Now serving: An Inside look at Table Tennis Club

Now serving: An Inside look at Table Tennis Club

Now serving: An Inside look at Table Tennis Club
October 09
08:00 2018

Table tennis is an Olympic sport that first appeared at the 1988 Summer Olympics. It is a popular sport throughout the U.S. that is mostly played recreationally. At North Texas, table tennis is a club sport that is played competitively in the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association.

The North Texas Table Tennis Club was officially founded seven years ago but has found success, finishing 13th at Nationals in 2015.

Even with the success the team has found, head coach Zane Cundiff is still looking for ways to change the operating system.

The Mean Green table tennis team consists of many players of many different playing levels. The unique difference between the Table Tennis Club and an NCAA-sanctioned sport, such as football, is that anybody of any skill level can be on the table tennis team and be developed, where on the football team that is not the case.

“Before we would have good players come in and practice, but now we are looking into getting players who are starting from the beginning and going all the way to the top, so that junior or senior year they can participate into regionals — or even nationals,” said Cundiff.

Sophomore table tennis player Devin Boski is someone who started playing for the North Texas table tennis team only a year ago with no prior experience but is now very developed as a player.

“I basically knew next to nothing when I got here, and now I know a lot more,” Boski said.

Table tennis is a sport requiring concentration and  hand-eye coordination, as well as extreme focus and a fast reaction time. However, even with these physical skills needed, being mentally prepared is just as  important than being physically prepared.

Table tennis balls used for practice by the table tennis club at the Pohl Rec Center aerobic room. Emily Olkkola

“It’s all mental, Cundiff said. “ It takes about three months to learn all the physical and 10 years to learn all the mental. When it becomes mental is where you see professionals doing mental work where they let their body do the work for them and they just outwit the other player.”

Like all sports, being a veteran and playing more helps the mental game progress.

“Every player is different — you are going to face different players,” Boski said. “Playing more players and playing different style of players will help because you will get more experience.”

Cundiff expressed a similar sentiment when talking about how experience helps.

“There’s more table than you think—there’s more to it than you think when you serve it or hit the ball,” Cundiff said. “Some people play really fast, and if you want to beat them, you slow the ball down and the other way around.”

For Boski, it is important to not be too hard on yourself and keep moving forward.

“You just can’t beat yourself up too bad because then if you do, you will just keep making the same mistakes and you will eventually lose,” Boski said.

The preparation process for the Mean Green table tennis team is like most sports in that it takes a lot of practice to get ready for the next match or tournament.

“I prepare in practices a few weeks before, and try to get in the right mindset,” Boski said. “It is a lot of mental game.”

Newcomer and freshman table tennis player Huy Le played table tennis at his high school before he got the Mean Green table tennis team, he joined the college level of table tennis is more focused on development and coaching.

“It is better here because we have someone to coach us and teach us how to correct our mistakes,” Le said. “In my high school I would just play for fun, but now they are really teaching me how to play table tennis.”

At North Texas, the club table tennis team is not only very serious when it comes to competing at the national level, but it is also focused on elevating their players’ skills and taking them to the next level. The team will continue practicing to prepare for National Collegiate Table Tennis Association tournaments beginning in winter.

Featured Image: A table tennis club member practices in a singles match at the Pohl Rec Center aerobic room on September 9, 2018 in Denton, Texas. Emily Olkkola

About Author

Jacob Solomon

Jacob Solomon

Business student at the University of North Texas and sports writer at the North Texas Daily.

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