Is this bad form? Or am I overacting.

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This isn't a big deal really but thought I'd share with you guys.

So last night at club in a doubles match, I had a service error. We're all pretty chummy & friends at club. It's nothing serious. We all play to win but this isn't the world championships or anything. I say that to establish that this is different from a tournament. Just a normal club night where guys laugh, joke & talk quite often during the night.

Anyways, I have this service error and this guy on the other team says what he has always said for many years "thank you. Do that again." It's like a canned response. 100% guarantee he says that every time to whoever had the error and apparently the joke never gets old. Now I've bit my lip forever on this letting it go but this time in a close match I right after that point I said "Hey is it cool if you don't thank me for service errors anymore? I don't really appreciate it." He kinda had a confused look on his face. Didn't really say anything but admittedly there sometimes can be a somewhat language barrier but he's fluent plenty and I just said again "Is that cool? Can we agree upon that?" and still nothing and play resumes.

Now I've established we're chummy & friendly at club but make no mistake. Everybody is playing to win as they should be.

Part of me thinks "it's bad form & sportsmanship to do something like that on someone's F up. It'd be like cho-ing on a blatant unforced error. IMO that's bad form too. So while uncomfortable, sometimes uncomfortable is necessary and I'm glad I said something.

On the other hand it's not a big deal and if you knew this guy, he's the nicest guy ever so I know there's no real malice behind it. And the fact I've let it go on for this long.

For the record at the end of the night we both said have a good night and it was our usual goodbyes so it's not like there's any lasting ill will from this but because he's such a nice guy, I do feel a pinch bad.

Now if this was a tournament, I would have no hesitation to say right after the 1st time someone does that saying "please don't do that" and you keep playing. You don't really talk to an opponent during a tournament match anyways. I've actually played him in a tournament before and I don't recall us saying anything to each other during the match. Pretty sure we didn't.

I don't know. Thoughts? Do you guys have any interesting/gamesmanship stories like this from club?
 
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says Pimples Schmimples
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Funny you should bring this one up because it's a pet hate of mine.
I think its a BS move to sarcastically thank players that way, I personally find it disrespectful and not funny. I can't put my finger on why it annoys me so much but I suspect part of it is having my mistakes laughed at sarcastically hurts my pride. I should be man enough and mature enough to laugh it off. But I'm not...it does my head in.
I play at 2 clubs and there are players in both who will do this every time, in tournament or practice, and as you said, the joke apparently never gets old.

But as an issue it's MY issue, not theirs so I never show that it bothers me, not verbally anyway. Never.
I don't want my irrational dislike of this practice to sour things and also (cos some players do try to stir sh!t) I won't give them the satisfaction. I think it would make me seem petty and (mentally) weak.
So I just use it as motivation to beat them as badly as I can. This helps in matches, I double down and concentrate more. But in club games when weaker players have done it to me I just go beast mode and finish the game. Maybe I'm the a$$ho!e. 🤷I dunno, it just annoys me!

So do I think you were wrong to say something? Yes. Because it will most likely sour things and lead to less enjoyment for everyone. Or best case the other person says 'sure' and apologises but you've shown a mental weakness.
I think it's your issue that you can't laugh it off (as indeed I can't) and it should not be externalised and made someone elses problem. Don't be the fart in the elevator!
My 2c on it
 
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Plenty of people say it at my club on open play nights...myself included. i don't do it during the round robins. and i would never do it at a tournament, especially to someone i don't know. if its just open play and you are all just goofing around (even if you want to win), i think you have to let it go man as it does seem like a bit of an over reaction. But then again, i'm not there to read the non verbal ques. If its someone you don't really like or dont consider yourself friendly with, i can see how it would be irritating. but this is a mental game. if you let a thank you on your error get you irritated , you will have a hard time staying mentally focused when it really matters.
 
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It's just part of the game. It makes us humans; warts and all. Just some ribbin' amongst friends. I do that to other players often like calling out, Hey Bub! Good serve, one more time pls! "

Funny enough, if I play in tourney and I meet an opponent for the first time, a total stranger, I'll be quiet as a mouse coz that person is a stranger.
 
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Mental game is complicated. The line between strength by building mental fortitude with isolated and internal concentration and weakness by allowing praise (whose presence may strengthen but whose absence may weaken, the converse for criticism) is thin. We are inherently social animals, even in a solitary game like singles TT. It is normal and natural to respond to social supporter and detractors during a game. That some people can find fuel in both is interesting but not that common. In the end, try your best to put yourself in the best mental state to get the result you desire.

