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    1. Top | #1
      GusShnaps is offline
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      Any tips on how to stay calm for tournaments?

      Hey guys!

      I'll be playing a tournament soon, but I always feel quite nervous before playing (I guess that's normal).
      Are there any exercises to improve mental toughness?
      What should you think about while you're playing?

      Do you guys have any strategies to remain calm before and during matches?

      Edit: also: what do you do to get motivated to play your best?
      Last edited by GusShnaps; 11-30-2019 at 08:51 PM.

    2. Top | #2
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      Best thing I ever did was just focus on having fun. Play exactly like you practice, don't try to change anything the day of the tournament. Have a friend come with you to help keep you relaxed between matches. Warm up thoroughly and worry only about consistency, as that will inspire confidence when you play matches.

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    4. Top | #3
      thekleifheit13 is offline
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      And definitely try to warm up your serves as well, everyone wants to show up and just loop loop loop to warm up, but serving is more important IMHO

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    6. Top | #4
      mart1nandersson is offline
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      The best solution is to play lots of tournaments. You will get used to it eventually or at least get more used to the situation.

      I always try to jog for about 10 minutes and if I'm feeling seriously ambitious I use a jumping rope for a few minutes like the pros do. Gets the body properly warmed up and it releases some tension. Practicing a few serves like thekleifheit recommended is also extremely good.

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    8. Top | #5
      Baal is offline
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      Good advice already given.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that nobody but you cares if you win or lose. So do your best to keep your ego out of it. (Not easy but try). If you play badly nobody will think worse of you for it ( and it will show what you need to work on). Only you will care (and even you won't care for long). And in time, after more tournaments, you won't be as nervous anymore.

      Great athletes seem to be really good at not dwelling on bad performance (including the previous point).

      During the match at key moments when my opponent was getting ready to serve I would play favorite music in my mind.
      Last edited by Baal; 11-30-2019 at 10:10 PM.

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    10. Top | #6
      Der_Echte is offline
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      Will take a lot of tourneys, but with time, your preparation and mental state will create a few identities...

      Club You

      Tourney You

      Difference is tourney You doesn't get too pissed off, but stays calmly professionally objective with courage.
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    12. Top | #7
      Takkyu_wa_inochi is offline
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      a lot of good advice up

      try to play point by point
      ALWAYS think positively even when down 0-3 0-10 !

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    14. Top | #8
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      Listen to classical music that are soft and slow.

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    16. Top | #9
      Takkyu_wa_inochi is offline
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      smoke weed LOL

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    18. Top | #10
      yogi_bear is offline
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      Lol i cannot imagine playing high.

    19. Top | #11
      vik2000 is offline
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      Who said you can't play table tennis high?

      https://images.app.goo.gl/LZaviTPHUa8X5gK68

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    21. Top | #12
      bricec is offline
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      Here’s another piece of advice on top of all the other great ones: try to increase the level of challenge during practice. If you usually win over your practice partners you now have to win N matches in a row, win without losing a single game. You can also gamble a few drinks for example. The point being to expose yourself as much as possible to the level of stress and excitement that come with tournaments. If you have issues with having people watch you (I know I did), you can bring a video recorder to practice (it has other benefits as well).

      hope that helps

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    23. Top | #13
      Wister is online now
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      You can read the 10 minutes mental toughness : https://www.amazon.com/10-Minute-Tou.../dp/0071600639

      I've read several books on sport psychology and i liked this one. The main idea is that instead of looking for quick tools to use during match, it's best to improve your overall mental strength trough a daily 'mental training'. And indeed it makes sense it takes time to improve your strength (physical or mental) and it needs daily training. In a way that's mostly doing visualization.

      The other interesting idea is to get used to focus on the key things that make you play well. (an exemple : 'focus on your tactics', 'reset after serve'). Like that you have positive things to focus on instead of being in a clutter of random nervous thought

      If you want other books let me know but this one is very practical so i liked it

      But also as others have said, i think a big part is to do a lot of tournaments, it really comes with time as you get used (and tbh it's not fully my case ! )

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    25. Top | #14
      NextLevel is offline
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      If you can, play one game to 11 or a match with a friend (or even a random opponent) while warming up at the tournament. It puts your mind in a competitive state and it is important to be there already and not have to play a real match to activate that. I find that my brain processes TT much faster in the competitive state.

