A Tendency to Twiddle


I’m not sure how big an audience there is for a post on table tennis twiddling. We can immediately eliminate 99% of the world’s population, simply because it’s about table tennis. Now we have to consider that very few offensive players have any interest in this fascinating subject. So, now we’re down to defensive table tennis players, which make up a dwindling proportion of players worldwide. The majority of defensive players do use some type of combination racket, but not all of them alternate which side of the racket they use, preferring to keep the pips on the pips side, and the fast rubber most likely on their forehand. At this point my audience is down to the potential twiddlers, the part-time twiddlers, and the rare but enlightened true table tennis twiddlers.

Now that we’ve narrowed the audience down to the small slice of people that can appreciate what I’m talking about, I’ll go ahead and get to the point. Twiddling is fun. To be able to constantly change the spin on a ball in ways that your opponents can’t adapt to is extremely satisfying. To really get good at a twiddling game will take a leap of faith. There will be times when your opponents won’t know what you’re trying to do, and you might not either. You might forget what side of the paddle is which. But it will never be boring.

It’s not necessary to commit to frequent twiddling all at once. The leap of faith comes once you’ve mastered the basics and feel like you can twiddle at any time, for better or worse. Most information on twiddling will make references to your “normal” rubber. This usually means your smooth rubber. If you twiddle a lot you’ll gradually begin to abandon this type of thinking. You’ll be just as comfortable with your pips or anti side, regardless of if the “abnormal” rubber is on your forehand or backhand. Even if there are not a lot of twiddlers in the world. There are some good ones. Tetyana Bilenko is an excellent example of the potential for this style. At times her twiddling patterns can seem almost random, but she has an element of strategy to her game that very few players will ever experience. h

Twiddling is not for everybody. It’s not a easy way to play, or a shortcut to success. It can work, and sometimes it can work really well. It can be educational and fun, if you are so inclined, and have a tendency to twiddle.

2 Replies to “A Tendency to Twiddle”

  1. During the last tournament at Lucky Shoals I saw a young player, under 10, playing in his first tournament. I remember when he first started playing in January at Paragon. He may be the best at twiddling I’ve seen. He twiddle during his serve toss. I believe both sides are Tenergy. He now trains at MK table tennis in Duluth.

    1. Hey Bruce. If both sides were Tenergy, it doesn’t make too much sense to twiddle. Learning how to twiddle isn’t nearly as challenging as knowing when to twiddle.

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