How my workplace went mad for table tennis

Hundreds of workplaces have caught the ping pong bug thanks to our Loop at Work programme. Steve Best, Change Manager (and table tennis player) at Phoenix Group, tells of his experience.

I used to love table tennis when I was younger and the annual Butlins tournaments were legendary.  I was actually quite a decent standard but life took over and I reluctantly hung up my bat when I was in my late teens.

I work for the insurance company, the Phoenix Group, and to my absolute delight they purchased a table tennis package from Table Tennis England for employees to use.  Now in my 50s, I was a little rusty but soon back into the swing of things and before long I was playing regularly and part of a growing number of regular players at work.

Me and my colleagues play whenever we have a moment, during the working day, after work or during lunch times. Recognising how popular table tennis was, our employers then decided to subsidise coaching twice a week to improve our game. This has meant that people who had never played before are now quite a decent standard.  It also meant that I was able to try out a few different techniques under the guidance of the coaches to minimise twisting and save my knees!

As a regular player, I love to encourage other employees to take part and the great thing about table tennis is that anybody can get involved, regardless of fitness or ability levels. Sometimes colleagues need a little help to get started but after a few weeks they generally get ‘the table tennis bug’ and then there is no stopping them.

There is always a relaxed welcoming atmosphere around the tables but once a year, things get a bit more competitive and we have an in-house competition that is great fun and a brilliant way to bring people together and raise money for charity.

If you enjoy table tennis then it is definitely worth investigating whether your place of work would like to invest in a Loop at Work package. It is a great addition to our workplace and the number of employees involved is growing week by week.

Put a new ‘spin’ on this year’s office party!

Order a Loop at Work table tennis package, and not only will your table (complete with everything you need to get started) arrive before Christmas; but you’ll receive a free party pack* to host your first Ping Pong Party!

*with every Loop at Work package ordered before 3rd December

To see the range of table packages on offer, and to order click here

Are we spending too much time sitting at work?

It’s not rocket science, we all know that we need to be more active, but how do we find the time in our busy lives?

One solution is to introduce activity into the places we spend most time, and for a lot of us this means the workplace.

In a news article recently published by The National Centre for Sport & Exercise Medicine, teams from the University of Leicester and Loughborough University investigated solutions to reducing the amount of time workers remain static during the day.  The research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) involved a group of 146 office workers.  Half received a ‘Stand More At Work’  programme (which involved working at height-adjustable workstations and information/education), the remainder continued as before.

After 12 months of this regime, the intervention group spent 83 minutes less per day sitting than the control group.

The article goes on to quote Dr Charlotte Edwardson, Associate Professor from the University of Leicester, who said: “Those who received the SMArT Work programme reported improvements in their work performance, work dedication and engagement, quality of life and reduced levels of sickness presenteeism, feelings of fatigue and musculoskeletal issues, such as lower back pain.”

While the results of simply standing more during the working week are impressive, the Loop at Work team at Table Tennis England want to take this one stage further.

Our mission is to see people taking time out of their day to be a bit more active, to interact with each other and to simply have some fun.

The well-being benefits of a game of lunch-time table tennis are endless: from creating positive morale; elevating heart rate; reducing stress levels; reducing absenteeism, increasing creativity to improving productivity, the list goes on.

 

Starting from just £200, our Loop at Work table packages including everything required to introduce table tennis into the work environment.

The table packages, which are subsidised using funding from Sport England, are a cost effective way for employers to enhance the employee benefits packages as opposed to more costly enhancements such as gym membership or private health insurance.

To get your workplace #INTHELOOP or to find out more, please contact us

New name, same game for communities

Table Tennis England is putting a new spin on their project designed to help organisations introduce table tennis into the community.

Previously called Loop in the Community, the initiative has been relaunched as Ping in the Community.

The name change is due to the project falling more naturally within the Ping! family alongside the Ping! festival and Ping Pong Parlours, which both bring free table tennis into the places people already spend time in their everyday lives.

The aims are unchanged; Ping in the Community will continue to help the members of a variety of groups and organisations get more active, healthy and closer together by supplying subsidised table packages containing everything required to get people playing and enjoying the game.

