April 28, 2011

Changing bad technique

How does one go about changing bad technique? Two recommendations.

First, exaggerate the proper technique. If you don't rotate your shoulders enough on a shot, practice over-rotating until it becomes comfortable to do it the proper way.

Second, drop out of tournaments and match play for a while and focus on fixing the technique. Perhaps hit with a coach a lot for an extended periods as you fix the technique. Playing matches will just reinforce the bad technique. If your goal is to really overcome poor technique and replace it with good technique, then you need to have an extended period where you focus on this. That means only playing with the coach, or doing drills where you can isolate the new technique so you can focus on doing it correctly.

You should be able to play without the coach as long as you keep your outside drills simple and focused in this way. You might also want to use videotape to verify you are doing it correctly when the coach is not around. Bad habits are not easy to change, but if you really want to change them, you need a very focused period of time to do so.

In general it's best to play lots of matches and get as much tournament competition as possible when trying to improve (along with lots of regular practice, i.e. drills), but when you are making major changes to your game, it's often best to take time off from competition. Perhaps make a goal to have your game ready for tournament competition for a specific tournament (or series of tournaments) six months or so away, and train specifically for that. I don't think you need to take six months off from playing practice matches, but perhaps two months off would greatly help you in making these technique changes.

Reflex Sports Videos

They have a sale on videos. You can get much of this on youtube, but the videos they put together are rather comprehensive, so if you can afford it, why not build up your own video library? (I once had an extensive VHS collection of Worlds, Olympics, and other major tournaments, but the entire collection was stolen in the late 1990s.)

Table tennis in "On the Fast Track"

Table tennis is featured in this morning's "On the Fast Track" cartoon.

Cartoon cats playing table tennis

Yes . . . cartoon cats playing table tennis. Because your day cannot begin until you've seen cartoon cats playing table tennis.


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