Table Tennis and the F Word

Ah yes, the f word. Where would we be without it? It is so handy to use when we want to drive home a point, or need to fill in the gaps in our conversations. In some circles it is used so often that it has lost much of it’s meaning and shock value. There are, of course, lots of f words. Fox, forest, falcon, funky, and foghorn, are some of my favorites. Lately, I’ve come across another one that seems to come up far too often during training sessions.
Frantic  adjective – wild or distraught with fear, anxiety, or other emotion ….hurried, chaotic, typically because of the need to act quickly
Some people just move faster than others. For a table tennis player, you would think being quick would be a good thing. For some, it ends up working against them. None of the words used to define frantic are words typically used to describe good table tennis players. Words like smooth and patient are more likely to describe the types of players we admire. Their movements are under control and efficient, regardless of what speed they are playing. Most of all they are focused.
Focused  adjective – concentrating on a particular goal and not wasting time or energy on other things 
The word focus gets thrown around in training as much as any other f word. If focus is so important, why do some players have a hard time focusing?
  • They don’t know what to focus on. A good way to stay focused throughout a match is to begin each point zeroing in on where the ball is contacted during the serve. This can help put you in the right frame of mind for serving and returning serves.
  • Concerns over technique – During a match is not the time to work on or to think about your strokes.
  • Over planning or forcing a shot – It’s good to have a plan on how you want to play. At the same time, you can’t plan a shot until you see the ball, and see what shot actually makes the most sense.
  • Panic – This is where some players get frantic. If the rally goes a few more shots than normal, there is no logical reason to panic. The pressure is just as great for your opponent. Keeping a cool head for the duration of the point gives you the advantage.
It’s always fascinating to me that the way we approach competition reveals so much about who we are. Sometimes to be a better player, you have to learn to be a better person. Don’t be frantic. Stay focused. Be fearless.
One more f word, just for fun…..Funktapuss

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