Dealing with ‘Match Pressure’

Dealing with ‘Match Pressure’

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Do you struggle to transfer your good stuff in practice to matches?

Do you drill well in practice but then lose to players you feel you shouldn’t?

Do you get so nervous before matches you don’t perform as well as you think you should?

If you answered yes to all or any of these questions then don’t despair as our research has shown that everyone who cares about winning and losing feels nerves of some sort, the only difference is the best players do something about it!

Here are our top tips in dealing with pre match nerves and pressure you may feel:


  1. Accept that nerves are normal and part of the process of any form of competition.
  2. Focus on performance and technique rather than winning.
  3. Focus on playing well and doing the things you are working on in practice.
  4. Practice and develop some good routines which will keep you calm during the match.
  5. Remember that matches are different from practice, a match is in an uncontrolled environment whereas practice is usually controlled. So, expect the unexpected, embrace and learn from mistakes and enjoy the challenge.
  6. Focus on the present and not the score. Play one point at a time and NEVER, EVER GIVE UP as 100% effort can bring success in the long run!
  7. Remember, match pressure is created by YOU, your thoughts, your expectations, fear of losing, fear of playing badly so only YOU can do something about it by making changes for the better.
  8. Check your thoughts and get rid of any of them that relate to outcome as this is not in your control! Change to things you can control like preparation and good tactics.
  9. Imagine a ‘high wire walker’ for example, their focus has to be on ‘one step at a time’ otherwise the fear of falling, injury or even death would surely paralyse them! 
  10. So, focus on the process, practice and train harder than anyone else. Surround yourself with positive people, don’t care what anyone else thinks and enjoy every single moment on the table as if it were your last!!

Article By Allen Robson

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