Sports Psychology – Recognise Your Feelings | Table Tennis | PingSkills


You’ve got your final today and even just
walking into the hall feels a little bit different. You’ve a got a few different feelings about
you, driving to the hall, walking to the hall, things just didn’t really feel the same, did
they? It’s not like any other match you’ve played during the season. What’s going on? Try to think back to the last time this happened
to you. What sort of feelings can you remember? I’ll tell you some of the things that happens
to me. So firstly, I start to get a bit of a funny feeling in my stomach. I might even
get a bit tingly in my fingers. My mind starts racing at a thousand miles an hour, I’m starting
to think about all the things and the possibilities that could happen. What’s going to happen
if I win? What’s going to happen if I lose? The mind starts going way too fast. I can feel my heart start beating faster and
sometimes I can actually feel it pounding in my chest. It even affects my legs. My legs start feeling
a little bit wobbly and shaky. Not that I’m going to fall over but just that they’re not
functioning properly. I might even start to feel a little bit hotter
and certainly the palms get a bit sweaty. These are all just signs that something important
is happening to you. They’re not necessarily bad things because the adrenaline that’s starting
to rush through your body can actually help you to play better. It can become a problem though if you go over
the top with anxiety and you start to get too nervous and your body doesn’t function
properly. Your mind starts to race and your thinking becomes unclear. The key to all of this, is to start to think
back and recognise the signs of when you played well and the feelings that you had. What did
you feel like in that last match when you were absolutely brilliant? Or, how did you
feel in that match when you played absolutely terrible? From my own experience, these are the things
that helped me to recognise when I was playing well. I was seeing the ball really well, everything
felt really smooth, it felt like I had a lot of time to play my shots. I was feeling really
calm in myself and my movement was also really smooth and fast. I wasn’t focusing too much on what was going
to happen at the end of the match, whether I won or whether I lost. Everything felt like
I was in a bubble and I was there in the moment playing some great table tennis. When I was playing badly, I just didn’t have
enough time. The ball was on top of me before I knew it. My hand felt really solid, my wrist
was tight, my whole body felt really tight and I couldn’t play my strokes properly. My
mind was all over the place, I was thinking about what was going to happen in the future,
whether I was going to win, whether I was going to win this game, lose this game, what
happened in that last point when I lost it, I started to get angry, my heart started racing
too much. Everything became blurry and unclear. Even how fast you’re moving around the court
can be an indicator to yourself. For me I know that when I was walking around the court
slowly that I was in a better frame of mind and was more likely to play good table tennis.
When I was rushing around like a mad man, I knew that I was racing too fast. So your anxiety levels can be a little bit
different. Some people play better when their anxiety is up a little bit higher, some lower.
But the key thing across everyone is to be able to stay in the present. So not thinking
about what is going to happen, and not thinking about what did happen, but thinking about
what is happening right now. And the best indicator for you in table tennis is the table
tennis ball. So if you are tracking the ball perfectly, you are then right there in the
present. So your homework now is to think about two
matches. One that you played utterly brilliantly, and one that you played poorly. I want you
to write those two games down and underneath them I want you to write down the feelings
that you had for each one. So playing utterly brilliantly, and playing poorly, and write
down the feelings that you can remember having during those matches. In our ask the coach section I get a lot of
questions from players asking me about how they can play as well in matches as they do
in practice. The first step on this journey is to recognise
the feelings of when you’re playing well and when you’re playing badly. It’s important
that you go away and do the homework that we’ve set in this video. In upcoming videos you’ll use this knowledge
to help you to reach your potential.

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