Table tennis

As some commenters on my post about badminton pointed out, table tennis is another game that requires very quick reflexes and is another Olympics sport that is well worth watching.

This is a game that I have played all my life and it seems to be increasing in popularity and it is not hard to see why. It is relatively cheap and can be played indoors in a relatively small space.

Watch this clip of a point from an exhibition game, especially the replay towards the end giving the view from the overhead camera. The top players put a lot of spin on the ball that causes the ball to curve in flight as well as change directions after bouncing The way the ball curves in flight is incredible.

The doubles game has an interesting twist in that the players are required to alternate their shots. Given the small area they have in which to maneuver, this requires considerable coordination and athleticism as each player has to quickly move away after making a shot to allow the partner to come in and make the next one.

Here is some wonderful play from the women’s doubles semifinal in the 2009 World Table Tennis Championships.


  1. Kim says

    I have nothing but respect for table tennis players. It’s obviously not as physically demanding as many sports but it’s extremely technical. It takes a lot of skill to be able to take those huge cuts at this tiny, nearly weightless little ball without launching it into the stands.

  2. MNb0 says

    The second video is freaking amazing, especially that 40+ strokes run. It’s incredible how within such short time intervals the players even manage to anticipate the moves of their opponents.

  3. kraut says

    I used to play TT till I was about 18, and no longer found the time
    and place to indulge. One of the most beautiful sports that requires extreme alertness, a fast reaction time and quick decision making. I have played field hockey, soccer and tennis, but none comes close to this one on one (I never liked to play double)sport.

  4. aspidoscelis says

    Water polo, on the other hand… I have never seen a clumsier sport. I wish NBC were showing table tennis instead.

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