Mind games

Table Tennis Mental Preparation

Last updated 5 years ago

Nigel C

Nigel C Asked 5 years ago

Do you have advice about mind games. I recently played in a match in my local league. I was just about to start serving in the 3rd game of a match. The score was 1 - 1in games. An opponent who i had just lost to in a close match was sat watching but called me over and said i needed to throw the ball higher on my serve. This has never been said to me before and as far as i can tell i am usually very close to the required 6 inches height if not higher. It being a local league most people don't complain as long as you are obviously not gaining an advantage. The umpire who was also one of the visiting team said nothing. Nor had my opponent who i was actually playing said anything. My own team aftwards have told me that my serves are on par with most players who play in our league .i.e not always perfect but not played in a way that gains an advantage...e.g serving out of a hand or spinning the ball or throw the ball away from vertical. 

I asked the opponent who was sat down to leave the decisions to the umpire. But i was put off by his comments and lost that game 2 - 11 and ended up losing that match.

The opponent who had made the comment went on to play another match and served using a throw of about 2 inches. In fact the rest of my team said that is how he had served in every match that evening.

In hindsight i think the comments were mind games to put me off. I do tend to be a bit of obviously nervous player. So how to keep concentration and how to deal with mind games from the opposition.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 5 years ago

Hi Nigel,

Whether it was mind games or not it has obviously effected your performance.

Think about your emotional level after you were told about your serve.  Then think about how you can find ways to settle that level back again and so focus on the match, or the game or the ball in particular.  You can think about taking a deep breath or focusing on your breathing to get your mind to settle and then find a way to get the focus back on the ball.

We have a series in our Sports Psychology section on how to Recognise Your Feelings.  This will help you to start with.


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Nigel C

Nigel C Posted 5 years ago

Thank you Alois. I think you are right. At the time i concentrated on being too diliberate with my services. What i needed to do was to be calm and just be able to play. After all as long as i am confident in how i am playing and the umpire is happy, then i should not really be listening to a spectator. This is where pre serve routines can be a big help.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

Yes you are right.  Pre serve or pre point routines are really useful in this situation to get you back to focusing on what is important.


Marius Darian

Marius Darian Posted 5 years ago

Well, if you want to read more about "mind games", this article talks a bit about them.

https://thoughtsontabletennis.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-to-control-the-external-flow-of-play/



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