August 20, 2018 - How to Quadruple Your Chances of Winning Those Five-Game Matches

There are four main components that lead to winning close matches. Here they are!

  1. Have all of your shots going. In reality, you want to have them as ready as possible before the match starts, and by the end of game one you should be confident in all your shots. Some take longer to adjust to an opponent, but if you aren't comfortable or confident in your shots and it's already game five, you need to practice those shots and get them into play early in the match so next time they are ready when you need them.
  2. Get used to your opponent. You should be used to whatever your opponent does by the end of game one. If not, then perhaps early on in the match you need to focus on reacting to whatever it is he does that gives you trouble. If you have trouble with his slow, spinny loop, then perhaps push long and heavy on purpose one time, letting him slow loop so you can focus on reacting to it properly. If you have trouble in backhand exchanges, perhaps get into a few on purpose to focus on that. Of course, if you can tactically avoid a certain shot your opponent does, and are confident you can do that most of the time, then you can just do that - but you have to be used to and confident against whatever shots the opponent can get into play.
  3. Know what worked and what didn't. This is key - if you have a winning tactic but don't remember it, you'll probably blow the match. It's mind-boggling how often a player comes off the table thinking or saying, "Why didn't I do what worked before?" If you have a serve or shot that worked over and over, then use it. Many are afraid that the opponent is expecting it, but guess what? When you don't use that serve or shot that gave him fits, that loud sound you hear is your opponent sighing in relief.
  4. Mentally strong. If you are a nervous wreck, worried about winning or losing, you might as well concede the match. Focus on execution and playing well (including tactically well), and you'll maximize your chances of winning.