Have a ping pong table at work? Run a ping pong league!

A ping pong -- or as I call it, table tennis -- table is common in many workplaces. We at Bikewagon are lucky enough to have a workout space with two tables. I'll say that a few of us play Table Tennis and the rest play Ping Pong. Over the last two months we have been running a league consisting of six 2-person teams.

A match consists of two singles matches, a doubles match and then two more singles matches, so each player plays both people from the other team and a doubles match. Since there is a wide range of abilities between the twelve different players, we had to think of a way to even things out, and this is what we did:

ping-pong-table

We divided each person into one of three groups, "open" players, "A" players and "B" players. In our group, we had three open players, six A players and three B players. Matches are best of three games to 11 points, with two serves a piece.

This is where the different groups come into play.

When players from the same group play each other, the games start out 0 to 0. If the players are one group apart, there will be a -3 to 3 advantage for the player in the lower group. So in our case, an open player starts at -3, while the A player starts out at 3. If the players are two groups apart, there is a -6 to 6 advantage for the lower player.

Was that confusing?

The confusing part might come when you are playing doubles. We have teams that have an open player and a B player and teams that have two A players and also an A and a B. For doubles it would look like this:

Team 1 (open player and A player) vs. Team 2 (A player and B player)

The two A players would cancel each other out, and the open and B are two groups apart, so there would be a -6 to 6 advantage for team 2. This will even out the best-of-five series where team two is not as strong in the singles matches.

I wasn't sure how this would work at first, but after going through our first league it has been great. Almost every match finished 3 - 2 with a very close doubles match and close singles matches determining the winner. Most other businesses I'm sure can get away with having two groups, or maybe everyone is close enough that you don't need any confusing system at all. Bikewagon's spread starts at those who have never really played before to former state champions and everything in between.

The league has been a fun little break to hang out with our coworkers (even our box supplier, Bob, has joined in on the fun). It doesn't take a lot of time and can be a good way to get to know people from other departments.

Have a table at work? Give it a try.