Within the past 8 months, I have been descending further and further down the table tennis rabbit hole. Prior to November 2015, I was slapping the ball around after work for about a year with a $5.00 Walmart racket, not knowing anything about the sport of table tennis. Now I'm getting coaching twice a week and compete in a local league. I bought my own table, robot, and custom racket. I watch professional players play, and read table tennis books.
However, recently I have found myself having less fun playing the sport. This became painfully obvious this past Tuesday when I lost all of my matches in my local league. Was I not having fun because I was losing? I would be lying if I said that didn't play a role, but I can think back to many instances where I was having fun while still losing.
I've come to realize I was not having fun because I was distracted by all the extra baggage that league comes with. Points, ratings, win/loss ratio, internal and external expectations, etc... Thinking about all of these things made playing stressful and frustrating, which resulted in me playing poorly. This fact becomes more clear when I think back to the same night, but before league started. I was warming up in open play and losing to a better player. Yet, I was having fun, I was relaxed, and I was still playing good. 30 minutes later, league started and I was worried about my match results, and I was tense and just not having fun.
This experience has allowed me to re-evaluate my goals and remind myself why I play table tennis. I play to have fun. I'm not a professional, I don't do this for a living. Moving forward, I'm no longer going to concern myself with winning or losing, my rating, my opponents rating, etc... Instead I'm going to focus on enjoying the sport while still playing my best and continuously improving.
To conclude, I leave you all with a short clip from YouTube to summarize: