Coach Samson Dubina US National Team Coach 4x USATT Coach of the Year

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Devastate the Underdog

Learn Proper Preparation

I estimate that over 50% of upsets could have been avoided!
Let me explain...
As soon as the upset happens, there is usually a whirlwind of excusing flying all across the gym.  Some of them are non-sense.  Some of them are legit.
I have often heard excuses like…
“I didn’t warm-up before the match.”
“I thought he was easy; I won 3-0 last time we played.”
“I was just so hungry, that I couldn’t concentrate.”
“I started off the first game just trying out some new fancy shots.”
“I didn’t even try because I knew that I wasn’t going to advance anyway.”
“The umpire faulted me like 20,000 times on my serve.”
“My mommy forgot to set my alarm clock and I arrived panicky and way too late.”
“I didn’t know until after the match that he had pips.”
“I couldn’t hold my racket because I went rock-climbing yesterday for six hours.”
All of these excuses aren’t just excuses, they are actually legitimate reasons why the underdog was able to take down the big dog.  The big dog didn’t warm-up, didn’t have the right mental state, didn’t do proper meal planning, didn’t take the match seriously, didn’t give his best, didn’t practice serving legally, didn’t learn how to set his own big boy alarm clock, didn’t check his opponent’s racket, and didn’t have the sense to say no to rock-climbing.
Hey Big Dog! You devastate the underdog by taking the match seriously, just like any other match.  Go into the match, bring out your best, and take care of business!
#1 Your Serve
Now is not the time to experiment with a new Asuka Sakai serve that you saw for the first time last night on youtube.  Bring out your strongest serves early to kill the opponent’s confidence.  Usually very spinny serves work well against lower players.
#2 Your Return
Usually against lower players, your return needs to be on with moderate quality.  Most lower players won’t be able to handle your ball quality in the rally; so return the serve and get into the rallies.  Don’t overplay by trying to flip-kill every serve.
#3 Your Focus
If you win the first game 11-0, BE AWARE that you are now most susceptible to losing.  From the first point until the last point, take it seriously and don’t mess around.  Sloppy play will not only affect you in this match, but it will hurt you for the rest of the tournament as well.
#4 Your Rating
When playing someone who is 300 points below you, you gain 0 for a win and lose 50 for a loss.  It doesn’t matter.  It really doesn’t matter.  So stop griping about working hard for nothing.  If you have the right mindset, you can learn from every match – win or lose – high rated or low rated.



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