I Believe in Ping-Pong

Joshua - Dallas, Texas
Entered on October 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports

I believe in the vastness of ping-pong. Ping-pong appears to be only hitting a small 40mm ball over a net with a paddle. Simple? It’s not. There is much more to it. The qualities gained from table tennis help with many aspects of life.

Developing certain styles of play with hard work and practice make years go by while trying to understand the traditional “hold the paddle in your hand” style, or the interesting “Chinese” style where you hold the paddle with the head facing down. Each style presents challenges such as top spin, side spin, and back spin that can create new opportunities to end the point. Through practice, the wooden paddle becomes an extension of the hand.

I believe anticipation leads to success. One must see each shot and concentrate on what he or she will do with whatever the opponent gives you. Like in chess, every possibility must be examined; each move must be thought out. I look at their paddle, their eyes, their unsteady breaths getting tired of my dominant returns. Their impatience ruins them. They hit power, I block back. They hit soft, the ball leaves their vision into the emptiness of the soothing, cream-colored wall standing behind them.

I believe patience prevails over aggressiveness. There are many aspects of hitting the ball that can frustrate some people. One has to learn when to swing, where to hold the paddle, and how to get the ball over the net.

I believe timing is essential. The ball goes to different places based on when you hit it. For a right-handed person, early hits make the ball go to the left cross-court; late hits make it go to the right. If timing is off, the ball can go anywhere it wants to.

I believe a person cannot expect to win a match, that person needs a strategy. One needs to wonder which shots the opponent has and to determine what can be done to stop him. There is a man whom I have never played, but I have heard stories. His name is Mark Henry. He is my uncle. During his youth, he competed in many of his town’s community ping-pong tournaments. He had a three year winning streak and even got a plaque with his name on it. When I get the opportunity, I will try to create a strategy specific to his playing style.

I believe competition is the best way to develop. Many people have called me to a match including friends, parents, and siblings. In my family, my brother Justin is the most serious about ping-pong other than myself. He has many of the same shots and can even hit the ball harder than me. When we both play well, it comes down to the last three or four points where anything can happen. When one of us does not, the other person wins by several.

I believe hard work, practice, anticipation, patience, timing, and strategy form a winning combination. These qualities learned through ping-pong can help balance a hectic life and can multiply a person’s ability to succeed.

I believe ping-pong is one of life’s little miracles.