The number of people playing table tennis at least twice a month is on the rise, though not yet back to pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest Active Lives Survey released by Sport England.
The survey covers the period from November 2020 to November 2021 and shows that activity levels across the board are rising, but still down on pre-pandemic levels.
The number of people aged 16+ in England who took part in table tennis at least twice a month during the report period was 222,800
This is down from 289,200 for the corresponding 12-month period from November 2019-November 2020, which was the first Active Lives Survey to capture the longer-term effects of the pandemic on people’s ability to undertake sport and exercise. It is around half the baseline figure of 448,700 from the November 2015 to November 2016 report.
However, there is a positive change of more than 20,000 from the last Active Lives release, covering May 2020-May 2021, which showed a total of 198,200 people playing table tennis at least twice a month.
Similar trends can be observed across the racquet sports group, which includes badminton, squash and tennis.
Overall, between November 2020 and November 2021, a period which included five months of lockdown or significant restrictions, 61.4% of adults (16+) in England were rated as active and 27.2% as inactive.
The report shows that women, Ethnically Diverse Communities, those living in more deprived areas, Disabled People and people with long-term health conditions continue to be less active.
Table Tennis England Development Director, Greg Yarnall, said: “It is fantastic to see an increase in people picking up a bat since the last Active Lives survey, showing that confidence to take part in table tennis continues to build.
“The report also highlights the importance for us to learn more about how we can provide the right opportunities for women, Ethnically Diverse Communities, those living in more deprived areas, Disabled people and people with long-term health conditions to play table tennis.
“Our Level the Table strategy outlines how table tennis can help to do this and we continue to speak to partners such as Parkinson’s UK, Wheel Power and others to better understand how table tennis can be made more accessible for these communities.
“You can read our Level the Table six-month report here to see more about the work we are already doing.”