Keely Armitt, Head of Participation at Table Tennis England, explains;

The ‘Community’ initiative aims to give all groups of society access to free or very affordable table tennis, and as such it aligns perfectly with the Ping! project which has successfully been delivering free table tennis in non-traditional places for the past 9-years.

Ping! has grown over time from a summer festival into a year-round project, with a vast reach, and the hope is that by embedding table tennis into community places, many more people will play the game regularly and enjoy the many health and well-being benefits this brings.

Workplaces will still be able to purchase subsidised table tennis packages through our Loop at Work initiative, and we also have a range of packages for the Clubhouse and Campus.

The project has been well received by group leaders, who recognise it as a powerful way to help integrate and socialise their communities;

Keeps residents occupied, helps with their memory as well as interacting.  It’s a social activity that most enjoy

Get’s people to join in, engage with everybody and is something anybody can do

It’s brilliant! Everyone’s involved, everyone’s enjoying it and it’s a great way to keep fit!

Win a coaching session!

To celebrate the launch of Ping in the Community we are offering the chance to win a visit from a professional coach to your group.  Every organisation ordering a Ping in the Community package will be entered into a draw to win a coaching session.

Closing date 31st October 2018, winners will be notified by email.  Coaching session will be arranged at a mutually agreed time.

To find out more about Ping in the Community, the benefits of social table tennis for various groups, and to order your own community table tennis package click here

For more details of Loop and bringing table tennis into your workplace click here

#TableTennisDay is a hit

Just over a week ago we joined the nation to celebrate national #TableTennisDay – and what a grand time was had by all.

Across the land many businesses and community groups came together to celebrate our great game.  The day was a hit on social media too, with the #TableTennisDay hashtag trending, reaching more than 950,000 people, while many thousands more being engaged on Facebook and Instagram.

Paralympic gold medallist Will Bayley appeared on Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2, while Classic FM mentioned the day in its round up of interesting and quirky things going on. Between them, the two shows have more than 11 million listeners each week.

BBC Look East attended the flagship event in Milton Keynes and broadcast a feature which included interviews with Table Tennis England Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe and star guests Aaron McKibbin and Maria Tasptsinos.  Watch the video above for highlights of the day.


A huge thank you for everyone who took the time to organise and participate in a #TableTennisDay event, from your tweets and posts it looks like a whole lot of fun was had on the day!  Here’s a selection of our favourites …

 

Get Active for Mental Wellbeing

Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for physical health, but it’s also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health.

Getting active can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety and more. It can relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better and make you feel more relaxed and positive about yourself and your life.  The good news is, this isn’t dependent on hard exercise, even 10 minutes of moderate activity can make a difference.

 

Why Table Tennis?

Table tennis in particular is a fantastic pathway for getting active and lifting the spirits.  It can be played by anyone, of any age and with any physical limitations.  It’s sociable and simply everyone, even those who have never played before, can pick up a bat and have an enjoyable experience.  Not only that, it’s been proven that learning this new skill (or remembering a long forgotten one) can have a positive impact on those with memory loss problems and dementia. This could be due to an increase in the thickness of their cortex – the part of the brain associated with complex thinking and the part which shrinks most as we age *Stay young – with help from table tennis!

Click to enlarge

 

 

 

Case study: Live at Home Leeds

South Leeds Live at Home tackles isolation and promotes independence and wellbeing, by tailoring its activities to suit its members. They’ve recently been running some ‘Bat and Chat’ table tennis sessions.  Nicki from the scheme told us:

Mr S is a member here at our scheme who has lost his wife and found himself quite lonely. He has starting visiting the scheme more frequently and has also got involved in a few of our other projects too. He has come to every Bat and Chat session we have had and thoroughly enjoyed it every week. It has brought back many memories of when he was in his 20’s as he used to play Table Tennis every day on his dinner break at work.

Although he hadn’t played in so long he was surprised how quickly he got the hang of it and for the first few weeks he was undefeated. After a few weeks another member managed to beat him with a score of 15-13 which was a great laugh to watch. He is always the first person here and really looks forward to it each week. He has no family that live close by but has really found it good to socialise with new people and have the same interest to talk about. Mr S visits his sister every week as she is in a care home a few hours’ drive away.

