Table Tennis Court Planned for Windermere CFP

Vancouver School Board steps up to offer space for Vancouver's first dedicated outdoor table tennis court as fundraising for this phase two addition begins

Windermere High School’s PE director Brad White and the person behind the development of the Windermere Community Fitness Park (WCFP) has announced phase two of the development will include a sports feature completely new to Vancouver, an outdoor table tennis court. While ping pong tables dot Vancouver, none are placed on a standardized court. Instead, all are placed haphazardly in busy public areas without much thought for the safety of players. “It’s a first for Vancouver”, says a spokesperson for Ping Pong In Vancouver, a table tennis advocacy website dedicated to bringing standardized table tennis infrastructure in Vancouver parks. “In the two years we’ve lobbied, we haven’t had any success attracting the attention of parks planners. But Brad White gets it. The VSB gets it. They see table tennis as a sport and understand the necessity of creating safe places to play sports. This is recognition that kids can grow to become champions when they have access to legitimate, safe, sport infrastructure.”

The dedicated table tennis court, featuring two concrete tables, will be the main feature of phase two of the development of Windermere Community Fitness Park. Other features include tribute benches over looking the fitness park and some modest landscaping improvements. The tables will be set on a concrete slab on the remaining strip of park immediately south of the fitness area. “Measuring 17 feet by 75 feet, the long narrow rectangle is perfect for a table tennis court”, says Brad White. “The site is quite sheltered from winds, particularly winds from the south. Winds are a joy-kill for the outdoor version of table tennis”.

What constitutes a table tennis court?

The major cost of the new table tennis court will be the site preparation and the concrete slab that will cover the 17 feet by 75 feet court area. A VSB concrete crew inspected the narrow site over the summer and pointed out raised berms and slopes surrounding the area that will prevent a concrete truck from pouring directly onto the site. Instead a concrete pump truck will have to be used to bypass the obstacles, adding to the cost of the pour.

Once the concrete area had been poured, levelled and set, it will be home to two concrete table tennis tables placed along the length of the space, creating two individual courts set end to end. “This table tennis court respects the fact that players need room and approximates the ‘recreational’ dimensions set forth by the ITTF for table tennis court standards” says Brad White. Our Ping Pong In Vancouver contact applauds the decision to use standard recommended dimensions for the courts. “The table tennis spaces we see currently in Vancouver were put in place by the parks department whose planners clearly table tennis not as a sport, but as a hipster pastime, played in a cramped basement or on a busy plaza next to a road and bike route. This commitment by the VSB to creating a safe and standardized place to play will be the standard to which all future outdoor table tennis installations in Vancouver will be compared.”

Why put in a table tennis court?

Table tennis is a sport that anyone can play at any age. Here’s an example. Harry Woo, a retired restaurateur, is 96 years old and shows up at Killarney Community Centre twice each week to dispatch forehand loops past opponents half his age. “I love this game”, says Mr. Woo, “I’ve played my entire life”.  Across town at the Vancouver Table Tennis Club, the premier place to play in town, upcoming juniors as young as 10 demonstrate effortless poise, quickness, coordination and tactics as they train with Joe Law. “Table tennis is an undervalued sport here in North America despite its accessibility”, laments Amelia Ho, president of the BC Table Tennis Association, the sports governing body here in BC. “We need to do everything we can to encourage children and teens to become players so they will have a sport and discipline that will serve and support them for life!” adds Mrs. Ho. Those involved in the table tennis community at an executive level are unanimously delighted to hear about the Vancouver School Board selecting table tennis for phase two of the WCFP.

Table tennis can be a demanding sport. At the highest levels of international competition, players need exceptional precision, power, endurance, coordination and a nervous system capable of reacting in milliseconds. On the other side of the sport’s spectrum, far from the world of competition, the game can be enjoyed almost immediately by anyone at any age at any level of ability, and rewards even rank beginners with a taste of mastery after just a few sessions. At this level of play, the joy of being able to keep the ball in play is the reward. It’s hypnotic and few casual players choose to go further. But you can. Working on stroke development, footwork, tactics also leads to significant fitness gains. These include improvements in leg strength, agility, coordination, anaerobic power and endurance. “That’s why the table tennis court meshes perfectly with the community fitness park”, Brad White explains. “Nearly anyone can play, the physical benefits are numerous, the sport is very popular, and Vancouver needs an example of a dedicated outdoor table tennis court as a model for other agencies to follow.”

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