The Tournament Mindset – Samson Dubina
During practice, most table tennis players focus 100% on themselves. They think in detail about their own footwork, their own strokes, and their own serves. They rarely consider their opponent. In table tennis tournaments, they are mistakenly focused on themselves, wondering why they can’t win.
By performing beautiful forehand loops, your opponent will not drop dead. You can’t win a match based on your awesome footwork. The only way to win a table tennis match is to beat your opponent! In matches, you should be 95% focused on your opponent and only 5% focused on yourself. At the elite level, there are many detailed strategies. I’ll deal with them in a future article. For now, here are 10 basic questions that you should be asking yourself between games and between points!
Does my opponent prefer backhand or forehand when attacking?
Does my opponent prefer backhand or forehand when defending?
Where is my opponent’s middle (the transition point between backhand and forehand)?
Does my opponent win the majority of the points from strong attacks or does my opponent win the majority of the point from my mistakes?
Does my opponent feel more comfortable close to the table or far away from the table?
What are the most common serves that my opponent is using?
If my opponent has a particularly tricky serve that I continue to miss, what other options do I have to return it?
Does my opponent attack my short serve? Does my opponent attack my long serves?
Does my opponent have any particular trouble with a specific serve?
Does my opponent have any particular trouble with a specific shot that I’m using or does he have trouble with a particular spin or particular location?
If you go through this list between every game, you will be able to better form strategies throughout the entire table tennis match! Remember, winning is not just about great playing, winning is about making your opponent play poorly!
- Jena Newgarden