Get Inspired: How to get into Table Tennis

Table Tennis being played at a street party
Fast Answers
Why get into table tennis?It's fast, fun and easy for everyone to play.
Who is it for?All ages and abilities. It's also a great way to stay fit if you are less mobile or returning from injury.
Is there a cheap option?It can be very affordable as most clubs offer sessions for a few pounds.
What if I want a proper workout?Table tennis can be intense and can really get the heart pumping. It also improves cardiovascular fitness and endurance levels.
Can I take it to another level?There are tournaments at all levels, from schools through to county and national championships.
Is there a disability option?Table tennis is a very accessible game.
Is there a family option?Just get a few bats and a ball and you can start to play anywhere, even on the dining room table!
So where can I take part?Go to our Activity Finder to get into table tennis near you.

Table tennis is one of the most accessible sports around - it can be played at any level from the Olympics to an impromptu game in your dining room with a line of old viedo tapes as a net.

It is a challenging sport to master, but great fun and a surprisingly good workout.

All you need to get started is two rackets (also known as bats or paddles), a ball and a playing partner. So no excuses!

Aspire to be: Will Bayley

Will Bayley Paralympic table tennis athlete

Will Bayley was born with arthrogryposis - a condition which affects all four limbs - and also beat cancer as a child, but is now the world number one for his classification.

Table tennis

Will Bayley

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'I'm a better person because I play sport'

Men and women can participate in individual, doubles or team events.

Matches consist of a best of five sets of 11 points each. At professional level, the sport is really fast. The ball travels at speeds of 100mph and is struck more than 180 times in a minute - about three shots a second.

One of the main benefits of playing table tennis is that it is non-contact, so you can get all the benefits of a high-energy workout without the risk of collision injuries.

Getting started

Mike Bushell tries triples ping-pong

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The power of three: triples ping-pong

You really can table tennis anywhere, although if you're playing at home, watch out for your mum's best china!

In England, Ping! is an innovative project where people can play social and competitive table tennis for free. Meanwhile, you can find permanent outdoor free-to-use tables in parks in places such as Hull, Birmingham and Bristol, while an increasing number of bars around the country have tables.

For opportunities near you, contact Irish Table Tennis, the Table Tennis Association of Wales or Table Tennis Scotland.

Disability Table tennis

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Egyptian table tennis fanatic Ibrahim Hamato lost both arms in an accident when he was 10, but he carried on playing by improvising with his mouth. "I hope this shows people that nothing is impossible as long as you work hard," he says.

There are opportunities for disabled people to play table tennis at local, national, international and Paralympic levels.

In Scotland there are regional ID days to help develop talent. Wales is keen to develop the sport further following medal success at the 2012 Paralympics.

Table Tennis England strongly believes the sport is for everyone and in Northern Ireland and Ireland athletes are encouraged to join their local mainstream club in order to access regular coaching.

Table tennis for kids

Nine year old table tennis sensation Anna Hursey

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Nine-year-old table tennis sensation - Anna Hursey

Table tennis is a great activity for kids because you don't need much equipment, it can be played anywhere and it's space effective. It's usually played indoors, so you can forget about the weather!

Table tennis Wales has produced a handy guide for parents about getting kids involved. Contact your regional table tennis association to find an opportunity to play near you.

Coaching and Volunteering

Learning to become a coach or volunteer develops communication, teamwork and leadership skills.

To get started try joining an established club and getting involved in the coaching set up, or visit Sports Coach UK.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of table tennis. Find out about opportunities to get involved with JoinInUK who can help you find a club that needs 'hands on' attention.

What's next?

1. Go to our Activity Finder to get into table tennis near you.

2. Find your local table tennis opportunities. Table Tennis England, , Irish Table Tennis, the Table Tennis Association of Wales and Table Tennis Scotland can all help.

3. Share your story and inspire others

Are you inspired to try table tennis? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the sport by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired, visiting us on Facebook or email us on getinspired@bbc.co.uk.

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.