Tip of the Week
Side-to-Side Training for Improvement and Health.
Subconscious Table Tennis
I noticed an interesting during a session with Navin Kumar on Saturday. (If you Google "Bionic Table Tennis," about a zillion articles on him comes up.) We were about to do a drill where he has to smash (forehands and then backhands) and hit a bottle on the table. The key, as I always point out, is to not consciously aim for it. That's the common mistake most make. Whether it's in a game or practice, the minute the conscious mind takes control, much of your training disappears, since the whole point of training is to make it reflexive, so you are really training your subconscious.
When I demonstrated this, I put the bottle on the far side, bounced a ball on my side, and smacked the bottle with a barrage of forehands, almost never missing. (When it misses, it's by less than an inch.) I moved the bottle around to show that you can change your target and still have great accuracy. And that's when I noticed something.
When aiming for the bottle, all my conscious mind has to do is look at the target and decide I want to hit it. The subconscious does the rest. But the part that was fascinating, and which I hadn't really focused on before, was how my subconscious would adjust my foot positioning each time. I wasn't consciously aware of it, but each time I went over and moved the bottle to another part of the table, I'd come back, and when I'd look at it, my feet reflexively moved into position to line me up for the shot.