Andras Csonka (Andris), a professional paralympic table tennis player, was a silver medalist at the 2007 European Championship in Slovenia. Andris is also a 2-time bronze medalist at the World Table Tennis Championship team event in 2010 and 2014. He is very thankful for table tennis since it structured his days and helped him do better in school. He shared with me that he sets up specific goals for every day. Goal setting is the most important tool for him in terms of being able to be successful in table tennis and academics. He also explained how his routines helped him handle stress during his tournaments, and finally how a sport psychologist helped him to get through his struggles after his slump.
Sports really helped Andris in his academics and along the way he earned a college degree in Communication and Business. He explained to me that when he didn’t train he couldn’t do well in school. Table tennis helped him to do better in school; specifically it scheduled him on a strict routine everyday so he didn’t have a chance to waste time. On the other hand he had to sacrifice a lot since he travels frequently he has little time for his friends. He prefers to have few very close friends in Hungary. His family is his biggest support and they are very important for him.
When Andris sets up goals he always creates baby steps that lead to his main goal. He also lists his resources and obstacles to reach his goals as well as the solutions to overcome his obstacles. He always states his goal in a positive manner and states the benefit of his baby steps.
Andris has a specific routine before his matches that helps to handle stress at the highest level of competition. He has a specific routine on what to eat and drink during his matches. He drinks a very special oat-flakes drink, which has a secret recipe during his matches. He also meditates before and after his matches, and every evening as well. Right before his match, his meditation includes how to play his next match and specifically what tactics he will play based on his opponent weakness. He is a big believer of visualization that he uses on a regular basis. When he travels he doesn’t like to use his phone and he also doesn’t like to watch too much television.
Andris worked with a new strength conditioning coach and a sport psychologist. He started working with a psychologist before Beijing at the 2008 Olympics. He changed psychologists twice in order to find the best fit for him. Andris started working with a special psychologist who taught him Neuro-Linguistic Technics (NLP) that helped him tremendously. His coach, Peter Aranyosi, who is the head coach for the Hungarian Paralympic team, suggested him to see the specialist to learn more about NLP. NLP helped him to concentrate longer, handle his emotions (no extreme ups and downs), and relax between his matches. Furthermore, he can anticipate and better read his opponent’s emotions and movements during his match. It also helped him to communicate better with his coach, Peter Aranyosi, and his teammates. He is more relaxed during his exams in school, and most importantly this technique taught him that it is easier to change himself than try and change others! 🙂 This technique really helped him learn how to motivate himself, get through the most difficult times, have positive focus, and collect the necessary power-sources when he needs them most.
Thank you Andris for sharing this!
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