To be able to play well in table tennis tournaments involves 2 factors. To be able to adapt to any situation or conditions and to be able to perform under intense pressure. Here, we will focus on a few things you can do to learn how to adapt and become a strong player during table tennis tournaments.
Learn to adapt to various playing conditions.
You have to adapt to various playing conditions. It is recommended to practice in various venues on a regular, from large or small courts, high or low ceilings. Various flooring, wood, cement, rubber, use all kinds of ping pong balls as well as different lighting.
Is it especially important to make sure you practice at your tournament venue a few days or even weeks before the tournament, if not something similar will be good as well.
Many might say that everyone plays better in optimal venue conditions and plays worse in bad conditions like bad lighting. However, it is possible to play at your best level at all venue conditions, you just have to get used to it.
For example if you are playing with really bad lighting and cannot see the ping pong ball too well, keep practicing with that bad lighting and your eyes will soon get used to it.
Adapt to various tournament schdules
You have to get used to the different tournament schedules. If you play tournaments, you will likely realize that the schedule of matches might go from 8 am all the way to even 10 pm. Especially if you travel overseas to play, you have to learn how to get used to the time difference as soon as possible.
To do this, nearing table tennis tournaments, vary your practice hours, some in the morning, some afternoons or nights. To prepare for overseas tournaments, make sure you first find out the time difference and then depending on your habits, try to sleep according to the time of the country you are travelling to, a day before or while on the flight there.
Adapt to if you have warmed up enough or not
You have to get used to being fully warmed up or maybe just half way there.
This is really important as many people give themselves the excuse of never getting enough warm up thus causing them to lose the match. Because some players use their warm up as a ritual to make sure they enter a match fully confident.
If they do not warm up to their hearts content, they enter a match with a weak mentality.
Understand that there is no way you can always fully warm up. Sometimes they might be match delays, or walkovers and you might have to immediately start without being able to warm up much.
The way to fight this is to sometimes play practice matches without any warm up or start your training sessions with no warm up. This takes a while for the players mentality to get used to. However once they trust themselves and understand that they can still play at a high level without a huge amount of warming up. They will reach another level in their table tennis.
Adapt to various fatigue levels
Be adaptable to various levels of tiredness. This is another excuse people give themselves when they lose. Fatigue levels also could mean playing while you are slightly ill or in some cases, really ill but maybe you are playing in the finals and you just have to try.
There is no secret to this other then having strong mental strength. The other important aspect is to train constantly and put in a lot of time to physically and mentally condition yourself so that your base level of table tennis is at a high level even though you might not be feeling your best.
For example if your highest level is a 10, make sure you are so well prepared that even if you are sick, the lowest your standard of play is still a 7 or and 8 and can still compete with the top players.
Another way is if you have a low level of fitness, then you gotta improve your physical conditioning by doing tons of fitness like doing sprints. You can also train tired, which means doing fitness first then straight away to the table for some table tennis practice.
Adapt to various opponents
This is the biggest challenge in tournaments. You might first play against a looper, then a long pips blocker, then a lobber, then a lefty, then a short pips smasher, then a chopper.
You cannot apply the same strategy to each opponent. This is the key to winning tournaments.
You must go into every match, trying to find your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and you must be able to quickly adapt to heavy pushes and light pushes, strong loops and weak loops, fast blocks and dead blocks.
I would recommend playing with as many different players as possible on a regular basis. Instead of merely practicing with the same two people at the club, be willing to move outside of the norm and play with lower or higher rated table tennis players.
This post might help you with this : Changing your strategy during table tennis matches
By playing a wide range of various styles, you will learn to adapt and become a well-rounded tournament player.
Learn table tennis tactics from USATT Certified National Coach and Hall of Famer Larry Hodges. Includes tactics against different styles, grips, and surfaces as well as tactical and strategic thinking. The book opens with this: “Tactics isn’t about finding complex strategies to defeat an opponent. Tactics is about sifting through all the zillions of possible tactics and finding a few simple ones that work.” The book then explores the tactical and strategic development needed to have the specific tactical tools needed in any given match – your “tactical toolbox.”