Relaxed=Good Tense=Bad

Table Tennis Mental Preparation

Last updated 6 years ago

Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Asked 13 years ago

Hi Alois

I've heard/read the benefits of keeping your body relaxed during a stroke instead of tightening your muscles.

I've heard/read that staying loose counter-intuitively allows you to hit with more pace.  That it also allows you to hit with more spin.  That it helps handle incoming spin.

With all these benefits of staying loose during a stroke, is there EVER a time when you want to tense your muscles in table tennis???



Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 13 years ago

Hi Ji-Soo,

The short answer is no.  Your body operates better when it is relaxed and your muscles fire correctly.  As soon as you tense you are stopping the muscles from working properly.

It also helps your eyesight so you will be able to see the ball more clearly and earlier.  This of course is a very short answer to a large question.

Do yourself a favour and read the book The Inner Game of Tennis.

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Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

Hi Alois,

I have an issue. I recently started to learn how to relax my forearm and wrist completely and just use them to transfer the power from legs and the trunk on my forehand. The outcome is amazing: I can hit topspins with more pace, spin and consistency than ever. The problem, though, is that I can do this in training: I tell myself to consciously "turn off" those muscles and concentrate on that. During matchplay, though, my mind is occupied with tactics, placement & footwork, so when it is time to utilize the mighty forehand, I still tense up some muscles in my arm. It results in less racket speed and misses due to insufficient spin. How to transfer this relaxation int matches?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

Aha, Ilia, you know the answer... More practice.  Well done on working on this area of your game.

Now that you have the feelings of what you are looking for, it will become easier.  With more practice, you will get it to the unconscious state where that becomes your natural stroke.

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