Dear Paddle Palace/Nittaku,
Recently, I participated in the U1700 and U1800 of the Presper April Open. I was a quarterfinalist in the U1700, and I had many highs and lows. More importantly, I learned about adjusting, confidence, and mindset.
On the first day, I played the U1800 very well but ran into a few problems that hindered my performance. Therefore, I adjusted my strategy for the U1700 (the event the day after). For instance, I was relying too heavily on my serving instead of my favorable attacks in the U1800. So, I changed my strategy to more 3rd ball attack and rallying in the U1700. Although I was not able to adjust my plan when in mid-play, I made changes by adding variation to my strategy in between points and games. I learned the importance of reflection to make small and big adjustments in my game.
Despite the earlier problems, I gained confidence during the tournament. With confidence, I was able to play my best in important points and block out my nerves. Trusting my skills allowed me to be more relaxed. When you are relaxed, you are more consistent, physically adjusting better, and playing with more quality. Knowing that I could win, I gained focus and made good decision making in important points. Above all, I was able to play each point one at a time and not worry about the consequences. My confidence allowed me to nearly upset many players but my mindset set me back.
My mindset had a significant effect on my focus. During the U1800, I had come across many problems due to my mindset. However, I learned from my mistakes and improved by changing my mindset. Because I had too many negative thoughts in the U1800, I lost focus. For example, I had lost a match in the 5th game, so I was very unfocused for the next match. However, I was able to be more positive and focus on good aspects of my game. This showed great results, for example, I was losing 10-8 (match point for the opponent) twice, and I managed to be self encouraging and focus on my good shots. As a result, I made a comeback and won the match.
Furthermore, I had a tendency to focus to much on myself which blocked my ability to make the opponent adjust to me. But, I was able to change my mindset because my dad had told me to pay more attention to the opponent. By making the opponent uncomfortable, I won a lot of crucial matches.
Although I had the habit of rushing, I slowed myself down by using towel breaks and taking more time between points. Since I was more calm, I was able to focus on each point and think clearly. This was evident when I lost in the 5th game even though I was winning 7-3. I was too excited so I rushed and made careless mistakes. I learned from this by slowing down in other matches. Thus, I was able to secure more leads and make great comebacks. When playing with the right mindset, I was able to make the most out of my match play.
Indeed, being adjustable, confident, and forward minded is essential to succeed in match play. I would not have been able to achieve all of this without the support of Nittaku, Paddle Palace, coaches, friends, and family. Not only are these aspects great for match play, but also they are essential for a successful life.