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Guo C. (10): Table Tennis


Guo C. (10): Table Tennis


Guo Chen (10) has been playing Table Tennis since he was in first grade. “There was a very close ping pong classroom near my house so my mom asked, ‘do you want to go play?’ and I said sure. That was the first time I played and I really liked it, so I continued,” says Guo.

Table Tennis, or Ping Pong, is a sport using a bat to hit a lightweight ball across a table with a net in the center that splits two sides. The first World Championships for Table Tennis has started from 1926 in London, but it was not an Olympic sport until the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul.

Guo practices one and an half hours everyday. He starts off his training with warming up. He also does fitness training to help with his strength and stamina. As for competitions, Guo goes to small ranking tournaments in Taiwan to gain experience and learn how to minimize the pressure when playing a game in order to perform well. That way in July, when he plays his most important tournament of the year (the US Nationals), he can perform in his best condition. “I still remember the first time playing the US Nationals: I under-performed due to jet lag and pressure; therefore, I was really unsatisfied with my performance. However, because of that tournament, I gained valuable experience and understood what I really need to work on afterwards,” says Guo.

As a Table Tennis player, Guo says pressure is definitely the number one obstacle in his games because it prevents him from playing at his maximum potential. Guo works on overcoming pressure by playing more games and becoming more aggressive and focused in-game.

Another struggle for Guo is communication with his coach. “Sometimes when I don’t perform well, my coach literally will just stop giving me advice and talking to me, which really frustrates me. Therefore, whenever he does that, I’ll often go tell him what I didn’t do well in that game and how I should improve. This shows that I do care about the game, thus leading to our normal and casual conversation about the game,” explains Guo.

Guo recommends playing table tennis to other students in our school. He says, “I recommend this sport because it’s good for your eyesight and it helps with your hand eye coordination. It’s also indoors so you can turn on your air conditioner and play.” He also explains, “Table tennis is an unique sport because it’s an extremely fast sport that requires quick reflexes and a good use of your whole body starting from legs all the way up to your shoulder. Many people often believe that the only part of the body that you need to use when playing ping pong is just your arm; however, that’s not correct because the most frequently used body part is actually our legs. When playing table tennis, even though the area of the table tennis table seems small compared to tennis or basketball court, we still have to move a lot and always need to be prepared for the next incoming ball.”

Guo says his role model is Ma Long from China. Ma Long is currently the number one player in the world and has just achieved a Grand Slam last year after winning the Men’s Table Tennis Olympics. “He’s my role model because he’s a courteous and low key player despite his remarkable achievements. Also, I want to play like him because his play style is really balanced, and he consistently plays at a high level regardless of all the pressure he may experience,” says Guo.

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