OOAK Table Tennis Forum


A truly International Table Tennis Community for both Defensive and Offensive styles!
OOAK Forum Links About OOAK Table Tennis Forum OOAK Forum Memory
It is currently 08 Dec 2021, 10:42


Don't want to see any advertising? Become a member and login, and you'll never see an ad again!



All times are UTC + 9:30 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Tournament Anxiety
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2021, 00:52 
Offline
New Member

Joined: 09 Nov 2019, 01:24
Posts: 9
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Blade: Nittaku Ludeack Power
FH: Nittaku G1 Max
BH: Butterfly IliusB 1.3
Hi everyone...

There is so much information on this forum that I rarely feel the need to ask a question but I am in a tough situation and need some advice.

My regular training partner has severe tournament anxieties. They have gotten to the point that at some recent tournaments they have withdrawn after driving several hundred miles to play or have dropped out in the middle of an event and withdrawn from the entire tournament. Every lost point and mistake is a crushing blow to them. Even when they make a good shot they think that they should do that all the time. Every winner by their opponent is reminder that they are a terrible player. Even when they win they feel that their performance was poor or that they should always beat a player of that ability so can't enjoy any level of success. While this isn't new it has gotten worse recently.

When I first began playing in tournaments I had similar, if less severe, feelings while playing but have eventually been able to overcome them. It is hard work and requires a lot of belief and constant reminders of being a capable player that has prepared well and can produce the same in a match as I can in practice.

My partner is a very good practice partner, capable of consistently performing at a much higher level than they can in tournaments. They are probably 300 or 400 rating points better in practice than in tournaments. Even when they are playing practice matches they continue to play at a much higher level than when away at a tournament.

We practice 3 to 4 times a week, 1 to 4 hours at a time and while preparation could be an issue I am pretty sure we are working hard to improve. I have tried many different routines and methods to try to help them prepare for tournament play but nothing has been effective. We also discuss how we will approach the tournament and upcoming matches by discussing the positive things that we have done or obvious improvements in their play.

So... my training partner has a USATT rating of just over 1200. They have very good technique on most shots. They have effective serves for their level. They can both hit and loop from both backhand and forehand (their weaker side). They are learning to chop on their backhand and have become pretty consistent against my 1800 loop. They can also block as many loops as I can hit easily returning 10 or more in a row repeatedly.

Their equipment is a Nittaku Miyabi Hinoki single ply with Rasanter 42 2.0 and Feint Long 3 in 1.3. It is a good combination even if it seems a little quick. Like I mentioned my partner can both block, loop, hit and chop (backhand) with this. In practice at at least a 1600 level or higher. The thick sponge on the Feint makes it very versatile and helps create tons of spin on both counters at the table and chops away. Essentially this plays like inverted or spinny short pips on both sides with the backhand either slow and controlled for chops and service returns or fast when hitting hard. We practice both inverted and pips on the backhand. Rarely do we practice with the pips on the forehand.

That's about it. I need advice on how I can help this person transfer their practice form to tournaments before they decide that tournaments are just not for them. I think that could mean that eventually they will feel that they have failed and completely quit playing.

Please help me. Thanks in advance.


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Tournament Anxiety
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2021, 02:33 
Offline
Dr. Chop-Blogger
Dr. Chop-Blogger
User avatar

Joined: 23 Oct 2013, 00:48
Posts: 1748
Location: Boston
Has thanked: 593 times
Been thanked: 373 times
Blade: Butterfly Defense Alpha
FH: Andro Rasant Beat
BH: Cloud & Fog III OX
I think I know a few folks who have similar issue (playing much better in practice compared to a tournament). To be fair, some of them are quite content not to play tournaments at all - they enjoy TT nevertheless, just on a more social level.

