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  1. Silver smasher is offline
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    #1

    Do you use motivational self talk?

    I am a local league player who is decent at practice but bad at matches. I would attack the wrong ball and miss badly. I would then beat myself up, lose focus (and a couple of points) before going into a negative safety first game and afraid to attack.
    i read up about self talk and started reciting phrases in the car on the way to matches which seem to help. In the last 2 matches I played really well and remained calm even when the games were close. During the half hour drive to the match I kept repeating "I will remain calm and relaxed throughout the game. I will focus on the ball, put pressure on my opponent, and attack when it is right to do so".
    I think this has really improved my match play- do you use self talk and what do you say?

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  2. Attitude is offline
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    #2
    Nah i am usually just insulting myself, so i stopped doing that 🤣

    But for real, as i was younger i was just cursing around and blaming anything else but me for failing. Didnt matter if it was training or matches.

    ​​​​​​Now i am more talking to myself about the mistakes i made and how to correct them. Cursing and insulting doesnt help and loses you time you need between the balls to adjust your playstyle, working on your tactics and strategies for your next ralleys. Always focus on that.

    Ask yourself why you couldnt hit that topspin. What did you do wrong and what did your opponent do, you might have missed and failed because of that.
    If you want to improve and win always focus on the game, your opponent and what you can learn and adjust. Everything else is a waste of time and can lose you your match.

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  3. Takkyu_wa_inochi is online now
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    #3
    "I'm the better player, I'm gonna win""i'm gonna beat him to the ground"avoid negative thinkingavoid conditional thinking "IF i do this and that, i'm going to win "NOO !!!! forget the first half and make it "I'm going to win" or "i'll do this and that AND I'm going to win"

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  4. bobpuls is offline
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    #4
    Nothing works..... Only fun works for me... And maybe alcohol in first 🤣....

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  5. lasta is offline
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Attitude
    Nah i am usually just insulting myself, so i stopped doing that 🤣

    But for real, as i was younger i was just cursing around and blaming anything else but me for failing. Didnt matter if it was training or matches.

    ​​​​​​Now i am more talking to myself about the mistakes i made and how to correct them. Cursing and insulting doesnt help and loses you time you need between the balls to adjust your playstyle, working on your tactics and strategies for your next ralleys. Always focus on that.

    Ask yourself why you couldnt hit that topspin. What did you do wrong and what did your opponent do, you might have missed and failed because of that.
    If you want to improve and win always focus on the game, your opponent and what you can learn and adjust. Everything else is a waste of time and can lose you your match.

    I suppose you are more mature than I am.

    My motivation self speak still revolves around: "rip that ************'s *** to ******!"

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  6. allencorn is offline
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    #6
    The research on self-talk is iffy on positive or motivational self-talk having much effect on performance. Negative self-talk likely has a negative effect. The best self-talk is instructional self-talk, as it helps focus on relevant things to do.

    Bottom line, whatever works for you.

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  7. OldschoolPenholder is offline
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    #7
    Hello:

    I started playing in my teens for 8 to 10 yrs or so. I was a better player in games than practice back then. Then retired from the game focusing on college, career and starting a family. Took a 32 year break. Unretired and started playing again. Lost a lot of my gameplay/game mentality. Started just practicing more. Got to be decent in practice and sucked at games.

    I am a believer of positive self-talk as well as visualization. Realistically that will not help me beat a 2000 player however, they will give me better execution/chance than if i didn't use those tools. Note well that some players react to cursing and negative self-talk more so than positive self-talk. An athlete outside of TT that comes to mind is the tennis player John McEnroe.

