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How to not panic during a table tennis match

How to not panic during a table tennis match?

Hello. Welcome back to PingSunday. Today, let’s learn the best way to not panic during a match. I also gave you some tips for staying calm during the real competition.


Struggle during a real competition

A player asked me

“So I was in a competition yesterday, won a match, and my second match was against this guy. I knew I was going to win because of my skill set; it was meant to be a simple game, and my opponent wasn’t so good honestly. There were a lot of people watching (including my father and friends), and when I lost a point by putting the ball into the net, I could feel my legs almost shaking, and I was worried even though my opponent wasn’t that good. And I somehow managed to lose the game (11-9). I’m terribly disappointed with myself while my father and friends are watching; I disappointed them all, a pretty embarrassing loss due to nervousness.

How do I stop this from happening?”



This is a common question about mental strength in table tennis. Here I will give you some tips to deal with the pressure, the stress in table tennis.

How to not panic during a table tennis match

Watch this video.

01 Don’t put yourself under pressure by thinking that you should win

You are over confident. You are thinking that you will win. No, don’t do that. Never assume you’ll easily beat your opponent, even if there is a big skill difference.

some tips for staying calm and composed during a table tennis match
some tips for staying calm and composed during a table tennis match

In a real match, all that matters is playing calmly and whoever makes the least mistakes can have the momentum and win.

02 Think only about each point

Taking a mental reset after each point and constantly reminding yourself of positive affirmations like “I’m not going to make a simple mistake” will help a lot. The most crucial aspect, however, will be experience; everyone reacts differently in these situations, and the more times you’ve felt it, the better you’ll be at overcoming it.

Don’t put yourself under pressure
Don’t put yourself under pressure

Focus on the ball. Don’t let it lose your sight. Forget that your family, your friends are watching you.

Remind yourself that overconfidence is a silent killer. Contempt grows from familiarity. You’ll be able to handle adrenaline and stress better as you gain experience. See you in the next video.

Here are my additional tips that help you stay calm.


How to stay calm during a table tennis match

Here are some tips for staying calm and composed during a table tennis match:

01 Take deep breaths: Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. This can help you relax and focus on the present moment. Remember, that in table tennis, you have a tower break every 6 points. Use it wisely!

Take deep breaths
Take deep breaths

02 Stay positive: Instead of focusing on negative thoughts, try to stay positive and think about the things you are doing well. Focus only on the strokes (topspin, control, backhand) that you do the best.

Stay positive
Stay positive

03 Set small goals: Instead of focusing on the overall outcome of the match, set small goals for each point and each game. This can help you stay focused and take things one step at a time. Like try to win 8-6, or go to 9-7. Don’t try to win 11-2.

Set small goals
Set small goals

04 Use visualization: Before the match, take some time to visualize yourself playing well and handling difficult situations with ease. This can help you feel more confident and prepared when you step on the court.

05 Use positive self-talk: If you find yourself getting anxious or panicking, try to reassure yourself with positive self-talk. For example, you can tell yourself “I’ve got this” or “I can handle this.” Do you remember the slogan of PingSunday “In spin we trust”?

Use positive self-talk
Use positive self-talk

06 Take breaks: If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a short break between games to regroup and refocus.

Remember that it is normal to feel some level of anxiety or pressure during a match, but with practice and patience, you can learn to manage these feelings and perform at your best.


Mind game (dirty tricks) in table tennis

Some players will try to use the dirty tricky mind game to disturb you.

The most famous example is the match between Tomokazu Harimoto and Lubomir Pistej.

Tomokazu Harimoto vs Lubomir Pistej _ MS _ WC2017
Tomokazu Harimoto vs Lubomir Pistej _ MS _ WC2017

Mind games are a part of every sport, whether you like it or not. They can be anything from “stare downs” in boxing to starting fights in any sport to distract an opponent.



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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

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