Tip of the Week
What to Think About Between Points . . . and What NOT to Think About.
Why Many Top Players and Up-and-Coming Players are NOT Innovative
Here's a strange thing I've noticed. I sometimes let up-and-coming players (especially juniors) practice against my serves, which are notoriously rather tricky. Especially the first time out, they miss, over and over. What I've noticed is that it is the weaker players who immediately try to copy my serves!
I think I know the reason. Suppose you have two players starting out. One copies the best players like Ma Long, and keeps working to develop perfect shots like them. This player hones those shots and improves rapidly until he too is a top player. Now imagine the second one, who is more innovative. Because of this, he experiments more than the first player, and keeps trying new ways of doing his shots. Result? He never quite perfects his shots like the first player. The moral here is that when it comes to fundamentals, you really want to copy the top players and hone your shots until they are nearly perfect. This doesn't mean top players don't experiment on these fundamentals, but the experimentation is more subtle as they strive to perfect the technique. (Many top players do develop perhaps one innovative technique, but mostly they copy, very successfully, the tried and true methods. Your average non-top player has, shall we say, dozens of "innovative" techniques.)