As I laboriously hunt and peck to type this blog post, it would seem that I should reconsider the miracle of the human hand as my main premise. I consider the entire human body a miracle, my poor typing skills notwithstanding. My wife has been able to play the piano since early childhood. I consider it a miracle that she feels no need to look at her hands while playing. The muscle memory for these skills is usually developed early, and can last for a lifetime.
For a table tennis player, the hand is especially significant. Players use different grips, many using a shake hand style. Some players seem to have excellent touch, or a good feel for the ball. Good reflexes in the hand can contribute to some incredible blocks. Some players are ambidextrous. As a right handed player, I can barely play left handed. Playing left handed not only forces me to play with a clumsy hand, it seems to put my entire body out of position. To me, an ambidextrous player appears to have super powers.
The hand has 27 bones. It is also made up of muscles, tendons, skin, hair, and nerves. Even a lengthy Wikipedia definition really doesn’t do justice to explaining the hand. The physical touch of a hand can be considered an intimate gesture, or an invasion of personal space.
You can give someone a hand. Perhaps you are handy, or your kids are a handful.
Getting back to table tennis; realize, that to play well, you’ll need to have good hands, and good hand-eye coordination. Sometimes you’ll need to have a firm hand, and sometimes a light touch. You may find yourself raising a victorious fist, or faking an apologetic wave. For the most part, nobody recognizes good hands unless they are being used.
But, all the great players have great hands. The hand skills of table tennis are no less essential than those needed to play a musical instrument or paint a landscape. Practicing serves, serve returns, and pushes, are some of the ways hand skills can be developed. The ability to use your hands well produces confidence, so when you pick up your racket, you know it’s in good hands.