Table tennis: the only game you can play indoors without sustaining any serious injuries. I hope. But table tennis is more than just a game to play on weekends or at parties. The health benefits of playing table tennis are actually more substantial than you might think! Playing table tennis can actually be a low-impact, fast-paced way of developing your hand-eye coordination, balance, and even your brain power! If you’re looking to get into table tennis, read on to ensure you’re well-prepared.
Get a table tennis table
There are a wide variety of table tennis tables out there, all suited for people at different skill levels. But if you’re thinking of getting serious about playing table tennis, it’s worthwhile investing in a quality table tennis table. This means lightweight with a tabletop made of chipboard for a good quality bounce. Aim for lightweight aluminium or steel legs, although a steel frame and legs would be better as it makes for a sturdier build. Tables that end in unlocking wheels are a bit of a no-no, because you don’t want your table to move around unexpectedly. You’ll want a foldable table so that you can practice on your own. A lot of table tennis drills require a foldable tabletop for a few very good reasons, that include getting accustomed to the feel and the physics of the table.
Find a paddle or two
Whether you call them paddles, rackets, or bats, they’re all the same in the end anyway. Pay no attention to whatever name is used when you’re sourcing your trusty table tennis ‘paddle’, for the sake of this article. Generally, you should be thinking ahead and looking for paddles that are approved by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and thus, suitable for tournaments. If you’re uncertain of what to look for or are just looking for a beginners’ paddle to start off with, all legitimate table tennis paddles should be about fifteen centimetres across at its widest point, and about twenty-five centimetres long, from its rubber top to the base of the wooden handle.
Grab some balls
Like paddles, there are a variety of table tennis balls out there and it can be surprisingly tricky trying to find the best ones for you. Be sure you know the difference between regular training balls, tournament balls, and your generic ‘fifty per pack’ balls, like those balls you find in a comically-oversized container? Those balls. Whilst your ‘el cheapo’ balls might seem like a fitting option for beginners, you need to consider the impact that these balls hold on the environment, as well as your wallet (in time). These balls are incredibly weak and easily breakable, because they’re generally made with very weak celluloid plastics. You’ll go through far too many of them over just a couple months of training. It’s best to get yourself some mid-range training balls, made from non-flammable plastic, often referred to as ‘poly balls’ or ‘40+ balls’.
When you’re competing in tournaments, it’s usually required that you wear short-sleeved shirts and either a pair of shorts or skirts for your legwear. But it shouldn’t matter too much what you wear if you’re still playing casually or just among friends. It’s a good rule of thumb, however, to wear clothes that don’t get in your way, so no long-sleeved garments. If you’re looking to get into competitive table tennis, it’s good to start getting used to playing in tournament-approved clothing.
And finally, it’s always good to find yourself plenty of energy and enthusiasm, because table tennis is a game that’ll have you on your toes and grinning loads. Be sure to have fun, and enjoy the journey ahead!