Friday 28th December 2007As you may have noticed, it's been a long time since my last blog update - several months in fact. That doesn't mean that I've been doing nothing, just that there wasn't a lot going on that I considered newsworthy.
It's been the local off-season since my last blog update, so I've basically been dabbling with some different equipment in my quest for the perfect ping-pong paddle, and trying a few different training strategies along the way. I've had a mixed bag of success overall.
EquipmentThis was one area that I consider an unqualified success. After several years of chopping with a faster Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit blade and faster rubbers, I decided to really go back to basics and try using a defensive blade (a Butterfly Matsushita Pro Special) with classic thin defensive rubber (Tackiness Chop 1.0mm).
In the end, I didn't think the Tackiness Chop quite suited my style of game, but I really loved the Matsushita Pro Special blade. So I believe I've got the right equipment for my game these days, which is great. I've also learned that just because I had spent a lot of money on my Timo Boll Spirit blades, that didn't mean that I should have kept on using them when I changed back to my defensive style from an attacking style. Because I didn't want to think I had spent a lot of money on blades that I no longer needed - I ended up using a type of blade that really wasn't suited to my defensive style for the last 3 years. Sometimes we are all slow learners, I guess.
CompetitionWe've had a few fun tournaments locally in the off-season, and I played quite well in each one, so I'm happy with my form overall. The new racket has really helped my game a lot, and I feel that I'm starting to stick to the correct tactics for my style of play more often, which is good too. So everything is just peachy, right?
TrainingNot by a long shot. Training has been the area where I've had the least amount of success. I've still been training regularly, but I've been struggling to find a method that I can maintain comfortably and with enthusiasm. First I tried starting out with a morning session of 30 minutes, and built that up to about one and a half hours each morning, six days a week, plus evening training of about an hour several times a week. After a while, my body pretty much adapted to it, but mentally I just couldn't maintain my momentum, and I blew up after about 6-8 weeks. Since then I've had trouble regaining my enthusiasm to dive back into that sort of punishing routine (punishing for me, anyway!), so I've been training with my friends and training partners, but neglecting my own physical training at home. Not good, and my weight has climbed because I'm doing less exercise and not watching my diet closely enough. Yikes!
Training - A New Year's ResolutionWell, I can't just give up on training completely, so I need a new tack. What I'm planning to do in 2008 is under-perform instead of over-perform. My only goal training wise will be to do 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day. As long as I do 30 minutes of something that gets my heart rate up, I'll call that day a success. If I want to do more on any particular day, I will. But 30 minutes is all I really am going to commit to doing.
The reasoning behind this is to try a training routine that better suits my own personality - I'm very much an 'on' or 'off' person when it comes to many things, such as training and diet. When I'm attempting to do two hours or more of training a day, after a while I need a rest, and then I feel like I'm 'off' that day in regards to training, which makes me more likely to go 'off' in my diet. And then it's that much harder to get started again, because once I stop for a while it's hard to psych up for a long, hard training session the next day. One day 'off' leads to two, then three, and before you know it I've stopped completely again.
I've spent years trying to train and diet using the 'more is better' method without any long term luck, so this year I'm going to go in the other direction and see how it works for me. I figure that 30 minutes a day is easily achievable and enjoyable, but enough to still be of some benefit. Because I should be able to do my exercise each day, I'll have less days when I go 'off' my training, and this should mean I'll have less days when I'm likely to go 'off' in my diet. And I can still do more exercise and training on the days when I feel like it. This way it should hopefully be less of a grind and more like fun. I think it might suit my personality better, so I'm cautiously optimistic that things will work out better on the training front this year.
My local season kicks off in early February, so I'll start posting regular updates again soon, to keep you informed about how I'm progressing in 2008. If I can get my training area sorted, I believe that I could have a really good performance in store at the 2008 Australian Open.