Everyone wants to pull off the biggest upset of the tournament – that is everyone’s aspiration when entering a table tennis tournament. In this article, I’m going to outline some of the major tactics that can turn your dream into a reality.
Forget About It
Forget about winning, just play your best. You have about 4-7 seconds between points during the table tennis match. Instead of spending those 4-7 seconds on calculating your new rating with the big rating adjustment you will get, focus your attention on your performance. Are you moving well? Are you spinning the ball? Are you adjusting? Are you making good decisions?
Expect a Fight
You need to expect this table tennis match to be a huge battle. Hoping that your opponent will be injured or hoping that his racket fails the thickness test won’t put you in the best mindset for an upset. Of course, things do happen – elite table tennis players get cramps, get injured, get into arguments and have equipment problems – these external factors could seriously help you with a win – but you shouldn’t be hoping for these traumatic events to happen to your opponent.
Take Some Risk
If you play normal and your high-level opponent plays normal, then you will likely lose. Especially in the beginning of the table tennis match, you must take measured risks to put pressure on your opponent and steal the first table tennis game.
Don’t Be Risky
Ok, I thought that I was supposed to be risky? I’m going to re-emphasize the point I just said…… …..MEASURED RISK! MEASURED RISK! About 90% of elite table tennis players don’t need to perform against the low guy because the low guy goes for too much risk. Please don’t try to smash every serve, please don’t try to smash every loop. Don’t be TOO risky!
Continue to Adjust
For sure, the elite table tennis player is smart. If he starts losing, you might make some adjustments. As the table tennis match progresses, continue to think of tactics between points and make the necessary adjustments. Just because a particular tactic won the first table tennis game 11-2, doesn’t mean that it will continue to work.
After the upset, you can go back to the table tennis club the following week. Instead of just remembering the look on your opponent’s face, you should remember the tactics that you used, remember the mindset that you had, remember the aggressiveness or consistency that you played. My game is structured around my upsets. When I had my biggest upsets, I was able to mentally list the factors that contributed to the upset and continue to restructure my game around those aspects. You can do it too – just remember, write it down and train accordingly!
By Samson Dubina, Professional Table Tennis Athlete and Coach