But to get to your question - few things come to mind:

* Just playing more tournaments if it's mostly a stress/pressure issue. Eventually one grows a thicker skin and does not care as much about lost points, games, or matches.
* May be change tournament strategy - enter events above your level. Surely no shame to lose to someone who is 1900+ while you are rated around 1200?
* Play more matches locally, with *something* on the line. May be a local league, or "loser buys a drink", or...
* Change practice to be more match-like. Looping, blocking, or chopping is fine, but you need different skills in a match. Serve, receive, play out points etc. May be your partner is not as solid in these exercises as they are in more static ones. I notice it in myself - my chops are much more stable and deadly in practice, but then in a game - suddenly their loops do not come where I expect them, or they don't loop at all.

Hope it helps.

_________________
USATT: 1708 | League: 1917


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Tournament Anxiety
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2021, 02:59 
Offline
New Member

Joined: 09 Nov 2019, 01:24
Posts: 9
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Blade: Nittaku Ludeack Power
FH: Nittaku G1 Max
BH: Butterfly IliusB 1.3
Thanks PGPG...

I have started to implement more match like training. It is something I think that we all need. We had been doing some multi-ball drills but have gotten away from that and should probably get back to it. I wish we could play in a league but the nearest one is 1-1/2 hours away on week days which just makes it hard. We have not spent much time at the local club since COVID restrictions but it may be time to go there once a week or so. They only play matches and the members are mostly lower rated (which isn't a bad thing for my partner). We have our own place to play and have 5 or 6 people that come at least once or twice a week and my partner is the weakest player. We are all friends and have a good time together.

Thanks again.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Tournament Anxiety
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2021, 04:40 
Offline
Super User

Joined: 19 Jan 2018, 05:51
Posts: 480
Location: UK
Has thanked: 78 times
Been thanked: 63 times
Blade: Nittaku Shake Defence
FH: Moristo SP 1.8
BH: Dtecs OX
Interesting although common and usually a common problem causing it too. Let me ask you couple of questions while assuming the answer so I can give advice but if it turns out otherwise I'll say something else.

1. How often does he train/play matches with other people other than yourself (and how many are completely new or fairly new).

I will assume either he doesn't or rarely. Playing 3 to 4 times a week he should try to train with at least another couple of people once or even twice a week than just with you. He should be doing match play with everyone or as many different as he can every session (can get away with 1 session without it). Also extremely important is at least 1 session should be come to club, knock up 5mins with your first match opponent, then round robin with everyone, or top table. Need to really try facing new opponents when you can as well no matter the skill lvl (of course maybe not 500 rated players but even then why the hell not).

2. When you train, how random do you keep the exercises?

I'm going to assume you do most or all drills where you know where they will block or hit the ball. Hopefully even when you do you at least get to a point where you play it out or have them at the end blast a ball for a winning point. If not then keep that in mind.

After doing some basic FH and BH drills. Start doing drills where the block or loop can go 2/3 of the table or anywhere. Maybe you can block any time to other side etc. Do some drills that start with a serve too. A big big commonly used drill is to serve backspin, push, open then play.

Hopefully it's not his attitude where he feels like he is better than he is because he plays well vs you etc. Short story of mine when I played 10ish years ago I trained a lot with my brother. We were also in the same team for the local leagues. Whenever we met in our club open tournament or in training I won more (beat him in a final too). I always felt like a better player vs him. However in our local leagues he was better. Accepting it was a bit difficult as he is the younger brother but in the end all love and support and I was there in his corner when eventually we had to be in different teams.

Hopefully this helps

_________________
my youtube
http://www.youtube.com/ndragon88

My Vlog / Blog
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=32572


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Tournament Anxiety
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2021, 04:49 
Offline
OOAK Super User
OOAK Super User

Joined: 08 Apr 2015, 11:50
Posts: 1452
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 181 times
Just stop playing tournaments. It's not required at our level. Imo someone is much more likely to quit playing altogether if they force themselves to go to tournaments and have a miserable time than if they only practice and play club matches. I know tons of people who do that and play for years and years.

Maybe use that time, money and driving miles to visit lots of clubs and play new people. That is all the fun of a tournament with little or none of the stress.

_________________
Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you'll start to see a big difference in your life.

