Dealing With Frequent Table Tennis Frustration

Frustration – the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of the inability to change or achieve something 

Yep, That’s the definition. Does this seem to have anything to do with your table tennis experience? Maybe this definition fits better. 

Frustration – the prevention of the progress, success, or fulfillment of something 

Let’s consider the psychological definition.

Frustration – common emotional response to opposition, related to anger, annoyance, and disappointment, frustration arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of an individual’s will or goal.

Some table tennis players seem to be perpetually in a state of frustration. Most players occasionally get frustrated, and a very few never seem to be frustrated. I contend that frustration is a natural part of table tennis, and is a integral part of all sports. If you approach table tennis competitively, you are bound to have some frustrating moments. If you truly only play for exercise or pleasure, you won’t understand why someone would destroy their paddle in a fit of rage. 

If you are frequently frustrated, there are some remedies that can make your life in table tennis more enjoyable. Some of these ideas may seem to contradict each other, but anyone smart enough to play table tennis should be able to grasp two contradictory ideas.

The first paradox is that you should keep your competitive drive, but accept that failure is inevitable. Baseball players seem to be pretty good at this. No team expects to win every night, and even the best hitters fail far more often than they are successful. If you are playing competitive matches, it’s possible to win one day, and lose to the same player on another day. Keep in mind that your opponent is experiencing the exact same thing that you are. 

When you first start playing, your experience can be extremely frustrating. It’s one thing to lose, but if you don’t understand why, it can be very disheartening. Even as you play to win, try to learn from your losses. Learn as much as you can about table tennis, but keep your approach fairly simple. Analyze when you aren’t playing. When you do compete, just play. It’s truly frustrating to play badly because you overthought every shot. The more you truly understand table tennis, the more you will see that there are numerous ways to be successful, but you have to discern what the best path is for you.

Most of the frustration that’s experienced in table tennis is internal frustration. You can’t control everything that happens in a match, but it is possible to control your response. The paradox of table tennis is that it can be frustrating, but sometimes it’s extremely satisfying. Sometimes it’s both, at the exact same time.  

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