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.”
Generalizing all lefties into one category is difficult, but I’ll do my best to explain some general strategies that would apply to most lefties. I’m assuming that you (the reader) are right-handed.
When the lefty is serving a forehand serve from the backhand side, adjust your position slightly more to the right. The lefty will often use a sidespin serve to curve the ball away from your wide forehand. By standing more to the right, you will be able to better cover the wide forehand.
Your mental attitude has a TREMENDOUS influence over the outcome of the game. It can help you beat players rated much higher than you. However it can be a humongous factor in losses against players rated much lower than you. This can set back your goals in table tennis. So how do you fix it?
This year, I had one of my most devastating losses…
I was playing at the 2013 US National Team Trials against 2x Olympian Khoa Nguyen. I won the first 11-6. I won the second 11-5. I was winning 10-4 in the third game (best 4 out of 7 match) and lost that game and the match. What went wrong…