Previously we had got the impression that she wasn’t doing too well. On our first Bat and Chat session we had another member come along which happened to work with Mr S sister and her husband in a Factory many years ago. They also played Table Tennis on their lunch break which was great news for Mr S to talk about on his visits to see his sister. He told us that he stayed a lot longer than normal on his visit as they had so much to talk about. He has also told his sister that he is no longer the undefeated champion so it seems to have lifted not only his spirits but also his sisters.  Last week he had found some of his old bats and balls too which he has kindly brought in for anyone to use.

Overall I think the Bat and Chat has really benefited Mr S and he will carry on coming to every session. He’s keen to get involved and also keeps track of the score for me if I need him to.

 

 

For more information about Bat and Chat, please email us

Ping Pong Parlours are proving a hit!

Ping pong parlours are opening at a steady rate, eleven shopping centres nationwide are now offering free table tennis to visitors, with many more in the pipeline. We’ve had amazing feedback from the centres, their visitors and local table tennis clubs who have seen an influx of new members. In fact the parlour in Castle Mall, Norwich is so successful it’s been short listed for a top marketing award, the Purple Apple Marketing Awards to be presented in May 2018.

Recently a case study has been made on the Norwich parlour, read it here

For more information on Ping Pong Parlours, click here 

Loop plays a part in ITTF Team World Cup Legacy Project

Grassroots sport and East Londoners will feel a lasting benefit from the ITTF Team World Cup.

The event at the Copper Box Arena on London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park marked the official launch of a major grassroots table tennis project.

The Team World Cup Legacy Project focuses on East London and runs until July 2018. The project aims to create great table tennis experiences and inspire thousands of East Londoners to make physical activity part of their everyday lives.

The ITTF Team World Cup took place at London’s Copper Box from 22-25 February. As the second most prestigious competition in the ITTF’s international calendar, it means the world’s best players came to London and millions of fans watched from around the globe. The event was shown live on the BBC Sport website and England won a bronze medal in the men’s competition.

The lasting legacy project is being supported by the Mayor of London and is part-funded by the Greater London Authority’s Major Events Engagement Fund.

 

Matthew Ryder, Deputy Mayor of London said:

I am honoured to be working with Table Tennis England by supporting their Team World Cup Community Legacy programme.

It’s giving Londoners of all ages and backgrounds a chance to try table tennis for themselves at home, at work and in their communities. It’s also given 2,000 London school children the chance to enjoy the Team World Cup Event for free.

Table Tennis England will create unique experiences for table tennis players – including making the game more accessible for children and young people in London and South East England. The project has supported building club and school links to break down barriers to make table tennis a sport for all.

The project includes:

  • 10 club-school table tennis table packages including coaching and a TWC-themed event
  • Free tickets to the event for schools involved
  • Young Leaders Course for pupils involved
  • Teachers’ course to help teachers support table tennis in their schools
  • Discounted Level One Coaching and Umpiring courses

One of the schools given free tickets to watch a session at the Team World Cup was Sir Thomas Abney School.

Liz Morpurgo, PE co-ordinator, said:

The kids were really excited about coming and seeing the players for themselves. We have a table tennis team at school and they felt really motivated by coming to watch the players.

The atmosphere has been amazing. They loved the fan zone and meeting the players. They have been really inspired by it.

 

Pupil Karnail Codling Palacha, 10, said:

I play table tennis every day two times a day. It is a really fun sport. I was really excited when I found out we were coming to the Team World Cup. It has been a dream come true

I was most excited about seeing Ma Long from China. I also got to meet the England team and got their autographs. I asked for an autograph from Tin-Tin Ho and Kelly Sibley.

Another school to enjoy free tickets was Dawlish School from Leyton

 

The project will inspire thousands of East Londoners to lead more active lifestyles and enjoy the benefits of social sports participation – however busy everyday life gets.

 

The project focuses on five East London Boroughs (Newham, Hackney, Barking & Dagenham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest). It is being delivered through partnerships with London borough councils, businesses and community organisations who want to use table tennis to improve people’s quality of life.

