For most of the table tennis players, getting ready for tournaments can be exciting. The adrenaline is flowing, practice time is over, and you want some wins to notch on the belt!
Here are some tips you can use to prepare effectively for a tournament:
Two to three days before the tournament, begin visualizing how the match should be played in your head. Michael Jordan used this same tactic before every basketball game and he was the world’s best player of his time.
Refrain from practicing too much before the match. You don’t want to become too tired of mental or physical fatigue. 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 the tournament starts, give yourself ample time to warm up. This can consist of practicing your shots in a relaxed state. The object here is for your body to get used to the movements you will be performing. Make time 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 to joke, make fun of, or for idle talks. This is the time for you to focus and prepare yourself to play.
In many tournament matches, you’ll have roughly two minutes to warm up on the table you’re about to play on. Use this time wisely as you get familiarized with the table.
Take notice of how the ball bounces off the table, the flooring underneath you, and your surroundings.
And of course. When the match begins, remember to have fun because that’s why you’re there in the first place.
Erasing Fear From Your Game
Last weekend, I participated in volunteering my time to help a young player’s tournament.
At the event, I was inspired by the enthusiasm and concentration 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. Their innocence isn’t unnoticed as they strive to become superstars in the sport of table tennis. Their confidence may come from them not understanding what fear is all about. After all, they had to conquer other fears such as falling and loud noises first.
Fear can handicap your game to a point where you are playing against two opponents – the player opposite from you and the fear in your head.
From this fear, many continue to suffer in developing their game. This fear can cause you to play too conservative, make mistakes you normally don’t do, or even become injured.
The most important thing you must do to beat your fear is to deal with it.
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 playing.
Take a moment to breathe deeply for a minute. Breathe in through your nose and exhale out of your mouth.
It helps to also give a pep talk to yourself. 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.
Stretch out to loosen up. Visualize yourself as being the champion. By practicing these steps, you’ll start to focus on what’s important and perform at your peak.