Wise Man or Fool?

Rowden Fullen 1960s

As the great Chinese philosopher said – ‘When a fool sees himself as he is, he is a fool no longer. When the wise man becomes sure of his wisdom, then he is a fool.’

This saying sums up one of the problems with many table tennis players. You want to do your own thing, play your way and have your own style. This can be very good or very bad, it just depends on how you do it and whether you know where you are going! Style is a living, growing organism — unless you the player continue to grow and develop, you stay where you are, unless you the coach guide the player to release his or her full potential, you fail. Both the player and the coach who are totally dogmatic, who are sure of their wisdom, are fools! As soon as you say — ‘the only way to loop is……. This grip is the most effective for serves….’ — then you have stopped listening, you are no longer prepared to look at other possibilities.

Perhaps it is true to say — only in absolute certainty is there danger. Certainty is the enemy of progress, we stop thinking and further development is not possible. Do not become the fool, always have an open mind, ready to listen and question. Nor become the ‘wise’ man who is so sure he knows it all that he doesn’t need to listen or even to think any more.