Friday, September 19, 2014


I went though the AKG academy diary and found a beautiful piece of information on Match preparation written by former international and performance analyst Rajath Kamal. I have added my inputs to it and shared below.


Imagine a situation where you forgot your lucky t-shirt in the room, or you could not
find transport to the venue and ended up reaching late and could not warm up well, or you ate something that made you feel uncomfortable or you forgot to keep your racket itself. Of course nobody would want to be in such kind of a situation, which unfortunately can happen if things are not planned. And that's exactly why Match Preparation is very important. What you do just before
your match, how you slept the previous night, what you eat, how you warm up,etc are a few things that play a major role in your performance during the match. Although it differs from each player as to what he/she feels comfortable in, here are a few points to keep in mind before an important match:


Make sure you arrive at the venue of the tournament well in advance to get acclimatized to the weather, playing conditions, food and accommodation. 2-­3 good practice sessions will help you get used to the playing hall, and understand the behavior of the ball and the table. Since India is a
huge country with different weather conditions and food available in different cities, make sure you feel comfortable with these two aspects as you travel around for various tournaments.


Make sure everything is ready for the day of your tournament. Prepare your bag, check your rackets and shoes, extra t-shirts,etc, forgetting anything could cause unnecessary stress. Have the right amount of sleep the night before the match – around 7-­8 hours. Allow plenty of time to arrive at the stadium too; you won’t want to be in a rush. Be there at the venue at least 45 mins in advance so that you have enough time for warm up and mental preparation. If you have an early morning match, its advisable to wake up at least 3 hours before the scheduled time of the match.


Eat light before a match. During the match you need to be high with energy. Try to eat lots of
carbohydrates for the major meals(rice, potatoes, wheat cereals, kidney beans, etc) You can break you meal into multiple small eats. If you are a person who needs to eat a bit heavily then you need to finish your meal at least 2 hours before your match. Have small snacks like bananas, apples, energy bars and drinks (Gatorade, lemon water), etc . in your bag to consume just before the match or during the match if need be. Hydrate your body with fluids before you feel thirsty. Since in a table tennis tournament, a player plays a lot of matches in a single day, it’s also important to eat within 45 minutes of finishing the match, so as to recover and be ready for the next match. Avoid all sorts of junk food and alcohol during the entire tournament.


During hot weather the body is already warm and needs lesser time to get completely warmed up. Focus on full body stretches and a couple of mild agility exercises. Be careful not to tire yourself with warm up. During colder weathers you need a longer time to get warmed up and so the intensity of the exercises will also be higher. Then, if possible, try to play a few rallies on the table with a friend to get the feel. This completes your warm up regime.


It’s a good idea to sit away from the crowd, close your eyes, and visualize yourself playing the
match. You can use stimulating music to help you cut off from the crowd. Take a deep breath and
relax and Just imagine the following:­
  • you are starting the match very well
  • you are getting all your strokes right
  • you are very confident about yourself
  • you are moving very well, in a rhythmic flow
  • the crowd is cheering for you
  • and you are winning the match and receiving the trophy!
This technique will help you to a great extent to overcome your psychological discomfort during
the match and make you a lot more confident.
Although there are a lot of different visualization techniques, this is a basic one which, if done
properly, can do wonders in terms of boosting your confidence level, lowering self-doubt,
controlling anxiety, and being focused before and during the match.


It’s a good habit to write in a diary about the game and opponent after every match. This will help you analyse your game and it will be useful for future references. If you are playing a match with a known opponent you need to work out a match strategy with the coach. You can take tips from the coach, you can refer to your diary to look for your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses or alternatively you can discuss the game strategy with a friend who has played your opponent recently. This way you are prepared for your opponent from the first point of the match.


During the match, try to focus on playing your best table tennis rather than focusing on the score. Try to plan out every point of the game. During pressure situations try to take deep breathes, focus only on your plan and be confident. Generally have the following things in mind while serving and receiving:­

While serving:­
  • Service is the only stroke that you have full control over. So make the best of it.
  • Serve in such a way that the opponent has only one or two options to receive
  • Be ready for those two options. Do not serve and then think about the follow up but prepare for it even before you serve.
While receiving:­
  • A good quality receive prevents your opponent from taking advantage of his service. Generally it is preventing the opponent from playing an aggressive stroke.
  • Plan for the follow up after your receive. If you have a solid stroke to follow-up, your receive will seem sharper.

This a brief account on match preparation and as I said earlier, it can vary from person to
person. However, this is a basic and general suggestion.

I have been following it religiously and I hope that these basic yet important and useful tips will help you perform better.



  1. SUPERB.......Nice Tips Neha,
    Congratulations....for Great Efforts & Initiative sharing Good Valuable Tips.....for benefit of All & Table Tennis.
    Good Luck.
    Rajeevv Ramesh VIG

  2. Lovey write up by Rajath anna and thnx for sharing this useful article in ur blog.