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November 21, 2007

My First Lesson

Yesterday I finally set out to accomplish one of my more recent goals- to take a private table tennis lesson. For the past two years or so I have been wanting to take my game to the next level. I just felt that i had reached a plateau and wasn't getting any better at the game. Well, I finally found an instructor in the area after networking through the Wolverine Table Tennis club and I scheduled a lesson.

Last night, I met "Ivey" the semi-pro table tennis player. During warm-ups I could not believe how good he was- any slam, chop, or loop was returned with ease. We had a rally last for well over 100 shots! He kept count, I was too busy slamming every shot hopelessly trying to force an error which never happened. Another note- I always read "ping-pong facts" on the internet about the game being one of the fastest in the world with balls traveling upwards of 90 miles per hour and I thought that it was a statistical error. After seeing Ivey take a full few forehand swings at my high balls I can say that those numbers are accurate. Getting hit by those slams can really sting. I still have some markings on my hand.

Anyways, that is enough of me drooling over talent. My lesson was primarily focused on drills involving looping- a highly exaggerated swing that generates a lot of topspin. With a supply of fifty balls we drilled on looping underspin serves, pushes, chops, as well as countering loopy slams as well with blocks. The two things that I really had to focus on were waiting longer to hit the ball for a loop and to pay attention to the amount of spin on the ball. It is important to wait until the ball has reached the apex of the bounce and is falling to hit it, otherwise you cannot generate the necessary spin to land the shot. As far as blocking shots goes, paying attention to the amount of spin determines how much you have to close the paddle at the point of impact.

Overall I am very pleased with how the lesson turned out and I look forward to taking more in the future. Talking about the lesson has also inspired my friends to take the game more competitively. Just recently we purchased a bulk amount of balls. We hope to drill on our own, just like in the video below (watch it from the two minute mark on to understand why).

Posted by djablons at November 21, 2007 10:31 AM