I fell in love with Table Tennis when in junior school before I even had the opportunity to use a bat. I loved to watch my elder brothers and their friends from our neighborhood as well as their schoolmates who traveled from far just to spend the weekend practicing. After the sessions, most of the equipment would be kept in my elder brother’s room. I never showed any interest in playing with them since I was too young but the yearning was burning in me. I kept posters in my room in the house of colored high-definition pictures of players in action and marveled at the sport. Although I got a lot of knowledge about the rules and requirements of the sport, never in my life did I have the opportunity to play. In school, I was disappointed to notice that I could not as effectively as I wanted. I resorted to coach my friends who appreciated my knowledge. I have never lost the morale and desire to either coach, direct or train and be in charge of a team of Table Tennis players. The purpose of this paper is to portray the safety precautions necessary in effective playing of Table Tennis to have fun and fairness in competitions.
Although most people view Table Tennis as a lesser sport mostly because it is an indoor sport, it is just as much a sport like the outdoor sports that are filled with vigor and energy. Most important is the fact that Table Tennis is also very physically involving and could cause serious injury to the players. It is disappointing to have a good player forced out to be a spectator because of a serious injury. It is also very disappointing and sad to note that the injury could easily be avoided through following some simple basic precautions. Safety tips are, therefore, extremely important to every sport in general and Table Tennis in particular (since I am interested in the sport). I have confidence I have gained experience through close contact with players since my childhood to determine the possible care and common precautionary steps to avoid unnecessary injury. I will focus on children aged between 12 and 15 years of age.
In cases where table tennis is played outdoors, it is important to consider the weather conditions of the season. For example during the hot summer days, I will require the players to wear light clothing that allows the skin to be in contact with the air to take the moisture. According to the United States Tennis Association, cotton or polyester fabric is the best recommended for the sweaty moments in both lawn tennis and table tennis. The U.S Tennis Association also recommends bright colors with emphasis on white that easily reflect the sunlight and reduce the effect of the heat on the body.
They also need adequate water to avoid dehydration, which is very risky. I will insist that every player takes several cups of water before any active session. They can consistently take water during breaks on the court. This is a crucial step to avoid the risk of heat exhaustion, which also causes muscle cramps.
Constant exposure to Ultra-violet rays is also very harmful to the skin. I recommend sunglasses and the traditional cap. However, a broad-spectrum sunscreen or sun visor is also applicable and helpful depending on the players’ preferences.
Equipment (protective equipment)
The appropriate equipment is vital in not only Table Tennis but also all sports to ensure safe play. The choice of the appropriate bats according to their size and type (thick and light) is, consequently, essential. The right racket or bat determines the risk of injuries of the players’ wrist, elbow and shoulder. As the player swing the bat over and again for a long time both during practice and in the game, their hands get exhausted and may be at risk of injury. Moreover, the size of the handle of the bat determining the grip of the player is an important aspect to consider. This choice is especially due to the various sizes of players hands. The size of the players palm is measured by noting the distance between the tip of the ring finger to the middle of the palm. While a bigger bat will increase the chances of hitting the ball, they are strenuous to the hands. One should consider the lighter bats. However, it is recommended that beginners should utilize the bigger and heavier ones so they can get used to strenuous efforts before graduating to lighter and more comfortable ones. These precautions are crucial to avoid muscle pulls and strains.
Other equipment includes sneakers and socks that only extend up to the calf. These socks have soft padding to provide support for the ankle and preserve the soles of feet from injury. The tennis sneakers, on the other hand, have ample inner padding to protect the feed from hard pounding foot-steps as well as to step and glide across the floor during abrupt turns and movements without raising dust or debris.
I will ensure that I every player in the team acquires all the relevant equipment during training sessions so they can get used to using him or her and benefit from the safety of the equipment.
