I played in my second tournament yesterday since switching coaches. At her suggestion I played in an event that was 500 points over my current ranking. I played and beat a player that is ranked way above me but the mental focus and intensity drained me for my next match. Physically I was fine, but I just couldn’t bring the focus needed to go for that killer shot and wound up playing defensively which will, as I’m finding out get you only so far against better and younger players. I did ok, but not nearly as well as the previous match. I concentrated on just getting the ball on the table for the first 3 or 4 shots but just couldn’t dig down and “go for it”. Since yesterday’s victory I’ve been told I’ll probably have my ranking readjusted up by the USATT. I will now be playing in higher events where mental toughness seems to rule the day. So my question is: How do you maintain mental focus throughout without becoming burned out early in the event. This seems to hold especially true when playing under “covid rules” which require much shorter downtime between matches to speed up events to make up for the capacity restrictions placed on the tournament venues.
stay safe and I look forward to your response
Hey Lem, firstly well done on a good result it’s always nice to see the rewards for hard work! Mentality and focus is so so important in table tennis and there is no quick fix to improve this area but you can do a few things that will help you. Some fairly simple things like eating well before and during the tournament, so nothing heavy making sure you have some high energy snacks, like nuts and banana’s etc. Also being sure to stay hydrated which is probably even more important, this will help you keep focus too.
Other things to help maintain focus are just thinking about a couple of key tactics or points to get right during a game and not overloading yourself with too many things in your head, this helps keep the mind clear and with a focus on getting the main important aspects correct. Lastly I would say, experience in these types of events will be the number one thing that will help, you will learn how you need to prepare best for you personally. Some people need to put headphones in and get into their own world, others like to chat to other players, some like to get fresh air etc, so find what helps you relax between games and recover. Even in a limited time you can get a routine that helps you stay more fresh mentally.
I hope some of those tips can help straight away and others will take a little time to formulate yourself, but keep up the good work Lem!! 🙂
Thanks, that’s two tournaments in a row I’ve done well. I took 2nd I’m my class last tournament. Your previous advice on concentrating on just putting the first few balls on the table, though simple was simply brilliant. I just need more focus and footwork work. Thanks for the great advice
Great to hear that Lem! No problem at all and keep up the good work.