Ryan Farrell Blog 2: Full time in Sweden

11 March 2016

Ryan Farrell Blog 2: Full time in Sweden

It has now been 6 months since my move to Sweden, so I thought it was a good opportunity to give you guys an update on how I`ve been getting on. The time has really flown by, which is probably a good sign because it indicates that I`m really enjoying my time over here. Training is going well, and I feel that I`ve adapted to the physical and mental demand of playing full time. I am spending countless hours in the practice hall working on ways to improve my game. This involves a lot of footwork exercises, multi-ball and serve/receive.  We also do a lot of service practice at the end of each session. This is such a vital aspect of table tennis as matches can be decided by a clever serve. I try to be creative when I work on my serves, but repetition is equally important. I think it`s crucial to have a positive approach to each session as your mindset will ultimately decide how well you train.


Swedish League has also afforded me the chance to progress over the course of the season. We currently sit 2nd in the division with promotion our ultimate goal. On a personal note I`ve won 17/23 matches. I have played some very tricky opponents in this division, and I`ve found myself in very challenging situations because I can struggle with the `style` of the player. In order to win these difficult encounters, I`ve sometimes had to change my own style of play, which is not easy but it must be done to win the match. It`s so important to find a way to win these matches even though it is mentally draining, and it may not look pretty but sometimes we must do this to cross the line. With two league games remaining, we hope to maintain our top 2 status and advance to the play-offs for promotion.   


I have flown back to Ireland to compete in some of the domestic tournaments. I played in both the Munster and Connaught Open, reaching the semi-final and final respectively. Unfortunately for me, I lost to Gavin Maguire in both competitions. Gavin is having a terrific season and it`s clear that all the hard work that he has invested in the sport over the last few years is paying off. Due to these results, I have moved up to 4 in the National Rankings and I hope that I can continue this upward trend. I do feel some additional pressure when I play in Irish tournaments, but I think that`s normal. When you work really hard at something whether it involves sports or school, the expectation you put on yourself increases as does the pressure to perform.  I`ve really learned a lot about this sort of pressure over the course of the season, but I feel I`ve grown more comfortable with it. It`s all a learning curve, and I know this will ultimately make me a better player in the future.   


My next competition will be the National Championships, and I look forward to returning for the biggest Irish tournament of the season. I will also be competing at the Luxembourg Open near the end of March. I played in this competition in 2014, and I know it will provide an excellent challenge for myself. Every match is best of 7 games, so I know it will be tough both mentally and physically.   


The old saying is true that time flies when you`re having fun ! While Table Tennis is the number one priority, it`s also nice to meet somenew people from around the world and make new friends. Moving to Sweden was a very big step for me, but I couldn’t be happier and I know that if I hadn’t made the decision, I would regret down the road. I`ve enjoyed writing this blog and I hope you enjoy reading it! If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment, and I will respond as best as I can. Thanks !

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