Training grounds should not be over crowded. Overcrowding increases the chances of collisions (whether accidental or due to conflicts) and limit the survival process in case of a violent situation which is bound to happen in competitions due to high uncontrollable emotions. They should also be spacious to allow extra movement and avoid many collisions. Since table tennis is an indoor game, it is important to enhance the building with fire proof and fire alarm systems with adequate escape routes and response mechanisms.
Table Tennis players should ensure that they get enough warm up before starting to play a game. These sessions should take only between 5 to 15 minutes. The purpose of the warming up process is to elevate the players’ heart rate and consequently, the breathing rate. In turn, a higher breathing rate raises the rate of blood flow throughout the body and particularly the brain and makes the muscles warm. There is no need for heavy exercises that require lots of energy. Instead, only light physical activity not necessarily equivalent to the actual energy required in the game, is necessary. In the case of the Table Tennis sport, there is no need of a long period of time spent on warming up or an exaggerated exercise as in sports with extreme exertion.
Stretching is an important way to conclude the warm up exercise. Despite the existing debates about the role and extent of importance of stretching as part of the warming exercise to help the player sustain their health during a game, all researchers agree that it is necessary. There are various forms of stretching exercises help in ensuring flexibility of the player’s body with special emphasis to the crucial parts they will utilize in the game. Since Table Tennis is not a very involving game, any amount of stretching of the entire body parts (emphasizing on the waist) is sufficient for the player.
It is unfortunate that most players (especially involved in light sports such as Table Tennis) disregard the stretching exercises claiming that it is too light and not helpful. I am committed to take time to explain and try to convince players of the importance of stretching exercises by enlightening them on the details of its role on their bodies. I will require to study and ensure that I have enough information on the best stretching exercises available and suitable for these players.
Strength training safety
The standard and proper techniques for table tennis players are vital in avoiding injury. They include specific positions during training. For instance, a player should keep their body balanced to avoid slips and falls at all times of training. I recommend the common rules such as bending the knees and keeping a straight back especially on overhead shots and as a waiting position.
To reduce stress on the shoulder while hitting a forehand, for example, it is crucial to, for example, bend the elbow. A backhand, on the other hand, requires the player to swing the entire hand beginning from the shoulder. A light and general warm-up exercise that includes stretching is also a beneficial technique before a player begins the training sessions.
I will strictly ensure that the players observe these rules as it will help them to keep unnecessary injuries at bay. For the lazy and those who do not believe they can participate in some particular exercises, I will recommend taking a brisk walk or simple jumping backs as well as a variety of motion stretches.
Concussions are, though rare in Table Tennis, eminent. They occur when a player, for instance, falls hitting their head directly to the floor or the table instantly inducing trauma to the brain. In other cases, especially in small rooms, a player may hit the wall and cause neurological impairments that resolve spontaneously. Concussion causes a variety of disturbances such as physical (characterized by headaches or nausea), emotional (such as sadness and irritability), changes in appetite, lack of adequate sleep and disturbances in sleep patterns and cognitive (such as memory lapses). Every year, there are up to 4 million cases of concussion in sports every year. Of these most of the victims are schoolchildren (accounting for 60% of all occurrences). Concussion cases in Table Tennis in schools only account for a small potion football for the male students and soccer for the ladies.
After a player sustains a concussion, they need the doctor’s clearance and permission to resume play. The doctors conduct assessment tests and interview to determine the sobriety of the person before allowing them to engage in sports again. This care is especially reinforced on players with prior a history of concussions. Studies show that a person who suffered a concussion is more likely (twice more likely) to sustain another one. Moreover, if they had 2 concussions, they are likely to have four more. Other causes include psychiatric disorders and a history of persistent headaches. In other studies, female participants are found to be more likely to sustain a concussion. They also require more time to recover than the sportsmen. It is extremely important to note the fact that continuous occurrences of concussions over a long period may lead to chronic encephalopathy and serious cognitive impairments.
