Tip of the Week
Do You Want to Know an Opponent's Rating Before a Match?
The Subconscious Rules
At the U.S. Open a few weeks ago a strange thing happened. I was mostly there to coach, but entered one event - Over 40 Hardbat. (I've now won the event six times at the Open or Nationals.) I normally play and coach with sponge, but hardbat's been a sideline of mine for decades. (I've won Hardbat Singles at both the Open and Nationals, and have won Hardbat Doubles 14 times.) I'm 59, so I'm competing against these younger players (!), and I'm both out of practice and out of shape. In the preliminary RR, I played okay, but nothing special.
In the final I'm up against Mark Conti, a full-time hardbat player with a 2113 hardbat rating. (I'm 2198.) He's a steady blocker. I continue to play well as I win the first, 21-15. (It's best of three to 21.) In the second, he gets more and more consistent and is getting better and better at blocking balls at wide angles, making things tricky for me - I'm basically an all-out forehand attacker. Against this consistency and movement, I begin to falter, and he wins, 21-14. I know I'll have to play much better in the third if I want to win. I also realize that if consciously try to play better, I'll probably just fall apart. The conscious mind is great for thinking about tactics or what serve to use next, but in skill sports, you train your subconscious, and it takes over once you start to play. The conscious mind just gets in the way.