Coach Samson Dubina 2016 US National Team Coach 2015 - 2018 USATT Coach of the Year
 

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What Do You Fear?

Change your mind!

In this article, I would like to briefly talk about changing your mindset in regards to your opponent’s strengths. 
 
Many players fear their opponent’s strengths so much that it messes up all aspects of their game.  Instead of fearing the strength, try to use the strength against him.  I’ll give several examples…
 
Your opponent’s serve is very short and very low.  Generally, you are able to loop the serve and start the point out with attacking.  However, this opponent’s serve cannot be looped.  Instead of getting frustrated, you should be able to push his short serve short and wait to loop the following ball.
 
Your opponent’s push is very very heavy and you can’t power-loop the first ball.  Instead of getting frustrated, you should use your legs, open your angle, and brush the ball for a slightly slower and spinnier loop.  After he blocks your opening loop, you can follow-up with a stronger loop.
 
Your opponent’s flip is very fast.  Instead of getting frustrated with the speed, you should shorten your swing, make contact with the ball, and return it quickly to a good location.  He probably won’t be ready for you to return it and the quick return will probably force him to block.  After he blocks, then you can take over with a speed shot.
 
Your opponent’s loop is extremely powerful.  Instead of getting frustrated with his weapon, you should focus on returning only one loop.  By getting low, keeping your racket high and in-front of you, and controlling the block, you should be able to manage to return one loop.  Once your opponent realizes that you can return it, he might slow it down and go for better placement or he might attempt to speed it up and become more inconsistent.
 
Try your best to play your strengths against his weaknesses.  However, when he does use his strengths, don’t fear them – just return them with control!

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