Table tennis is a fast sport which is becoming popular in NZ. Whether you play for fun, or more competitively, table tennis is an indoor game for the whole family.

What is Table Tennis?

Not surprisingly, Table Tennis is much like tennis, but on a table, and it has enjoyed recent growth in popularity in New Zealand. It is played in schools and at club level and it’s a social pastime in workplaces and community gathering spots.

Table tennis was initially played as a parlour game in England in the late 19th century. New Zealand’s earliest competition was recorded in 1904 and Table Tennis New Zealand was formed 30 years later in 1934.

New Zealand players compete at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championships, as well as playing in both social and competitive events in New Zealand. New Zealand representatives are chosen at under 15, under 18, senior and veteran levels.

Table tennis is an ideal development sport for people wanting to learn eye-hand coordination. Learning how to cope with spin on the ball is one of the challenges of the game.

It is played to the same rules at all ages. Matches are played up to either three or five games, with the winner reaching eleven points or two clear points after eleven in each game. Table tennis can be played in either singles or doubles.

Table tennis requires moderate levels of eye-hand coordination, fitness, speed and strength at a social level. Competitive players require these skills at advanced levels!

Where do you play Table Tennis?

There is a strong infrastructure of clubs and associations providing table tennis at all levels across the country. Additionally, a number of schools have adopted table tennis as a competitive school sport. For information on where you can play visit the Table Tennis New Zealand website (provided below).

What age can your child start playing Table Tennis?

Table Tennis New Zealand advocates the SPARC Talent Development framework for youth players. Players under eight years of age are taught generic ball skills, with table tennis skills taught from eight years of age onwards. Local table tennis clubs or associations will have information on how to join a club and become involved.

How do you progress over time?

Table Tennis New Zealand operates a talent development framework in line with SPARC best practice. Players are encouraged to further their progress in the sport, sometimes leading to opportunities to represent their association and New Zealand. The following table provides an overview of the New Zealand table tennis player talent development pathway:

Player Group Objectives
High Performance Maximise development and competition opportunities to assist in international success.
Competitive adult Develop playing abilities to reach their full potential.
Social adult Maximise participation and socialisation opportunities to ensure lifelong playing enjoyment.
17 – 19 Teens Maximise engagement through providing development opportunities for elite players, and socialisation opportunities for all players.
13 – 16 Teens Specialisation in table tennis skills development, with social interaction and competition opportunities.
9 – 12 Children Generic table tennis skills development built around table tennis games, with a focus on enjoyment.
6 – 8 Children Generic ball and racquet skills development through generic drills and fun games.
4 – 5 Children Generic body movement skills through fun games and activities.

What gear do you need for Table Tennis?

  • Indoor Sport Shoes: white soled shoes that provide grip on indoor floor surfaces.
  • Table Tennis Bat: table tennis bat (sometimes called paddle) in good working condition, with rubber on the bat face. The technology in the bat required by the player will increase as the player reaches higher levels.
  • Shorts, socks and t-shirt: Your own shorts, socks and t-shirts will be fine for social play and training, with collared shirts required for competition play.

How much does Table Tennis cost?

The cost of play varies across New Zealand, depending upon the services and facilities provided by local clubs or associations. Please visit www.tabletennis.org.nz for local club or association contact details.

How much time does Table Tennis take to learn?

An average game of table tennis lasts about twenty minutes. Tournaments will involve a number of games for each player, and so can last all day. Major tournaments can last a number of days.

Training for players aged over 13 is generally run two or three times per week for about two hours at a time. Players 12 and under can train with their club or association, but can also enjoy training through playing table tennis with their friends in a social environment.

The height of the table tennis season in New Zealand is from April to October. However, there is also activity – albeit reduced -over the summer months.

Of course, you may choose to put in extra time practicing at home, school or your club – but that’s not work – it’s fun!!

Great Table Tennis Websites


The official website of Table Tennis New Zealand, providing all the latest table tennis news, player information, organisation overview, tournament information, coaching information and contact details.


The website of the International Table Tennis Federation, the worldwide governing body for table tennis. This website provides information on international table tennis news, upcoming tournaments, results and links to other table tennis sites.


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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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