Being a champion is not merely a list of achievements, but even more so a state of mind. Champions laugh, cry, eat and sleep just like all of us. However, what separates them from mere mortals is their ability to find the path to victory regardless of the situation. Here are 6 tips to help you become a champion.
1. Discover your strengths.
Identify what you’re good at! Take the time to turn your skills into expertise. Competitive and athletic abilities are the seeds from which champions are forged, but these skills need to be watered with intelligence, trained and given time to develop properly. Being talented alone does not make you a champion. You need to identify your talents, train and improve them.
2. Identify your weaknesses.
It’s important that you know exactly which parts of your game are weak so you can work on improving those areas. Post game analysis is one of the most important tools to find the holes in your game. Be sure to document the reason for each loss, analyze and pin point the problem areas. Once identified, you will need to setup a plan to address them. It’s equally important to keep repeating this process to check effectivness of your training regime.
3. Train with diversity.
Be creative during your training, explore different forms, styles and techniques. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your strokes and services. Many of today’s new techniques were born from players experimenting and trying new things. Cross training is also a sure way to improve your diversity. While watching other sports, helps with game strategy and tactics. Playing other sports is an awesome way to train other parts of your game. It’s a good idea to stay with non-contact sports like swimming, running and badminton. These can help with stamina, agility and hand- eye coordination. Surfing is another great sport to try. The lower body, back, and stomach core muscles are what keep surfers on the board, and we all know that a strong core is the key to be a successful table tennis player. Finding the right cross training sports will have a positive impact on improving your game.
4. Strengthen your mental game.
We’ve seen it time and time again, the world number one player is in the finals of a big tournament, he is down by 3 match points and his opponent just a shot away from being victorious. But the champ comes back, digging deep, he always seems to make the right shots to snatch back victory from his opponent. You wonder how is this possible? The answer lies in his mental toughness. Even if you’re in great physical shape, have fantastic shots and awesome serves, you will have to stay focused and learn how to execute them under pressure. Developing a good mental game takes lots of training and your approach should be the same as with training other parts of your game. Plan each session with a goal in mind, execute and track your results. Here are two great exercises to get you started:
- Short mock-up matches starting from douce or 8-8. This is a good exercise to help with developing and streghthening your mental toughness.
- Third and fourth ball attack drills. Great for toning your mind – Each player has to win the point within a pre-determined number of strokes.
5. Master your skills.
Table tennis athletes are always learning. A study of the top ten world ranked male players discovered that the members of this elite group started playing the sport between the ages of 6 and 8, they trained roughly 5 to 6 days a week, playing for at least 5 hours each day for an average of 10 to 15 years. Even after this extensive training both on and off the table these players are always trying to master their craft and learn new skills. As the game evolves, so do the players’ serves, strokes and techniques. With the diversity of the sport’s playing styles and equipment, it’s imperative that good players tone all their skills to stay competitive. Professional table tennis athletes spend a great deal of time doing the same drills over and over again and so should you. Setup a robust training schedule to include drills that match your skills, this will help to develop muscle memory and these movements will become second nature.
6. Developing a winning way of thinking
Being a champion is not just about winning, but also about how to handle losses. It’s important that you learn from each encounter. Winning matches doesn’t only come from having good serves, great shots or even from being the fastest player on the table. Being a champion means you have a winning way of thinking. Champions are excellent problem solvers, they often possess the ability to analyze situations to determine the correct course of action. Developing a winning way of thinking comes from having self confidence, good training and years of practice. Start by being positive. Make sure you go into each match with the best preparation possible, focusing only on the things you can control and focusing on each single point.
The road to being a champion is not easy, work hard, train harder and dream big.