Rhythm synonyms ~ beat ~ cadence ~ tempo ~ time ~ pace ~ pulse ~ pattern ~ flow ~ accent
Rhythm is not just about music. We breathe with certain patterns. Hopefully, we have a heart that beats. Living has a certain pace, a particular flow. There are some table tennis players that seem to always be on time, and never miss a beat.
I’ve lived with a musician for forty two years. She plays the piano. I play table tennis. We have very different skill sets. I have no musical sense of rhythm, and she can’t do the Falkenberg drill. Table tennis timing starts with being able to warm up forehands and backhands with a consistent tempo. Even if you’re not a professional player, there’s no reason not to warm up like one. Drills with a consistent training partner can have a metronome like precision.
Table tennis drills are in musical terms, like playing scales. If you are going to play anything difficult, you’ll need to be able to play the easy and predictable tunes. The pace of table tennis is unpredictable, but there are certain patterns that happen enough that we should rehearse them well. Unlike in music, table tennis competition is a duel, and not a duet. You might have to change from 4/4 time to 6/8 without the benefit of any indication of time signature. The patterns are irregular, but there are patterns. Serve, loop, smash, or chop, block, drive, are typical patterns. If you fail to train for patterns at varying speeds, your pattern may frequently be serve, panic, and pick up the ball.
There are as many drills as there are patterns. The idea is to practice the patterns that most compliment your playing style. Eventually, you’ll need to get some good match experience. Every new opponent provides new challenges. They will play with different styles and speeds. Your game should have a rhythm to it. Sometimes you can hear it. You should always feel it.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau