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​How to Host a Ping Pong Tournament

December 4, 2015 by Rajeev Sharma

Hosting a table tennis tournament at your organization is a great way to boost company morale, build camaraderie among your employees, and bring out your employees' competitive nature. After all, who doesn't love a little friendly competition and office bragging rights? A ping pong tournament is also a great way to build and promote an #UnPlugNPlay culture at your organization.

How to Plan a Successful Tournament

Hosting a ping pong tournament is great because it requires very little equipment and does not require an excessive amount of planning. When planning a tournament within your organization, we suggest:

  • Scheduling your tournament at a date and time that is convenient for everyone
  • Distributing a copy of the tournament rules to all players
  • Ensuring that everyone understands the tournament format or type
  • Setting up your teams and brackets in advance
  • Making sure you have all the necessary equipment on hand
  • Considering whether or not you will offer a prize

Necessary Equipment

Let's talk a little bit more about the equipment needed for a successful tournament.

  • Ping Pong Table: A great table will not only serve as the center stage of your tournament; it will be a fun alternative setting for your next business meeting. Gather around the table for a great brainstorming session then seamlessly transition to some friendly competition. If you have a lot of employees participating, consider having multiple ping pong tables so that the tournament will run smoother.
  • Ping Pong Paddles: You hired your employees because they were team players, so put them up to them up to the task. A tournament can easily be played with doubles matches, so make sure that everyone has a paddle in hand. We recommend you have a variety of paddles available so that players can select one based on their skill level.
  • Unlimited Ping Pong Balls: Accidents happen. Someone can get overexcited, hit the ball too hard, and the ball finds its demise under someone's desk. Employees can accidentally step on balls as they crowd around to watch the action. Keep the game going by having plenty of ping pong balls on hand.
  • Brackets: Tenacity and a healthy sense of competition set great companies apart from mediocre ones. Match your employees up against one another using a printable bracket.
  • Rule Book: Several days before your office competition, make sure your employees are familiar with the rules of table tennis. This allows people who have less experience learn the basics while preventing disagreements between ping pong aficionados during a match. Games should follow the USA Table Tennis and International Table Tennis Federation rules.

Tournament Type

Table tennis tournaments are perfect in a corporate environment because they can be tailored to any company size. Whether you are a garage start-up or a well-established corporation, one of these tournament types is for you.

  • Single Knock-Out: Players are teamed up against one another and only winners may advance to the next round. This style is perfect for larger companies because it takes the shortest amount of time and requires the fewest matches. The downside of this tournament type is that half of the players are eliminated in the first round and there's only one clear cut winner, instead of establishing a final ranking order.
  • Double Knock-Out: This is similar to the single knock-out challenge, but losers have a second chance to redeem themselves. To keep the competition going on longer, smaller companies can increase the knock-out requirement to more than two losses.
  • Progressive Knock-Out: This tournament style establishes a winners and losers bracket. Winners continue playing other winners, while losers from the first round continue to play winners from the losers bracket. Keep in mind that losers from the first round cannot finish top in the final order, they can only compete for a spot in the losers bracket. This game play provides a full ranking order and everyone gets to play an equal amount of matches.

Tournament Fees and Prizes

Give your employees some great motivation with the promise of a victory prize. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Similar to a fantasy football league, everyone can pay a tournament fee and the winner(s) walk away with the pot. Winners can also receive a snazzy trophy to keep on their desk and use for bragging rights.

Tournaments also don't have to be all fun and games. Many organizations host table tennis tournaments to raise money for charities. For example, we worked with Project 375 to organize a tournament supporting Lurie Children’s mission to improve behavioral health support services in the Chicago Public School system. Read more about this tournament here.

Incorporating table tennis into your company culture not only keeps your employees happy, it increases the flow of creative innovations that might not happen in a more structured environment. Encouraging team activities, such as a ping pong tournaments, helps make your employees feel like valued members of the organization.

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