KNOW THE COURT (20)

I know I gave one player above 1,000 or more career points. It, too, had
a strange origin. I taught badminton in P.E. classes. Soon, thinking myself
a pretty good player, I encountered one Anand Jaggi, professor of
economics. Anand was ranked 13th in the badminton world, and he
was “state champion” in his native India.Rarely did I get a point. He won the singles,
doubles, and mixed doubles state badminton
championships held annually atDuke University.
And I soon noticed an uncanny ability he
had. He never played the shuttlecock when it
would land out of bounds. It was “dropped” or
let alone.
While my badminton ego suffered, I took
this logic to my tennis team. We need to learn the court, or like Dr. Jaggi, not hit out-of-
bounds points. We adopted this policy: In practice, if you have any doubt, let it go and
let’s see if you are right. In a match, with any doubt, go ahead and play it.
Soon I could see our players use better and better judgment. We would
occasionally let one drop in, but our percentage
grew drastically.
The player who benefited most was Chai Navawongse, a Thai lefthander
who came in on everything. Chai had played doubles with Paradorn
Schriciphan, so he came in “with game.” Soon, however, I noticed he was
playing anything close. There may be 10–20 points a match he played that
would have been out. Some, way out. I explained the “Jaggi” or “learn the
court” theory. A bright youngster, and fine player, you could see the light
click on in his head. Before long he was close to Jaggi in judgment, rarely
playing an out ball, simply pointing “out” with the left hand.

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