Table Tennis (Ping Pong) is Unlike Any Other Sport in the World.


Consider this: A ping-pong table is a mere nine (9') feet long. Imagine a game where at the professional level, the ball is traveling back and forth at speeds of 50 - 60 miles an hour while traversing these nine feet of table and yet still remains in play.

Table tennis is a nationally celebrated world-class sport in almost every country in the world except ours. The United States has been slow in catching up. In 1988, table tennis finally became recognized as an Olympic sport and has drawn record crowds ever since. The game can be played at any level and regardless of skill level, it develops quickness of mind, faster reflexes, and uniquely activates portions of the brain that no other sport does. It is a game where one can learn to literally 'slow down time'or speed it up, depending on the choices made by the player and how he strikes the ball. 

It is a highly social game, bringing both children and adults into an environment where contact with others is a requisite part of the sport. Its benefits as a profound social experience are unparalleled. 

In the over 35 demographic, prompted by the tremendous attention and interest Olympic Table Tennis has generated, Table Tennis is now the 3rd fastest growing sport in the United States. As a reflection of its growing popularity, USATT (United States Association of Table Tennis) tournaments have competitive categories ranging from 11 years old and under to as high as the Over 80 age demographic.

Fryda wasn’t sure about coming over to play because she didn’t feel she had the ability and the body strength to do this kind of exercise. She doesn’t have good balance or concentration, but more importantly she doesn’t look forward to anything. Now, she feels so excited and motivated. She didn’t even want to go downstairs and now she is waiting only for this time.

Medical Point of View

Dr. Daniel Amen, a renowned member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and a Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist who serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at UC Irvine School of Medicine, has stated that 'Table Tennis (ping pong) is the world's best brain sport.'

Dr. Amen has good reason to say this.

Numerous studies have concluded that 'table tennis' activates various portions of the brain simultaneously. By playing the game, under any conditions, an overall state of awareness is stimulated - requiring both thought and physical alertness at the same time. 

It has been also noted that individuals in otherwise sedentary states - i.e., living in retirement homes and care facilities where table tennis activities have been introduced, have literally become mentally awakened when playing the game. Strikingly, the game is now being recommended as a method of warding off Alzheimer's and for assisting in the treatment of dementia.

Most notably, Dr. Daniel Amen specifically points out that table tennis:

Increases concentration and alertness
Stimulates brain function
Develops tactical thinking skills
Develops hand / eye coordination
Provides aerobic exercise
Provides social and recreational interaction

Eli remembers ping-pong the most clearly of all his current activities. Under normal circumstances he has difficulties walking, but when he comes back I notice a major difference in the way he is walking and in the way he interacts with others mentally and physically.

Obesity in Children

"Children growing up in the United States right now may be the first generation that will not exceed the livespan of their parents - unless health leaders and policymakers come together to combat the growing childhood obesity crisis." 
- Meghan Lewit, The Weekly, USC Health Sciences Campus Community

It is widely believed by experts in the field of childhood obesity that a simple lack of exercise and poor dietary choices are the critical problems that need to be addressed immediately. In the state of California alone, the obesity rate has gone from less than 10% in 1987, to a staggering over 22% in 2007. Obesity among the poor who live in inner cities is even higher, approximately 33% nationwide. 

Our SAEF programs for children are dedicated to addressing this serious health issue.

Edie normally requires a wheelchair, but when she arrives to play ping-pong she is able to walk, her shoulder is better, her body seems to be improving immediately afterward and her daughter at home notices significant difference.