Ding Song is a former male Chinese table tennis player famous for his eccentric modern defensive style. As a defensive player, he is legendary for his unreasonably frequent and powerful counterattacks, almost as aggressive as other offensive players, which he combined with oddly spinning chops just like other choppers.
He is best known for having defeated Peter Karlsson in the men’s team final of the World Table Tennis Championships in 1995, thereby securing China’s victory. He also made it to the Men’s Singles semifinals before eventually losing to teammate Kong Linghui. During his career he won two gold medals with the team and one bronze medal in Singles at the World Table Tennis Championships. He retired from the Chinese team after the 1997 World Table Tennis Championships.
After playing in German leagues for a few years, Ding Song returned to China in 2003 and played in the China Table Tennis Super League until 2007. He also entered Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2006, majoring in human resource management. In June 2009 he received a bachelor’s degree, and started working at SJTU as the coach of the university’s team.
During this interview he explains in great detail what is needed from a chopper to compete effectively in contemporary table tennis.
– How when in doubt players have to decide for themselves on the court during competition, the importance of movement and the change in training practices over the years (0:00–3:13)
– The most important characteristics of a good table tennis player (3:13–5:14)
– Whether it matters for a chopper to know how to hide their technique, about playing in Germany for 5 years and never meeting a player with a similar style as himself (5:14–6:41)
– About the difference of playing with the larger, softer ball as a chopper, about long rallies (6:41–7:18)
– About playing for the Chinese National Team, beating Peter Karlsson which secured China’s final victory in the World Table Tennis Championships in 1995, and not getting to play in the Olympic Games (7:18–10:01)
-Why China has dominated table tennis in recent years, how European players have more competitions but have a less systematic training than Chinese players (10:01–12:11)
– How it may be
good to not see choppers for a period of time, because people get used to playing against certain styles and maybe that will help one extraordinary chopper to suddenly appear and impress everyone (12:11–13:14)
– How and when he started playing table tennis & why it is impossible to start as a chopper (0:00–1:18)
– How to combine various aspects of different players into one advanced, “the perfect modern chopper” (1:18–4:39)
– The importance of an innovative mind, a good foundation, a good receive and consistency for a good chopper (4:39–9:04)
– What rubbers suit choppers, how it affects their game and what rubbers he used for what reason and why (9:04–13:07)
– How he trained and why it is so important for a chopper to train hard, how to effectively train for a long rally & how important it is to have a good sparring partner (13:07–15:35)
– How the faster speed and other factors are making table tennis a chopper unfriendly environment (15:35–17:15)