Mid Hudson Valley Table Tennis Club (MHVTTC)
We will be meeting this Thursday, July 30th between 7-10.
To view past updates, including videos and other media, check out the Archives link.
To view the youtube videos at full screen, click play to start the video and then click anywhere on the video. It will then open in a separate window where you can stretch it to full screen.
A little history regarding the evolution of our sport. Prior to 1952, table tennis was quite a different sport than what we play today. The most significant change was the introduction of the inverted sponge rubber which gave players the ability to spin the ball unlike what was possible using the older hard pimpled surfaces found on most paddles of the time. This change had an enormous impact on the techniques involved, sped the game up considerably, involved exponentially greater spin and changed the sport forever. While many of the strokes may look quite similar to how the modern player strikes the ball there are many subtle differences. It is important to note there is very little spin being generated. This makes footwork and consistent placement of the ball crucial.
The older style game is now referred to as hard bat, and is instantly recognizable by the loud 'knocking' sound the ball makes when it strikes one of these older paddles. Despite sharing the same table, ball, and rules, hardbat is regarded to be an entirely different game than modern table tennis. Hard bats are still sold in sporting goods stores, and are often included with the purchase of a consumer level table. These are what are typically referred to as 'ping pong paddles' and are commonly associated with recreational basement players, in contrast to the equipment used to play the modern sport. Hard bat rallies are, on average, generally much longer than rallies using inverted sponge rubber due to the slower speed of the ball and greatly reduced complexity of the spin generated. Supporters of the old-school style of play often argue the newer equipment has made the game less exciting from a spectator's perspective. Some of the larger tournaments in the U.S. still have separate events solely for classic hardbat players.
Marty Reisman (nicknamed 'The Needle') is arguably the most well known American player from the hard bat era. An admitted hustler from New York, he developed his skills as a player during the 1940's. A bit of a character and a somewhat controversial figure in the world of table tennis, his skills were (and still are) undeniable despite being described by many as an egomaniac. He wrote an autobiography in 1974 called 'The Money Player, The confessions of America's Greatest Table Tennis Player and Hustler'. In 1997 at the age of 67 he won the United States National Hardbat championship, making him the oldest individual ever to win an open national competition (in a racquet sport). Love him or hate him, he is a fixture in the history of the game.
Marty Reisman in action many years later, and other hard bat masters.
Marty showing off a little with one of his signature tricks.
Natacha Joseph poses with the legendary hardbat player, Marty Reisman.
Some history regarding the introduction of the sponge rubber which turned table tennis upside down.
Vintage hardbat. These guys were amazing! Not that I can't appreciate Dixieland swing, but in my opinion the music adds a silliness that detracts from the lifetime of dedication required by these players to attain that level of play. Feel free to turn if off.
'If you don't know the difference between table tennis and ping pong, you've been playing ping pong.'