“Serve return, Liliana, you need to improve your serve return, and then one more thing: recover immediately to be ready to attack,” said Coach Roger.
“Gosh, I can’t even enjoy my shot! How much time do I have to recover?” I asked, already out of breath.
“Oh, about half a second.”
“Half a second!”
Yes, he was not kidding! You hit the ball and if you don’t immediately jump into a position, you loose your chance to attack, and if you are an aggressive player, like I am, you don’t want to loose that chance. One second is too long!
For me, the speed and the intensity of table tennis is what makes me love this sport. I am a creative person, I write music, poetry, I take care of three sons, I run businesses, my work load is huge and quite intensive, on top of it I am a “thinker,” I pretty much think and solve problems all the time. “Just take time, sit down and relax,” they say but if I do my head spins even more! So how come this incredibly fast sport, is my favorite form of relaxation? Because there is no time to think! I have to focus all my energy on only one thing – an orange ball. I have to hit it, hit it in the right direction, with the right spin, I have half a second to recover, and another ball comes right back at me. No time to think, just me, the ball, and of course, usually a fun opponent that is on the other side of the table, as excited and enthusiastic as I am. Earlier today one of the musicians I work with saw me a little down. I had a big problem I was trying to solve and things didn’t go my way.
“What are you going to do? Are you going to be OK?” he asked with a sincere concern in his voice.
“Oh, yes,” I said. “What am I going to do? Hmm… I am just going to go to the Newgy Table Tennis Center (we practice ping-pong here with different players and with Newgy Robo-Pong Table Tennis Robots), and I am going to SMASH(!) the ball against a bunch of guys, and I’ll feel better,” I said with an ease and conviction. For a moment he was just staring at me, and then he was laughing hard.
And so here I am. I practiced with Robo-Pong Robots for half an hour, smashed the ball at a bunch of guys, (it is mainly male dominated sport, and when one plays aggressively, they usually not only don’t mind, but appreciate the challenge), I learned that I have to recover faster, get ready for my move faster. Now I feel good, I had my great exercise, and now…. and now…. (yawn), I am truly RELAXED! 🙂