For most table tennis players, getting ready for a tournament can be exciting. The adrenaline is pumping, you’ve put in the work, and you now want some wins under your belt!
Here are some tips you can use to prepare effectively for a tournament:
Two to three days before the tournament, begin to visualize how the match will play out in your head. Michael Jordan used this same tactic before every basketball game and we all now know him as the world’s best basketball player of his time.
Refrain from practicing too much before the match. You don’t want to become too tired mentally or physically. Make sure to get plenty of rest and eat well-balanced foods to give you energy.
Pack up whatever you’re going to take to the tournament the night before. Double-check these items you’ve packed away the next morning. You’ll be glad you did.
On the day of the tournament, give yourself ample time to warm up. This can consist of practicing your shots in a relaxed state. The objective here is for your body to get used to the movements you will be performing. Make sure to also go over your footwork.
Try to finish your warm-up at least 10 minutes before your match begins. Pick a table to warm up away from the other matches so you aren’t distracted.
And stick to the warm-up! This isn’t the time for jokes or idle talk. Instead, it is the time for you to focus and prepare yourself to play, and play well.
In most tournaments, you’ll have roughly two minutes to warm up on the table you’re about to play on. Use this time wisely to familiarize yourself with the table.
Take note of how the ball bounces off the table, as well as the flooring underneath you and your surroundings.
And of course, don’t forget to have fun when the match starts! That’s why you’re there in the first place.
Erasing Fear From Your Game
Last weekend, I volunteered to help out at a tournament for young players.
At the event, I was inspired by the enthusiasm and the focus displayed before me. Children from all walks of life converged inside the small arena to showcase their talent for all to see.
It always amazes me when I see young people embrace the sport I love. They dream of becoming the next superstars in the sport of table tennis. Their confidence may come from them not understanding what fear is all about.
Fear can handicap your game to a point where you are playing against two opponents – the player opposite you and the fear inside of you.
Fear can be crippling. Fear can cause you to play too conservatively, make mistakes that you don’t normally do, or even become injured.
The most important thing you must do is to confront your fears and overcome them.
Realize that while it’s perfectly normal to be nervous, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. If it goes unchecked, it will rob you of enjoying the sport you love.
Take a moment to breathe in and out deeply. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
It helps to also give yourself a pep talk. Tell yourself that you are the best. I personally do this while I’m brushing my teeth in the mirror. This will help you play better during crunch time situations in a match.
Visualize yourself as being the champion. By practicing these steps, you’ll start to focus on what’s important and perform at your peak.