Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Case for Tennis Tables for Kids

I had a table tennis table when I was growing up. We didn’t have much else, but my brother and I would play that table forever. It was endless fun, sweat and sometimes hurt feelings. Needless to say I’m advocate for table tennis (or ping pong, whatever you want to call it). But I don’t think that my pleasant memories will be enough to convince you so here are 5 reasons why table tennis tables are beneficial for kids.

1. Table tennis is active entertainment for kids

I understand that it’s difficult to find the time to do all the necessary household things and still get to hang out and entertain you kids. For this reason, it’s very convenient to let them hang out and watch TV or play video games. They get the entertainment they want and you get some free time to get stuff accomplished. However, these activities are little more than time wasters. It’s been shown that as humans our brains will shut off when watching TV, that our brainwaves are the same as the most useless stage of sleep. Video games may provide the added benefit of hand eye coordination but that’s about it. With table tennis, kids are moving around and I can guarantee you once they get into they’ll be working up a sweat. And with playing table tennis, kids develop the same eye hand coordination and that only improves as they get better and better. Also, when playing table tennis you have to be able to think what your next move is going to be; it requires thinking fast and adapting to your opponents style of play.

2. Table tennis will teach your kids sportsmanship and respect

I think this can go for just about any sport, but by playing table tennis (especially in a league with other kids) kids learn about the qualities of sportsmanship. They learn how to be a good loser and a gracious winner. And unless they go undefeated, they learn humility and how to overcome adversity. But probably most importantly, they learn competition. Kids who are introduced to a healthy competitive environment (key word: healthy) are better adjusted to deal with adversity and tackle challenges head on. This leads to stronger self-confidence, better academic performance and more success all throughout life. All this from a game you play in your basement with your friends.

3. Table tennis gives you an opportunity to connect

While table tennis provides a platform for all of the qualities expressed in number 2 above, it requires some guidance. Even if you’ve never played ping pong before, playing table tennis with your child will help to connect with them and spend quality time (and don’t worry, you’ll get better at the game). Research has shown that parents who spend time with their children have a better connection, are given more respect, share more of the same values and have a healthier relationship.

4. Table tennis is a cheap investment in your kids

While table tennis tables can be a large expense, they are a onetime purchase. If you select the right ping pong table and give it minimal care, you’ll have a table that lasts your kids entire childhood. The only thing you’ll need to purchase on a semi-regular basis are ping pong balls (they have a way of getting lost or squished) and occasionally ping pong paddles. What other sport can promise this? Most sports you have to purchase uniforms, equipment, league fees, travel expenses. If you just have a table tennis table in the basement there are no other expenses. If you do decide to enter into leagues there are some minor league fees but nothing compared to football, baseball or soccer.

5. Table tennis is simple, year round fun whenever you want it

Once you have your table tennis table set up, the net adjusted and a healthy supply of extra balls you can play table tennis whenever you want. You can play it outdoors if you have nice weather and want to enjoy the breeze, you can play it in your basement any time of day or night (as long as it doesn’t keep anyone else awake), you can play it in the garage. All you need is another person and you can play for as long as you want. Actually, you don’t even need that! Most table tennis tables can be folded up on one side to provide a surface to practice against. It’s simple.

As you can see, table tennis offers a multitude of health and social benefits for both you and your child. For a small investment in money and a healthy investment in time you can develop the table tennis game in to whatever you want it to be with your kids. Spend a little bit of time researching what type of table would be right for you and make the investment. You won’t be sorry.

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