What To Do In Between Points – How to Ease Stress and Tension

Hi all! Today I’m going to talk about what we should be doing in between points to ensure that we are focussed and tactically sound. I’ll get straight into it with a few ideas:

Slow The Game Down

This is especially useful if you feel like your opponent is in the ascendancy, or equally if you feel like you’ve lost concentration, etc. In any of these situations, slowing the game down can come in handy.

You may have seen other players wiping their hands down on the table after each point; although they are wiping the sweat off their hands, they are also taking some time to regain focus and think about what to do next.

Other ways of slowing the game down include using the towel break – though this is only allowed every six points – or at a crucial part of the game, perhaps even a timeout. Alternatively, you can just take a few seconds before giving the ball back to your opponent, or before you serve yourself.

Calm Yourself Down

So, what to do when you’ve slowed the game down? First of all, you’ll want to be mentally prepared for the next point. That means clearing your head of any previous mistakes/decisions against you/ things you would have/should have/could have done and focusing only on the next point. Deep breathing works for some people, and another technique is to tense all your muscles, before relaxing them.

bat angle
bat angle

Routine

Another way to calm yourself and focus is to have some sort of pre-point routine. This can be absolutely anything and is different for every player. Some examples are Zhang Jike’s, where he bounces the ball on his bat a number of times before serving; or Rafael Nadal in tennis where he moves into his ready position in a particular way each time.

A much simpler way is just some positive self-talk, perhaps you have a certain word or phrase, etc that can help to motivate yourself.

Tactics

Don’t think about the score, the previous points or what you’re having for dinner tonight. The only thing on your mind should be the next point – and even then, you should be planning only 2-3 shots into the rally. If you’re serving, think about the spin and placement, and what you’re going to with the third ball.

Similarly, when returning you should think about what kind of return you are trying for. Obviously, you have more control when you’re serving. When deciding what you’re going to do, think about how you’ve won previous points and your general strategy for the game.

The Danger of Tension

Moderate psychological stress can have a good effect on people’s activities. It helps to arouse attention and eliminate interference. So the players can concentrate on active competition.

However, too low and too high a level of tension is not conducive to improving efficiency, instead will affect the gameplay of a player.

Players who are over-stressed during the game will be overly concerned about the outcome of the game, which will affect the player’s behavior and sentiment.

Some players began to suffer from severe insomnia, headache, poor appetite, frequent fatigue, lack of concentration, and bad temper due to stress.

Before the competition, some players will have their hands trembled, mind blank, and etc. These are the tension being displayed from the players.

How to Prevent Tension

1. Preplan For Your  Competition

Formulate the competition plan in advance according to the principle of feasibility. The player needs to have a clear understanding in which the results of the competition are from the accumulation of the routine training.

This competition is only to show the results of my previous training. Remember that you only need to responsible for the past, not for the future.

2. Don’t  Neglect The Basic Needs of Your Body

During the competition period, you must not ignore the basic needs of the body. For example, keep enough nutrients for every meal, maintain proper exercise, and stay in touch with others.

Doing so will allow you to maintain a healthy emotional and physical body. Avoid continuous fatigue operations. In particular, you need to properly rest and relaxed to help restore mental and physical strength the day before the competition.

3. Learn to Accept the Fact You are in Tension

You need to accept that you are tense, but don’t pay too much attention to it.

We must know that having a certain level of tension is normal. It is a “booster” that helps us to concentrate on ourselves. So don’t try to get rid of it when tension comes to you.

You can try to engage in active self-talk and tell yourself that this is just a game, try to avoid exaggerating unreasonable ideas.

At the same time, be prepared to accept the uncertain reality. Many things in life are beyond control, but this does not mean disaster.

If you are worried that you can’t concentrate and you can’t do it without worrying about it, you can set your own “Worry Time” several times a day, 10-20 minutes each time. Only at this time will you let yourself experience the feeling of worry.

4. Learn Some Relaxation Techniques

You can try to relax by practicing some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing in the abdomen. You can also imagine or recall the beautiful places you have been to.

Then relax your emotions and body to practice overcoming pre-match tensions. Keep yourself in a relaxed state whenever you can.

5. Be Ready to Reward Yourself

You need to set some rewards for yourself like going to a movie after the competition or go out for dinner with friends once the competition is over.

6. Familiar with the Venue Before the Competition

You can go to the competition venue and get familiar with the environment around the court to help you to ease your tension.

