I love coaching and the more players I coach the more I learn. But one thing seems to stand out with 95% of the players I work with. They all fear the opponent standing on the other side of the table.
The 5% of players who don’t fear the opponent have a secret!
When playing someone of our level or above we find ourselves, feeling uncomfortable and going for a little extra which often results in unforced errors. We often complain by saying I played badly today but in truth it's our awareness of the opponent that causes anxiety, making it hard for us to win.
We are not always beaten by players of our standard or slightly above our level but commonly LOSE tight matches to those players. What do I mean? Well we fear our opponent in most cases. Therefore, we tend to make unforced errors hence a lose rather than the player creating winners and beating us. We think too much in attempt to foresee the future which disables our execution or forces an overload of information causing a poor shot selection and ultimately deliver a weak or failed shot.
Being aware of a player’s ability is good but it should not over ride your shot selection. If we think that our opponent has an answer to all our shots, then we won’t be able to beat them mentally and that is often half the battle. The aim is to execute and deliver your game with the best strategy possible. A game plan (can be changed) and is adaptable according to the situation but we must give ourselves the best opportunity of beating a player regardless of their ability!
So, how can we give ourselves an upper hand in executing what we can do, regardless of the opponent?
Here’s the simple secret top players use to focus on their capabilities rather than the opponent’s repertoire.
Please note: top players will and can manipulate the ball in many different ways and you will need to adapt accordingly.
3x table tennis tips:
These three tips will give you a more zoned mindset and provide a simple tool to beat players your level and above more often.
So, place targets on the table when you train and make target hitting second nature when playing matches.
Here is a nice little target practice I use with my players.
Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach Me Table Tennis
FB: Eli Baraty