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Calm & Storm
If you love a conservative, conventional style of play you probably should stop reading right about here. Nothing wrong with it of course, unless you get bored easily.
The real fun begins when you can strike a balance between the calm and the storm. Where calm provides the opportunity to slow the game down in your head and storm provides the explosive energy to execute shots w/maximum effect.
  • Own the net. The team that controls the real estate at the net wins. Period. The receiving team already has the advantage (service asymmetry) and should win 60-70% of contested points. Some consider missing the return of serve to be the worst error you can make.
  • Go slow to go fast. If you can slow down each shot in your head you can execute it with precision.
  • Reactions, not reflexes. “Knee-jerk reaction” isn’t a reaction at all. It’s a reflex. Reflexes are involuntary responses to external stimuli. Reactions are voluntary responses. You can learn to react with intent.
  • Be disruptive. If your opponent doesn’t change their game they are vulnerable. The same applies to your game. Never let your opponent get comfortable. Hit the "right" shot most of the time, but throw in a "wrong" shot often enough to keep them guessing. You can be consistent without being predictable.
  • Create doubt. Every point played involves the basic observe-plan-execute cycle. Get inside your opponent’s head with a movement, position, or shot that forces them to rethink their plan before they can execute. This is called the ability to gain and lose energy faster than your opponent.