How do you get over the fear of attacking?

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 7 years ago

chris Lee

chris Lee Asked 7 years ago

I tend to play it safe too often and don't take as many chances as i like. Too often i feel like i fear that i'll make an agressive shot and i'll miss the table or it'll hit the net. For example, there are many times i can remember instead of counter-looping a serve or a long backspin ball i end up playing it safe and pushing. What goes through ones mind to get over the fear of attacking or the proclivity of playing it safe? What can one do to mentally get over that?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 years ago

Hi Chris,

I think there needs to be a determination to make the first attack in the rally.  As you progress you will start to see the benefits of doing this.

I think practice games is the best time to start this habit.


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Dakota Castleberg

Dakota Castleberg Posted 7 years ago

Hey Chris,

Only within the last month did I get over this fear - after watching my opponents in my first USTTA tournament beat me because I was also too afraid to trust my aggressive topspin and loops.

I don't blame myself now, as I realize that I was very new to learning the technique for looping at that time.

But because of not playing aggressively like I wanted to, I realized there wasn't a point in continuing to practice if I wasn't willing to do in matches what I practice at the club.

For the last three weeks of practice matches I have gone for the loop off backspin and long balls EVERY SINGLE TIME.

EVERY SINGLE TIME. This was the only way I could get myself to commit to the shot I know I should be making.

I went from trying to loop 3 times total in a best of 5 match, to trying to loop 15+ times PER GAME. This was so much more practice than how I had been going about it before.

My looping has already improved drastically. Do I hit every loop in? No, but I TRUST it. I know it's the right stroke, and at this point it is already more effective then simply pushing and allowing my opponent the chance to attack first.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 7 years ago

>What goes through ones mind to get over the fear of attacking or the proclivity of playing it safe? What can one do to mentally get over that?

One of the most difficult thing is to accept that starting to be more aggressive will probably decrease your ability to win right now and drop your level. It may also lead you to losing to people that you can comfortable beat playing it safe. And you don't really know when it will start to pay off, in one month or in one year. So you have to be patient and accept this bitter fact. However, without it you will not be able to build a strong attacking game.

Again, accept that losing points while attacking is OK, losing practice (and even tournament) matches while learning is OK. It is hard, I know, I'm going through the same thing.


chris Lee

chris Lee Posted 7 years ago

Thank you guys, Alois, Ilia, and Dakota. That was good advice. You all are right. I should just pay the price and just attack more. Thank you for sharing some personal stories your results seem encouraging enough that i'll start doing that. I think this will allow me to win more matches. I'm way too defensive.



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