Ahh the great game of ping pong. Or table tennis. Or agoraphobic tennis. Whatever you’d like to call it. Ping pong is one of those games where there’s a pretty steep ability curve between “decent” and “great”. This is best shown by the fact that it’s found in most rumpus rooms while also having a competitive scene.
And so we see that there is a definite amount of skill needed for the game of ping pong. Which I am definitely not prepared for. I remember being on a family reunion recently and wanted to play a nice, casual game of ping pong with my cousin. After I got shutout ten times in a row, I started to rethink how I should approach the game.
While this seems like a pretty personal list, it does have a deeper meaning. Let’s consider this more or less a “how not to play ping pong” guide more than anything. So don’t be like me kids, and learn from my mistakes. Let’s take a look at 3 rules of ping pong to help you on your journey to fail less at this glorious game than me.
1) Learn to harness your inner self control
Ping pong is often compared to tennis. But without the dangers of having to go outside, which I’m a fan of. Much like tennis, this is not a game about how hard you can wildly hit the ball. Instead, it’s more about being in full control of the ball and where it’s going. And that’s apparently where I went wrong….every time I see that white (or yellow, maybe even pink during October) ball speeding toward me, I find it impossible to initiate a simple volley. I wind up flexing like Barry Bonds and smacking it across the room, bracing myself for a disapproving look from my teammate and the cost of a lost or smashed ping pong ball on my tab. Maybe it’s time to go solo.
Apparently, you’re supposed to have a bit more “finesse” when playing ping pong. I’m not even sure what that word means. I guess Forrest Gump just made it look easy.
2) You should really learn the basics of Ping Pong
Because I haven’t a clue. This may not be terribly surprising coming from somebody that played lacrosse for two years while never fully understanding how the game works. (I pretty much just winged it for a couple years.) To be fair, I’ve also been to plenty of roller derby matches without knowing how anything works, and that worked out well. I just like to see people run into each other.
I was surprised to hear, after reading the WikiHow article on how to play competitive ping pong, I discovered that here is, in fact, strategy to it. Did you know there is actually a better and best way to hold the paddle? I would usually just wrap my meaty paws around them and hope for the best, or generally experiment with different grips to protect my dignity when whatever I was doing didn’t work.
Additionally, the sheer amount of strategy information on ping pong as a whole was surprising to me. Choppers, blockers, counterdrivers, and other complex sounding words are significant parts of the game. And, as shocking as it may seem, I’m probably not the best person to able to adequately explain those concepts to you, so here’s a link.
3) Do or Don’t Drink Alcohol While Playing Ping Pong
Drinking can be advantageous if your goal is to make smart remarks and have a built in excuse for why you suck, and not drinking is pretty much an advantage for everyone else who actually wants to play well. As I said before, ping pong is a game that requires a bit of finesse, both in style and execution. Do you know what beverage happens to decrease style and execution? Anything with alcohol. Which I may or may not have enjoyed during my family reunion ping pong game. The good news is, if you drink enough, you may personally think you look better and are playing better, so again, advantage alcohol.
Consider this a public service announcement. Don’t drink and pong. Learn the correct way to hold your paddle. Read up on the game. Don’t drink and play. Or do if you want to be like me, kids. You’ve got your whole ping pong life ahead of you, the choice is yours.