I will ensure that my team is aware of the appropriate foods to consume. Although it is common knowledge that the type of food is extremely important in determining one’s physique and enhancing the results of gymnastics and constant practices, there are also numerous misconceptions. I will strive to clear the information to my team and give reliable information on the appropriate foods for them.
Carbohydrates, for example, are one of the most important of all the foods because they need they need the energy thereof. Initially, during training, the carbohydrates provide up to half of the energy that a sportsman requires. When stored in the body (as glycogen), the carbohydrates generate more energy than fats because they yield oxygen which is crucial for any active sportsman. As the rate of activity of a person increases, so does the carbohydrates’ utility in their body. Foods include potatoes, cereals, grain, milk, honey, and sugar.
Fats too, provide the body with fuel depending on the duration of the activity and the physical condition of the player. They are used mostly for moderate exercises and burn out quickly especially for trained and experienced sportsmen compared to amateurs.
The importance of water can never be over emphasized. The effects of dehydration are dire to any player who goes to training or begins exercise without first taking water. Those who are not comfortable with water may use chilled fruits (chilled fruits get absorbed faster and also help lower the temperature of the body during an exercise or live game).
Engaging in active sports brings with it some negative effects to the participants such as emotional and physical conditions associated with the crazy love for food and obsession of the body weight and shape. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) reports that females in sports are more likely to suffer from eating disorders than their male counterparts with a ratio of 10 girls to every 1 boy.
Eating disorders that affect young people especially in teenage include; anorexia and bulimia. These statistics indicate that adolescent girls are the most vulnerable of the group of athletes to suffer from disordered eating. The fact that it is an embarrassing issue as it exposes the low self-esteem of individuals; it is often kept secret. Therefore, not many teammates are aware of the conditions of their colleagues concerning the issue of eating disorders.
I intend to keep close attention to my players to ensure that I earn their trust and confidence so I can easily address their eating habits and help them to avoid disordered eating. I will enlighten especially the girls because they are more vulnerable than the boys. For instance, I will teach them on the likely symptoms that suggest the signs of disordered eating to watch out. They include; losing the menstrual period, denying hunger, hyper-activity, depression, rapid loss of weight and spending too much time with food (especially calories).
It is easy to note when one has bulimia nervosa, for instance. It is characterized by the increased urge to eat and the lack of control in limiting the eating process. It is easy for girls to fall into this condition as they develop and maintain restrictive eating habits to watch their weight. It is crucial to warn the players that some of the effects of disordered eating are irreversible and permanent. In some extreme cases, individuals develop slowness in their thinking as the brain shrinks anemia and blood pressure. Others have eroded teeth and gums, persistent constipation and missing menstrual cycles in girls.
Doping not only affects the health of the user but also the integrity of innocent players and the reputation and popularity of the sport as well. An old saying in the Olympic Games asserts that the participation is more important than the victory and the fight worth more than the conquering. This phrase is used to encourage participants to uphold ethics and justice to ensure a fair competition. Today, however, the increased cases of doping are alarming. It is surprising that young people in school competitions are involved in doping too.
It is simply unfair to use stimulants and substances that enhance performance against sportsmen who are clean and innocent. The players who follow rules face stiff competition and are quickly disadvantaged from competing favorably. Moreover, the influence of the top sportsman’s reputation of future generation is damaging. This trend threatens not only the health of the athletes but also the future of the sport. The integrity of the sport is put at risk of losing the confidence of both spectators and potential participants because of the unfairness and lack of a reliable system of determining the true winners or define the rules of the games.
I will strive to warn my team from engaging in doping by any means possible. I will also be keen to remind them of the hazards and risks of destroying careers through the slightest involvement in steroids and any other stimulants. Moreover, I will highlight the health factors that come with the use of these drugs that are also addictive.
Although the players are young and considered minors by both local governments and the state, I will ensure that I enlighten them on the basic rules of sports to show them, for instance, the extent to which they can take their conflicts.