September 18, 2013

Focus While You Play

Have trouble focusing when you play? Here are a few tips for keeping or regaining your focus in a match. (Here are some helpful links on sports psychology.)

  1. Make a habit of clearing your mind before every point. If it becomes habitual, then it becomes part of your routine, and it'll get easier and easier.
  2. Develop simple rituals before each point to help clear your mind. For example, bounce the ball a certain number of times before serving, or take a deep breath, or rub your hand on the table, or relax and drop your playing arm and swing it back and forth (which I do), or something else. If you do the same thing every time, your mind develops a Pavlovian response to it as the ritual signals to it that it's time to focus.
  3. If you lose focus, call a 60-second timeout to regain it. You can do this once per match.
  4. Pick out something in the distance and stare at it. This helps to clear the mind.
  5. Walk around the court between points. Don't overdo it - that's stalling - but a quick walkabout can help you regain focus.
  6. Think about tactics before the point as this gives you something to focus on. Then clear your mind just before the point begins.
  7. Remember that it is your subconscious that controls play in a rally. Your conscious mind should be just a spectator - its job during rallies is to just watch play and stay out of the way so the subconscious can do its job. So just let yourself go and spectate.
  8. Convince yourself it's just another match at your club. Then relax and have fun.
  9. Have something on your mind? Then mentally ball it up, spit it out, and put it on the sidelines. Now you can put it out of your mind; it'll be there for you when you finish your match.
  10. Too nervous to focus? That's a huge topic. But here's a simple way that often works, similar to the previous one. Imagine balling up all your nervousness. Then spit it out and toss it in the trash can, or toss it out the 

One Awful Footwork Mistake You Don't Realize You Make

Here's the article. Do you fall back on your heels after a strong forehand?

Longest Rally

Here's the article on high schoolers Max Fergus and Luke Logan recently setting the Guinness World Record for longest rally, going 8 hours 30 minutes and 6 seconds to break the old record by about 15 minutes.

Michael Maze

Here's a video (57:04) all about the Danish star and his training. (He's currently #22 in the world, formerly #8.)

Cartwheel Table Tennis

Here's a video (57 sec) that shows a player twice making a shot while doing a cartwheel, apparently an entry for the ITTF Trick Shot Showdown Contest. (Here's a 37-sec video of another cartwheeler from a while back, chopper Chen Xinhua on the far side.) Want to see more? Here's the page showing videos entered so far.

Comedian Daniel Tosh Carries a Big Stick

Okay, THAT's a big PADDLE.

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