I usually try to ignore such statements to keep my game face on. But all kinds of things are possible in match play. And I don't think any response is right or wrong as long as you have a narrative that you tie to it that keeps your game face on.
 

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It might be a culture thing, but over in the UK I'd be amazed if these comments weren't happening every single night across the country.

It's so common, and to be honest, at a "club night" (not a formal league match or tournament), this would be considered a pretty mundane comment!

Why do you think it bothered you so much this time?

Given a lot of UK league players know each other well (those who play in the same league year after year), these comments (and worse) easily creep into actual ranked matches well.

It is, after all, only a game 😅
 
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Two points:

1. It looks like (from the whole description) he just doesn't mean any harm. The intention matters. However, you really need to get into state, where this has no influence on you, regardless of the intention (which it's hard to be sure about). It is not hard to get there. Other things are harder.

2. It's good you released the steam. It took some time to build up, and it is good you released it. Have no doubt about it. Just work so that the steam doesn't build up for this kind of things at all. Cheers.
 
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In the Netherlands it is very common to say sorry when the opponent missed their serve. Same goes with net or edge balls. Long time ago i played a amateur who said "Thanks" when i missed easy shots, i did win in 11-4 sets. So it didn't do much.

It is just common trash talk, not showing emotion often will demotivate them.
 
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It might be a culture thing, but over in the UK I'd be amazed if these comments weren't happening every single night across the country.

It's so common, and to be honest, at a "club night" (not a formal league match or tournament), this would be considered a pretty mundane comment!

Why do you think it bothered you so much this time?

Given a lot of UK league players know each other well (those who play in the same league year after year), these comments (and worse) easily creep into actual ranked matches well.

It is, after all, only a game 😅
I agree, it’s nothing and I think you over reacted
 
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I agree, it’s nothing and I think you over reacted
What good is supposed to come of mocking someone's mistake in an intensely competitive situation when you are both at close quarters with each other? I know when things are cool, it is easy to just laugh off, but it can be hard to know what someone's competitive mindset requires in tight situations.
 
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If you want to be serious and what to win, then you need to learn to cope with what ever remarks comes out of your opponents mouth.

the word, cope, can be defined differently.
end of the day, its a mental warfare and you should reflect if you won or lost

again, that is, if you are serious about winning all the time, irrespective on the competition you are at.
you need to be in a zone that is in affected, else, you would just become a lebrun
 
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It sometimes depends on how an opponent expresses it, nicely funny way or hostile way. You can see if someone is nice or not with the same way.

Most tt players are really nice. some might have a little bigger ego, but most not to the level of annoying.
 
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If you want to be serious and what to win, then you need to learn to cope with what ever remarks comes out of your opponents mouth.

the word, cope, can be defined differently.
end of the day, its a mental warfare and you should reflect if you won or lost

again, that is, if you are serious about winning all the time, irrespective on the competition you are at.
you need to be in a zone that is in affected, else, you would just become a lebrun
Yes. That said, coping with opponent's mouth doesn't mean you cannot fight the opponent with verbal retaliation if that is your preferred way of coping with the mental warfare. That is why the stoic approach is not the only approach that is correct in these situations. The main argument for the stoic approach is that you are focusing on something you can control better (your mindset), but there is also no reason why your mindset shouldn't be allowed to say something back to the opponent to make yourself feel better because the truth is that the opponent should not be saying anything at all!.
 

NDH

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What good is supposed to come of mocking someone's mistake in an intensely competitive situation when you are both at close quarters with each other? I know when things are cool, it is easy to just laugh off, but it can be hard to know what someone's competitive mindset requires in tight situations.
Perhaps the initial "setting of the scene" was wrong (or misleading), but in my 20+ years of playing, I've never been at a "club night" where the competitive nature is to the point where you can't have a laugh.

Maybe us Brits are just overly sarcastic, but if you don't say "Ohhhhh sorrrrryyyyyyy" after a filthy edge or net in a super sarcastic (I don't mean it) kinda way..... It's a travesty! 😂

That, coupled with the fact the OP seemed to indicate this guy is the nicest man on earth (and it doesn't sound like trash talk at all), I'm a little confused as to how the situation ended up like it did.
 
