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It is very important to stay mentally positive in table tennis. Showing negative emotions can completely change the outcome of your match and sometimes the whole tournament. Whenever you show negative emotions in table tennis this normally gives your opponent a boost of confidence. One burst of anger from you can completely change the outcome of the match.
For example, you miss a high smash and yell “I’m gonna kill you!” This is a very extreme case but if this would happen you would be reported to the referee and probably kicked out of the table tennis tournament. Another example of an outburst of anger that can get you kicked out of the tournament is throwing your racket on the table. If you throw your racket on the table and damage it, you are not allowed to get a replacement racket because the racket was not damaged accidentally. The referee would examine the racket and determine if he wanted you to play with it. If he says it is illegal you would be forfeited from the match. These are just a few examples of ways it can hurt you or your equipment (literally) if you get too angry.
Here are some more common examples of anger hurting your game. Once you start thinking negatively in your match, it is very hard to recover mentally and stay focused on how to win. You shouldn’t dwell on points in the past because they have already happened and you cannot do anything to change them no matter how hard you try. The only thing you have control of now is the future. So forget about the points earlier and focus on how you’re going to win the next point. If you find you’re thinking about past points and not focusing, step back from the table or even take a time out. Another great time to regroup is during towel off periods in the game (which is every six points). If you lose a match and find yourself very mad, you need to forget about this match before starting the next match. Never start a match until you are completely ready for the opponent.
A technique that you can use to stay mentally positive is “positive self-talk”. This is when you talk to yourself out loud or mentally and keep encouraging thoughts in your mind. Some people are more aggressive about this so they will yell out things that make them look weird like “I’m unstoppable! “ or “Go me!” or even quotes from movies like “It’s not over till it’s over!” Some people will even clap out loud for themselves. I prefer to stay quiet and just talk mentally to myself.
It is very surprising how much of a difference staying mentally positive can make on your game. So the next table tennis tournament you’re in, remember to stay mentally positive and watch the affect it will have on your game.