Tip of the week: Style Experimentation
(By Larry Hodges)
Many players know their own game, but don’t really know or understand other styles – leading to tactical problems. How can you work out what tactics to use if you don’t understand the style you are playing? For example, a looper might feel like he can’t get through a blocker’s seemingly impenetrable wall – but only because he doesn’t know the style. If he did, he might realize how weak a blocker often is in the middle (or sometimes a slightly to the forehand side of the middle), and so continue to pound the corners, where the blocker is often strongest.
Here are two ways to overcome this. One way, of course, would be to simply experiment and learn from the results. (Make sure to pay attention to the results and keep learn from them!) But another way is to actually experiment by playing other styles. If you are a looper, perhaps try playing some matches as a blocker, and vice versa. Try chopping, lobbing, one-winged or two-winged looping, hitting, and perhaps even other grips. You will learn a lot by playing these styles – and then apply what you learn tactically to your own game. You also may develop some new dimensions to your own game as you learn these other techniques!