In table tennis, try your best to build an early lead in points, try your best to win the first game, try your best to win the match 3-0.
One of my students recently lost to a player who had an amazing forehand and a terrible backhand. This opponent’s forehand was at least 1900-level and his backhand was around 800-1000 level. After losing, I asked my student why he played so many balls to the forehand. He responded by saying, “Well, I didn’t want my opponent to know that I knew his weak point.” What a terrible way to lose a match.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was[a] on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Despite its reputation as a leisurely game, at the competitive level table tennis brings out some potent extremes of emotion. And I hate to say it, but it'd be silly to deny that I've earned a reputation as one of the fairly "hot-headed" players in the Ohio region. I've been approached about my use of language one time (oops), and have overheard other players scolding my emotional outbursts, or learned about their bemused reactions through the grapevine.
Let's talk about the match. Before the match Dejan (my coach for the match) helped me to analyze Fan's game, we both agreed I need to be more aggressive then usual, otherwise I won't have any chance to challenge him with my regular performance.
When you play against high-rated opponents, do you play better or worse?
If you play better against them, it is probably due to the fact that you are more mentally relaxed having a “nothing-to-lose” mentality. If you have this focused, relaxed attitude – wonderful! Try to go into every match and every practice session giving your best, having fun, and not putting the pressure on yourself. This is a great experience!
It is important to always keep a positive attitude even when you are losing. In my short table tennis career, I have seen many players beat themselves as they gave up when losing or beat themselves up after playing a poor point. Everybody makes mistakes in their strategy and/or technique during matches, even the most elite players in the world. I have made comments to younger players that were losing to stay positive and heard back “Positive? This guy is killing me! I have no chance.” I often say to myself, “This isn’t over yet. I can do it.”