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Question: What is a “Basement Player”?

Coach Larry Hodges: A basement player is someone who has played for a long time but without any proper coaching or contact with serious table tennis. While “basement table tennis” often takes place in basements, it also happens in rec centers, schools, churches, and wherever else a table can be set up. A top basement player may dominate against everyone else where he plays, but doesn’t have proper techniques. When and if he ever comes to a regular table tennis club or tournament, he’s in for a shock.

A typical basement star cannot normally compete with any but the weakest players at a typical table tennis club. He simply cannot compete with the better stroking techniques and the serving and rallying spins of a properly trained player. In fact, most players with a few months of training and practice can beat nearly all “basement players.” It’s a problem for the sport because a “serious” basement player could become a “serious” club player, except their first trip to a club is often an unpleasant eye-opening experience, and many or most do not return.

How do we overcome this? With coaching, whether private coaching or in a beginning class. Also, with leagues for new players, and of course by treating new players as the lifeblood to our sport that they are.