The playing facility is divided into two sides. One side (shown on the left) contains 6 individually barriered courts. The right side contains a group of more closely-spaced tables. There is also a main court with red floor, where the picture above was taken. There is also a separate room with one table. The price per hour varies according to the court type. Another picture below:
The club is often fully booked on weekends by players from Hong Kong (an hour or so to 90 minutes away). And I'm told, it's also extremely busy in the summer (juniors from Hong Kong on their summer holiday period). Coaches During my stay, I had multiple opportunities to practice with four different professional coaches: all of whom were right-handed, and all of whom were well above my level of play. (The club has different levels of coaches from national team on down and priced accordingly.)
Cost: 60 RMB/hour. Very quick close-to-the-table shakehands player with smooth rubber both sides. Province team level.
Powerful loop and difficult-to-return serves. Hard to figure out the level of some of the coaches, but I estimate she plays at the 2500-2600 level.
|May only speak occasionally during practice, but actually speaks English very well. (She can also understand and speak Cantonese but I always ended up chatting in English.)|
Cost: 60 RMB/hour. (The sister of the coach shown above.) Also two-winged with smooth rubber but practices at a more relaxed tempo. Different personality. Offers more verbal feedback. She can speak English but I always ended up talking to her in Cantonese.
Cost: 70 RMB/hour. Penholder with a fearsome reverse side backhand loop. He must have an incredibly strong wrist, great power and can counterloop with it. I wish I understood more often what he was saying. Unfortunately, he speaks only Mandarin and I don't.
Cost: 70 RMB/hour. Hainan island ladies champion. Two-winged close-to-the-table with smooth rubber. Willing to back up some and trade forehand counterloops with me. I was assigned to her initially. She speaks excellent Cantonese, no English.
I stayed at 寰宇大酒店 (Universal Hotel), website http://www.szhyhotel.com/, which is at the bottom of the map. Strategically located about 10-15 minutes walking distance (or one bus stop) from the ping pong club. It's also convenient for access to some of the major malls (万象城 Mix City and 地王大厦 Diwang) and the burgeoning Shenzhen subway system (stop: 大剧院). The park on the left side is 荔枝公园 (Lizhi Park). A small but picturesque place in a very busy city, I sometimes went running here. Picture looking north on 红岭中路. Club is up ahead on the left, hospital on the right:
As you get closer, you can see the white-on-blue advertising for the club:
Street level entrance at the white-on-blue wording:
Entrance on the 3rd floor:
To come... More blog entries on Shenzhen ping pong to come... I hope to post some videos and talk about techniques I learnt (or re-learnt). But here is an appetizer, an example of a cultural difference you might not expect:
When you rent a court, you get the choice of hot tea or hot (plain) water with free refills. (Cold drinks can be separately purchased at the front desk.) I always select the hot tea. Being used to the United States, first day, the hot tea had me scratching my head a bit. But I worked out a system of pouring out 3 cups of tea, staging the refills from the pot to allow them to cool before drinking.