Forgetting & Remembering
By Coach Samson Dubina
During a table tennis match, is it beneficial to remember previous points or to just block out the past and play in the moment?
The answer is… BOTH!
To reach your peak potential, you need to forget and remember! I’m going to illustrate my point by sharing a true story that happened to me.
I was playing one of the most important matches of my life.
I was down 1-2 in games in a best 3/5 match.
I was leading 8-2 in the fourth and began feeling excited about the possibility of winning.
The more excited I felt, the worse I played.
After a series of points, my opponent tied the game 9-9.
As I picked up the ball, I began feeling angry with myself for getting excited about an 8-2 lead.
At that moment, I had to force myself to FORGET IT – FORGET the 8-2 lead.
Forget the lead and focus in the moment.
At the same time, I had to remember what I had previously done to build the 8-2 lead.
As I was toweling off, I REMEMBERED my initial game plan.
I REMEMBERED exactly what shots and locations I had been doing before getting emotional.
I went back to my initial game plan, won the next 2 points, and cruised through the fifth game to victory.
In order to clearly focus and play your best, you must learn to FORGET about that 10-6 lead that you blew in the first game. You must learn to forget about those two consecutive edge balls that he choooed about in the second game. You must forget about that excessively loud clapping from his coach. You must forget about all the distractions of the game.
In order to clearly strategize and play your best tactics, my must learn to REMEMBER what happened in the previous points. You must remember how he chops back your long serve with his backhand. You must remember that his forehand block always goes crosscourt. You must remember that he can’t block spinny loops that hit near the net. In order to close out the close games, you must remember what happened during the game – your opponent’s strengths, weaknesses, serves, returns, tendencies, and game patterns and continue to form new game tactics point by point.