State of Mind During Practice

Table Tennis Discussion

Last updated 7 years ago

Dakota Castleberg

Dakota Castleberg Asked 7 years ago

Hey coaches, 

I'e been thinking about how long the other players at my club have been playing table tennis compared to myself, and have come across something I hadn't considered previously. Now that I'm starting to refine my strokes instead of learning new ones, it has been easier to compare my current self to the other club players. Something I've been starting to pick up on is that during practice matches, some players seem fully committed to winning the match, while at the same time they wish to improve beyond their current ability.

After my first USATT tournament, I realized that I didn't want to play an all-around type of play anymore, as I would rather be the one going for the winning/missing shots rather than letting the other player control pace of play.

After those 8 matches of mental punching, I have been able to let go of my desire to win practice matches. Now, I am devoted to being an attacker and going for the shots that I should be, as it drastically increases the amount of attempts I am able to practice every match.

To my main point and question, do you think that having a greater desire to win practice matches over the desire to improve inhibits people from getting better?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 years ago

Hi Dakota,

It certainly can.  There can be quite different purposes to playing the same game.  I think you need to do both at different times.

One desire is to improve technique and your overall ability.  The other is to win the game.  I think if you only do one of these things then you are missing part of your development.  Sometimes it is important to learn how to win points as well as developing technique.

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Thoughts on this question

Dakota Castleberg

Dakota Castleberg Posted 7 years ago

Alright thanks again for your help, I will make sure to designate matches for each of these purposes.


D K Posted 7 years ago

One thing-where can I find my USATT ranking?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 7 years ago

Have you played any tournaments?


D K Posted 7 years ago

Depend on what tournaments.

I have played about 50 tournaments but they were at the district level.

I do not even know what does USATT mean

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 7 years ago

That is the US National association.


D K Posted 7 years ago

Oh..then it counts only tournaments held in USA,correct?

Jared Peterson

Jared Peterson Posted 7 years ago

You will only have a usatt rating if you have paid for a usatt membership and if you have compet.ed in a usatt sanctioned tournament. When or if you do get one you can look youre name or membership number on the usatt rating page

Dieter Verhofstadt

Dieter Verhofstadt Posted 7 years ago

First of all, it's not easy to let go of our desire to win matches. In my case, most of the time the eagerness to win takes over very soon, obnubaliting all my practice goals. In the rare cases I manage to forget about winning, I often end up with a soft or despondent state of mind, which does not really help performing a newly acquired technique in match context either.

Some people claim that practice and match play can only be consciously correlated one way: you find out what goes wrong in matches and work on that. The improved technique will eventually find its way to the match subconciously and trying to force it in there will not help. As a bit of a control freak I find that a frustrating thought and I keep trying to find a way to let good practice flow faster into my competitive games.

There are though a few things that inarguably can be consciously applied and that's those things for which we have time to think. An obvious decision point is the serve. Others are the towel breaks, the preserve routines and even the time out, as unkind they may be to friendly opponents. I've come to realize for example that playing first-to-10 matches may make for an entertaining afternoon, but bear little resemblance to the kind of challenges that lie await in the ultimate validation criterium, which in my case are interclub nights of 4 best-of-five's with major intervals. So, practicing that kind of competitive rhythm would be more fruitful for me. 


D K Posted 7 years ago

Then I cannot have an USATT rank

And if it operates only in USA,I can never get it

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