Karla’s Table Tennis Journey

Commonly known as Ping Pong (which I hate by the way!) table tennis was my sport growing up. I started at the age of 14, a late starter apparently. I was ‘discovered’ by the State coach, Mr Lee, who visited the youth club I was attending. Training then became more intense with multiple weekly sessions at Sydney Uni and the old Sydney Show grounds.

I started attending competitions all around the State. It was an eye-opening experience. Huge halls with tables and partitioning and the sound of balls being struck and hitting the table to certain rhythms becomes addictive. The table tennis outfits, bats, rubbers on bats for speed, spin, control, bat cleaners, was a whole new world I never knew existed. Weekends were pretty much spent indoors at these competitions from then on.

The aim was to make your State team and compete at National Championships held annually. I made the NSW team each year from U15’s until I retired after the U21’s. At Nationals you competed as a team against other States where you played two single games and at least one, maybe two double games. The highlight was trying to get as high an individual ranking in Australia. My highest ranking was number 5.

When I was 15, I went on a tour of South Korea. A highlight was training with the South Korean national team and seeing first-hand the respect my Coach received as an ex South Korean national coach. It was such a great experience at that age and a big sacrifice on my parent’s behalf to get me there.

Table tennis is such a fun game to play for any age and fitness level. Not only does it provide great social interaction, it also gets your heart pumping, improving circulation. Table tennis requires quick reactions and improves your hand eye co-ordination all whilst you’re having fun and not realizing you are exercising. The constant movement and range of motion required in table tennis helps improve joint flexibility and mobility, which can be particularly beneficial for older adults. The game strategy and decision making helps keep your mind sharp and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline with age.

I’ll be using my experience and knowledge to deliver one hour coaching sessions. The first set of coaching commences 6th September at 6.30pm for 6 weeks. You can expect to learn table tennis strokes, footwork, serving, how to recognize different spin and game strategies as well as having some laughs. So if you want to have the upper hand at your next family and /or friend gathering where the table tennis table comes out, please register your interest here.

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