Participating in a ping pong tournament is almost like performing, with the added pressure of performing well. Even if you're not playing to win, you want to show up and put on a good show for everyone. The truth is, most amateur-level players are either extremely nervous or completely nonchalant when they first take the court.
What determines your performance?
It is not just based on how you feel. What truly makes the difference between playing great or feeling terrible is how well you are prepared beforehand. Preparation translates to confidence in yourself and your abilities while at the same time being able to be flexible for any changes in gameplay that may come up in any given match.
1. Make Sure You Have a Ping Pong Table
If you are hosting a tournament, you should already own a ping pong table. But if you are going to be participating in a tournament hosted by someone else, make sure there is a table available for everyone to play on.
In any competitive setting, the equipment and playing space are always extremely important. A poorly ruled/maintained table can quickly put a damper on your performance and that of anyone around you.
If at all possible, try to bring your own equipment with you if the tournament will not provide them for you.
2. Get Your Equipment Ready
Make sure you have all of your equipment ready before you leave for the event. Determining what equipment is needed for a ping pong tournament can be hard because some plays are different from those of a regular ping pong game.
During a tournament, it is more important to have extra ping pong paddles than balls. You will want at least two extra paddles with you besides the one you are using. This is because if there is an accident involving one of your paddles, you will be able to continue without missing a beat instead of having to wait for a replacement.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
If you are going to participate in a tournament, you are likely also planning on playing games of ping pong for fun. If so, then practice as much as possible. If you have never played competitively or haven't played in a really long time, it may take some getting used to finding your optimal playing style.
In the beginning, it is important that you are able to get on the court and play without getting too frustrated at yourself or your opponent.
4. Know What to Wear
The first thing you must think about is what you are going to wear. You want comfortable clothing that will not constrict your movements but also not is too loose, so you can't play your best. Try to stay away from baggy clothing and pants that are too long because they can get in the way of your playing.
Overall, keep it as simple as possible and go with basic colors like white or black for tops, maybe something with a little color for an accent.
5. Bring a Friend
One of the best ways to increase your confidence is to have someone with you that is experienced in tournaments. More often than not, you will find that always having a friend on the court with you also increases your performance because of their motivation to win and perform better than you are.
Then you can focus on your own game and keeping things simple. If you have never played in a tournament before, you will probably be surprised how quickly they go by. If there is one thing that may differ from practice to a game/tournament, it is the timer. When playing at home or with friends, you are free to play as long as you want, but your game has a set time limit during a tournament.
6. Ask a Coaching Expert for Tips
If there is any person more qualified to give advice on how to play tournaments, then an instructor from your local club or league will be the one coaching at the event. If there is someone who seems to always do well at tournaments, go up to the one-on-one and ask for their advice. Even if they don't give you any tips, just getting their opinion of your game may be all you need to turn your tournament performance around.
Another way to get advice is to ask your instructor to suggest a friend of theirs who has competed in tournaments before. If they are still competing or willing to play, you can ask them for any tips on their experience and how they got to where they are now.
7. Start Early in the Day
If you have an early match scheduled the day of the tournament, try your best to get there as early as possible without being excessively early. Being too early will get you a bad reputation of being very anxious.
Also, it is considered rude to interrupt someone's practice time. The best way to get ready for your match is to get a feel for the table ahead of time and then get some matches in before you have to play.
8. Be Positive About Your Game
If you find yourself not feeling confident about the way you're playing or if you know that your opponent is always stepping up their game, it may be a good idea to keep a positive mindset.
To stay upbeat and positive, speak in a manner that will make you feel better. Use words like "I" or "me" instead of "We" or "us" and focus on what you are doing instead of what your partner is doing.
Try not to psych yourself out if something goes wrong during the match. If you can't fix it, make sure your partner can. If not, ignore it until you have time to think about it later on when the match is over.
Overall, if you are going to participate in a tournament and find yourself nervous for any reason, try to make sure it is not the day of or the event itself. Being mentally prepared can help your performance greatly.
Published by Marry Bell