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Picture this: You are playing the most important table tennis match of your life in the final round, crowds have gathered, big money is at stake, you are preparing to serve, the score is 9-9… should you call timeout?
The question above could be answered “YES” or “NO” depending on the circumstance. In the above situation, you should possibly call timeout if:
1. You need to consult your coach. If you are unsure on what to serve or what strategy to use, ask your coach.
2. You are serving. The server usually has the advantage because he sets the tone for the point by choosing the spin, speed, and location of the serve.
3. You are fatigued. At 9-9, you might need a 60 second rest to recover from a long match. When you are fresh, you can serve better, move better, relax more, and think more clearly.
4. When your opponent has momentum. In the above situation, if you were winning 9-4 and your opponent tied the score at 9-9, you need to call timeout. If you were losing 9-4, then had a great comeback, don’t call timeout.
In conclusion, your timeout is a great tool if chosen wisely. Don’t forget to take 6-point towel breaks to help recover as well; consider those to be “mini-timeouts.” Also, think clearly between points. You don’t need an official timeout to think strategy, take a few deep breaths, and beat your opponent!