You are a 1800-rated player competing at the 2014 North American Teams. So far, you have had a great tournament with several good wins. Your goal is to break 2000, and you need one more good win. You are playing in the last team match of the tournament against three 2100-rated players. Your goal is to win one match. That’s all you need, one win. Surely you can beat one of them.
Most club players across the US give about 70% effort during club matches while socializing, playing relaxed, and hitting great shots throughout the night. The average club players try much much harder in tournaments and often play a much different style in tournaments.
Sometime, when I see a player at the club hit a very good shot, I will pose the question,
“Could you do that in a tournament?”
Learn to analyze your opponent in less than 10 seconds
Blog --- Mental Strategies Part IX
In practice matches, you probably play against opponents that you feel comfortable playing against. You understand your opponent’s basic strengths, weaknesses, serves, and common patterns. Often, in a tournament, you will compete against a variety of styles. From the first few points, it is critical that you quickly make a game plan then continue to readjust your game plan as the match progresses.
Learn about the proper amount of anticipation to use
Mental Stratgies – Part VIII
Guess or Not to Guess?
In table tennis, there are 2 aspects of anticipation. The first is to have a reasonable guess as to where your opponent will hit the next ball. The next aspect is watching his body position and racket angle and adjusting based on the direction of his swing.
Blog – Mental Strategies Part IV
Throw a Curve Ball
You have heard the expression many times, “My boss threw me a curve ball,” or “my day threw me a curve ball.” The expression basically means, something happened that you didn’t expect. In a close table tennis match, it is important to “throw a curve ball” to your opponent; something that he doesn’t expect. At the same time, it is critical that you do something that you can reasonably achieve.
Here might be some good options for you:
Serving from a different location
Mental Strategies – Part II
Dealing With a Trouble-Maker
Some opponents like to cause controversy to break your concentration. This trouble maker might cheat on the score, break the ball, complain about your serve, delay the game, or try to distract you in many other ways. So what should you do in this particular situation?
1. Stay Calm
If you get worked up over this cheater, he will have accomplished his goal. If you stay calm, you can keep your focus.
What should I be thinking about during a table tennis match?
Most top players would agree that table tennis is about 50% physical and 50% mental. Yes, a top table tennis player must have good technique and good physical fitness, but equally important is the ability to play courageously, think strategically, overcome obstacles, and adapt to different game styles. This is an outline of the most important things that I concentrate on and the thoughts that I avoid while playing table tennis.
During a table tennis match, I want to focus on three primary things:
Footwork Mechanics, Anticipation, Visualization, and Fitness
Four Elements of Footwork
“If I can lose 10 pounds, my footwork will really improve!”
This is a common statement made by hundreds of club players nationwide. Yes, their footwork probably will improve, but losing 10 pounds is only 1 of the 4 elements to having excellent footwork. I have seen some great athletes (in other sports) who had very poor footwork in table tennis. I have also seen some 300 pound table tennis players who had decent footwork.