Some Random Stranger, “He definitely shouldn’t have done that!!!”
Samson, “Shouldn’t have done what?”
Some Random Stranger, “He shouldn’t have chooooooed so loudly every time he hit the net or edge with a lucky shot!!! He made me mad! When I’m mad, I play so determined!”
Samson: “So what happens when you aren’t mad?”
IN ORDER TO SLOW DOWN YOUR OPPONENT, YOU MUST FORCE HIM TO MAKE A DECISION.
Let me explain...
During a match, most of the mental toughness comes between points. Being mentally tough means...
1. Evaluating the previous point for what you did right
2. Evaluating the previous point for what you did wrong
3. Encouraging yourself
4. Planning some general tactics if you are receiving
At tournaments, some players are very happy and others are very disappointed.
Is it the winning that changes the mood?
Or is it the mood that changes the winning?
It could be both. But in this article, I would like to address the fact that staying positive and cheerful and excited will help boost your confidence and help you play your best. I feel that often the mood, before and during the match, really changes the outcome of the match.
Often times, tt players will wrongly associate ratings with skills. Just because an opponent has a certain ratings doesn’t necessarily mean that your opponent can do this or can’t do this. For example…
I asked my 1800-rated student why he wasn’t attacking his (2100-rated) opponent’s half-long serve. My student responded by saying that because his opponent was rated 2100, he assumed that all his serves were short.
I have a little homework assignment for you. Stand 2 feet away from a 5-gallon bucket and toss a penny into the bucket. Easy right? Now stand 2 feet away from a gallon of milk (with the lid off) and toss a penny into the milk container. This requires more aiming and more focus, right?
In a recent tournament, Shreyans Bafna and I were able to upset a very strong doubles team – Cheng Li (rated 2590) and Yi Chi Zhang (rated 2580). I’m writing this article, not to brag about our win, but to show you some of the problems that they encountered. You might encounter some of these exact same problems when playing a lower-rated opponent.
During practice, most players focus 100% on themselves. They think in detail about their own footwork, their own strokes, and their own serves. They rarely consider the opponent. In tournaments, they are mistakenly focused on themselves wondering why they can’t win.