Yoko Ono


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Tournament Anxiety
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2021, 05:25 
Offline
OOAK Super User
OOAK Super User
User avatar

Joined: 06 Nov 2009, 04:40
Posts: 1517
Location: Texas, USA
Has thanked: 263 times
Been thanked: 74 times
FH: 2.0 andro rasanter R47
BH: OX Long pips, grippy
One of the worst things about table tennis in the US is the rating system. For me I have to just play matches and enjoy the experience and battle and give up "they are rated 1200 and I am 1700" type of feelings. It also helps if table tennis is not how you define yourself. Not much we can do for your friend.

I do agree-more tournaments leads to better tournament play, but most of us have work, family and other responsibilities which limit this approach to a degree.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Tournament Anxiety
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2021, 07:53 
Offline
New Member

Joined: 09 Nov 2019, 01:24
Posts: 9
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Blade: Nittaku Ludeack Power
FH: Nittaku G1 Max
BH: Butterfly IliusB 1.3
Thanks everyone... I will try to answer all of your questions and hopefully create a few more.

I understand the easy way is to quit tournaments and not put yourself through the stress of performing. But, I think that my partner will just see that as another failure. And while this could well be the outcome I'd really like to give this my best shot to get them through it to the other side. They are by nature and nurture a very negative person and will benefit from being able to get through these thoughts of failure.

They/we did play at more and different clubs before the pandemic and I'm sure that this was huge benefit to be comfortable playing with less stress. Unfortunately it's not as easy as it used to be both mostly because of life happenings. They have even played at other clubs in other countries during vacations. Something I am a little envious of TBH. So their nervousness does not extend to just walking into a strange club and playing.

I do see that we have not done enough random ball work and multi-ball. As well as not enough playing against lower rated players in a relaxed setting. I think that our training maybe has become too routine and needs to be mixed up. This back and forth has definitely reinforced that.

I do feel that it is important to be the best person playing sometimes and play against people better than you. You will play two different ways depending, and should strive to play as free and confident against the better player as you would against the weaker. So that is something I think we'll do in the next couple of weeks.

In the near term we do have an event to prepare for. We are both on the same team for the North American Team Championships. I would like to be able make this a good experience for them. This could be a make or break event and they are already expressing their fears of not being good enough. It's a little too late to back out (we are just 3) and I know that they want to attend. It should be a lot of fun if we can get through the anxiety but it could be a really tough weekend if we can't find some solutions that help.

ndragon... my partner is not the overconfident type and does not think themselves superior than the players around them. They play often with other players. We do have 5 or 6 people that regularly play with us. About half of the 3 to 5 times we play each week. My partner is the weakest player of us all but does win some of the practice matches that they play.

Your story reminds me of one of my own. Before I took 15 years off from playing (to play age group and coach soccer) I needed a playing partner to train with. I had a place to play other than our club and found a co-worker that was interested. We played almost every morning for a couple of years. As we trained they improved quickly and finally beat me in a tournament and went on to be rated higher then me. I was happy for them because we were friends but couldn't help but be a little jealous that they had overtaken me and it was partly/mostly my training them that did it.

vanjr... the rating system can certainly be a horrible thing if you worry too much about loosing points. I do agree though that there needs to be a way to determine who might be better for tournament purposes. I never check out my opponents rating before I play them. There is no way to know how accurate it is at that moment and it's better to play and adapt as is needed.

In most ways this is a mental (not crazy mental) problem and I am interested in how people might cope with the pressure of performing. Any idea is appreciated.

Thanks to everyone this far.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Tournament Anxiety
PostPosted: 12 Nov 2021, 20:19 
Offline
Super User

Joined: 19 Jan 2018, 05:51
Posts: 480
Location: UK
Has thanked: 78 times
Been thanked: 63 times
Blade: Nittaku Shake Defence
FH: Moristo SP 1.8
BH: Dtecs OX
It's a tough one then. It seems like he is just an extremely critical person to himself. Again another thing that was a problem for me.

