How often do you play a careless, nonchalant shot, one that you’d like to quickly forget? Perhaps a soft, just get-the-ball-on-the-table push, or a please-hit-the-table loop, or perhaps a keep-the-ball-in-play backhand?
Now watch a top player, live or on video. (Go to Youtube.com and put in “Table Tennis” and lots will appear.) Watch and see how often they do careless, nonchalant, forgettable shots. Basically, never. They may make mistakes, but rarely do they do something where they aren’t even attempting to do the shot well. They strive to make every shot count . . . because Every Shot Counts. Even when they do something as simple as a push, watch how focused they are on doing it correctly, perfectly . . . memorably. For a top player, every shot is a memorable shot, or it’s a weak shot.
You should have the same attitude. It doesn’t matter whether you are looping and smashing, or just pushing and blocking; like the top players, you should strive to make every one of them a memorable shot. If you push long, make it a memorable push, one that the opponent has to struggle with because you did it so well that the shot would be remembered – if not for the fact that you are striving to make every shot memorable, and so it gets lost in a seas of memorable shots.
Memorable doesn’t mean spectacular. If the goal of the shot is to, say, simply tie up the opponent on his backhand side, a simple block will do. But it should be done correctly – perhaps right off the bounce, deep into the wide backhand, aggressive enough so the opponent can’t do anything with it. It may seem a boring, bland shot, but if you do it exactly as needed, so that it does exactly what it is supposed to do, it is a memorable shot. Maybe not to you, at first, but to the opponent it is memorable as it is the shot that he remembers that (in this example) keeps him tied up on his backhand.
And guess what? When you can string together many such memorable shots, you become the top player on the video players study to see how top players strive to make every shot memorable.