|It's almost 2008, and I'm getting into rock and locked mode. Here's how I put together a plan for improvement:
#1 - Self Analysis
After analyzing my play the past year, my game was just extremely sloppy. It's actually quite impressive that with all of my unforced turnovers and inaccurate shots, I was able to do as well as I did. I had some stretches where my defense, transition and offense did feel really in sync, and the goal will be to try to make all of those parts play at a high level consistently. After getting beat by Billy and Tim, I realized that some players don't fall into my fast pace tempo, and just try to cut any mistakes out against me. I have thus switched to a game that relies on accuracy, patience(breaking down an opponent's defense with off goals), and high quality possessions, rather than just trying to beat my opponent within 2.5 minutes. Of course, there will be some moments where I change the tempo up and go full throttle - You'll know it when you see it!
#2 Breaking down opponents - It's actually easier to play as the number 2 player in the world, because that means you can be a hunter, and not just sit on a perch and wait for the predators to come after you. Players are now preparing gameplans for me, and they are catching me offguard, whereas in the past, I would sneak up on them by knowing their basic games inside and out. I will have to adjust to this by having several contingency plans ready, and train myself to make better in game and between game adjustments. I don't see very much of this, and it's invaluable to be able to save a match. This is easier for experienced players, because they have a wealth of knowledge that they can draw upon. But, sometimes when you're fatigued, nervous, you just can't think straight, and come up with the correct counter to what an opponent is doing to you. No simulation for actual match play.
#3 Perfect practice - practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. I will have to maximize my limited amount of practice time and not waste time hitting shots that I've mastered. I will have to concentrate on my positioning, footwork, mental visualizations, till it's second nature. This stuff is NOT FUN at all to do, but necessary if you are truly dedicated and want to be the best. I'm not sure I'm talented enough to just step up to the table unprepared and beat the best players in the world. I will have to summon the dedication to outwork them, or it will be a disappointing tournament.
#4 No excuses - Whatever happens is in my control, so if I didn't prepare enough or not execute, I'll know why. I hope this will drive me to do what's needed, but it's rather tough will two young children and two businesses that I'm trying to build up.
Till next time, I hope everyone starts hitting the tables and gets focused on the 2008 WC.