Why Table Tennis Players Are Terrible Tippers

It’s true. Table tennis players are the worst tippers in the world. It’s not that they don’t tip at all. They are far more likely to leave the wrong tip, tip too much, and tip in situations where it is considered rude to tip. Some countries and cultures frown on gratuities. But, you just can’t stop table tennis players from tipping in the most inappropriate places, and at the most inappropriate times. The tips I’m talking about don’t happen at cafes, pizza parlors, or Korean Barbecue establishments. These tips are unsolicited suggestions from other players. I’ve seen it happen between games, between points, and incredibly enough, during points. 

Chronic table tennis tippers could actually become good coaches. They may just need an outlet for their need to point out flaws in others. Actually, the typical tip from another player is meant to be helpful. Unfortunately, the receiver of these tips is often left trying to sort out conflicting information from multiple tippers. Sometimes the tip is just inadequate. If you tell someone that they need to spin the ball more, but don’t tell them how, the tip might be doing more harm than good.

What are we to do with these terrible tippers? Perhaps I can provide some tips on how to handle some of the worst offenders.

  • The nontipper – Other players aren’t obligated to share their secrets. If you have a question for a player who seems to play particularly well, don’t be afraid to ask questions between matches. They might be more than willing to help you, but they might not.
  • The bad tipper – This is the person who gives nonsensical advice that you realize is almost always wrong. Should you find yourself cornered by such a tipper, I would advise you to excuse yourself to go to the restroom. Don’t actually go to the restroom, because they will likely want to go with you.  
  • The excessive tipper – This could be the worst tipper of all. The heavy tipper has some good tips and some bad ones. You’ll be left to figure out which is which. It doesn’t really matter, because you’ll never remember them all anyway. Their tendency to comment on every shot will leave you exhausted. The only possible way to deal with these types is to politely ask them to be quiet, or just avoid them completely.  
  • The inappropriate tipper – Frequently giving advice to players who didn’t ask for it, the inappropriate tipper is the master of the gratuitous gratuity. Their tips would be better received if they chose better times and places to share them. You can probably rid yourself of this tipper by telling them that your coach said that they don’t know what they are talking about. You don’t have to tell them who your coach is. In fact you don’t even have to have a coach. 

Table tennis players are terrible tippers. Most of them mean well. They can be very generous, and occasionally helpful. It’s up to each player to decide who they want to take tips from. A coach would be a good choice. Coaches may be able to help you sort out conflicting tips, and put them in context. Why are table tennis players terrible tippers? It’s because simple answers aren’t adequate for complex questions.

2 Replies to “Why Table Tennis Players Are Terrible Tippers”

  1. The tip I always got was I was too fat to play table tennis well, which is probably true, so instead of losing weight, I just changed sports. Table tennis is great for shorter and skinny people; the average American is too big for table tennis, that’s a good reason why we suck as a nation at the sport. I guarantee I could destroy Sabrina Zhu at Pickleball because my 6’2″ 210-pound frame can smash overheads at 60+mph. So, my biggest tip over my 8 years of table tennis was to lose weight and shrink in height. The solution, play an American sport. Now I’m happy, and I will still read your posts.

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