Coaching Tips of the Week: Treat Opponents Who Are Not Threats as Threats so They Do Not Become Threats - Butterfly Table Tennis
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USATT Hall of Famer Larry Hodges

Coaching Tips of the Week: Treat Opponents Who Are Not Threats as Threats so They Do Not Become Threats

(By Larry Hodges)

A player isn’t a threat to you if, at their best, they can’t beat you at your worst. But there’s an underlying assumption here that your “worst” is when you are taking the opponent serious and playing your normal game. Often, when playing a weaker player, one is overconfident and so doesn’t play hard, or doesn’t want to “risk” playing their normal shots, and so plays down to the opponent. This means that your new “normal” is at a lower level than your normal “normal” – and so your new “worst” is now worse than your normal “worst.” Result? The player who wasn’t a threat to you is now a threat.

Some players just look at the opponent’s rating, and if it’s low compared to them, they don’t take the match as serious as they should, whether consciously or subconsciously. Again, they are playing down to an opponent who should not be a threat, thereby turning them into a threat.

So take ALL opponents seriously. If it turns out that the opponent is truly a beginner and really, Really, REALLY is not a threat, then you can choose to go easy. But in all other cases, the best way to make sure a player who is not a threat is not a threat is to treat them as a threat so they are not a threat. Play your normal game – physically, mentally, and tactically.

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