Life Lessons from Table Tennis
Here are a few lessons in life that I have picked up from my time in table tennis.
- Win or lose, give a firm handshake and a sincere “Thank you”.
- Competition does not only build character, it reveals it as well.
- Just because everyone else does it one way, that doesn’t mean you have to as well.
- But bear in mind there is usually a good reason why everyone else is doing it that way!
- People without your expertise or experience are still willing to tell you how you should be doing things.
- Put a group of humans together who are passionate about ping-pong, and politics will happen.
- Focus more on living up to your potential than comparing it to other people’s.
- Everyone thinks they are above average.
- Equipment is like relationships – some people stick with one blade and rubbers for life, some get a 7 year itch, some are serial rubber users, some try several rubbers at the same time, and some claim to be faithful to their equipment but are susceptible to affairs with other rubbers from time to time!
- The overall spirit of the laws are more important than the specifics. Someone can almost always find a loophole to exploit if they look hard enough – someone with the right attitude won’t even try to find one.
- You don’t win at the top by playing safe. Take calculated risks.
- Make more mistakes, then make sure you learn from them.
- Be humble. There is always someone out there who is better/ more talented/ has more time to train than you. Sooner or later you will come across this person, usually in front of a crowd.
- The kids of today are the champions of tomorrow. Sooner or later they will overtake you.
- But with cunning and experience, you can put off that day as long as possible!
- A true training partner, like a true friend, is golden.
- A true training partner will be honest when assessing your game, while still trying to find encouraging things to say.
- Spectating is fun, but you can’t beat getting out there and having a go yourself!
- Winning as an individual is nice, but being able to share it with a team is even better.
- There will always be those who embrace change, those who fight against it, and those who feel things were better 20 years ago.
- Over time, you will be in each of those categories at least once!
- Where money is involved, don’t expect businesses (or people) to act altruistically for the good of the sport.
- Just because people are in power, that doesn’t make them right.
- But the decisions are generally made by the people who can be bothered to volunteer and then turn up!
- If no-one is criticizing what you are doing, it’s probably not important to anyone.
- Being an umpire is the closest you will get to being God – your word is fact. But if both players think you are wrong – consider what they have to say – after all, unlike God, you are not infallible!
- The goal is to hit one more ball on the table than your opponent – whether other people like the way you do it, or with what equipment, doesn’t matter. There are no points given for style.
- Cheat, and even if you win, you are still a loser.
- Most people on the street think they know something about the sport. Most of what they know is myths, mistakes and misconceptions.
- Take the time now and then to help someone else improve.
- Practice random drills and sensible tactics.
- Playing with a partner can be more fun than playing by yourself.
- Those who can, play. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, spend time criticizing others on Internet forums! 😉
- Whether you call it ping-pong or table tennis – it’s still the best sport around. Get out and play it!
And one final thought: (with apologies to the original writer)
Lord, please give me the serenity to accept the strokes I cannot play, the courage to play the strokes I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.