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Twiddle, Twirl, Topspin

A future ping-pong professional athlete in the making.

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Twiddle, Twirl, Topspin

Gebert prepares to slam the ball.

Gebert prepares to slam the ball.

COURTESY OF KIARA GEBERT

Gebert prepares to slam the ball.

COURTESY OF KIARA GEBERT

COURTESY OF KIARA GEBERT

Gebert prepares to slam the ball.

By Devin Tse, Sports Editor

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Ping, pong, rally’s on!

The table tennis journey for Kiara Gebert began at the age of seven after she was inspired by her parents and older brother, who also play.

Since the beginning, her father has guided Gebert, teaching her by demonstrating his skills.

Her competition with her brother made her an even stronger player.

“I have played against him as long as I could remember,” Gebert said. “I would practice for six hours a day with him and eventually, I got really competitive.”

She began practicing the fundamentals. With her father’s support, she improved her technique, footwork, and the formations of her swings. Soon her hand-eye coordination and reaction time also improved.

In her matches, Gebert’s quick serves and ball placement makes her opponents lose balance. Taking advantage of sloppy returns, she smashes the ball with her powerful forehand.

In her defensive play, her backhand is just as deadly as it halts incoming attacks and sharply transitions into offensive hits. Being observant is a key skill as she analyzes the rotations on the ball, which allows her to set up her counterattacks.

Despite winning numerous doubles tournaments, her biggest accomplishment has been winning silver for Team USA at the 2015 INC Unity Games which were held in the Philippines.

“Overall it was a nerve racking experience playing in an environment I was not accustomed to. Playing in a different country and on a grander stage was overwhelming but in the end it was still table tennis and an experience like this just motivated me to perform at a higher level,” said Gebert.

Despite her successes, Gebert believes that there is more to ping-pong than just the intense rallies.

“With each player comes a different style of play,” Gebert said. “Every player has a different method of attacking and defending which makes every match unique. It is not only about smashing the ball but reading your opponent.”

In the future, Gebert wants to play at the collegiate level. Since table tennis has been such a huge part of her childhood, she plans on continuing to enter competitions and tournaments.  

Besides table tennis, Gebert feels strongly about excelling in school as she emphasizes a balance between her education and table tennis.

“Focusing on school is important. Playing table tennis on the weekends and after my studies assures the best for both worlds,” Gebert said.  

About the Writer
Devin Tse, Sports Editor

Devin Tse is the Sports Editor for The Mirror and vnhsmirror.com for a second year. This is his third year in the Van Nuys High School journalism program. He...

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