Table Tennis, one of the most popular games today, fondly called Ping Pong, has graced the public eye since time immemorial. Millions of people have enjoyed themselves guiding the featherweight ball over the small net with their minuscule racquets. This Olympic-level sport is enjoyed by people of all ages across the globe.
Unsurprisingly, an essential part of the ping pong – table tennis – the process has to be the table that supports the game. Ordinarily, any flat surface should suffice for a game of table tennis.
However, today’s tables used in the game’s highest levels are commonly made of plywood or fiber-glass.
In this article, however, we will move away from the Olympics-grade ping pong tables and address the feasibility of concrete ping pong tables. They are heavier than the average table, and therefore stay fixed in outdoor spaces.
You can find them in nearby parks, often accompanied by a steel or concrete net on top.
History of the Concrete Ping Pong Table
With a booming trend of outdoor ping pong sweeping through the Western Hemisphere, the limelight is on concrete tables. However, this trend is not new to countries like Germany and China.
China saw a proactive outdoor ping pong culture a few decades ago in the early 70s. People of all ages flocked together to consume widespread outdoor ping pong tables, and these tables were generally made of concrete.
More recently, the buzzing metropolis of London was taken by the outdoor ping pong fever. In 2010, as a prequel to the 2012 Olympics, a hundred outdoor ping pong tables were set up in the city to promote the sport.
This promotional event stayed in London for a few weeks, and citizens enjoyed it thoroughly.
Called the “Ping!” project, all tables held a “stop and play” sign, and the players only had to return the racquet and the ball to the table once they were done playing.
One year later, many of these tables were made a permanent fixture in the city after more than 50,000 citizens took part in the glorious urban experiment.
Moreover, the ping pong community ran this project in many more metropolises after its success in London. It even came full circle and ran another round in London right before the 2012 Olympic Games.
Outdoor table tennis has often stirred a storm in the world, and it will continue to do so with the help of sturdy concrete ping pong tables used by good citizens of the world.
Why do people use Concrete Ping Pong Tables?
Concrete ping pong tables offer different game conditions than the standard table.
The primary requirement for any ping pong table to be suitable for play is to have consistent bounce. Therefore, the top of every good table is made of one single uniform material.
While ping pong is generally played indoors, concrete tables allow it to be played in the pleasant outdoors. This kind of exposure enables non-professional players to hone their skills in a recreational interpretation of the sport.
Table tennis is a game that people of all ages should play.
It is one of the most mentally stimulating games today and offers many physical exercises too. It is one of those games that can be played by any individual, irrespective of their age or mobility.
Research states games of table tennis, especially outdoor games of the sport, are an excellent method of addressing mental disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Imagine playing under a tree in the shade, with a gentle breeze flowing around.
You will find most outdoor ping pong tables under a tree or right beside a wall of some sort. That is done to prevent the wind from affecting the trajectory of the ball.
These surroundings amidst a game of ping pong will actively boost concentration and alertness, stimulate brain function, and develop good hand-eye coordination.
The purpose of using concrete in outdoor ping pong tables is simple to prevent the table from the harsh effects of weather.
Keep a plywood-top table in the rain for a week, and you will begin to notice molding, softness, and numerous other signs of damage. Concrete is one concoction that any natural weather-related phenomena will not perturb.
That is why outdoor concrete tables are often accompanied by steel or concrete nets. It is essentially a structure that will stand the true test of time and space. It fulfills all the necessary qualities of a ping pong table and does not crumble under the influence of the weather.
Concrete tables are also resilient against vandalism; no one wants to break their appendages to destroy concrete.
London’s “Ping!” project would be unsuccessful if the outdoor tables were made of plywood. Imagine the tabular massacre that the London monsoon would create.
How is the game different on a concrete table?
Firstly, concrete ping pong tables are used chiefly for outdoor recreational games.
Therefore, wind presence changes the game on a concrete table. The lightweight ball is subject to swinging and spinning sound more than usual. As a result, the game is more dynamic than one on an indoor plywood table.
The second most important factor when it comes to concrete tables is their surface. A good game of ping pong is dependent on a very smooth surface. Any slight bump or crack can disintegrate the game in one side’s favor.
While concrete is less likely to break or wither, it can have inherent structural faults that can create some hampering conditions over time. Concrete tables are more prone to have uneven bounce. If not inconsistent, concrete tables may have a different bounce than a regular plywood-top table.
Can you make your own concrete ping pong table?
Yes. It is possible to build your own concrete ping pong table.
You can have an entire table modeled in concrete, or you can do the slightly easier thing and have a concrete-top ping pong table. The legs and other supporting elements of the table will be made of wood or any other easy-to-use material, and the top surface will be made of poured concrete.
Bear in mind that a concrete ping pong table is more challenging to make than any other table, and it will take more time. Additionally, it will cost more because you will need more robust and sturdier support under the concrete.
However, it will be just as satisfactory once completed.
The first task is to gauge the size of your dream ping pong table. If you want a regulation table, then the dimensions have to be 274 x 152.5 cm, at an elevation of 76 cm from the ground.
Once you are precise with the measurements, you need to finalize the structure of the table’s legs. You can have support at the center of the table, with extensions to cover the ends. Or you can take the road most frequently traveled and make a simple four-legged structure.
The center support will be less woodwork, but there is a possibility that the ends may not support the weight of the concrete top. If you decide to make a regular four-legged structure, make sure you add supporting batons to the table’s legs.
Doing this will set the legs in place and ensure that the table does not fall in.
Once you are done with the bottom half of the table, it is time to pour concrete into the mold. Set the thickness of the mold according to your comfort. Then make sure that the concrete sets in a smooth fashion.
After the concrete has been set, and it can take a lot of time to set, carefully place the top over the bottom structure. You would also want to fix the top to the supporting structure using screws, preventing the two from separating.
If you do not want the table in a fixed place, an additional trick is to add sturdy wheels to the bottom of the structure so that you can move your table with ease and grace.
Make sure you add a locking mechanism to the wheels to keep the table in place.
Voila! Your outdoor concrete-top ping pong table is ready.
Ping pong is steadily gaining popularity across the globe. The game’s success is credited, in part, to the creation of outdoor ping pong tables, promoting a healthy recreational game for all us average-joes.
To curb the effects of the outdoors – winds and rains, mainly – concrete ping pong tables have been created in public spaces.
With various international programs promoting the game, outdoor concrete ping pong tables have gone up in number very fast. These tables require close to no maintenance and are resilient against winds, showers, and the occasional vandal.
You can also enjoy a concrete ping pong table in your home, and better still, you can build it yourself.
With a few simple maneuvers, you can have your ping pong table. You really should consider having one at home, because the sport itself has many many mental and physical benefits. It is truly a game of the brain.