Thinking About Blocking – a No-No
On Wednesday night I was coaching a junior player with a pretty strong forehand loop. Early in our session we warmed up with his crosscourt loop to my forehand block, where I'm normally very steady. I was blocking to his wide forehand and middle, as he moved side to side. All was well at first, but then I made a few mistakes. So I focused on my forehand block, trying to get the right technique. Instead, I made more mistakes. I'm supposed to be steady in these drills, and yet I was suddenly missing way too many blocks. These were not "easy" blocks, as he does loop hard, but I've been blocking these shots for nearly 40 years, and it's normally second nature. (The key phrase here: second nature.)
I started analyzing my block, trying to find the problem. The more I examined it, the worse it got. The technique was right, so that wasn't the problem. But something was wrong.
I think some readers already know the problem, worthy of a D'oh. Because I was thinking about the shot, without knowing it I was...