There comes a time….There comes a time, when you just have to let go. Certainly, it’s vitally important to keep shots on the table. That’s good enough to beat the completely undisciplined player, the beginner, the intermediate with a racket that’s too fast, and occasionally an experienced player having a bad day. Many players have bad habits that they are trying to overcome. The control freak has taken good habits so far that they’ve become bad habits. These types of players never take chances. They’re so determined to keep the ball on the table that they always play at a conservative speed. They use spin as an essential tool, and rarely as a attacking weapon. The problems start for control freaks when they face players who are nearly as consistent as them but have more powerful shots.
It’s hard to let go. What if you were to start taking more chances? What if you were to buy a faster paddle? What if you let go and started losing to players you had never lost to before? It’s not a good idea to play recklessly. It’s a bad idea to play with a paddle that’s way too fast. To play a fundamentally sound game is very rewarding. Don’t abandon good habits. If you actually are a control freak that has gone as far as you can simply by avoiding mistakes, you probably know it.
So what’s the answer for the player who is consistently successful against all the intermediate players, but needs more than consistency to advance any further? There’s no easy answer. A logical first step is to make sure you are as fundamentally sound as you believe you are. Good table tennis is not played passively. Some control freaks have poor footwork, thinking that they don’t want to move too far out of position. This sometimes results in not moving at all. It’s possible to slow the game down some with a slow racket. But, is it possible your equipment is too slow? Get a faster paddle and you’ll need to move faster. You won’t have as much time to recover from your new speedy attacks. Equipment changes should be approached cautiously, but yes, it’s possible a paddle can be too slow, too fast, or just wrong for you.
Any changes to your playing style will require some serious introspection. What are your goals? Are they realistic? How do you visualize yourself playing? What approach do you most enjoy, and what approach fits your personality? You can’t control everything. There’s actually very little in life we can control, and there’s only so much you can control in the chaotic world of table tennis. Let it go.