Try doing the things I mentioned for training and hope that within a month or 2 it comes through to his games vs everyone. But personally I think it's much more a mental thing where he just needs to enjoy the moment and not be so caught up on the results. Although tbh if I lose because I keep making errors due to bad technique etc I would hate myself for the next day or 2 lol. I enjoy it when I genuinely get beat out by the better opponent because their shots were too spinny or powerful or tactics too good. Not because I went for a FH loop but my technique was all wrong or I don't know why. That's the most frustrating thing

_________________
my youtube
http://www.youtube.com/ndragon88

My Vlog / Blog
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=32572


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Tournament Anxiety
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2021, 01:05 
Offline
OOAK Super User
OOAK Super User

Joined: 08 Apr 2015, 11:50
Posts: 1452
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 181 times
It does sound like a tough challenge with the player's overall mental backdrop as you described. Here is one other thing you could try.

Your friend needs to play each point independently, with no thoughts of previous or future points or of outcomes like winning or losing. One elite US player, might have been Lily Zhang, said once that before every point she thinks to herself 0 - 0. That exact mantra may not work for your friend. But some kind of quick routine to clear the mind between points could really help. All sports require intense focus and TT is no exception. If you are worried about losing the game and disappointing your teammates of course you will play badly.

Ok, two things. In your practice, and especially when you have other people to train with, play lots of matches where you start every game at 9 - 9, or whatever score you want, 8-6, 10-10, just late in the game. This does a couple of things. It desensitizes you a little to winning and losing because you can play 100 matches from 9 - 9 in one session. It helps you find your most reliable and successful point patterns so when you play a tight game in real life you know what serves or receives will give you the best chance. Results are very random, so it won't always work. But live and die with your strongest patterns and you know you gave your best.

Three things. This player needs a bench coach. Can you as teammates coach during the competition? Or bring someone who won't play just to be the coach? Coaches help with stuff like this.

_________________
Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you'll start to see a big difference in your life.

Yoko Ono


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Tournament Anxiety
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2021, 02:56 
Offline
New Member

Joined: 09 Nov 2019, 01:24
Posts: 9
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Blade: Nittaku Ludeack Power
FH: Nittaku G1 Max
BH: Butterfly IliusB 1.3
These are all excellent ideas. Thanks so much.

Yes they are very negative. And the littlest error can set them off and their focus won't return for days. Some of these ideas we have tried. The hardest thing to do is get them to continue to say positive things and play one point at a time when it doesn't seem to have an immediate effect. I try very hard to make them understand that none of this will work just because you tried a couple of times. It is a process just like any other training. We're trying to train the brain and as we all know it can be quite stubborn (which is quiet and understatement).

In our last time playing, Wednesday evening, they were playing match against a player that is 100% attack all the time and one of the spinniest players that I've ever played against at any level. During one point my partner was literally backed against the wall when their opponent blasted a laser at their backhand. They instinctively executed a perfect chop that was straight to the white line on the other side. I was so amazed by both of them I cheered in the middle of the point. But the attacker somehow returned it and ended up winning the point because my partner couldn't get over the shot they had just made. The whole point was amazing. We all just started laughing and saying how amazing they both were. A wonderful moment that everyone will remember for a while. I wish I had recorded it.

That is the kind of in the moment of joy I would like my partner to be able to have more often. Those moments, and tough hard fought wins (and even hard fought loses sometimes) are why we compete.

I have started to put together some ideas from this discussion that will include more varied training at the table, matches against weaker players and some more targeted mental training. I think that discussing past successes and moments like the one above will hopefully remind them that they are so much more capable than they think and that those successes aren't just some kind of fleeting luck. Also playing practice matches against weaker players with more success will hopefully improve their confidence. The team should be able to support them each match at the upcoming team tournament and I think that will help and not just put more pressure on them.

You have all been awesome! Thanks so much! If you think of anything else I am always open to new ideas.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 




All times are UTC + 9:30 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Copyright 2018 OOAK Table Tennis Forum. The information on this site cannot be reused without written permission.

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group