Table tennis hasn’t changed too much since I was 12 and I still enjoy the benefits of playing now. The main changes to the game have been in the standard and variety of equipment we have now. The choices are endless, both in the amount of equipment available and in its quality. This series of articles is designed to eliminate some of the confusion and help people make an informed choice, and today we look at tables…
If you do that’s fantastic but many of you won’t have that luxury. Don’t worry as there are choices.
In my opinion the best table to own if you need to pack it away is one with a wheeled undercarriage. They can be put up and taken down easily by one person. Their only disadvantage is the wheels make them taller when stored. The other option is a model that has the legs fixed to the underside but is still able to be folded away. Some of these incorporate wheels hidden in the center of the table but they will always need two people to handle them.
Both the wheelaway and attached frame designs can often be used in the practice position for playing alone and many can also be split in two halves while erected. Very handy when extra table space is needed at a family BBQ.
Another option if you can’t leave a table permanently erected is the conversion top table. These are easily stored away and will fit over a dining or pool table. These are also an ideal solution if you use the table infrequently.
How much room you will need depends on a few variables. If you are playing at ITTF competition level the minimum requirement is a rectangular space of 14M long, 7M wide and 5M high. For home use it will depend on your intended use as well. Beginners and children tend to play closer to the table and for them the bare minimum would be 17Ft x 11Ft. For an intermediate player I would suggest a minimum space of 22Ft long by 11Ft wide. Even then you will be restricted in your shot choices so that is an absolute minimum for a full sized table.
Of course these recommendations are for full sized tables and there are undersized and junior tables available as well. Some junior tables even have a setting where the ends of the table tilt up slightly to form a valley in the centre of the table. This allows a child to get the ball over the net easier so they have a chance of having a decent rally now and then.
Table technology has now improved so much you can purchase models made specifically for outdoor use. These are made in waterproof materials to handle the weather. One fine example is the Killerspin 363-03 MyT-O outdoor table, which uses a plasticised aluminum surface. The only disadvantages with such tables is the ball doesn’t bounce quite as much as it would on an indoor table, but you soon adjust to the difference and of course play in windy conditions is all but impossible.
I hope this article has helped you understand the choices you have in table tennis tables. Choosing the right table for your particular needs when there are so many variables can be tricky but at least now you are not going in blind.