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Table tennis is a game of fast reflexes and coordination. However, players have a number of tendencies that might seem strange to the untrained eye.
Why do table tennis players touch the table?
Let’s take a look at five reasons why this practice exists.
1.) Measure distance
To start things off, table tennis players touch the table to measure distance.
Before a point, they want to be standing the perfect distance from the table to receive a serve or serve the ball themselves.
In practice, they measure the length of their arm and use this to judge how far from the table they should stand.
When they make contact with the table, they know they are in the perfect position to win the next point.
While it might seem like second nature to elite players, it’s always good to have a physical reference of some sort.
If you begin to doubt your skills, you’ll be assured that you are at the ideal distance from the table.
2.) Wipe sweat
Next, players touch the table to wipe sweat off their palm. When the palm of your hand is moist, it’s nearly impossible to control the paddle correctly.
Some players like to use their shirt to wipe sweat. Others prefer the firm surface of the table to get a grip.
However, after touching the table, they will have transferred moisture to the table.
These players then use the bottom of their shirt to wipe the table so the ball doesn’t slip.
It’s important to note that don’t have to be playing in fierce competition for it to be worth to touch the table.
If you’re playing in a slightly warm climate, touching the table is a smart move overall.
There’s a good chance that you have been perspiring subconsciously, and you want to have every advantage you can gain for the next point.
Touching the table is also great for recalibrating after a point. Table tennis isn’t all about brute force behind your shots and technique.
There is a serious mental aspect to the game as well, and maintaining a positive outlook is crucial to success.
After a difficult point, players like to touch the table to recalibrate. This allows them to refocus on the game at hand and avoid tilting out of control.
When thinking about why do table tennis players touch the table, it’s important to take personal reasons into account.
Everyone has a different rhythm to get in the zone. If this rhythm goes out of sync, the player can become lost and not on the top of their game.
Many great players train themselves to recalibrate the moment they make contact with the table.
At the same time, touching the table is great for relaxing. If you’re playing in front of a crowd, there can be a lot of noise and excitement.
Sometimes you need to slow things down just a bit. Touching the table delays the start of the next point by a couple of seconds.
This can be all the time you need to relax both mentally and physically.
Depending on the tournament, players can have more or less time between points.
When they touch the table, they always make sure to do so within regulations.
There’s nothing worse than trying to recalibrate with a touch and ending up losing a point due to a time delay.
5.) Stretch fingers
Last but not least, touching the table is awesome for stretching your fingers.
After a long session of table tennis, your hands will have been gripping the paddle for hours on end.
This can cause pain in your joints and a decrease in your performance overall.
When you touch the table, it’s an opportunity to stretch your fingers out and into a different position.
Once again, you’ll find renewed strength for your next point.
Although you only grip the paddle with one hand, don’t be afraid to put it down entirely and stretch both hands.
The best players have mastered this technique time and time again.
When all is said and done, these are a handful of reasons why table tennis players touch the table.
Between points, there are very real reasons why players make contact with the players.
The next time you’re playing table tennis, keep these tactics in mind to improve your game.
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