7. Have Confidence in Yourself

You need to establish a belief: “I can definitely playing well in the match.” Don’t think too much about how the results will be, just focus on playing the match. Stop all over-worry thoughts during the game and encourage yourself to play the skill level that you have.

8. Think in Positive Way

When playing in a match, don’t give yourself a penalty. You can start with zero points, just like taking an empty cup to hold the water. You need to concentrate on playing and not the final results. Just do your best and always think positively.

9. Don’t  Give Up Easily

For consecutive matches, you may not play as well in certain games. However, you always need to stick to your plan and prepare for the next game. Persevere and play hard to score as many points as you can. Do not accept defeat easily.

 

10. Fully Exert Your Potential

Your skills and playing level don’t necessarily mean you will defeat your opponents who have fewer skills and are at a relatively low level.

The most important thing is whether can you fully exert your skill and playing ability during the match.
In this process, the psychological effect is very important. I found out from a few games that I observed, where the player who won the championship at the end, did not have a good start.

Why? It is because the psychological quality is very firm and the play is very stable. The key to a person’s way of winning is psychological. Improvement of techniques and playing skills can be completed in a year or two, but to acquire the psychological strength will take a longer time.

11. Player Quality is More Important Than Result

A good athlete must have a positive spirit. If a soccer player thinks that he can get $100,000 in the brain when he is shooting, he will definitely not score.

The big difference between Asia players and European players in soccer is in the player’s quality. To get good results you must reach the highest level. This not only applies to sports but also in real life. It is okay for you to have some tension before an important event, but have self-confidence.

How to Get Rid of Tension

1. Clear your mind and relax your body muscles. This will help with tension and anxiety.

2. When you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it but carry on. Establish a complete set of pre-match programs and follow this program in the future. (The program should include what you should do 30 minutes before the match? What should you do one day before the match? Things like that.)

3. Relax your body.

  • Before the match, do breathing exercises  3-12 times a day.
  • Make each of your muscles tense and allow your brain to feel it. After 3 seconds, relax your body and muscles.

4. You need to have a full warm-up exercise in order to relax your muscles. Insufficient warm-up will cause stiffness in the muscles. You want your body, especially the wrist, the hands, and arms warm and flexible.

5. Usually, a warm-up exercise will make you sweat slightly. If you are already sweating and your hands are still cold, then you should carry gloves and do upper body exercises (such as punching and playing freehand).

6. If you are afraid that sitting will make you worry about the next match, have a chat with your friends or listen to some music to relax.

If you need to be quiet, don’t let people bother you before the match. Put a towel on your head and calm yourself down.

7.  If you are nervous, your breathing will become very fast. Taking deep breaths will eliminate tension.

It is best for you to take a walk around the venue and focus on the front of your foot. Don’t stay in one place for long. Walking helps to relax and focus your mind.  Keep telling yourself to relax while moving around with your toes.

8. Focus your mind by thinking about the tactics. Do not think of tension and body stiffness. Engage your mind with positive thoughts.

9. Study your opponent carefully, he may also be very nervous. As long as you can control your tension, you are already in a better mental state than your opponent.

10. You need to have some habitual movements. The habit of developing ritual movements will ease your tension. This is why some people take the ball and hit it on the ground a few times or play the ball a few times on the racket.

You need to have such a habitual action as well. By doing so, you will less worry about winning or losing and focus on playing a better game.

How To Get Rid of Tension During

1. Train your brain to relax during training.

2. You need to have fast movements during training. Initially, there will be many mistakes when you are playing at a fast speed. It doesn’t matter, the key is to learn as much as possible while playing at a fast pace.

The training results don’t matter, the key is that your brain will learn how to combine the training with the game.

How is the Tension Formed?

Internal factors:

What is the brain thinking about?

  1. Think about future things: Don’t think about the final results of the match. If you think about it, you will make mistakes.
  2. Think about previous things: Don’t think about bad experiences. (such as failure, unpleasant experience); Instead, think about some good experiences, such as winning a competition, great technical movements, etc.
  3. Things to do now: Think positively. (If you have a sore foot or a stomachache, you must say “I am fine, everything is normal”). Always think about the positive side. Never think about a negative experience. You must focus on the techniques you going to use during the match. This will increase your confidence when playing the match.

External factors:

There are many external factors (such as audiences, relatives, coaches, etc.). No matter what happens, you must re-adjust yourself well.

Think of external stimuli as a normal thing. When you build a wall in your mind, you can’t be affected by external stimuli. You need to coordinate your body muscles to prevent injury.

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Warren Davies

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