This includes:

  • 11 Loop at Work table tennis packages for London businesses
  • 15 Loop in the Community packages or East London community groups
  • 10 new ping pong tables in East London public spaces
  • 3 outdoor ping pong communities to be set up in partnership with Friends of Park groups

There are also more than 50 tables already in public spaces, all of which are free for anyone to use! These public tables will be the focal point for events, competitions and community building projects, all delivered in partnership with players and local community groups.

For more information on the TWC Legacy project, click here

How Ping!’s doorstep approach can bring positive change

Table Tennis England’s Marketing Officer, Julie Snowdon, explains how a public ping pong project tackles inactivity by bringing the game into places people are already spending time.

What is Ping!?

Ping! is a street table tennis project managed by Table Tennis England. It is funded by Sport England and delivered by city councils, local authorities and county sport partnerships. Since 2010 the initiative has expanded to over 24 towns and cities and several million people have taken part.

The project takes ping pong to places the public already spend time, removing all barriers to participation and making the game more visible, accessible and relevant. The public can play on Ping! tables for free, and bats and balls are provided.

We’ve developed the Ping! model to engage as many people as possible, using table tennis to inspire people to lead more active lifestyles. Table tennis can be part of everyday life and people of all ages, genders and abilities can play.  It’s fun, competitive and energetic, and you don’t need any previous experience or level of ability to play and enjoy the game.

The project begins in new cities as a summer festival but once the season is over, attention turns to creating more sustainable infrastructure. This includes places to play, table donations, strategic partnerships and building communities that support active habits.

Positive Change

In 2017 there were a staggering 1.56 million visits to the tables.  62.7% of participants were inactive before their visit and 98.9% said they would play again.  We’ve found the project is a launch pad for long-term change.  The tables become a permanent fixture and are in constant use all year round, with many regular meet-ups and social groups emerging.

Despite being a popular holiday destination Blackpool has some of the worst economic and social deprivation in the country.  While it would be easy to place Ping! tables in high-profile tourist locations, our focus was to bring the tables into disengaged communities. Because of Ping!, regular social ping pong sessions and family play sessions have started and will continue all year round.

Bradford was a new Ping! city in 2017. 10 tables were placed across the city and a full events calendar delivered Ping! sessions to the community.  These sessions continue at The Alzheimer’s Society, Shipley College, Bradford University and Bradford College. Links are also being made with other community centres and religious groups.

Ping! is just one initiative delivered by Table Tennis England to inspire people to be more active by bringing table tennis to people and communities.  Loop offers subsidised table packages to businesses and community groups and Ping Pong Parlours transform empty shop spaces into lively, community venues.

To find out more about these initiatives or how we could help your organisation bring positive change, please contact us.

Our websites: www.pingengland.co.uk  www.keepintheloop.co.uk  www.tabletennisengland.co.uk

Table tennis a hit with Laleham Gap teachers

Teaching is one of the most rewarding, but also one of the most stressful of occupations. Most teachers would agree that striking good ‘work-life’ balance is essential. However, making this happen can be a big challenge.

The project

Paul Ursell, a teacher at Laleham Gap School, set up a staff table tennis club which runs for one hour every Thursday after school hours. The club has a relaxed atmosphere with staff being encouraged to join in whenever they can make it, and involves social play, lots of games, some coaching if requested and even battling against their own table tennis robot. The majority of the hour is spent playing team games, with ‘traditional’ games including Round the Table, and Laleham Gap invented games.

The result

A total of 40 staff have now attended the staff table tennis club, many on a regular basis, with various members of staff playing together – including support staff, teachers and the Head Teacher. As the school is comprised of Primary, Secondary and Residential, part of the success of the club has been staff members meeting, chatting and mixing with people they may never have spoken to.

It’s a fantastic club and a fun, light-hearted way to end a school day, especially if it’s been a difficult one”

“It’s a great chance to socialise and get to know staff members”

It’s nice for a bit of teamwork. It doesn’t matter if you’re not great at it, you can just have a go and not feel silly”

 

40

employees took part

100%

agreed the sessions were great for social mixing

79%

said the club helped to reduce stress levels

74%

said the sessions improved their physical health

58%

enjoyed the stimulation of a fresh challenge

Get in the Loop

To set up your very own workplace club, simply get some colleagues together for regular sessions and play however you want!

Whether it be social or competitive, table tennis is a sport for everyone.

Get your own workplace table tennis package