The Lure of Ping Pong

By: Bruce Lipski

Did you know that the number two sport in the world is ping pong? Everyone knows soccer is the most popular but few know that table tennis is right behind. You rarely see it on television and it gets little to no exposure in the US, but in other countries ping pong is close to a religion.

When played in your basement or garage, ping pong is the everyday game for the everyday man. It is a great source of exercise and helps your hand - eye coordination. But when the world's great ping pong players do battle at the tournaments, it is one of the quickest and most entertaining sports you will ever see. The level of play is quite astounding as these top level players can seemingly make the ball go where ever they want, all within a blink of an eye.

At the very top level of table tennis, the players are extremely fit. They do various drills and practice at the table for most of the day. They are dedicated and besides weight training and stamina training, they do footwork and visualization drills designed to help them make those split second decisions that are necessary in this arena.

Ping pong is really a thinking man's game. Not only is there the physical component, but there is a very important mental component as well. The top players are all very well trained in disguising their shots to confuse their competition. They have very expensive and sophisticated ping pong paddles and the speed and spin of the ball is the weapon that the truly good players excel at. As you move up in levels, you learn the importance of varying and disguising the speed and spin of your shots. This makes ping pong a game that is truly exciting. These top players have to constantly be making split second decisions throughout each game and level at which they play is truly astounding for a regular player.

The nice thing about ping pong, however, is that it is everyone's sport. Any level person can have fun playing ping pong and you don't have to learn all the nuances of the sport to still have fun. All you need is a paddle, ball, and table and you will be in for a rapid paced game that not only is entertaining but is good exercise as well. Admittedly, the game becomes more fun the better you get. When you are able to play longer points and actually begin to control the ball with spin, ping pong becomes very, very addicting sport.

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