Table tennis, anyone?
July 31, 2005 4:32 PM   Subscribe

Table tennis has recently become a competitive sport in the office I work in. There are over 250 of us; word has it I am in the the top 5. This is coming down to a girls vs. boys thing (i.e. men in IT and Marketing). How do I win, or at least put on a good show? Oh, and I'm the girl.
posted by vers to Human Relations (14 answers total)
Winning ping-pong comes down to a good paddle and learning ballspin. *cough* You don't have to display the insane acrobatics you see at German/Swedish/Chinese ping-pong matches if you can do ballspin on amateurs. Good paddles have a sticky surface that facilitates this.
posted by Rothko at 4:38 PM on July 31, 2005

If you're in the top 5, you don't need to put on a good show. You can win by playing better than your opponents.
posted by anapestic at 4:45 PM on July 31, 2005

The feminist masses may bitchslap me for this, but... they are men in IT... you're a girl. Play to your natural advantage and wear something that is semi-revealing. Good luck.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:55 PM on July 31, 2005

Response by poster: Thank you for your responses. As soon as posted this, I thought, what a silly question. Spin and power are givens - those are what got me into the running. There are politics at play though, as well as the game. It would mean something to win, but it won't do to be either too obvious or too devious, i.e. changing paddles.

There are two things about everything, right? To play better, I need to know my opponent's game. I may not have that advantage. That's one. Two is negotiating fragile male egos.

Flaming Bore... kudos to your thinkng, but they are married men and that won't do.
posted by vers at 5:01 PM on July 31, 2005

The feminist masses may bitchslap me for this, but...

Actually, the feminist masses might "bitchslap" you for using the term bitchslap. And vers, despite being married, men are still idiots when the opposite sex are scantily clad, so it probably would still work anyway. Also, if you have some time to train, find someone in your office of East Asian decent (those who hold the paddle upside down). Their use of spin, wrist control, and fake gestures to put you on the defensive worked to my advantage when I was younger. I play a very Western style, but my Taiwanese friend showed me a lot of tricks that I never would have learned otherwise. I was able to beat much better players as a result.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:07 PM on July 31, 2005

Response by poster: Noted, Carpe Diem - I know this, but don't play the teasing game. However, I've been lucky to play with British players who have the Far East hold...

smiles... red point.
posted by vers at 5:18 PM on July 31, 2005

Flaming Bore... kudos to your thinkng, but they are married men and that won't do.

Is that "It won't work" or "It's not ethical"? Either way, I respectfully disagree.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 5:36 PM on July 31, 2005

Response by poster: Not ethical.
posted by vers at 6:21 PM on July 31, 2005

Could you find someone outside of the office who is better than you (or inside the office if that works in your situation), and then practice against them... or is the tournament tomorrow? If the latter, then my only advice (which might not be any good) would be to play conservatively. If you don't win, then at least the extended rallies can be viewed as "putting on a good show."

Good luck. :)
posted by aiko at 7:27 PM on July 31, 2005

What Rothko sez, completely. Learn good spin techiques, and if it isn't too overboard (or "unfair advantage"), spend the money on a decent paddle.

There are some *really* expensive paddles out there, sometimes you can find an equivalent paddle, from say, your local Chinatown for a lot cheaper.

Also, pay attention to your footwork; stay on the balls of your feet, knees slightly bent, don't be afraid to be constantly moving. Some people benefit from lower center of gravity, and if you aren't already playing pretty low, you may be pleasantly surprised be the change in perspective.

The serve is also a useful skill to pay attention to, try to pick corners and, again, play with the spin so you can change things up every now and again.

If your natural reflexes are better than your competitors and if you're not using really good balls, see if you can convince the group to invest in some higher-grade table tennis balls; the faster response could be to your advantage.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 7:37 PM on July 31, 2005

Something else I should've mentioned. I'm left-handed, which threw a lot of people for a loop, since my forward went directly cross table to their backhand. (Because I've always played against right-handers, I was able to prepare myself for a righy's forehand. My backhand is stronger than my forehand) Prepare yourself for lefties. They're a dangerous group of players.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:15 PM on July 31, 2005

forehand, not forward.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:16 PM on July 31, 2005

My game improved enormously when I:

Regularly played in a foursome with three Chinese co-workers


subsequently switched to the "Pen" grip.

Re: the semi-revealing attire; You did say you wanted to put on a "good show". It's totally sexist, but d├ęcolletage has livened up myriad dull events. Sorry ladies, mens' love of tits is hard wired.
posted by Scoo at 8:36 PM on July 31, 2005

Local sporting goods store may have rubber cleaner for paddles. It comes in can like shaving cream. Puts a bit more grab on the surface.(similar cleaners for copy /fax machine rubber rollers)
posted by Agamenticus at 9:19 PM on July 31, 2005

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