Keeping myself calm against an unsporting person

Table Tennis Mental Preparation

Last updated 8 years ago

Rob Janssen

Rob Janssen Asked 8 years ago

Hi coach, 

I have a team mate thats very arrogant, thinks he is the best and very unsporting.

I most of the time lose against him because I just cant stay calm during the match. he is a decent blocker but I know I can outplay him if I stay calm. And when I win 'I had luck' or 'He was playing terrible' always when he loses he is blaming something so his loss doesn’t really count for him.

Normaly I have no problem keeping my temper during a match but against him I can’t control myself anymore because If I miss a ball thats slightly higher he just laughs at me an trying to make fun of me or when I walk around on the backhand corner and hit a hard forehand and he manages to block it wide to my forehand... He says stuff like 'You're so predictable...'

Just a terrible person and this want to make me win even more. And the problem is I have a 'powerplay' my game is focussed on powerfull topspins, 3rd ball kills, all that stuff... But the problem is that against him I get angry and I force myself hitting the ball harder and harder and I get more and more agressive during the match resulting in a lot of errors and misses...

I just want to know how to keep my temper against such an annoying player.

Thank you very much

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Rob,

We all have one of these players that we really want to beat and our judgement gets clouded because of it.

There is no easy answer but using a technique like deep breathing may help.  One good way I have seen is to treat is this way.  Each time he acts in an unsporting manner think to yourself, “Thankyou for teaching me what an unsporting person is and helping me to learn how to deal with it”…  It may just help you.

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Rob Janssen

Rob Janssen Posted 8 years ago

Okay I will try that

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 8 years ago

It is never easy, but hopefully with a bit of working on it you will start to feel better.

Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 8 years ago

Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 8 years ago


Like all of us, I usually prefer to win than to lose, but this type of a##h###s are the only ones I really want to beat (with a hammer, that would be even better, but I think it may be against the rules). You can try different techniques: the “zen attitude”, like Alois suggested, or the “fight fire with fire”, that can be fun, i.e. make fun of him when he misses, provoke him to hit harder (if you are a good defender or blocker), be proud of yourself when you win net or edge points, whatever… More seriously, I think you have to work on your self-confidence / self-esteem so that his spikes won’t affect you so much anymore.

By the way, if you ever face this guy in an official match, be aware that the empire is not supposed to tolerate such behavior. Except for the occasional apology on lucky points, the opponent isn’t supposed to talk to you at all, let alone in a disrespectful manner.


Erriza Shalahuddin

Erriza Shalahuddin Posted 8 years ago

I used this "fire against fire" tactic once in a match. What can I say? He laughed at me almost every time I made a mistake. Then I tought it's a good time to made him feel what I feel, so I "encourage" him every time he missed. Then his attitude changed and stop launghing at  me. Seeing that, I stopped encouraging him too. I won the match 3-2, eventually.

What I'trying to say is this tactic may work, but personally I hope I will never use this tactic anymore since I think it will damage the sportsmanship.

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