Tip of the Week, The Feel of Shot
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USATT Hall of Famer Larry Hodges

Tip of The Week: The Feel of a Shot and a Checklist

The Feel of a Shot and a Checklist
By Larry Hodges

When learning new techniques, many players make the mistake of trying to remember the specifics of each shot. While this is important to know later as a checklist to go over when the shot is off, this is not the way to learn a new technique. Instead, your goal is to get the shot right one time, and then remember the feel of that shot – the stroke and contact – and then repeat. If you get the feel right, all the specifics will fall into place.

When your shots aren’t working and it doesn’t feel right, that’s when you might need to go through a short checklist for the new technique to find out what’s wrong. But again, the goal is to get the feel right, and then put the checklist aside.

So learn both the feel and the specifics of each new technique you learn, and write the latter down – that’s an assignment – and then forget about them and focus on the feel. When the feel is right, so will the technique. When the feel is wrong, and you can’t figure out why, that’s when you pull out your checklist to get back to the right feel.

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