If there’s one good thing about Monday mornings, it’s that it feels like you get to make a fresh start. Sunday is pretty much a blur; and next Saturday seems like a long way off. I typically write blog posts on Monday, when the world is full of possibilities; and I’m ready to forget all the failures of the weekend. My outlook on Mondays has changed quite a bit since I’ve retired. Knowing I have six days of table tennis ahead of me makes me pretty optimistic about the week ahead.
I figure that every new week allows for the possibility of table tennis improvement. There are a couple of approaches to meeting your goals for the week. You could just cross your fingers and hope you’ll be a better player in May. But, there’s a better way. If you really want to play well, it will require some introspection. A good place to start is with realistically questioning how good you want to be. Are your goals realistic? Are you willing to pay the price to meet those goals? Before you set out on a journey, you better have a good idea where you are. Once you really know where you are and where you want to be, it’s time to put all the pieces together. It’s time to get your ducks in a row. Getting ducks in a row is an American idiom that roughly means organizing your affairs in order to be prepared. If you only have a limited amount of time to devote to table tennis, you’ll need to make the best use of the time you have. Let me suggest a good way to arrange your ducks if you aren’t a professional and have to juggle other responsibilities.
- Schedule one coaching session a month. Schedule it, even if you don’t think you need any coaching. A little coaching can go a long way. Your coach doesn’t have to be your training partner. Attempt to extract as much useful information as possible from your coach; and try to implement it during the following month.
- Schedule two tournaments a year. Tournaments are great learning experiences and a great way to gauge your progress.
- Play matches once a week.
- Practice serves twice a week. It only has to be about fifteen minutes. Again, a little can go a long way.
- Do some specific training once a week. If you don’t have a training partner, a robot could work. It’s usually better to have an actual person. What they lack in consistency, they make up for in realism.
- Read about table tennis. Knowing what has worked for other players can be helpful and can save you from wasting time. Occasionally, you may stumble upon valuable info that can pay big dividends.
I’ve known players who have made great progress doing far less than what I’m recommending. It’s not always about the quantity of practice; but it is about the quality. It helps to get your ducks in a row – and keep them there.