Today, I would like to share a few tips with you regarding table tennis celebration. These principles can apply to you regardless if you are competing in your first recreational tournament, competing in an average USATT tournament, or playing for a gold medal in the Olympics.
The first point is to KNOW YOURSELF. Know your personality and know how you personally play your best. Do you play best when you are jumping around excited after every point? Or, do you play best when you are calm, relaxed, focused, and taking your time between points? If you are quite loud and emotional, then you might play well during certain points, but your game will probably ebb and flow substantially throughout the match. If you are quiet and calm, then you might be able to think more clearly and take your time between points. Each player is different. So, I’m going to let you decide for yourself… how loud or quiet should you be? Know yourself!
The next point is to BE THE SAME in practice as you are in the tournament. If your practice truly is designed to enhance your tournament performance, then every aspect of your practice should be as similar to a tournament as possible – same approach to the game, same mental focus, same time between points, same towel-off breaks, same timeouts, etc…
The next point is to BE FLEXIBLE with your volume. In some moments, you might feel the need to be slightly more excitable, while other times, you should be quiet and less emotional.
The next point is to BE RESPECTFUL! Regardless of how loud you are, your goal should be to enhance your own performance, not to hinder your opponent’s performance. You should never be yelling AT your opponent as if he is the enemy. If you want to dance around the court for three seconds between points and it helps you play better… well ok. But your excitability should not be to intimidate your opponent.
The next point is to UNDERSTAND THE TOURNAMENT ENVIRONMENT! If you are playing a recreational tournament at a nursing home or at a wedding, you should probably not be yelling at all. If you are playing a tournament in a quite environment and there are other matches in progress, be considerate of the other players.
Finally, when you lose a match, TAKE THE BLAME on yourself. Don’t blame your opponent’s yelling and dancing and screaming as an excuse to why you lost. Even though I want you my reader to follow these principles of knowing yourself, being the same, being flexible, being respectful, and knowing the environment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your opponent will follow these principles. Even if he is excessively screaming and obnoxiously shaking his fist in your face, you still have a responsibility to focus on your strategy, play your best, and take the blame if you lose.