While playing table tennis may seem like nothing more than a fun way to blow off steam, there is a lot you can take away from table tennis. I’m referring to how it can improve your character. Table tennis is a great sport for furthering your skills as a leader.
1. It’s a Solo Sport
First and foremost, table tennis is a solo sport. There’s no one else to rely on; it’s all on you. This means you’re responsible for all the successes and failures that occur. Remind you of being a leader? Because it should. As a leader, you delegate work and help to guide your colleagues, but ultimately, if anyone fails, you’re partially to blame. It is your decisions that led to the outcome.
2. Forces You to Be Observant
Table tennis is a more technical sport than most. With various playstyles and deceptive spin to tackle, it’s a lot of work to become a high-quality player. And if you can’t make quick observations of your opponents in the brief warm-up before a match, you will find yourself losing far more games than you win.
Not only do you need to discern each opponent’s specific strengths and weaknesses, but you also need to formulate a plan that is within your means to take advantage of this info. This is very much like work in the office. Say, for example, you’re facing a time crunch with a high workload. You need to be able to delegate work to your colleagues effectively. By playing to the strengths of each, you will receive higher quality work and likely finish in a shorter time frame.
3. Improves Your Fairness
From this, you need to be fair in what you expect from your co-workers. Assigning them an excessive workload will not only kill their morale, but they’ll also produce sub-par work. In the long run, this will lead to higher employee turnover.
In table tennis, you quickly become able to identify one’s ability in comparison with your own. Most of the time, it is simple as watching them perform. If they’re executing strokes that you cannot carry out yourself, they’re likely out of your league. However, sometimes you must dig a little deeper to establish their skill level more appropriately. This can come in the form of casual training drills or match play. Both will give you the information you need.
If you find yourself far superior to a potential opponent, it’s always best to make adjustments.
I wouldn’t go out all out as this would shatter their confidence. Instead, give them a tough challenge but allow them to play some shots rather than killing every ball you can. If that’s not your style, perhaps it’s better to find someone more aligned with your skill level.
4. Boosts Your Communication Skills
Table tennis is a social sport. There’s no question. Just think about the size of the playing area. This isn’t tennis, where you are 80 feet away from your opponent. Ping pong tables are pretty damn small. Therefore it’s only natural to strike up conversations with your playing partners. Of course, if you play at a club, it’s instinctive to chat with folks. You’ve likely already built relationships with everyone there, so the conversation flows naturally. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about table tennis.
However, you’ll likely find it easy to talk with strangers when you play table tennis. Whenever I knock up with new players for the first time, I can’t help but want to know more about their table tennis journey. When did they get started? Where do they play? What paddle are they using? Such an organic flow of communication is easily applied to the workplace. And not only does it improve productivity, but it also reduces stress levels.
5. Enhances Your Determination
As mentioned earlier, table tennis is an incredibly difficult sport. And while there are always players out there that are better than you, they are also worse than you on paper, but you just can’t handle their style. This means you frequently face difficult match-ups even if you are relatively skilled.
This is what helps develop your character. You see what you are made of when the odds are stacked against you. Down 10-5 in the final game? Will you crumble under pressure or give yourself the greatest possible chance of making a comeback?
These are the sorts of positions, on occasion, you will find yourself in while at work. And while you might just want to sink into your chair, the determination you developed in table tennis could shine through.
This content is made possible by Franco Colomba
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