When you are playing matches at the club and are tired after the third match, don’t go home. Push yourself to play 5 more matches more than you think that you can play.
Give your best mentally
Instead of allowing your mind to wander off and think about your favorite TV show, do your best to stay in the moment; use every moment at the table to perfect your skills.
Give your best emotionally
When things aren’t going your way, stop whining and having that sour attitude. Grow up, be mature, and emotionally get back in the game. Unfortunately, losses have an accumulative effect. After a loss, be willing to pick yourself up and give your best.
Give your best tactically
Throughout the match, be ready to evaluate and re-evaluate your current tactics and be willing to change if necessary. Be disciplined enough to keep track of the point and how you won or lost the points. If the game is 10-10, can you clearly recall what you did right on 10 points and what you did wrong during the other 10 points. If you can, then you can think clearly how to play your strong points against your opponent’s weak points!
Give your best physically, mentally, emotionally, and tactically!