Pre-serve rituals

Table Tennis Mental Preparation

Last updated 13 years ago

Paul Unknown

Paul Unknown Asked 13 years ago


It maybe a stupid questions but I really would like to know the answer :) I have noticed that every pro player does some kind of ritual before he serves. It's different from player to player. Somebody bouces the ball against the table, somebody against the floor or the bat. The guy who totally blew me away during current Olympics was South Koreas' OH Sangeun. Besides bouncing the ball he was waiving himself with his bat from different directions. Is there any rational reasoning behind all this strange moves?

Thank You, Pavel.


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb Answered 13 years ago

Hi Pavel,

It certainly isn't a stupid question. A pre-serve (and receive) ritual can really help a player to maintain focus during a match. As you mentioned a lot of the players have different routines before they serve. This means that it is not the moves that are important but more the routine.

Especially in a tight match, when a player might get nervous, a routine will help bring the situation into perspective. It gives you something to focus on when preparing for a point other that the pressure situation. Usually as part of this ritual along with the actions will be some sort of mental preparation. Thinking positive thoughts about the type of point that should be played next.

Try developing a short routine yourself and back it up with some positive thoughts before each point. It is important to follow this routine even when you are not in a tight situation so that when the pressure is really on, it is just a habit.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

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