I have recently started playing TT (Table Tennis). I knew Tennis for a long time and have been an avid follower of Grand slam Tournaments. I always had the dream of learning Tennis but in Hyderabad city it is very hard to find a Tennis Court and the correct coach. Owing to all these problems I have been procrastinating this desire.
My fascination towards Tennis has drove me to TT many times as it is the closest replica of Tennis. Now that TT is very much accessible to me I recently started playing. I’m really enjoying it now and I am amazed at the many advantages that this game provides to any player.
Firstly the biggest advantage is it being an indoor game. You don’t need to run for the ball as in Tennis where you cannot afford helpers. Theres lot of technique that is required to be a good TT player. You can spin the ball and make it a nightmare for the opponent to receive your shots. It looks like an easy game to play but only when you try it you’ll understand the difficulty and the thrill in it. In two weeks I have emerged from a worst beginner to beginner level player. Theres lot of control that is needed in smashing the ball. It often goes out of the table. Its very tough to place it consistently on the table.
At first I couldn’t understand the rules of the game. Its somewhat different from Tennis. The scoring is also different. Its very much simple in TT. Its close to Volleyball and similar games.
The serving is different from tennis. In the latter the player places the ball directly in the opponents area, on the other side of the net. But in TT, we should first place the ball in our court space and manage it to land it in the opponent’s space with only one pitch in our area. It has to cross the net after it is pitched in our court.
The one who serves first gets the chance of serving for 5 points in a row. He gains the point if the opponent hits the ball directly outside the table without pitching it in our court space. If the ball hits the net in the middle of the table and falls in the opponent’s area then you gain a point. In all other cases when the ball hits the net you lose the point. Sometimes if you are lucky enough, even if the ball hits the net it falls on the other side. It is often very tough to receive such shots for the opponents and eventually you gain a point. Hand touch on the ball gives the point to the opponent. Which ever team reaches 21 points will be the winner of that game/set. Usually in tournaments they put best of 3 or best of 5 sets/games to decide the final winner.
If both the teams reach 20-20 it is called deuce and then starts the tie-breaker. For this the service is moved alternatively and which ever team scores two points continuously wins the set. If a team gains a point then they get the advantage. But if they lose the next point then the score again falls into Deuce. This is very much similar to the way Deuce is handled in Tennis.
Some of these rules are applicable only for the singles game.
And in doubles game, the key differences are:
1) If you are serving, then you should place the ball in the rectangle that is diagnol to your rectangle space. In singles, you can place it any where in the opponent’s area.
2) You can only take one shot in sequence. The subsequent shot must be handled by your partner. Same is the case with your opponents.
Its confusing for beginners to grasp the rules of the doubles game. But once you start playing this way you’ll enjoy the thrill in it. On the other hand, it is sometimes boring and not that enthralling because there is a dependency on your partner and if he keeps on losing points for your team you might get bored but it is a good way of including more members.
Another minus for this game is that you should find at least one more player to practice it. It can’t be practiced in single. In the movie ‘Forrest Gump’, they show an interesting way of playing it in single. Tom Hanks pushes the table to the wall and makes the wall as the opponent. This game is also known with the name – ‘Ping Pong’.
I have tried to watch some TT games over Television but understood that it is not a great game to watch but can be enjoyed only by playing. I sometimes wonder on how some Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian players receive most difficult smashes. Over television telecast it is very difficult to keep an eye on the ball as its size is very small.
Anyways if you are interested in games and haven’t tried TT, give it a try and you might like it immensely.