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Table Tennis Mental Preparation

Last updated 10 years ago

Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Asked 14 years ago

Hi Alois and Jeff

Given both your vast experiences in high-level table tennis I had a question that I would be very curious to get your take on.

When you play competitive table tennis, do you try to detach yourself from the actual score and just play every ball on its merit? Or does your strategy and mental approach shift depending on the phase of the game?

For example, if you are down 8-10, do you tend to play more aggressively, more conservatively (to force the opponent to earn a win) or do you just zen out and play one point at a time (to borrow a cliche)?

I guess I'm just finding that I push myself too much when I'm in a corner and was wondering what the best frame of mind was.

Thanks!


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 14 years ago

Hi Ji-Soo,

You have obviously done a bit of reading.

The ideal is to be able to detach yourself from the score, but remember this is an extremely difficult task.

I think the main think to do during a match is to focus on the ball. If you can do that successfully you will not have time to think about too may other things.  In between points focus on your breathing and then focus briefly before each point on your basic strategy.

By focusing on the ball I am not talking about looking at it, I am talking about really being interested in the ball.  Its shape, colour, movement, speed. 

So your routine can be, focus on the ball (during a point), focus on your breathing (between points) and focus on your strategy (just before you stat a point). This should occupy your mind enough to not have time for those negative thoughts.

This means that your strategy does not need to change during a game.  Just focus on those thiings and your body will do the rest.


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Thoughts on this question

Ram Sood

Ram Sood Posted 10 years ago

Is it ok to think you are not playing a match?


LeangHeng IT

LeangHeng IT Posted 10 years ago

Nice

I also have question related to this.... In the match, my team members gave me much pressures. Afraid of being blamed, I tried to chop long serve on my forhand (deadly attacked by opponents). my question is during competition "Is it good idea to try to earn point by being more defender or just play every stroke we can do???"


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Hi Ram,

You can try to think that you are not playing a match but it is difficult to fool yourself.  It is better to find ways to deal with your thoughts and emotions.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Hi LeangHeng,

In a match you want to get to the stage where you can play your best by playing your strokes effectively.  This can only be done if you find ways to deal with your emotions.  It is usually a matter of finding ways to calm down rather than trying to pump yourself up.


LeangHeng IT

LeangHeng IT Posted 10 years ago

Thank you coach


LeangHeng IT

LeangHeng IT Posted 10 years ago

So beside deep breath, are there any other ways to calm my emotion down, coach???


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

You can use other technique like focusing on the ball and getting yourself immersed in that activity.  That takes your mind off the situation and keeps it in the present as well.


LeangHeng IT

LeangHeng IT Posted 10 years ago

Okay!!!


Douglas Hill

Douglas Hill Posted 10 years ago

I watched video of myself playing a tournament and it was obvious that I was rushing between points and not taking my time. Also my movements were tight and abbreviated, not loose and flowing. The next tournament I tried your suggestion of focusing on my breathing between points. It definitely helped me relax and I think the extra oxygen helped me think and respond more usefully to a tight situation. It was also helpful to have something definite to do. It certainly can't hurt to breathe! (calmly and deliberately, that is)

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Great Douglas.  Keep working on it.  Try to practice it during your training sessions as well.  The better you get at it the better you will be able to control your emotions during a match.



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