Five names that I can hardly stand to hearThat's how the song Bad Sneakers begins. For a moment, I think back to New Jersey days. Those Butterfly 808 table tennis shoes pictured above look brand new but are over 12 years old. Having languished in a dark box for all that time, they are essentially new, unused after I ordered them back in the late 1990s. I figured it's about time these "sneakers" emerged into the light again. Since I've restarted table tennis, I've stuck to my marathon running shoes for cushioning and comfort. I've been re-purposing my Newton Sir Isaac neutral guidance trainer (see picture at the bottom of my prior entry A Half Marathon). You may be surprised to know these Butterflys (538g) are heavier (and offer less protection) than my Newton neutral racers (500g). (Out of all the sports I dabble in, my bicycle racing shoes are by far the lightest, at around 320g. Yup, one Butterfly shoe is nearly two bicycle shoes.) But, as the saying goes, it's very much horses for courses. Those Butterfly shoes have a very low heel (to protect the ankle) and (by design) a natural rubber sole that balances the ability to slide and make small adjustments with grip. With respect to cushioning (to protect against fatigue), let's just say they work best with a professional (cushioned) floor that the best clubs have. As long as we're talking numbers here, have you ever wondered why cars report the outside temperature but never the inside? As you can see, the automatic climate control is set for 74F (23C) but the actual temperature at head level is 32.3C (90F) with 12% humidity (it's the desert).
Including yours and mine, and one more chimp who isn't here
(Notice the fan is barely running. In other words, the car thinks it has reached the correct temperature.) Back to the coolness of Steely Dan (and Do it again):
Do it again
Wheels turning round and round
You go back, Jack
Do it again
Then you find your only friend
I have to drive 13 hours round trip.
I prefer it to flying because of convenience. Flying basically involves nearly 5 hours each way counting time spent getting to the airport, parking, going through security, waiting around, renting a car etc., only actually saving 3 or 4 hours round trip. So far, unless I have been driving all night, I have been able to arrive alert and relaxed enough to take a lesson after a short break.
- Work: to maintain quality, a lesson lasts only 90 minutes.
Why? Well, multiball is physically demanding. I go through three shirts (sweat saturated), two bottles of water, a Gatorade and a towel in just 90 minutes. Willing the body to continuously move, move, move to get to a position and hold balance, stop momentarily and get the shot off. It's not about mindless or brute force strength. The coaching is intense: every improperly played ball (never mind the missed ones) gets reviewed and highlighted. Nothing is missed. Correct form is everything. Struggling with yourself on a conscious level is also mentally taxing (not to mention, frustrating, at times).
- Optimistic stubbornness: that's a few sessions per weekend maybe once every other month or three. (That's pretty far from the ideal of training 3 or 4 mornings a week.) It's a legitimate question to ask whether anything can be learnt and retained in such short bursts. Without constant feedback and application, one tends to revert back to old habits.