I got trashed today (stop laughing Bill Pollack, you’re next). I played a match with three other fine players and I played Jim Barnes. Now today was Jim’s day, he reversed shot after shot, drifted around blocks and canned me like he owned the board, made every double and drained my confidence right away. My partner was great, he made enough shots to carry us to victory and there in lies the lesson. When you’re getting trashed maybe the best thing to do is stay out of the way and let your partner take care of things. Sometimes you can win that way. If you both play poorly or run into a hot team you’re gone. If one of you is playing well or having his way you can still win and when you’re both hot no one can stop you. Never give up but do recognize when it’s not your day or it really is your opponent’s day. Sometimes you walk away feeling like you played poorly and let your partner down, but sometimes that’s not really the case; give your opponent his due!
Which reminds me, there is no such thing as good criticism after a match. My partner didn’t say anything but encouraging words to me after the match but I’ve heard many a player come down the court after a match and start telling his partner all the things he did wrong, end of relationship. You just can’t do that because you probably took some shots your partner didn’t agree with either. One thing that does happen is you take the winning edge away from your partner because the next time he may not take what could be the winning shot for fear of criticism and you’ll be going home again!
Earl Ball 2006 07 28.