    For maybe 2 years all i did was practice. Did not really play games. After I got some of my basic and intermediate strokes consistent, I started playing games again and lost many, many games, but over time, happy to report that slowly my gameplay came back and the scores were closer. I have a friend I play that I've played a lot against. We both joke that my record vs him is 9-99. There were nights where i was in the zone/flow and everything was working and was effortless. Call me naive or stupid, but I chalk it up to the positive self-talk and visualization. Some nights the negative self-talk and thoughts creeped in and it showed in my gameplay. Couldn't serve, couldn't hit basic FH or FH loop. I recall a high-ranked player that sadly recently passed away, George Braitwaite (RIP), watching me play one night when none of my FH loops worked in the games. He commented that something was off and that I was not relaxed. Told me to loosen up. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself and i didn't notice it. Took an outside observer to see it in me and comment to me about it. So sometimes I visualize myself out of my body as I reviewed the point I played to see if i was relaxed or tense, etc. If you know Dr Strange from Marvel Comics, I astral projected myself to observe me ... lol at me!

    Find what works for you. Do a little of this and a little of that. In time, maybe go 50/50 between practice and play. Relaxation is also key. Do not stress about winning the game. Focus on just the point you are playing. Sometimes it is not about hitting the best shot and looking for a outfight winner for your highlights clip. Sometimes it is just about being able to return the ball. If i play against someone who wants to win and going all out each point, I sometimes take it easy with my attacks and just play to consistently return the ball and let him make a mistake. Like i said, do a little of this and that. As you gain more experience in gameplay as well as relaxation while playing, you should be able to win some games.

    An aside, related but unrelated to self-talk. Sometimes it is about the level of your training partner or opponent's level in the game. If you play someone you are way better than, you should win the game easily. But hard to improve if all you do is play vs opponents below your level. Most of us want to play opponents better than ourselves. But sometimes those opponents do things you have no idea how they do it. But you do know you lost. Most important thing about those games is analyzing your loss. What did you do right? What did you do wrong? What did that opponent do to you to make you lose a point? Was it he exploited a weakness in your game? Or was it you were there but had poor execution? Then there are opponents who are on the same level as you more or less. These are the opponents you will learn the most about yourself and your game if you analyze your losses ... a loss is not a loss if you learn something from it. All losses with this progressive/growth mindset will help your game.

    I am rambling at this point. Sorry for the long-winded post. hope something in it helps your game!

    ~osph

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  8. Der_Echte is offline
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    #8
    OSP, you BETTER get long winded and articulate of face da Goon Squad.

    You could also cover some of the subtleties of a little talk from or to ur opponents...

    LULZ.

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  9. IB66 is offline
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    #9
    I’ll comment on ‘motivational self talk’ at the end of another long winded post!!! apologies in advance!!
    But this topic is also to do with your ‘state of mind’ which is a pretty large topic!,

    I find I have good days, bad days, very bad days and very good days!!! But doesn’t everyone !!!!???
    some times it’s effortless ( less often/rarely ) play is easy, sometimes it can be like it’s the 1st time you’ve held a bat!!!! ( less often/rarely).
    Most of the time it’s average, normal, you play ok, (or what you consider as ok) and depending on whether you win or lose a match can make you feel or think that it was a good or bad day!!!

    EXPECTATIONS
    If you lose a match to someone that you have beaten a couple of times before, let’s say the previous scores in the 2 matches were 11-8, 11-9, 11 -8 (3-0) & 10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 (3-2) is it a bad day losing the 3rd match? Because you think ‘hey you normally beat this person, what’s wrong?’ Your expectation is that you are going to win!!
    But do you remember the previous games properly?? It’s likely your brain just registers and remembers win / lose, not necessarily that in the 1st match the 3 zip score line was really not reflective of how tough the game actually was!!! Close rallies, the ‘net/edge’ tally could have been a couple of points in your favour.
    The 2nd match score is really a more realistic one!! The 1st game could have gone either way!!

    Now the 3rd match you lose 6-11, 6-11, 4-11 so this sort of score you class as ‘a bad day’ but it’s likely that you played to your average level of play. It may well be that your opponent had one of those rarer ‘very good’ days, an effortless victory!!
    So it’s important to try and be ‘grounded’ and reflect correctly. Don’t ‘expect’ to win or be ‘over confident’ this can lead to complacency.


