Featured Image – by freepik.
If you asked me what draws me to the game, I’d struggle to come up with just one answer. There are so many reasons why I play! My friends, the competition, the memories I make along the way, the mere joy of just hitting the ball back and forth.
I gave it some thought, did some research, and came up with 8 awesome reasons why you should play too!
1) Making friends and socializing
One of the greatest reasons to start playing is because the Table Tennis community is incredibly welcoming. Everyone I talk to agrees that the Table Tennis environment is one of the most inclusive out there. Most players are kind, friendly, and will help you with whatever you need.
If you sign up for a Table Tennis club, you’re guaranteed to make friends!
Table Tennis is an inherently social sport. Matches are to be played one versus one or two versus two, so if you want to play, you have to ask someone if they will play with you. This was the very beginning of many of my closest friendships.
Besides, most clubs have a “sense of belonging”, so it’s a lot easier to make friends with people in your particular club. You’ll find that as you spend more and more time playing with the same guys, you’ll be more confident around them. You’ll be friends with your entire club in no time!
Making friends in Table Tennis clubs is great because you’ll always have nice people to train with, you can coach and give advice to each other, or go for a meal after playing. It’s a lot more fun to train with people you get along with, maintaining a positive, fun environment in the training hall. When I get to my club, it’s all full of smiles and happiness!
On top of that, lots of players meet their boyfriends and girlfriends in the Table Tennis community!
2) Fun to play
Table Tennis is just fun to play! At every family gathering, every meeting with friends, if there’s a table, there’s ping pong to be played.
There are lots of reasons as to why Table Tennis is so entertaining. For casual players, getting the ball on the table is already a big accomplishment, and the thrill of returning it successfully more times than their friends will get their adrenaline going!
For more advanced players, it’s all about honing their craft and exploring different techniques and tactics. Most high-level players enjoy hitting the ball back and forth, but added to this, they train regularly to polish their strokes and win points by using tactics and more advanced techniques.
They find enjoyment in striving for progress day by day, winning tournaments, and rising up through the ranks!
Table Tennis is also super fun to play because, like every sport, it releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, making us feel happier just by playing. They are also the perfect way to unwind from work or to cope with any problems since Table Tennis is great at releasing stress. Amazing, isn’t it?
3) Health benefits
Table tennis has several health benefits. It will make you lose weight and keep you fit, but also develop your muscles, especially your legs, arms, and abs.
In addition to this, playing Table Tennis regularly increases aerobic and cardiovascular performance, and as a result, your overall health will improve (better sleep, less risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, lower cholesterol and blood pressure)
As if that wasn’t enough, Table Tennis is one of the best sports for the brain. According to Dr. Daniel G. Amen, Table Tennis is the world’s best brain sport, and for good reason.
Table Tennis benefits mental health, improves our concentration, helps with problem-solving skills, and stimulates the brain, developing our memory and overall mental sharpness.
The sport is reminiscent of chess in many ways, but it’s a lot faster-paced and more physically demanding, so it has equal parts mental and athletic benefits.
4) Anyone can play
Table tennis is one of the most accessible sports. Anyone can play, no matter the age, or disabilities they may have.
Ibrahim “Mr. Impossible” Hamadtou is an Olympic athlete from Egypt. He is so strong-willed that he managed to find a practical way to play after losing both arms in a train accident, and got to the Paralympic stage playing with his mouth!
Given that we don’t have to cover as much distance as in other sports, it’s perfectly viable for players with reduced mobility to play, and to do so at a very high level. Lots of these players use long pimple rubbers on their backhand side and use their mastery at blocking and sublime placement of the ball to defeat even the most athletic of players.
Other players, though, such as Kelly van Zon, like to attack their opponents with fierce topspins from both sides, and at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, she scored one of the best points of all time. Let’s take a look!
A good Table Tennis player must have a high-level serve and receive game, good placement, and ingenious tactics. These are skills that only get better with age. This is why you’ll find lots of older players still playing at high-ranking competitions.
Even if they can’t move as well as they did in their twenties, they’re much smarter than before. They have vast tournament experience, superb touch, and know how to deal with spin exceptionally well. Table Tennis is a sport you can play for your entire life!
5) Fast progress
Table Tennis is a sport where you can progress really quickly. After only one or two months of club practice, you’ll look like a completely different player! If you keep working hard, focusing on your strengths and weaknesses, then you’ll always develop at a fast pace.
