Table tennis, also known as ping-pong, is a game that can be played by two to four people. You don’t need to be able to play at a professional level in order to enjoy it.
Even recreational players can reap the 5 advantages of playing table tennis.
The Discovery of Table Tennis
Like other sports game, table tennis started as a simple parlor game. Anyone with a paddle, ball, and table could play it.
In the 1880s, J. Jaques and Son created the trademark Ping-Pong. They became the main suppliers of table tennis equipment.
Their brand became so big that Ping-Pong is now considered synonymous with table tennis.
Table Tennis’s Rise to Fame
In the 1990s, several organizations started to hold tournaments with more or less 300 table tennis players and the Ping-Pong Association was formed.
The association was later renamed as The Table Tennis Association.
Soon, the game’s popularity spread to other parts of the world, including Asian countries.
Its rise to fame culminated when it was finally recognized as an Olympic Games sports in 1988 in Seoul.
Until now, the game is rapidly growing. In China, top table tennis players are considered national heroes.
Fundamentals of Table Tennis
Everyone can play table tennis. The fundamentals of the game are easy to learn. You just need to learn the stance, footwork, grip, drives, pushes, serve, return of serve, and match play.
A good stance is defined by being wide and low. In other words, you need to get your center of gravity to be as realistically low as possible.
Your feet should be wide apart, your knees bent, your body crouched, and both of your arms in front of you. This is your neutral gaming position.
New players think that the footwork in table tennis is strange. It will take time, but with practice, you can get comfortable with the side-step footwork.
Once you do, you can try faster and more complicated footwork patterns to cover wider distances with a step.
There are two main grips in table tennis, the penhold and the shakehands. The penhold grip is holding the bat the way you hold a pen.
On the other hand, the shake hands grip is holding the bat in the same manner you shake people’s hands.
There are two types of drives, the forehand drive and the backhand drive. Both drives focus on consistency, control, and accuracy.
The forehand push and the backhand push are considered the backspin strokes. The backhand push is easier to learn than the forehand push. However, both of them are necessary if you want to achieve long rallies.
Serve and Return of Serve
There are several types of serves. However, beginners should master the plain serve before the complex ones.
Return of serve is trickier than the serve. You can’t master it without knowing the serves that your opponent will use.
Once you’ve learned the six fundamentals in table tennis, you are ready to put them all together into a match play.
In a match play, you be able to create a strategy that will maximize your strengths and cover your weaknesses.
Advantages of Playing Table Tennis
Table tennis did not become popular simply because it is fun to play. There are other advantages to playing the game.
1. Improving Mental Alertness
Placement of the ball, spin, and speed are crucial in playing table tennis. Thus, this game enhances their reflex and muscle movements.
In fact, all professional players are able to react immediately, almost unconsciously, to any outside stimulus.
Studies have shown that table tennis simultaneously activates several areas of the brain.
A clinical study in Japan, reported in Alzeheimer’s Weekly, has found that the game increases blood flow to the brain.
Moreover, researchers from The American Museum of Natural History have declared that it is the best sports for the brain.
2. Burning Calories
Tests have found that table tennis is a great game for burning calories. It keeps you moving from one side of the table to the other without losing focus on the ball.
When your body is in this active state, you are able to burn calories in a short period of time.
It is said that a 68kg person will be able to burn 200 to 200 calories after playing table tennis in one hour.
Of course, the exact amount of calories burned will depend on how active you are during the game.
So, table tennis allows you to burn calories while enjoying the game. What better exercise is there than this?
3. Going Easy on the Joints
Though table tennis is an active sports, it does not overtax your joints. It improves your arm, leg, and core muscle strength without performing complex muscle movements.
Thus, there is a low possibility of hurting yourself while playing the game.
Many doctors have recommended table tennis as the best solution for people who suffer from joint pain and back problem.
It is also perfect for seniors. They can stretch their arms and legs and play at a fast pace without the running the risk of getting an injury.
4. Mastering Hand-Eye Coordination
Another benefit of playing table tennis is its ability to sharpen your hand-eye coordination.
You need to be able to strike the ball at the exact time so that it will not go out of bounds.
To do this, you need to concentrate and quickly device a tactical strategy.
Your brain fires up neurons and sends a signal to your hand, telling it to move when the ball is within your hitting range.
5. Bonding with Other People
The biggest advantage of playing table tennis is its ability to offer a social outlet to both new and old players.
Since the game is easy to play, anyone can join in the fun. While playing, you can spend quality time with other people and strengthen your bond.
Most community centers have tables where you can play the game. Why? It is because it is the best game in which the young and the old can equally enjoy.
Several friendships have built through the game.
There are at least 5 advantages of playing table tennis. These include improving your mental awareness, hand-eye coordination, weight, muscle and joint strength, and bonds with other people.
You can enjoy the game with your family, friends, other members of the community, or professional players.
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