Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Chin Yi Xuan

If there is a sport that China held clear superiority over every other country in this world, it’s table tennis.

By winning 28 out of all 32 available gold medals in the history of the Olympics, one can only assume that there must be a secret recipe with the training & drills that China athletes undergo in their daily routine.

Last year, I traveled to train with fellow athletes at the China Table Tennis College (CTTC) in Shanghai.

To my surprise, there’s no secret recipe at all in their training.

What they did with their drills, to a big extent, are exactly the same as the ones that I see being done in the local clubs in Malaysia.

The fundamental skills like serving, looping, and footwork are still being practiced every session.

If there’s no difference in the drills, what make China’s athletes different and so exceptional?

The answer lies in the consistency and intensity of their training.

In China, athletes are required to train repetitively for 2 – 3 sessions every day. Along with the guidance from the coaches, drills are done with great attention to detail and intensity.

My journey in China has reinforced my view of mastery.

My stay at Shanghai really was really an eye-opener.

The journey to mastery is boring.

It is the work that we do consistently behind the scene when no one is watching.

It is the repetitive routine that we still try to refine every day even if we have done it 100 thousand times.

It is the fundamentals that everyone thinks is monotonous, yet we still work on intensively every single day.

The journey to mastery is boring.

That’s what makes ‘exceptional’ extremely valuable and rare in this world. 

Rogue One is a new weekly 1-min article series where I share my random thoughts and ideas.