Even though it seemed a suitably retro activity - perhaps it wasn't quite retro enough? Reading this article on the sonics almost prompts me to swap the foam for the old fashioned paddle.
In the old days, rallies would be 30 or 40 strokes. There was a dialogue between two players that even a child could understand." The beautiful sound of"kerplock-plock, kerplock-plock" was reduced, according to table tennis writer Howard Jacobson, to "squelch-plock, squelch-plock...Chop slam The Inner life of Ping Pong
Mastering the neurophysiological skills of a sport is not just learning the game. It’s attuning yourself to the inner life of the sport, to the poetry in motion. A player masters the game the way a thief opens a safe: ear to the combination lock, breaking into the inner chambers through the subtleties. Players become part of a community that knows what it feels like when the shot is hit right.
Of course I have to work on the outer life of Ping Pong too.
In this lesson, you should try to hit with your partner 100 times without miss on both the right- and left-hand sides...
Say out loud, "ping", when the ball bounces on your side of
the table and "pong" when it touches your paddle
Jump when the ball bounce on your side of the table
HOW TO SERVE A CHOPPED BALL
When your serve is carrying your game, you are on a win streak.
Paddy-caking rallies, however intense and arobatic they may
appear, are for the birds. The serves become the nails for the coffin.
Conversely, good returning of serve can stop the bleeding.
From How to Play Ping Pong