Pong – the definitive list of MTC moves


I love pong. At my College, Pong has become part of me daily rhythms (I like to play at least three games a day in case you were wondering).

Pong is such an important aspect of the College experience that over time a new language has emerged to describe certain signature moves and stuff ups. What follows is a lexicon, should you ever come for a game and wonder what on earth we’re talking about.


The Crouching Poodle – When the server’s knees are bent enough so that when he hits the ball, his eyes are level with the net.

The Saucy Ferret – A sufficient amount of topspin is applied so as to catch the other player unawares and make the ball bounce twice on the table before the other player attempts to hit it.


Weeping Marlin – The ball clips and bounces on the top of the net, totally changing its trajectory so the other player hasn’t got time to react.

Rhubarb and Apple – (usually off a serve) Rather than returning with a back-hand block, the ball is brushed horizontally, slowing the pace down and putting a nice little sidespin on it.  

Stroodle – When a Rhubarb and Apple is returned on a Rhubarb and Apple.

Forehand Hadouken – returning a smash with a forehand smash

Backhand Hadouken – the same as a forehand Hadouken but with the backhand… der

Give that man a New – when the ball bounces off the post holding up the net and then bounces in.

Back Scratcher – When the ball is returned so that there is no way the other player could possibly reach it.

The Dumb Waiter – When the ball is returned and clips the edge of the table, making it impossible to return.

Faults and stuffups

Dolphin Tuna – When the ball is hit at high speed and gets caught in the net.

Mini-tramp – Similar to a Dolphin Tuna but the ball bounces back to you from the net.

Albatross – The ball is hit and fly’s well over the table and keeps a consistently flat trajectory

Atlantic Salmon – The ball is hit and jumps over the table in an arch, much like an Atlantic Salmon swimming upstream

AMI – When a return is attempted from a long way back but it falls well short of the net.

HMAS Sydney – When the ball goes under, rather than over the table

The Pink Floyd – When the ball is served or returned and it hits the edge of the front of the table and bounces backward instead.

Reubochet – When Reuben, in attempting to put topspin on the ball, inadvertently clips the ball with the top of the bat sending it smashing into the ceiling. The ball then (always) lands on the other side.

Freubochet – When anyone else does a Reubochet (Fake – Reubochet)

Newton’s undoing – When the ball is served and bounces clear over the table on the other side



Filed under College, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Pong – the definitive list of MTC moves

  1. Simon Jackson

    what about the super rare return that is just amazing … the ‘skulking wabigong’?

  2. You need a name for that unexpected serve that goes long, and you’re standing too close to the table to hit it back, or hit it back well. It’s the serve that usually gets a “nice serve” response, because they’re normally so surprising.

  3. livinginyogurt

    Hi Steve,

    My name’s Alex Jones, I am a friend of Sarah Lancaster and a journo student at UTS. I found this gem of a post through Sarah’s FB profile. Anyway, I am actually writing an article on the wonders of pong, and was interested to know if you’d like to be in it? It’ll feature in Precinct magazine, a UTS magazine that circulates around the City of Sydney Council area. If you’re up for it I’d love to hear from you – from the looks of this post you have some fun things to say. (And if anyone else reads this and would like some air time, the offer extends to you too.)

    Let me know how this sits with you… maybe just send me a message via a comment on my bog or through Sarah’s FB profile? Thanks! 🙂

    • steveboxwell

      Yeah sure, no worries. Though if you want to talk to someone who’s… you know… good at Pong and not just an enthusiast I’m sure I a few of the other guys who read this could be in for it as well.

  4. livinginyogurt

    Cool. If you know of any super competitive players that’d be great, but you don’t have to be a pro! My email address is alex.clare.jones@gmail.com… Organising this via email may be a little simpler than through here. Thanks Steve!

  5. roger fitz

    under ‘serves’, what are we calling the [illegal] covering of the ball until the last possible nanosecond, delivering the serve while bat and ball are held well over the table… crouching tiger? the ninja? sneaky sniper?

    • steveboxwell

      I like ninja, though I think it needs some sort of adjective to capture the fact that it isn’t very sporting. Any suggestions?

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