Tip of the Day - Play Against Conventional Wisdom

By Larry Hodges | Nov. 14, 2013, 9 a.m. (ET)

Fukuhara & Han

Ying Han (GER) vs. Ai Fukuhara (JPN) at the 2013 German Open Championships


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Larry Hodges

Play Against Conventional Wisdom

Conventional wisdom is usually correct that’s why it’s conventional. The problem is that if everyone follows conventional wisdom, opponents get used to it, and so become strong against what should give them trouble. Equally, they become weak against things that they should be strong against, because they don’t see it very often.

The classic case is the long pips player. Many players know that if you give spin to a long pips player, you get your own spin back. So if you use a tricky spin serve against a player with long pips, you get your spin back. Instead, they usually serve no-spin against the long pips player. It is generally a good strategy.

However, because everyone does it, two things happen. The long pips player gets used to no-spin serves; and he becomes weak against spin serves, since he rarely sees them. Result? They may become very good against these no-spin serves, and yet people keep giving it to them; they may lose the ability to read spin serves and become weak against them, but few players take advantage of it.

So be ready to go against conventional wisdom sometimes.

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