Kellam High in Virginia Beach Kicks off School Ping Pong Club

By Dean Johnson | Nov. 14, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

Kellam High in Virginia Beach Kicks off School Ping Pong Club

Program sets the stage for First Annual “Battle of the Paddles” & scholarships while teaching brain fitness and leadership. 

by Dean Johnson 

Kellam High School has introduced the Table Tennis Sports and Education Program as a part of the schools 2014/2015 plans to expand table tennis activities thanks, in part, to the collaboration between Monarch Bank, KETTLER USA and the Table Tennis Charity Foundation, a local non-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Virginia Beach. 

The program is part of a larger plan to implement table tennis to both public and private schools as an extension to the mainstream sports such as football, basketball, soccer and baseball. Studies show that daily aerobic exercise significantly benefits memory, brain health and physical fitness. “We’re excited to kick this off”, shares John Yager, Kellam sponsor. On Monday, November 10th, from 2pm to 3pm, the Foundation's chairman, neuropsychologist Dr. Scott Sautter, discussed the science behind the benefits of table tennis, followed by demonstrations from local table tennis players, and finally the introduction of the program to the school, including the donation of table tennis tables by Monarch Bank and KETTLER USA, a major supplier of sporting goods equipment which is headquartered in Virginia Beach. 

As Ken Lees, founder and president of the Table Tennis Charity Foundation explained: “it is the mission of the Table Tennis Charity Foundation to provide qualified schools with the Table Tennis Sports and Education Program – at NO cost. Our goal is to ‘Cross-Train Your Brain’, both educationally and physically. The program provided to participating schools on behalf of the TTCF benefits all age and skill levels and will engage students, parents, faculty and staff who are committed to a successful implementation of the program. Kellam High, like Ocean Lakes and Lynnhaven Middle (and soon Cox High School), will provide its students with proper equipment to facilitate an active Ping Pong Club, two scholarship opportunities, casual and competitive play, and the launch of the First Annual ‘Battle of the Paddles’ to debut in the Spring of 2015 providing competitive participation between school teams!" 

As described by Neuropsychologist Scott Sautter, Ph.D., ABN, “The neuroscience of playing Ping Pong has been described as a game of ‘aerobic chess.’ It's great for eye-hand coordination, reflexes, balance, planning, strategy and a stress-reliever exercising the mind and body in a satisfying activity for everyone. The cool factor is that research has demonstrated the positive benefits to brain fitness, such as the report of a Japanese study that found just ten minutes of playing Ping Pong increased neuronal activity in the prefrontal cortex and cerebellum.” The Table Tennis Charity Foundation is eager to raise awareness of the mental health and therapeutic benefits of playing Ping Pong. 

Recently, USA Table Tennis, the official professional and Olympic organization, endorsed Table Tennis Charity Foundation as a means to bring awareness of the benefits of playing table tennis to recreational players of all ages and abilities. Ken Lees adds: “we are proud of the direction that TTCF is heading, and hope to work towards increasing table tennis participation, including recognizing the physical and mental benefits of playing the sport. We are eager to start our program with Kellam High, and look forward to bringing table tennis to all qualifying schools.” 

Kellam High

Ken Lees, Founder and President of the Table Tennis Charity Foundation and Dean Johnson giving an exhibition and clinic on table tennis technique for team members and students at Kellam High School. Photo by Maria Victoria Creamer