      For me the biggest issue is self awareness. You have to treat even tournament matches ultimately as learning experiences and problem solving opportunities. You play your best with your training and accept the results. But don't beat yourself up for not executing your training perfectly because it is more important to know what to fix than to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You have opportunities to fix strategy or tactics in a best of 5 but not training. If something comes up that you are not prepared for, do your best and fix the issue later in training. And if you don't train that much, there is no point beating yourself up. One of the saddest things I see is amateurs beating themselves up for inconsistency. It takes a certain level of awareness to know how much training you need to be consistent. If you don't train something don't beat yourself up for not executing it.
      Cobra Kai TT Exponent - No mercy in this dojo, no matter your rating or the score. All spin, no power or footwork.

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    27. Top | #15
      suds79 is offline
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      The best 2 things I read here which I full agree with are...

      - Play more tournaments. This way you'll get use to the feeling. Or at least somewhat.

      - Nobody outside of yourself really cares how good or bad you do. So don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
      I cannot agree with this more. We put pressure on ourselves to perform in tournaments and we all want to get better. Some people at our club I swear only play for this mythical higher rating number. SMH. But anyways back on the point. Yeah. Hope you do well. Try you best. But realize ultimately anybody you will tell about the tournament will say either "oh wow good job." or "dang. Well get em next time." and promptly move on 5 seconds later. Realize it's just a game. Not a measure of self-worth and have fun.
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    29. Top | #16
      Takkyu_wa_inochi is offline
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      Actually personally instead of being calm I try to get pumped up ! And get into the zone !
      Tchoo !!! Chorei !!! But keep focused and keep the brain working !

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    31. Top | #17
      mart1nandersson is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by Takkyu_wa_inochi View Post
      Actually personally instead of being calm I try to get pumped up ! And get into the zone !
      Tchoo !!! Chorei !!! But keep focused and keep the brain working !
      Everyone is different when it comes to this. I waste energy if I get too pumped up. My new role model is our national hero Björn Borg aka “The ice man”. It’s a new strategy but it has already shown results (... for ME).

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    33. Top | #18
      Brs is offline
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      Don't think about the score. Think about what is actually happening.

      Like are you winning a lot of points a certain way? Think about how to get that shot in play more.

      Are you losing against a certain serve? Think about how to receive it better.

      Don't think about winning and losing either. That's not actually helpful during the match.

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    35. Top | #19
      lasta is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by Takkyu_wa_inochi View Post
      Actually personally instead of being calm I try to get pumped up ! And get into the zone !
      Tchoo !!! Chorei !!! But keep focused and keep the brain working !
      I'm with Takkyu,

      Getting pumped up helps with focus more than being relaxed. For those who are no longer spring chickens, staying pumped helps push through leg fatigue.

      Also, I see the occasional TT player with his head up in the clouds, but that's Canada. Didn't know this is acceptable behavior in Japan too!
      Last edited by lasta; 12-03-2019 at 02:48 AM.

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    37. Top | #20
      UpSideDownCarl is offline
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      Lots of good info.

      One detail to understand with the get pumped up or stay calm thing is, everyone responds differently. Everyone performs at their peak under different levels of pumped upness or calmness.

      Waldner was another player who played his best when he was seemed calm. But Bjorn Borg is a great example of that as well.

      And I also know a guy who plays better when he is really angry. In matches, there are times when he will pull antics and do crazy things, throwing his racket, yelling at himself. I have never seen anyone else quite like him. When he is raging mad, like mad to the point where most people wouldn't be able to think straight, he plays at his best.

      Now if he was just an ordinary club level player I would dismiss this as not meaning much. But this guy is pretty high level. And when he was in his 20s (20 years ago) he was considerably higher level than he is now. But he is still over 2400 USATT. So, it is interesting to see how different people have peak performances with different levels of pumped upness or calmness.

      For me, remembering to have fun and not stress about the results but to go for my shots in each point without worrying about the the score or whether a shot is risky to take, that seems to work best for me.
      Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 12-03-2019 at 04:05 AM.
      Spin Everything.

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