Where to play table tennis in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and Coquitlam

Everything you need to know about…

Playing Table Tennis Outdoors

Sure, anyone can play table tennis indoors, but those who play outdoors are a breed apart.

Take Gus T. Winz, for example. An irascible outdoor table tennis legend about whom nothing was ever written nor photos taken; a man who, to this day, remains as mysterious in death as he was in life. Purportedly born in Choate, BC, around 1900, Gus reached the dizzying heights of professional outdoor table tennis before it was even a sport but he died an anonymous ping pong anomaly decades before we were born. All that we know of Gus are the stories and songs passed on from one table tennis player to another across generations. One song every outdoor player knows by heart titled “He became The Wind”, suggests Gus trans-substantiated to become the tempestuous breeze that haunts every outdoor table provoking frustrated players to hurl invectives at the sky. He was a restless and itinerant man, here today, gone tomorrow, much like the wind. But he did make friends and beget fans in every city and town he visited. He also left a set of common-sense precepts scribbled in a small notebook that inform the outdoor game, or what table tennis scholars call the Canon Of Knowledge Of Outdoor Ping Pong, or the COKOOPP. He lived by these principles and became the world’s best anonymous outdoor table tennis player.

You too can master the outdoor game with Gus T. Winz’ COKOOPP:

The Canon Of Knowledge Of Outdoor Ping Pong

Here we take a look at the some of the main points Gus defined through COKOOPP, information players of the outdoor game should keep in mind to stay sane, safe, and focused during those long VOOTTT matches in possibly adverse conditions.

1.

From the COKOOPP…

Get to Know the Wind

The wind in outdoor table tennis is like having an annoying third player who indiscriminately interferes with the trajectory of the ball. Most die-hard indoor players don’t play outdoors with the unpredictability of winds mixed with table tennis. Sure, it’s great to play every match in perfect indoor conditions but like the “clay” in clay court tennis, the wind in outdoor table tennis adds a quantum leap to the challenge of consistently playing well. What’s more, playing outdoors even a little each week transfers to playing better indoors. It’s kind of like hitting with your non-dominant arm for 5 minutes and then switching back to your dominant arm: immediately you feel a sense of greater control! The extra control required to stay with the ball and make good shots stays with you when you move indoors. Wind hint: hitting into the wind helps your hits stay on the table but it also kills the pace of softly hit balls; hitting with the wind means all your hits have to be way softer. Try playing outdoors, get to know the wind, your indoor table tennis game will thank you!

2.

From the COKOOPP…

Use the Right Table Tennis Ball

Understanding the effects of the wind on a 2.4 gram table tennis ball is a key to playing competitively outdoors. Even the smallest breeze affects the speed and trajectory of every ball by slowing, speeding or changing its direction. Learn to read the wind, and learn to be patient enough to follow every ball in real time and you’re on your way to harnessing the wind to your advantage. Another key factor is to use the DHS Outdoor table tennis ball when playing outdoors. With an additional 40% more weight, unnoticeable when holding it, the outdoor ball has just enough additional inertia to stave off the effects of light breezes while not wreaking havoc your high end Butterfly Dignics 09C rubber or your expensive Timo Boll blade 🙂

3.

From the COKOOPP…

Use a Quality Table Tennis Racquet

While any old table tennis racquet will do when it comes to simply hitting the ball, get a racquet with grippy rubber to add that extra element of control to your game. The grippy rubber holds the ball on the racquet longer which allows you to control the ball 1000% more than rubber where there is no grip. After all, indoors or outdoors, table tennis is a game where the player who best controls the speed, spin and placement of every ball, wins. Grip the ball to control the ball, and you control the game. This is our recommendation for a entry-level quality racquet

4.

From the COKOOPP…

Know Your Table Tennis Table

All outdoor table tennis tables are not created equal. While table tennis tables indoor and outdoors are a standard 9 feet long by 5 feet wide, the difference between tables lies with the composition of the surface. Balls are extremely lively on dense surfaces like polished concrete or stone. When dropped from a given height onto these tables, a ball will return to nearly the same height, losing little energy to dense surfaces. Composite surfaces like that of the Cornilleau tables, standard issue for Burnaby’s parked-based table tennis courts, are less noticeably less lively than stone and wooden surfaces like on the plywood tables schlepped out of park houses on a summer day for kids to play on are the least lively. Also, watch out for grit on the surface of any outdoor table. Grit is a enemy of the outdoor player. Even a tiny bit of debris can change the course of a ball’s bounce. Gus recommends carrying an old towel and a squeegee in the your outdoor TT kit. The towel is for clearing grit and drying moisture, and the squeegee for removing rain or dew.

5.

From the COKOOPP…

Know Your Court Surface

Outdoor table tennis players need to pay attention to the surface they’re jumping around on, and surfaces vary wildly on Vancouver’s informal and non-standard hodgepodge of courts. At one UBC table tennis court you’ll find gravel underfoot and you’ll likely be playing in a hole made deeper month after month by the action of feet. Play at Vancouver Parks & Recreation’s one-and-only park-based table at Kits Beach and you’ll encounter a layer of sand on an ankle-breaker of a concrete platform with precipitous edges barely larger than the table. Play at either Oxford Properties’ table tennis courts downtown and you’ll encounter clean grippy concrete or large tiles. Play at the tables under each end of the Cambie Street Bridge and you’ll by jumping around on what is kind of the informal standard for Vancouver, a mix or surfaces, slopes and transitions. The best surfaces are the standard asphalt surfaces of Burnaby’s table tennis courts. Surrounded by acres of lawn, there is seldom any grit underfoot. Grit sucks. It’s dangerous and can cause a player to lose footing and slide or worse, and it disturbs the bounce of the ball off the ground making it harder to track and pick-up a ball out of play. The bottom line: be aware of where you’re playing and be aware of where your feet are at all times.

6.

From the COKOOPP…

Know Your Table Tennis Court

Gus’s main COKOOPP instructions wraps up with one last important point to keep in mind when playing table tennis outdoors: know the potential hazards of the table tennis “court” you’re playing on. If you’re playing all your VOOTTT matches in Burnaby, well, you’re in luck. With large grit free asphalt pads that transition to grass you won’t encounter any objective hazards and you can play without being worried about being hit by a bike or car as you retrieve an out of play ball. This is why advocates of outdoor table tennis like us urge recreation policy makers in Vancouver to build safe permanent places to play table tennis in parks like ping pong-friendly Burnaby has done and continues to do by building new table tennis infrastructure each year. Essentially, know your table tennis court, as informal as it may be. We recommend you be very aware of tripping hazards and other dangers wherever you play.

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The VOOTTT

You Guide To Playing Table Tennis Outdoors

In preparation for the VOOTTT, our editors take a hard swing at everything you need to know about playing table tennis outdoors under all conditions. We’ll examine table surfaces, TT equipment and objective hazards, and yes, we’ll introduce you to the “Canon Of Outdoor Knowledge Of Ping Pong” aka the COKOOPP written decades ago by irascible old Gus T. Winz to help players get the most from outdoor table tennis.

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