Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday Aftermath

Today I didn't play any 'real' games -- just simple hitting. We got a lot more people at the club and for a while, I had to play gentleman and let others play. It was fascinating watching things from the side and I saw for the first time that if I'm ever going to play well, I need to do so with my glasses on.

My forehand loops are shaping up nicely, although I still miss about a quarter of the time when I swing. My backhand has gone down a little since I started trying so hard to put spin on the ball. I found out later that others have to deal with spin from me, and I actually do have a better topspin than I thought I had.

My rubber's holding up well. I might not need to change it in a very long while. During the week, I practiced spinning the many balls I had. My room is more cramped now since I rearranged it and I can't even do the one-two step in front of my mirror -- not to talk of the falkenberg.

Well, that's that for today. Next week I'll try to match Alan loop for loop.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wednesday Aftermath

We played tonight at the club and I managed to beat Dennis in three straight sets (I've never beaten him before). I watched Vito's game carefully and something tells me I can beat him -- if I play him when we play. I suppose Gary's been trying to tell me that for a while but I've refused to believe in myself.

Alan, our best player, trumped me badly. Every little flick, even when he blocked, and the ball was spinning uncontrollably -- I would foolish block instead of looping and the ball would fly off. The only person I've played who has greater spin is Dayo from Lewisburg. His serves are other-worldly. I used to pick them before, but I only began to pick them consistently when he had almost won the third game. At least I got in two backhand loops that caught him off balance.

The rubber on my racket is getting worn at the edges. I'll need to get new rubber some time soon, but I'll try to wear it out first.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Segun Toriola

I got this video of Nigeria's Segun Toriola off the forum and encoded it to flv. His style defies understanding -- very rhythmic, fast, and stylish. His retrieves are a bit unusual, with more emphasis on getting the ball than correct footwork, and his backhand is out of this world (I think Kalinikos Kreanga had a tough time against him in the 2002 World Cup). Lots of humor from Jean-Michel Saive, and I think you'll find Segun's hand-switching towards the end highly entertaining.

Note to self: spontaneity and hard-hitting are important.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Introducing Me

My name is Azuka Okuleye and I'm 18 years old. I started playing table tennis in high school with wooden paddles formed from waste plywood and balls from roll-on deodorants. I've moved on since then to playing on a real table, with real paddles and real balls and the game of table tennis has opened my eyes to new things.

I used a light Halex Racket in the past but a friend from my local club at the YMCA gave me a Butterfly Racket (pictures at the bottom) which fits me very well. I hope to upgrade to a 7285 Viscaria FL as soon as I can control the ball better (it's on my wishlist!).

My strong points are my backhand loop and drive, and my returns. I've been told I play like a robot because I prefer to stand in one spot, stretching in either direction to retrieve balls. I think this is because I'm above average height (about 6ft 1+).

Unlike most people, I can always see the ball coming because my eyes move very fast (I read a lot). The problem is, my reflexes are much slower and I have some hand-eye coordination problems. Since I only get to play once a week, I practice in front of my mirror (you really should see me doing the Falkenberg) and try to play using what I learn every Wednesday.

I hope to regularly update this blog every week.