How verbal should you be during a match?
Is it a waist of energy?
Is it motivating?
Is it rude?
In this article, I’m going to outline some instructions for my personal students.
In the Bible, God commands parents to instruct their kids. In a similar way, as a Christian coach, I feel obligated as a mentor to instruct my players not just how to perform DURING the point, but also how to REACT to points won, react to points lost, what to do between matches, how to prepare for tournaments, how to help others, how to interact with other players and coaches and many many other areas of life. In the article, I’m going to give some general instructions for my personal students, but I encourage everyone to read along and learn from it.
After every point, you have the CHOICE on how to react – positive, negative, and neutral. Negative emotions like throwing up your hands, pounding the wall, or kicking the barriers is never helpful. Neutral reaction is ok. Positive emotion like verbal “Yes” “Cho” “That’s it” are sometimes encouraged but this depends somewhat on the player’s preference and personality.
Regardless of how loud or quiet you choose to be, you must do it respectfully. Respectful of your opponent – not tearing him down or fist pumping in his face and respectful of the other players in the tournament realizing that there are others in the room trying to focus as well.
Efficiency of Time
With only about 5-8 seconds between points, you need to focus on deep breathing to have your best focus, walk through your think circle (previous coaching article), and think tactically. If you spend the first 4 seconds on your double-fist pump, Chinese Cho, and Adam Bobrow excessive celebration, will you be in the best frame of mind to give yourself your pre-point reminders? Consider the efficiency of your 5-8 seconds.
Each person has a different level of fitness. Tournament matches tend to take more physical and mental energy. If fatigue is a major problem for you, you might want to limit your celebration choooing.
At certain times during the match, you need to show more excitement and enthusiasm while other times, you need to be mild. There are dozens and dozens of scenarios that I could list, but I’ll give you a few quick ones….
Scenario #1 You are a 1600 player playing against a 1900 in your first match of the tournament. He didn’t warm-up and looks disinterested. Your hold your choos inside and win 3-0. Had you began the match screaming every point, you could have awoke the dragon early in the match and be up against a terror.
Scenario #2 You are a 2700 player playing against a 2500. At 1-1 in games, you are down 9-5 in the 3rd. Coming back to 9-6, 9-7, 9-8, your opponent can feel and see your enthusiasm. He feels that he can’t stop your momentum, being respectfully loud in this moment can help you as your opponent feel the shift in momentum. It helps you feel the momentum in a good way and helps your opponent feel your momentum in a bad way.
Scenario #3 You are an 1100 player playing against a 1500 player. You start off the first game up 6-5, with your excitement you begin chooing quietly. As your excitement builds, you begin choing louder and louder 7-5 you……8-5 you...once 8-5 hits, you scream so loud that the building rumbles! Everyone is now watching! Your opponent smiles slightly, nods a bit, then begins to glare in your eyes. He racks off the next 6 points. The next game, you start chooing loudly again and again he gives you the look and begins playing better and better. Against this particular opponent, your chooing motivated him to play better and better especially when it got excessive. Every time he heard it, he focused more and more as he really wanted to beat you.
There are three ways to react to a point – positive, negative, or neutral. Negative is not acceptable. Neutral is ok. Positive is ok with respect and time appropriate! The positive emotion that you choose to show may vary slightly from time to time. But remember, you have a choice on how much emotion to bring, train your emotions just like you train the rest of your game.
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