Table Tennis: Not for the Timid

By Daniel Braverman

Q: How can I improve my pingpong skills so that I can beat my friends in the Student Lounge?

A: Thanks for the great question, since being a good pingpong player is a vital skill. However, becoming an above-average player takes long hours and serious dedication. Everyone knows that playing pingpong is not just for fun, but also for bringing out the best in people through intense competition. In this column, I will provide a few parts of a simple, easy-to-do training guide that will help you rise to glory and stardom.

The most important skill in pingpong, which will be referred to as table tennis from now on since you are trying to become an elite player, is hand-eye coordination. Some people have a misconception that their hand-eye coordination can’t improve and they will never be able to be great, but not you! If you do this simple exercise for just a few hours every night, you will start to see drastic improvement, guaranteed. First, collect 11 quarters, four nickels, six dimes and one penny. Hold them all together in a tight fist. When you’re ready, toss all the coins into the air about as high as your head, and try to grab only the penny so that it doesn’t hit the ground. At first, it might be very difficult and you may get discouraged. A study conducted by me and certified by me found that it can take up to 15 tries to finally catch the penny. However, once you catch it the first time, it’ll become much easier, and your hand-eye coordination will be on an elite level. If you don’t like picking up the other coins after they fall, though, I have created a revolutionary, brand-new exercise that does not involve anything falling. To do it, all you need are chopsticks, a fly and the instructions located in the full version of the training guide, which is on sale for only $19.99 plus shipping and handling.

Once you can always locate and hit the ball cleanly, focus your attention on never missing. That is the key to winning every single game. If you never miss, you’ll never lose a single point. Here’s a quick way to ensure you never miss: put your hands behind your back, have them tied up, and play. Playing normally will seem so easy compared to this that it’ll be almost impossible to miss a shot. Remember that you don’t have to win the point, but you cannot, under any circumstances, lose it. Eventually your opponent will miss. If you are a serious, hard-working, and scholarly person who cares about winning every game and every point, never miss a shot. Very simple.

While both of these tips are crucial and important to becoming a good pingpong player, there is one piece of advice far more important: have fun. The net and paddles are in the Student Lounge so that we can de-stress and enjoy playing during the day. Don’t take it too seriously and get annoyed if you lose. It’s only pingpong. So, if you haven’t already, thank Ms. Foster for her generous and thoughtful gift, and continue to have fun playing with your (hopefully) improved skills after reading this.