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

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Mental Strategies - Part 4

Learn how to make your game unpredictable!

Blog – Mental Strategies Part IV
Throw a Curve Ball
You have heard the expression many times, “My boss threw me a curve ball,” or “my day threw me a curve ball.”  The expression basically means, something happened that you didn’t expect.  In a close table tennis match, it is important to “throw a curve ball” to your opponent;  something that he doesn’t expect.  At the same time, it is critical that you do something that you can reasonably achieve.
Here might be some good options for you:
Serving from a different location
Receiving in a different fashion
Changing the pace on a loop or block
Adding subtle amount of sidespin
Here would be some poor options for you:
Playing with the opposite hand
Playing mind games with your opponent
Playing a trick shot (behind the back or between the legs)
Many matches have been won or lost from a strategy change at 9-9 in the final game.  Choose wisely what you hope to do and be willing to adjust if you opponent receives it easily.  Throughout your practice sessions leading up to the tournament, try to spend at least 20-30 per day training this “curve ball.”