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How I love Table Tennis as a Recreational Activity

When I was in high school, I had to participate in P.E. class. This entails joining sport activities that I am not really fond of. One of these sports is called table tennis; some people refer to it as ping-pong. Many of you are already familiar with this game whether you played this as a leisure sport in your backyard, or as in my case, for school. In this game two players will hit a small ball back and forth on a table between them.

This sounds easy enough right? Sadly my inept self does not agree but my curious mind refused to be beaten so I made my research to try to give myself an edge over my classmates. As it turns out this game is merely not just a simple game. Ping-pong originated in London England back in the 1800’s as a parlor game. Since then it has gained a lot of popularity with the masses. In 1988, it officially became a part of the Olympics.

Athletes from China have done remarkably well in the sport. The Chinese have won the most gold medal in ping-pong Olympic sport history. Other nationalities excel as well in this sport. Indeed, ping-pong is now a quite popular game with a lot of enthusiasts. In the Olympics, athletes compete in either singles or doubles event. The doubles event was eventually removed and replaced by the team competition.

HOW IS THE GAME PLAYED:

Table tennis may sound easy enough but looking at it closer, one can say that this game requires speed, stamina, and a sharp eye.  The game is played on a table placed between the players. The table tennis table is divided in half by a small net. The players then hit a small ball back and forth between them with the use of a ping-pong paddle. The aim is to hit the ball in such a way that the opposite player would fail to bounce the ball back.

SCORING:

In the past, the winning score was 21 but that has since been lowered down to 11 points. In cases wherein the score is even at 10 a piece, the first individual or pair to score a lead of 2 points will win the game.  

EQUIPMENT:

This game requires a few things in order to be properly played. Most of these are easy to find and easy to buy whether online of from your local sporting store.

PING-PONG TABLE:

The game needs several articles in order to be executed. First, a table tennis table is required. The table serves as the surface in which the players bounce the ball between them. There are a lot of table tennis tables available on the market today depending on how you intend to use it: either for leisure, outdoor, indoor, or for professional use.

The price usually differs according to the material that is being used. For example, best outdoors table tennis is usually made of more durable material that protects them from the environment; therefore they tend to cost more.

So if buying one, you need to consider those things to ensure that you can enjoy your best ping-pong tables for a long time. If you have the budget, you should really look into purchasing a best ping-pong table especially if you are looking to use these tables for training.

Also, make sure that you have ample room in which to place your table tennis table. Especially if you intend to put your best home ping-pong table inside your living room.

TABLE TENNIS RACKET:

Next would be the ping-pong paddle, or racket: How it is called depends on where one lives but they are pretty much the same.  The racket or paddle is the instrument that a player uses to hit the ball during the game. They are usually covered with rubber on one or both sides depending on the player.

They are made of wood. The racket is typically blue in one part and red on the other. The difference in color makes it easier for the opponent to differentiate the type of rubber being employed by the other player i.e. whether the opposite player uses the spin-heavy rubber or no-spin rubber.  According to people I talked to who plays table tennis it boils down to practice hence the type of racket you choose will only take you so far.

Price wise, it depends on the manufacturer and the type you are looking for. There are best table tennis rackets available that are of professional quality, which can be very expensive since they tend to be more durable. However, if you are just getting into ping-pong and still do not know how to go about it or whether you would like it or not, there are brands out there that cost less. That way, if ever you will ruin your paddles, or if you will choose to abandon the sport entirely, you will not feel guilty. There are plenty of stores as well as online shops that sell the best ping-pong paddle so go ahead and see for yourself.

BALL:

Another key equipment used in this sport would be the ping-pong ball. In the past, celluloid tennis balls was used but due to safety concerns and according to some articles I have read that there is a decline is the manufacturing of celluloid hence the change has been made. Now ping-pong balls are made of plastic, which are called poly balls.

This change was somehow met with a lot of criticism. For example, I have read a lot of complaints about how these balls tend to break easily. They also cost more than the old celluloid ping-pong balls. I guess athletes all over the world are still trying to get used to this new change.

There are a variety of table tennis balls available in the market. It depends on your budget too. You should do your research into which manufacturers make the best table tennis balls. You can also go to your local sports store and ask them which brands are the best.

LEARNING THE BASICS:

As with any sport, learning the fundamentals is important. Learning ping-pong rules is also essential. First, one must master the basic stance when playing. This means having your arm slightly bent with the racket in front of you. You also need to bend your knees as this will make moving a lot easier than just having your leg straight. Also, your legs need to be slightly apart to provide you with better balance: this is your ready position.

Next, you need to master the art of holding your ping-pong paddles or the grip. Learning about this very basic ping-pong skill is important if you want to excel at this sport. It is vital that you learn how to properly do this if you are still at the beginning stage since changing your grip can be very difficult once you get going.

There are a lot of articles in the Internet that can give you a lot of good table tennis tips, especially with how you should hold your racket. The key thing to remember is to not grasp the paddle too tightly but just enough to hold it properly.

There are different types of grip out there.  There is the penhold and the shakehand grip. The shakehand grip is named so because you would hold the paddle the same manner you would hold a hand during a handshake. The shakehand grip is quite common especially for beginners and majority of professional players use this method of holding their ping-pong paddle.

On the other hand, the penhold grip is so called because you will hold the paddle like you are holding a pencil. Try both grips for yourself and see which one works best for you. Perfecting a paddle grip can be a really huge advantage for you if you plan on becoming a serious player of this sport.

Then there are the strokes. This basically boils down to offensive and defensive strokes.  The main thing to remember with this is to keep your hold on your paddle not too tight but not too loose either so you can maintain control with your paddle.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

Now having read all that, lets talk about some things that you should keep in mind when playing table tennis.

First of all, practice. If you want to excel on this sport, training is the key. You should devote time and energy to develop your skills and improve your game. One thing you can do is to have a schedule and develop a routine. You can devote 2-3 days a week, for at least 3 hours at a time. Take note of the things you are weak at and spend more time correcting and perfecting that.

Secondly, read about the athletes who play this sport. Read about how they started out with playing. Research about the strategies they employ, about their defeats and victories. Not only will these inspire you to become better but this will also teach you a lot of table tennis tips.

Lastly, if you are anything like me, you will make a lot of mistakes at first, which is okay. Learn how to have fun instead of taking things too seriously. After all, table tennis is a recreational sport that is best enjoyed as an outdoor activity. So, go ahead and have fun!

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