Why table tennis is thriving during lockdown

Table tennis is extremely adaptable, in fact it's one of the few sports possible to bring into the home environment.

Sales of table tennis equipment have been soaring ever since the country went into lockdown, with some retailers selling out of stock.

So why is it proving to be so popular? Because it’s so simple to get started, it’s a game for all the family (any age or ability!), and you need minimal equipment – you can even make your own set up out of every items.

We’ve put together this guide to show you where you can purchase equipment from, how you can play at home with everyday items, or where you can find public tables to use.

 

What do I need to get started

The minimum you’ll need is a racket, a ball, a net and a table. If you haven’t got the space for an actual table tennis table, you can use any surface – including the kitchen table.


If you haven’t got a net, you can also improvise. We’ve seen some inventive nets appear on social media in recent weeks – including a stack of toilet roll, books and some string.

If you’re a dab hand at DIY, why not try making your own? Check out this tutorial from Instructables Outside.

If you need a bat, we’ve listed some suppliers below who have them in stock, but if you don’t want to purchase them or can’t wait for the post to arrive, you can be inventive!

Watch the video below to see how people were playing table tennis with everyday household objects. We don’t recommend following in the footsteps of England’s own Maria Tsaptsinos – who chose to play with a hoover, but we’ve found a frying pan to be a fun alternative!

Where can I purchase equipment from

Table tennis equipment is available from the usual online retailers such as Amazon and Decathlon.

We’ve also teamed up with UK Table Tennis to offer a 10% discount on equipment from Cornilleau. They’ve sold old out of tables right now, but you can still purchase bats and balls – including the ones we use for our own Ping! programmes. These start from £14.95 for two. To save an extra 10% use code TTEMEM1920 during the checkout stage. Visit https://uk.cornilleau.com/

Can I play on public tables now?

Yes, the latest Government guidance means you’re now able to make use of outdoor public table tennis tables – and there are hundreds of these all around the country, including our own Ping! tables. However, you can only use them with members of their own household or one other person only. To find a list of outdoor table tennis tables in your area please see our outdoor table map. Please be aware that some of these tables may be placed in areas that are inaccessible due to playgrounds or outdoor gyms still being closed.

If you are planning on using a public table, please read the below safety guidance:

  • No more than two people should be playing on the same table at any time. 
  • Social gatherings are still not permitted. 
  • Players should bring and use antibacterial wipes to wipe down the table before and after use. 
  • Players should bring and use their own bats and balls. 
  • Equipment should not be shared with other players. 
  • When playing with a person, not from your own household, two different balls should be used. (Using two different coloured balls so players only handle their own ball is recommended) 
  • A 2m distance between players should be kept at all times. 
  • Avoid handshakes or physical contact with other players.
  • Players should only use one side of the table and not swap ends. 

If you or any member of your household are showing coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating, you should stay at home and not use any such facilities. 


I'm new to table tennis. How do I play?

If you’re new to the game, read our beginner’s guides:

 

England No.1 Liam Pitchford on why it’s the perfect sport to play in Lockdown:

“I definitely think it’s the ideal sport to play in the lockdown – provided you’ve got a big enough room, or you don’t mind it being affected by the wind outside.

“There are so many kids sitting at home bored at the moment and this is the ideal thing for them to learn a new skill. Maybe they’ll enjoy it and in a few years we’ll have a lot more kids coming through.”

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