The aerobics room at the Campus Recreation Center is home to several dance classes throughout the week, but on Saturday afternoons it plays host to a different assembly of people, carrying paddles as opposed to dance shoes.
The VSU Table Tennis club team practices there every Saturday afternoon from three to six.
The team is not all about the competition, but also focuses on improving each player’s skills at the table. For this reason, anybody is welcome to join the club and tryout for either the A or B team, depending on talent level.
“Table Tennis is different from other sports, as it depends on the type of equipment you use,” Josias Valdez, the club’s Public Relations Officer, said. “A player can customize their paddle to fit their style of play, which is something you can’t do in football or baseball.”
Valdez also explained that in a typical tournament, each team consists of four players, matching competitors based on skill level.
“A lot of strategy goes into setting up the match-ups,” Valdez said, as he played a practice round against, Zachary Johnston, one of the team’s best players.
Johnston, who serves as the team’s vice president, is one of the team’s top two players, along with President Jacob Miller.
Johnston is entering his third year with the squad, and is one of the team’s most vocal leaders. Throughout the practice, he was either practicing and improving his own game, or going around giving pointers to the younger players.
“I go to camps and have been around some really good players since I started playing, and I am always willing to share what I know,” Johnston said.
One of the driving forces within the club, as far as getting new equipment or just impacting the pace of practice, is the founder and newly dubbed “coach” Joey Brown.
Valdez mentions how the team has a limited budget through the school and that people like Brown are the reason for the club flourishing the way it has.
In recent years, the team has competed in the Georgia division of the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association, or the NCTTA, against teams like the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.
The team has seen some success in the last couple of years, finishing in the top 5 at a couple of tournaments that were held in Atlanta.