Finishing Off Games

Table Tennis Mental Preparation

Last updated 8 years ago

Robert Van Eldik

Robert Van Eldik Asked 8 years ago


Is there a way to train finishing off a game? In my last 3 league games in played 6 matches in 5 sets and in 5 of those i had multiple match points. I lost all of them.

Today I lost one where I was ahead 9-4 in the 5th set and had 2 match points at 10-8, I lost 10-12.

I can't figure out why, i wasn't nervous and feeling confident because i was playing well. My teammates tell me i get too cautious and stop playing my own game but its not something I am aware of.

Its the first season in the division after moving up because we won our division last year. Its a higher level and I am surprised I am doing so well but I just can't seem to finish games that I should be winning based on how the games play.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Robert,

I think your team mates feedback is probably the most relevant.

They are observing that you are becoming defensive.  Take this into account.  Sometimes we don't tune into the feelings in our body at that stage because we are actually anxious.  Next time you are in that situation, think about the feelings in your body and see if you can notice any differences.

The main thing is to make the first attack at this stage.  It doesn't have to be fast but if you make the first attack you will give yourself a good chance of winning the point.  Also think about keeping your feet mobile.  The first thing that stops is usually the feet.

Remember that everyone has these feelings.  Understand that you will become more anxious and just accept it.  then work at playing well in those situations.

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ujjval verma

ujjval verma Posted 8 years ago

thanks for response...

I like to know what he says now?

Robert Van Eldik

Robert Van Eldik Posted 8 years ago

Thanks for the quick reply.

The advice makes sense. After replaying  that last match in my mind some more i think i just stopped thinking at some point in the 5th set and started playing on automatic pilot. On 10-8 i pushed 2 long serves to my backhand into the net while previously i opened those to his backhand giving me the initiative in the rally. On 10-10 i served long to his forehand while i knew this was his strong point.

So i think the problem is that i start to get anxious and stop using my head.


ker Gordon

ker Gordon Posted 8 years ago

haha you remind me of myself last year losing several matches from that position.The worse by far was losing to the same player 12-10 on my serve!!  With  Myself I tend to become very passive in this situation e.g just guiding the ball as well as getting nervous and try to do a  fancy kicker serve to win the point easily instead of short serve.I would suggest using Mental Imagery/visualisation which really work wonders for me.  You have to Image yourself in a simiar situation but this time fix it.  Combine all your senses and its useful.  I playing this player in a couple of weeks hopeful.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 8 years ago

No problems Robert.  The more you can put yourself into that situation the better you will get.

Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Posted 8 years ago

The basic rule in table tennis (or in anything else, for that matter) is, if it's not working, change it, if it's working, don't change it.  It's a simple truism but it's amazing how often players (including myself) break it.  When things are not working, sometimes I feel like a deer caught in the headlights and just keep doing the same thing over and over again - and only after I've lost do I think back and say "why didn't I change this or that!"  On the other hand, you might actually have a winning tactic that brings you close to victory, but just because you might be a 2-3 points from the match, you suddenly decide to either become more safe and hope the opponent makes a mistake or you try to finish the match quickly with ill-advised low percentage shots.

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