‘Bat and chat’ table tennis sessions for adults start in Pontefract tomorrow

Local table tennis players include 79-year-old Keith Powell (left) and 85-year-old Marcus Hookham (right).
Local table tennis players include 79-year-old Keith Powell (left) and 85-year-old Marcus Hookham (right).

A NEW scheme to encourage adults to keep fit by playing table tennis starts at Pontefract Squash Club on Stuart Road tomorrow (Friday).

Adults of all ages, male and female. whether experienced at table tennis or not, can take part in weekly ‘bat and chat’ sessions organised by Table Tennis England and supported by Castleford, Pontefract and District Table Tennis League.

Tomorrow’s first session is between 10 and 11 am. It is mainly for registration and assessment.

After that, there will be two hour-long sessions each Friday at a cost of £1.50 per hour.

In the last 12 months, bat and chat sessions throughout the country have been attended by more than 500 people over 50 years of age.

Currently, at national level there are 13,474 competitive table tennis players over 55 years of age active within various leagues.

Of the 45 players registered in the local league, 24 players are nearing 50. More than 16 are over 60, two are in their seventies and a further two are in their eighties.

There are numerous health benefits associated with playing table tennis that have been acknowledged by people in the medical profession.

They include physical and mental well-being and individual, social and community development.

It has been recorded that individuals improve their hand-eye co-ordination, develop mental agility and increased motor skills. It also improves balance and other co-ordination.

Members of the local league, who are in their later years and who will be supervising the ‘bat and chat’ sessions at Pontefract Squash Club, are proof of the benefits derived from playing table tennis.

The eldest is 85-year-old Marcus Hookham, who captains Ferrybridge and is the local league’s vice president.

The league’s other elderly players are much fitter than most people of their age, providing a clear indication that table tennis is a great benefit to people in their senior years.