Player - Focus Points

Rowden August 2017

● Read the play. Play your shot, watch the opponent’s body action and preparation for his/her return and you should know 6 to 8 inches before he/she hits the ball where it is coming and with what speed and spin. Make this a habit till it’s automatic.

● Have two/three alternatives (in stroke play, service return etc.) to each situation you face on the table. You will meet many differing opponents with many differing strategies. One solution will not always work. Many players neglect using the opponent’s speed/power.
● Make sure you especially have alternatives in short receive, drop short, flick and push long with heavy spin and no spin.
● Have alternatives in receive of long serve too; control, block, speed, spin, timing, placement, and slower returns.
● To achieve full potential be alert to the dangers of stagnation. Never be satisfied with your level, always look forward, never be afraid to try new things.
● Never look inwards when you compete, never doubt, instead look outwards and study the opponent’s face. You will know when you’re going to win.
● Every player, however highly ranked has weaknesses, it’s just a matter of finding where they are.
● Our sport is all about CHANGE in all its forms and knowing when and how to apply this. Absorb the following:
1. If you fall behind – think change.
2. If there is a stalemate – think change.
3. If you’re well ahead and the opponent starts coming back – think change.
4. If the game is close and on a knife-edge – think change.
5. In the critical final points – think change.
● Also study the phases of the game, change may be required at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a game.
● Think of change in all its FORMS – power, speed, spin, timing, angles, rhythm, placement, straight and body balls, trajectory, control, slow balls and consider that often change may consist of not just one aspect but in fact a combination of two or more.
● Each player is different, with differing strengths and qualities. So don’t copy, be you and develop you. Listen to your body and be creative.
● With the plastic ball the following assume greater importance:
o Symmetrical play, equally strong on BH and FH
o Precision in placement, length and angles
o Unpredictability and diverse patterns
o Use of length and the whole table
o Use of sidespin

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