A couple of ups and some downs – a evaluation of my league season

One other league season is completed. It appears like I’ve performed a whole lot of matches over the previous few months. Not solely league matches, but additionally county matches and tournaments. I don’t thoughts admitting that I’m going to get pleasure from a quick break from aggressive play!

However how did I do in my newest league season? Am I making any progress or going backwards? Right here’s a evaluation of the previous few months…

Horrible begin

As soon as once more I used to be competing within the high division of the Cambridge league. That is my sixth 12 months taking part in within the high division and I started the season assured that I used to be going to do nicely. I had performed a number of tournaments within the first half of 2022 and felt my recreation was in good condition.

This confidence was very misplaced. I had a horrible begin. I misplaced my first 8 matches. What went unsuitable? Nicely, I used to be dealing with some sturdy opponents, but additionally misplaced three matches in opposition to gamers I’d anticipate to beat. 

I feel I used to be merely attempting too arduous. I used to be attempting to be very aggressive in my matches – attempting to assault on a regular basis – and I discovered this fairly demanding. I used to be taking part in outdoors my consolation zone. In consequence, I tightened up, rushed my pictures, hit too flat and made a whole lot of unforced errors. That is deeply unsatisfying for me. I hate unforced errors. And I used to be making a whole lot of them.

I apologised to my team-mates and promised I’d begin profitable matches quickly. However my confidence had taken an enormous hit, so I didn’t fairly consider this myself.

Change of technique

I wasn’t having fun with taking part in so aggressively. I didn’t really feel myself on the desk. And it wasn’t working.

So I finished attempting so arduous. As a substitute of attempting to assault as typically as potential, I adopted a extra managed strategy. I used to be glad to combine up my play – generally push, generally block, generally flick, generally topspin. And I gave an enormous focus to ways and technique.

This strategy labored significantly better for me. I received 9 of my subsequent 12 matches. This included wins in opposition to three gamers ranked within the high 10 in our league. 

Why does a extra managed strategy work for me? I assume I’ve at all times been a extra cautious kind of participant. I don’t like taking huge dangers on the desk. And I get an enormous quantity of satisfaction from making an opponent miss. My attacking recreation is at its greatest once I play at 70% energy and deal with ball placement. 

This league season has helped me perceive my most well-liked taking part in model far more. I don’t suppose I’ll ever be an all-out attacker. And I’m fairly pleased with that now. I get most enjoyment – and my greatest outcomes – once I play a extra diversified managed recreation. This strategy does have limitations – it’s arduous to beat a extremely aggressive opponent with excessive consistency – but it surely appears to be the perfect strategy for me. 

Hitting my win proportion goal

I had just a little mid-season dip, with some below-par performances. It’s arduous to maintain a powerful focus your complete season and a few winter sickness didn’t assist both.

Going into the final league fixture of the season, I wanted to win all three of my matches to succeed in a 50% win proportion. This was my minimal objective earlier than the season began. However after my disastrous begin – shedding my first 8 matches – this appeared fairly unlikely.

I used to be tremendous centered for the ultimate fixture. I used to be dealing with opponents I had overwhelmed earlier than, however by no means underestimate my potential to mess issues up!

Thankfully my managed taking part in model held up nicely. I combined up the play – pushing, blocking, attacking. I carried out good ways to take advantage of weaknesses and received my matches 3-0, 3-1, 3-0. I completed on 51.11%, an excellent enchancment on the earlier season once I solely managed 30%.

In some ways it was my greatest ever league season. I’ve achieved larger win percentages earlier than, however primarily by being selective on which groups to play (i.e. the weaker groups!). On this season I didn’t dodge any matches in opposition to the highest groups and bought a number of wins in opposition to gamers larger ranked than me. 

I additionally had an excellent file in opposition to gamers I confronted for the primary time. I received 9 out of 11 of those matches. And I managed to beat 4 gamers I’ve by no means overwhelmed within the league earlier than. A couple of causes to be cheerful!

You’ll be able to view all my outcomes on the Cambridge Desk Tennis league web site.

The epic trilogy

One main disappointment was shedding three very shut matches to the identical participant. His identify is Aland (Hei Yeung Chan), and he performs for our first group. I do know Aland nicely – a very nice man. We have now the same model, however he’s 20 years youthful than me. He’s sooner, stronger, fitter and mentally robust too.

Within the first match, I misplaced 11-9 within the fifth.

Within the second match, I misplaced 11-9 within the fifth.

Within the third match, I misplaced 15-13 within the fifth, having missed three match factors.


Should you add all of the factors collectively in all three matches, I received 140 factors and Aland received 144. It actually was very shut, however no wins for me. Within the second and third matches, I used to be profitable 2 video games to 1. And in each deciding video games I had an excellent level lead too.

This has occurred a number of occasions over the previous 12 months. I’ve been main in a deciding recreation in opposition to good gamers after which blown the lead. On every event I feel I’ve turn into too passive, hoping the opposite participant will mess up. That is one thing I’ve to enhance upon. When I’ve these deciding recreation leads, I must hold asserting the stress – not cease taking part in.

However Aland is a high man and deserved all three wins. And I must discover one thing further the subsequent time we play.

Cup remaining disappointment

And at last, we made it by to our league handicap cup remaining. Hooray! 

Our opponents have been from the identical membership, however a division decrease. Actually, it was the identical group we performed within the remaining final 12 months (and misplaced).

And this 12 months … we misplaced once more! 

I received my two matches, but it surely wasn’t sufficient to get the victory for the group.

Handicap matches are robust. Gamers begin on completely different scores, relying on their rating. I used to be taking part in on -8 and all through the event confronted gamers on scores beginning between 5 and 21. All matches are as much as 31 factors, so you may’t make too many errors and have to remain very centered.

My managed taking part in model is suited to handicap matches, as I don’t make too many unforced errors and may normally discover weaknesses to take advantage of. Within the numerous rounds of the competitors, I received 7 out of 8 matches. I’m fairly pleased with that, however disillusioned we didn’t get a winners trophy. 

Making ready for Norway

I’ll now have a break from aggressive play for a number of weeks. My subsequent event would be the European Veterans Championships, on the finish of June. I’ll let you know the way I bought on later within the 12 months.

The submit A couple of ups and some downs – a evaluation of my league season appeared first on Tom Lodziak Desk Tennis Teaching.

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