Message to All

Rowden April 2019

May your great sport excite your heart.
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.

Flow

Rowden March 2019

Success at the highest levels doesn’t always demand raw effort. The effort-intensive approach can work well with some sports but not with others.

8 Prime Points

Rowden March 2019

• Table tennis is all about CONTROLLING the play (basically being consistent) until you can win the point by some form of CHANGE (more power, speed or spin, better placement or angles, softer, shorter balls etc). These combinations of change whatever they may be, are the way our game is going to develop.

The LTAD Model

Rowden March 2019

There are according to sports scientists, critical periods in an athlete’s career when the effects of training can be optimised and LTAD focuses on these key moments in order to maximise the individual’s development.

Science of the Women's Game

Rowden November 2018

Women have always played closer to the table than men and have always had less spin than men. With the best women players in the world (over the last 6 decades always from Asia) speed has invariably been prioritised over spin.

What is Athletic Toughness?

Rowden 2018

Just what qualities make or mar the top athlete? Talent is obviously important and all performers possess this in one measure or another.

Just what qualities make or mar the top athlete? Talent is obviously important and all performers possess this in one measure or another. Basically talent defines the outer limits of achievement. Technical skills are also vital and these are learned by hard work, repetition and practice. Physical skills will restrict potential or will help it to flourish. Mental skills consist of emotional flexibility, the ability to absorb and process problems and remain balanced; emotional responsiveness, the ability to remain engaged and focussed under pressure; emotional strength, the ability to sustain one’s fighting spirit; emotional resilience, the ability to take a punch and to fight back.

Toughness is the capability of consistently performing at the upper limit of your talent and skill, REGARDLESS of the competitive situation.

Toughness –
• Is what enables you to bring all your talent and skill into action on demand; the limiting factor for most athletes is not talent but toughness.
• Is the Ideal Performance State. The IPS is typically accompanied by a very distinctive pattern of feelings and emotions.
• Is the ability to consistently access empowering emotions during competition, particularly at tough times; emotional control brings physical control.
• Is mental, physical and ultimately emotional – other aspects such as fitness, rest and diet all affect toughness.
• Is in the final analysis physical – thoughts, feelings, emotions, visualisations, are electrochemical events and therefore physical.

Emotions run the performance show and lead you closer or further away from your Ideal Performance State; confidence closer, fear further away, enjoyment and fun closer, temper and rage further away.

Training of Recovery
o When the point ends there should be a positive physical reaction (takes 3 to 5 seconds). Even in a worst case scenario your trained response should be positive (ok no real problem) as this enhances the flow of positive emotion.
o The following stage will be the relaxation response (takes from 6 to 20 seconds). Heart, blood pressure, muscle tension, breathing and brain activity will all slow down.
o The final stage will be preparation and ritual, where as the body stabilises and recovers properly, you can think clearly and plan ahead for the next points.

Recovery is the foundation of toughness. Without recovery stress increases, leading to further weakness and poor performance. The training of recovery should receive as much attention as dealing with stress, as it enables positive energy to be recaptured. Recovery occurs in 3 areas, mental, physical and emotional and is a period in which both growth and healing occur.

Players should recognise recovery for what it is –
 Physical – reduction in tension, breathing, and heart rates.
 Emotional – increase in positive feelings, satisfaction, pleasure, less fear, anger and frustration. Increased feelings of safety, security, self-esteem and personal fulfilment.
 Mental – Relief, calmness, feeling of slowing down and of creativity.

What gets in way of Toughness?
A number of things get in the way of toughness, as players fail to give their best efforts and then refuse to accept full responsibility for the outcome. The following 3 outcomes are ways in which players try to protect the real self from pain.
 Tanking or quitting. This is common among very talented players who feel that they have no chance of winning, therefore feel it’s easier to avoid pain by giving up.
 Getting angry and either directing this at others or even worse at themselves, focussing on the negative. Players then of course fail to fuel their competitive fires with positive emotion.
 Choking where players perform badly because of fear. They feel insecure and vulnerable, stop taking risks and allow fear to take over. Sadly choking indicates that the athlete is very close to the IPS. This is the stage just before the ideal state. All that is required is to just fight ones’ way through with 100% effort and total positivism.

One cannot do better than close with the words of Robert Louis Stevenson –- ‘You cannot run away from weakness, you must sometimes fight it out or perish; and if that be so why not now and where you stand’.

Coach Maturity

Rowden August 2018

Too many coaches at all levels seem to put their own interests before those of the player.

Performance

Rowden July 2018

The prime goal of any athlete is to achieve maximum performance even under the extreme pressures of high level competition. You require your body to do what it’s capable of doing whether it’s a routine training session or the final of a world event.

Alternatives

Rowden June 2018

Power is not only what you have, it’s also a matter of what the opponent thinks you have!

Game Management

Rowden March 2018

In our sport it’s not necessarily the best player who always wins. It is the player who manages the game best and who is able to adapt and change to cope with differing opponents and situations.

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