India’s top-ranked table tennis player Manika Batra has revealed her simple - but effective - method for reversing her recent slump in form.
The 22-year old was a sensation after becoming the first Indian woman to bag a table tennis individual gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) conferred upon her ‘The Breakthrough Star Award’ that same year and Batra's star was firmly on the rise.
But after reaching a career-best world ranking of 47 in March 2019, a string of inconsistent results thereafter saw her fall down the rankings to 76th by August.
“It was a difficult phase. Even when I used to practice, it used to weigh me down. I could feel the pressure,” Manika Batra said during an Instagram Live session with Indian wrestler Sangram Singh.
However, the young paddler had soon found a way out of it.
“The best way to deal with it is to go back to your table and train,” the 24-year-old said.
“I won't call it a strategy, but I don’t sit on it and think about it [poor performances] for long. I just get down to working on it and try and improve.
“I believe there's no easy way to success. You have to toil really hard,” she declared.
While regular practice keeps every athlete confident and fit, Manika Batra believes that it is equally important to remain mentally strong and remove any shred of self-doubts from the mind.
Taking refuge into meditation and various breathing exercises regularly, which helps her deal with the low points in her life, she detailed a visualization technique that has worked well for her.
“You visualise the arena, the competition scenario and prepare beforehand as to what you will do if you are to be in that situation tomorrow,” she explained.
“If it’s a competition, then picture yourself winning the match, standing on the podium, the national flag going up and other things. It’s a source of motivation,” she added.
Not only before big tournaments, but the paddler revealed that she uses this technique before her training sessions as well.
As of April this year, Manika Batra has inched her way up the rankings to 63rd position, climbing up 16 places - she was 79th in September - in seven months.