Right hand flinching

Table Tennis Mental Preparation

Last updated 5 years ago

Steve Pasternak Jr

Steve Pasternak Jr Asked 5 years ago

I am 74 and have been playing since college for fun. Twenty years ago I played local tournaments and found I had a bad flinch when I contacted the ball. Playing was very poor and then changed to pennhold with slight improvement. I am in good shape, won the NCAA National Gymnastic Championship in the 60's, bike, ski, shoot and workout. What causes it and how to eliminate it. Tried a good machine to produce muscle memory with little improvement. Shooters can have a similar problem and cure it by using a trigger that fires when released not pulled. There is no flinch with my left hand. I am introducing myself to my left hand so as it will play for me. It is very hard to change over after a lifetime of right hand smashes. Is this the right approach to the problem. I miss pounding the little white ball to even out my life.  

Thank You  .......................Steve P ............

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 5 years ago

Hi Steve,

If the hand is flinching it is about the mind.  The reason you re not getting the same flinch with the left hand at the moment is that you have no expectations on yourself with the left hand.

It is like when we try a new bat it often feels really good because we play without and inhibitions because there are no self expectations.

I think the thing to work on is those expectations rather than changing hands.  Eventually it will happen to the left hand as well.

Focus on the mechanics of the stroke to start with rather than the result of the shot.  You can also focus on the feel of the stroke.  Focus on how little effort you can take to get the bat from the start position to the finish position.  When you change this you will start to notice there will be a bit more smoothness in the stroke.

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Thoughts on this question

Nigel C

Nigel C Posted 5 years ago

Steve, there are a number of posts on ping skills with similar issues. Forehand shots seem to be affected than backhand, I find that my hand twitches just as I contact the ball on a forehand drive but not when looping! Exercise with a small weight seems to help as does a good warm up before playing. I have changed my grip very slightly and this too seems to help. Stress, becoming tired from playing and nervous tension make it significantly worse.

As far as why, I have no medical proof but there is an article on Wikipedia:

Focal dystonia is a neurological condition that affects a muscle or group of muscles in a specific part of the body, causing involuntary muscular contractions and abnormal postures. For example, in focal hand dystonia, the fingers either curl into the palm or extend outward without control. In musicians, the condition is referred to as musician's focal dystonia, or simply, musician's dystonia. In sports, it is commonly referred to as the yips.

So train, warm up well and control nervousness. I hope you manage at least to control the problem. Good luck.

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