Tip of the Day - How to Play Better Matches in Six Weeks

By Brian Pace | Aug. 28, 2013, 9 a.m. (ET)

Sean Lonergan

How to Play Better Matches in Six Weeks

There is a big difference between playing good and being a good competitor. Following these three tips will have you well on your way toward playing your best. 

  1. You have to be able to identify if the style you are playing: is it the correct style for you? There are players that stand over six feet tall that try to play quick off the bounce like Wang Tao. Others with small frames try to play a two-winged power looping game like Zoran Primorac. Playing these styles with the wrong body make-up is inefficient and a losing battle.
  2. Try to find some type of stroke chemistry that builds cohesion between your strokes. This means side to side and in and out movements. Doing random drills will help you get more comfortable with rallies that go longer than three shots. The reason Fan Yi Yong, Cheng Yinghua and David Zhuang have been the top three players in the country is because they have the best stroke chemistry when they are attacking or blocking. All of their shots work together.
  3. The last thing is to season your attack shots. O.K., play close attention, this gets deep. Because most club players aren't too fond of training, just ask them to let you do one drill before the match. Let the drill last from 5-7 minutes, so your partner does not get bored. Do a drill were you are trying to attack to gain control of the table. After that, play a match and try to execute the same type of attack shots. Your partner, when he sees what you are doing, will try to make it harder for you, but keep at it – the harder your partner makes it, the more practice you'll get. This builds your mental ability to stay with your game plan for an entire match. Do this exercise with every player that you play that night. Afterwards, you will feel emotionally exhausted because it took a lot more heart to stay focused on attacking. You can apply this same concept for blocking or serve returning, so that you get a chance to have a more concentrated effort on these delicate parts of your game. Do not be concerned about the results of your practice matches, because you have to sacrifice scores for the greater good of being a better competitor.

For maximum results apply this concept in practice matches 6-8 weeks before big tournaments. In tournaments, you will find that players your own level will find it difficult to keep you from your game plan because they are not familiar with you and your style. All of those hours of work at the club will now pay off.

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