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Thought process while playing

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FruitLoop View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10/15/2018 at 7:22pm
One of the greatest weaknesses I have while improving is that I constantly think too much during play. I often literally think about mechanics while I play a shot, as well as shot selection, placement, what my hand should be feeling, spin, everything. Which makes me ultimately tense, tentative and indecisive. When you think about how to play a shot you won't be able to do it! It's like I don't trust myself with the feeling of good form and am unable to let go. The time to worry about form is during practice not during a stroke in a match obviously.

I was wondering for some tips or advice on what you should be thinking about during a point. Nothing (difficult for non Buddhist's right?)? Placement? Something else? Golfers often talk about having a single swing thought to help block out unwanted conscious thought, which is easier than thinking about nothing and can also correct form etc. This is quite a neglected topic in sport in general I think especially amongst amateurs, in table tennis it's a big thing I see some people crippled by overthinking tension in matches.

Edited by FruitLoop - 10/15/2018 at 7:29pm
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Lightzy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lightzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/15/2018 at 7:40pm
Don't worry bout it. It'll go away.
It's like music students thinking about which finger to use on what note. It all goes away with experience and you can live the melody. Or the point.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/15/2018 at 8:53pm
You could try just watching the ball.  It may sound kind of zen, but there is actually a lot to observe and think about the ball.  It can occupy almost all of your conscious attention. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chroot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/15/2018 at 8:59pm
Should be thinking more about your opponent. What's his weakness? How do I place the ball to his weakest spot? Don't think about the mechanics of a particular shot. It should be directly from your muscle memory that you have built during your daily training.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/15/2018 at 9:55pm
I guess my post was about what to focus on while the ball is in play, and chroot's post is great advice of what to think about between points.  After the first set you should know a lot about your opponent's game, and from there it is all about problem-solving.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TT newbie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/15/2018 at 10:06pm
It seems you don´t have solid and fully developed strokes yet. If you say you think about a shot and is not able to do it you must train more and more to make a shot naturally. 
I see it happen a lot with beginners, they use all efforts to make the ball just land into the table. And the biggest mistake I see is beginners stopping to practice fundamentals when they reach a minimum level needed to execute some shots. That point when they conquered the technique to make a shot but do it without confidence and want to start to apply tactics in a match.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/15/2018 at 10:32pm
The better players at my club always say to watch the opponent, not the ball. But personally I find my consistency, reactions and everything drop if I don't focus on the ball. I'm not sure if I'm just not at that level yet, or if I just need to practice it more to get used to it. If the ball is slow, and I have a lot of time, I generally watch my opponent to see where I should hit the ball. I've always been a "look at the ball, use peripheral vision to watch my opponent" type of guy, but a lot of people much better than me say the opposite is better.

Between points I think of what went wrong the last point, what tactics I should use more often. Like if I looped cross court and they were waiting there, I make sure to remind myself to go down the line. Think about what worked last time, like a deep fast push wide to their forehand. There's actually so many things to think about now that I'm thinking about it. But I think in general you should try and identify one thing to keep in mind between each point. Having some set strategies also help, like serving half long without much spin and attacking the third ball strongly. Serving regular spin (reverse for right handers) to their short forehand, getting into position to loop with the backhand, or if it's reverse spin, getting ready to attack with forehand.

Generally you don't want to be thinking of a specific part of your technique. I think the closest I get to that is reminding myself to loop more against people with heavier pushes, or to attack more against opponent's with generally lighter spin (like short pips pushes).


Edited by mickd - 10/15/2018 at 11:30pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FruitLoop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2018 at 5:01am
Originally posted by TT newbie TT newbie wrote:

It seems you don´t have solid and fully developed strokes yet. If you say you think about a shot and is not able to do it you must train more and more to make a shot naturally. 
I see it happen a lot with beginners, they use all efforts to make the ball just land into the table. And the biggest mistake I see is beginners stopping to practice fundamentals when they reach a minimum level needed to execute some shots. That point when they conquered the technique to make a shot but do it without confidence and want to start to apply tactics in a match.


This is partially true (of course!). But the difference between me on my best form, in practice, relaxed etc is massive to tight and tense and overthinking in a match.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stavros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2018 at 5:49am

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance 

It's also applies to Table Tennis etc. 



Edited by Stavros - 10/16/2018 at 5:50am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HuLimei Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2018 at 7:48am
"Awww man!!! I should've gotten Timo Boll SXZ instead of Timo Boll DSG. Hmmm... I wonder if they have it in 84.56576 grams. I better order 5 just in case."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FruitLoop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2018 at 8:19am
Originally posted by HuLimei HuLimei wrote:

"Awww man!!! I should've gotten Timo Boll SXZ instead of Timo Boll DSG. Hmmm... I wonder if they have it in 84.56576 grams. I better order 5 just in case."


Don't think even the described hardcore EJ's EJ in the middle of a point
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