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Key Benefits

Recent years have seen static, all weather tennis tables installed at a wide variety of locations across the country. The documented benefits for organisations and communities who install these include:

very low maintenance costs

opportunities to engage the local community and encourage social cohesion

a demonstrable reduction in anti social behaviour in public spaces

improved school playground behaviour

the opportunity to reinvigorate and enhance underused / unused space in urban environments

added value to outdoor facilities such as playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skate parks

Provision of  family friendly activity that will increase visit times and potentially custom in cafes and shops in close proximity

Source: Outdoor Table Tennis: Information, guidance and Recommendations, The English Table Tennis Association, April, 2015.

Why Outdoor Table Tennis?

Table tennis is one of the few sports where traditional barriers of gender, age, fitness level and ability/disability are irrelevant. Playing outdoors, in the fresh air in a beautiful location also provides other health giving and well-being benefits. The sport is easy to learn and play and the initial equipment need is minimal and, at entry level, cheap. However, to play to a high standard requires skill and practice, a personal challenge for those wishing to undertake it.

The English Table Tennis Association have published a series of case studies demonstrating the value and benefits that outdoor table tennis facilities can bring to a community or organisation.

Site Requirements

The English Table Tennis Association recommends tables should be installed in locations that fulfil the following criteria:

Further to this, management and security policies may require them to be close to manned positions if bat and ball hire is to be offered and health and safety considerations make a “permanent” / static installation ideal as the risk assessment process should only need doing once.

The recommended size of the overall play area for recreational use is 8 m by 4 m per table to allow free circulation around the table (table is 9 ft by 5 ft = 2.75 m by 1.53 m). the minimum size of the actual physical play area is 6 m by 4 m.

Installed tables are highly popular and much used and therefore installation on a hard surface (concrete or tarmac) is recommended to ensure all year round, all weather playability.This also ensures that the tables are accessible to wheelchair users. Grassed play areas suffer rapid damage and erosion, resulting in uneven and muddy surfaces. Similarly, loose surfaces are to be avoided. As it will only need to take pedestrian traffic, a 100 mm concrete slab of 5 to 1 mix, laid directly into an excavated hole with a compacted soil base is entirely suitable. Given the size of the slab, an expansion joint across the middle is recommended and will not interfere with the playing footfall area. A hard standing project of this size and simplicity can be undertaken relatively quickly (couple of days) entirely using volunteer labour to excavate, shutter, mix and lay the slabs. This also provides a strong sense of community involvement and ownership for the project and greatly reduces the overall cost.

Even using volunteer labour, the cost of the concrete slabs represents a major part of the overall estimated project costings.

To provide a unified visual theme for the area and to specifically demark the playing courts, it is proposed that the concrete slab be laid using blue-dyed aggregate / cement mix. Whilst adding considerably to the overall cost, this provides a permanently coloured and virtually maintenance-free surface and is Active Nation's preferred option (as opposed to using a non slip concrete paint or concrete stain, both of which would require regular reapplication). As an alternative, green dyed concrete could be used to minimise the visual impact