I personally know a player who went from being a complete beginner to a first-division player in a matter of 3 years. While this particular player is incredibly talented, every player transformation I’ve seen was mind-blowing, for those who kept training over the years.
One particular clubmate, now a close friend of mine, is one of the least talented people I’ve ever seen hold a racket. When he first showed up, he could barely hit the ball. If he could return it a few times in a row, he was happy with that.
We all thought he would stop playing, as do lots of beginners, sadly. But he enjoyed the sport so much that he kept coming to training. A few months in, he was hitting the ball consistently and started to look like a proper Table Tennis player.
At the moment of writing, he’s an offensive player, renowned for his consistency. He’s played in many tournaments, reaching 4 finals, winning one of them. He’s now also an ITTF umpire!
There are countless examples like his, and I can speak from experience, seeing your progress over time is extremely rewarding and it will hook you to the sport!
Once you have started training, and want to start competing, you’ll quickly realize that Table Tennis clubs are, in most areas, few and far between. So if you want to compete in different venues, you’ll need to travel.
However, this is not (by any stretch of the imagination) a bad thing, it’s a huge plus. You’ll meet lots of new people from awesome places you never thought you would visit! Table Tennis tournaments are a great reason to travel.
We recommend telling your friends to travel together with you and you’ll make great memories from every tournament you play! It’s a great idea to travel for tournaments on Saturdays, then stay the night and enjoy your Sunday. I have done this lots and it’s always a great time.
Another suggestion is, whenever you travel for vacation, to bring your racket with you. If I visit a different province or country, I like to go to a local club for a few days or play a tournament to make Table Tennis friends and compete around the world!
7) Easy to pick up, but hard to master!
This is the main reason why Table Tennis doesn’t get boring after some time. In Table Tennis, there’s a huge level of discrepancy between players.
A player with 6 months’ experience would beat a newbie easily. When facing an intermediate player, however, the 6 months’ experience player would lose by a wide margin. An advanced player would get easily beaten by a semi-pro, however, a semi-pro would struggle to get just a few points off of a top 50 ranked player in the world.
Development within the sport is almost endless. Even Ma Long has had to diversify his style to increase his playing level and retain the world n°1 spot over so many years. The thrill of self-improvement in Table Tennis is never-ending.
After reading all of this, you would expect Table Tennis to be very difficult to pick up. In fact, it’s actually quite the opposite. A casual player can just pick up a racket and learn as he goes, and the majority of people can actually return the ball to the other side relatively consistently.
In Table Tennis, a point is awarded if your opponent fails to make a correct return, so if you can return the ball more often than not, then you’re already a good ping pong player!
8) Develop your own style
One of the most satisfying reasons to play Table Tennis is to develop your own style. All Table Tennis players are unique in their own way, and most of the styles are nice to watch for different reasons.
The best thing you can say to a fellow player is “I like your style!”. Our playing styles as players are a reflection of how we think the game should be played, displayed in reality.
Some players like to overpower their opponents to win points. To do so, they develop strong shots loaded with speed and spin. These players are fun to watch since there are many high-speed rallies and they try shots that few imagine are even possible.
Other players don’t like to lose points themselves, so they focus on defending the opponent’s attacks. These players are also fun to watch since their rallies tend to last longer, and they are able to return the hardest of shots. They can recover from even the most difficult of situations, never giving up on any point they play.
Added to this, there are a wide variety of blades and rubbers to choose from, like inverted rubbers, short pimples, long pimples, and anti, so for every playstyle, there’s optimal equipment to make the most use out of it.
Seeing your own style develop into something uniquely beautiful is one of the greatest reasons to play Table Tennis!
Start Playing Table Tennis Today!
These are the 8 most important reasons we think everyone should give Table Tennis a chance.
Table Tennis is not just an activity you do for a few hours and that’s it. Playing the sport involves lots of incredible advantages, such as relieving stress, travelling, improving your fitness levels and, most importantly, being part of a wonderful community!
Discovering Table Tennis completely transformed my life. It involves a lifestyle change for the better and opens up lots of amazing opportunities. Going to the club with my friends and playing tournaments are the highlights of my weeks!
If you aren’t playing yet, give it a shot, and if you are, tell us in the comments your particular reasons to play!
Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 100 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!