October 11, 2016 - Taking the Shot Versus Letting it Happen

A common thinking problem when playing is thinking of an attacking shot as "going for a shot." This is a mistake – it leads to a deep-held belief that you are going for something risky and therefore inconsistent, which leaves you with a lack of confidence in the shot, which makes you hesitant, which leads to inconsistency.

Instead, think of any attacking shot as just another shot, no different than a push. You aren't "going for a shot," you are simply letting it happen by doing something you've probably done thousands of times before. If you haven't, then doing it a thousand times is your next assignment – it's called practice. Ideally, practice the shot with multiball training until it is so second nature that when it's time to do so in a real rally, it will still be second nature. Then do it in practice sessions with a partner, then practice games, and finally in real matches in tournaments or leagues.

Even if the shot is not yet second nature, you should still believe you will make it every time if you want to maximize your consistency. Know that you can make any shot that you reasonably might try. Don't force a shot; just let the shots that you've practiced happen, and they will happen far more consistently than if you force them or think that you are "going for a shot."

There's a simple test of whether you have the right mentality when attacking. You should be surprised when you miss, because you should be so sure you can make the shot that any other outcome doesn't enter you mind, leading to that surprise if you miss.

All of this is true whether you are attacking consistently or trying to end the point. You aren't "going for a shot." You are simply doing what you trained to do, what you know you can do, and what you expect to do. And if you do happen to miss, just shake your head in disbelief, make the needed adjustment, and know that you'll never miss again.