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Yes. That said, coping with opponent's mouth doesn't mean you cannot fight the opponent with verbal retaliation if that is your preferred way of coping with the mental warfare. That is why the stoic approach is not the only approach that is correct in these situations. The main argument for the stoic approach is that you are focusing on something you can control better (your mindset), but there is also no reason why your mindset shouldn't be allowed to say something back to the opponent to make yourself feel better because the truth is that the opponent should not be saying anything at all!.
It's funny....I consider table tennis a "gentleman's sport" much to the likes of Tennis. I say this as someone who played soccer competitively for 15 years. In my opinion, table tennis players are a million times nicer than soccer players. The risk of competition breaking out in to a physical fight was quite often in a soccer game. An opponent saying thank you after an error in soccer would easily be considered the most tame of "offenses".

In my 2.5 years of competing in table tennis, I've only had one situation escalate into something I would consider a heightened verbal altercation with a risk of physicality. I took the higher road and of course the situation did not escalate any further, but my opponent did threaten physical violence if I continued to speak.

So maybe i'm used to a little more direct trash talking that I think OP is kind of over-reacting, at least in the situation he described at his club night, but that is not to say that there aren't other forms of "trash-talking" that happen in this sport, albeit in a more of a gentlemanly way. For example, it does seem like the rules permit a player to "CHO". You can say they are doing this to release their own stress, which I can understand, but I also think there is a form of gamesmanship involved in this too.

So I go back to my original point- you have to be mentally strong in this game. If a "thank you" is throwing you off, then a "CHO" will throw you off, and so on and so forth.
 
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Perhaps the initial "setting of the scene" was wrong (or misleading), but in my 20+ years of playing, I've never been at a "club night" where the competitive nature is to the point where you can't have a laugh.

Maybe us Brits are just overly sarcastic, but if you don't say "Ohhhhh sorrrrryyyyyyy" after a filthy edge or net in a super sarcastic (I don't mean it) kinda way..... It's a travesty! 😂

That, coupled with the fact the OP seemed to indicate this guy is the nicest man on earth (and it doesn't sound like trash talk at all), I'm a little confused as to how the situation ended up like it did.
It is probably because the OP was trying really hard to win a close game/match and something that would have been mildly annoying in most contexts and ignored by him in most contexts became an opportunity to voice his hidden feelings which he couldn't suppress as well in those specific circumstances. Usually, we tame our bad behavior with reflection. But sometimes our reflective capacities are weakened by specifics that we aren't often aware of to be honest. I agree that cultural context can make a huge difference in intent and reception. Why someone should be okay with being mocked over his serve but not okay with being mocked over putting the ball over the table or into the net, I really don't know. Maybe that is why the donkey is there....
 
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It's funny....I consider table tennis a "gentleman's sport" much to the likes of Tennis. I say this as someone who played soccer competitively for 15 years. In my opinion, table tennis players are a million times nicer than soccer players. The risk of competition breaking out in to a physical fight was quite often in a soccer game. An opponent saying thank you after an error in soccer would easily be considered the most tame of "offenses".

In my 2.5 years of competing in table tennis, I've only had one situation escalate into something I would consider a heightened verbal altercation with a risk of physicality. I took the higher road and of course the situation did not escalate any further, but my opponent did threaten physical violence if I continued to speak.

So maybe i'm used to a little more direct trash talking that I think OP is kind of over-reacting, at least in the situation he described at his club night, but that is not to say that there aren't other forms of "trash-talking" that happen in this sport, albeit in a more of a gentlemanly way. For example, it does seem like the rules permit a player to "CHO". You can say they are doing this to release their own stress, which I can understand, but I also think there is a form of gamesmanship involved in this too.

So I go back to my original point- you have to be mentally strong in this game. If a "thank you" is throwing you off, then a "CHO" will throw you off, and so on and so forth.
A world class player past his prime (in the late 70s and 80s) once told me he would have done something to get Harimoto's attention if he had screamed playing him.

I have seen lots of subtle and not-so-subtle games manship in TT. My main point is that as much as I get the stoic approach to these things, it isn't the only way to play your best table tennis or the best way to get into your opponents head during a match if that is your thing. I can't remember ever speaking during an opponents mistake specifically about it though I have choed to keep.myself pumped up during a competitive match on points won by my opponent's mistakes. If someone is annoyed by his opponent's comments after his mistake, what is the best way of handling it? The way that keeps his game face and focus on the game. Is that necessarily being silent about it? That's what I am disputing here.

I will still go into clubs tomorrow and have people apologize or thank me when I serve into the net. I will still ignore it and focus on the match. But if one day I blow a gasket and tell the opponent it is a false emotion, it might be what I need to get over it on that day and if he doesn't want to hear that, he is better off keeping his mouth shut.
 
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