    Self motivational talk during a match (and practice!!)

    Surely EVERYONE uses this!!!

    It helps many people, every time a point is won a ‘YES’ or ‘CHO’ or fist pump can insert a positive attitude mentally. Telling yourself you are playing well and can win the next point. All this stuff is good!!
    As others have said try and avoid negative thoughts. But as OSP says for some berating themselves vocally does the trick!!
    Also a lot of top sportspersons are just plain and simple ‘shit scared of losing’ !!! This really fires them up!!!!

    We generally hold to the idea that ‘practice makes perfect’ so use motivational self talk during practice as well !!!

    Table Tennis is a very fast game, so practice visualisation of what you are going to do in between points, learn to get this done quickly and clearly, then clear your mind, concentrate and execute. Try and make this a part of the ‘in between points’ routine. It doesn’t have to be a full 20 shot rally!! Perhaps a ‘switch play block’ because you have won a couple of points previously with that shot.

    All this is easily said !!! harder to do, because someone at the other end of the table maybe doing exactly the same!!!

    State of mind has more than most people think it does in achieving results.
    one season, 1st half I had a 70% win average, 2nd half 33%. And lost many of those matches badly. What was the difference ??
    2nd half there was a lot of negative stuff going on in my personal life, even though I really wanted to play and play well, my head just wasn’t geared up properly, it’s hard to explain!!! probably a subconscious thing!!! But my match performance suffered!!!


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  10. Brs is offline
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    #10
    I used to criticize myself a lot during matches. That didn't make me play better, and it was less fun for me, and probably for my opponent also. So I do two things. If I miss a receive, or a block or something that in theory should be easy, I always say Nice serve! or Good spin! Whatever, you know, I compliment my opponent instead of blaming myself. This freaks some people out because it isn't very normal to say nice things during a match. But it helps me to think maybe I pushed that serve in the net because it was spinny as Hell, and not because I'm a loser who doesn't know how to play.

    The other thing I try to do when I'm under a lot of pressure is just say Yes and nod my head. I copied that from the CNT women. They all do it, so now all the asian women do, they lose a point or two and they just step back and think for two seconds, then nod yes to themselves and get ready for the next point. It's not a magic word, unfortunately, but Yes is the least-specific positive thought one can have. It applies to everything. Yes, I will win. Yes, I can counter that loop. Yes, I feel good, my legs are strong. Yes, I love playing table tennis even though right now my ass is being handed to me. Yes, Yes.

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  11. Joo Se Kev is offline
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    #11
    From what I've read, the literature on positive self talk leans in favor of it having a positive effect on performance--especially if you make it part of an integrated and rehearsed pre-performance routine that is used before each point. It's one of those interventions that is easy-to-implement, free, and has no discernible downsides. So why not?

    I'm not so good with this myself to be honest. Oddly, it can be hard to give up an abusive relationship sometimes...even if it's just with yourself!

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  12. OldschoolPenholder is offline
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte
    You could also cover some of the subtleties of a little talk from or to ur opponents...

    LULZ.

    Nope, the trash talking I'll leave to you to post about lol

    New mantra: I should rather return one more ball and maybe get killed than kill myself and not make the shot.

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    #13
    Yes.Helps build my confidence by enhancing my belief in ability to perform, reduce jitters, and improve mood.

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    #14
    It’s quite an experience playing against negative self talkers:

    “So many nets/edges against me” (after they themselves hit a net/edge a few points earlier)

    “There’s so much humidity in this hall/the lighting is bad/the table is slow/the ball doesn’t grip” (conditions are the same for both)

    “My ALC/Tenergy/booster/fish scale koto is wearing off (LOL)

    As long as it doesn’t escalate to bad sportsmanship or dirty tricks it adds to the diversity of this sport.

    You do you IMO

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