Unlike Any Other Sport in the World.
Table tennis is a nationally celebrated world-class sport in almost every country in the world except ours. The United States has been slow in catching up. In 1988, table tennis finally became recognized as an Olympic sport and has drawn record crowds ever since. The game can be played at any level and regardless of skill level, it develops quickness of mind, faster reflexes, and uniquely activates portions of the brain that no other sport does. It is a game where one can learn to literally 'slow down time'or speed it up, depending on the choices made by the player and how he strikes the ball.
It is a highly social game, bringing both children and adults into an environment where contact with others is a requisite part of the sport. Its benefits as a profound social experience are unparalleled.
In the over 35 demographic, prompted by the tremendous attention and interest Olympic Table Tennis has generated, Table Tennis is now the 3rd fastest growing sport in the United States. As a reflection of its growing popularity, USATT (United States Association of Table Tennis) tournaments have competitive categories ranging from 11 years old and under to as high as the Over 80 age demographic.
Dr. Amen has good reason to say this.
Numerous studies have concluded that 'table tennis' activates various portions of the brain simultaneously. By playing the game, under any conditions, an overall state of awareness is stimulated - requiring both thought and physical alertness at the same time.
It has been also noted that individuals in otherwise sedentary states - i.e., living in retirement homes and care facilities where table tennis activities have been introduced, have literally become mentally awakened when playing the game. Strikingly, the game is now being recommended as a method of warding off Alzheimer's and for assisting in the treatment of dementia.
Most notably, Dr. Daniel Amen specifically points out that table tennis:
Increases concentration and alertness
Stimulates brain function
Develops tactical thinking skills
Develops hand / eye coordination
Provides aerobic exercise
Provides social and recreational interaction
"Children growing up in the United States right now may be the first generation that will not exceed the livespan of their parents - unless health leaders and policymakers come together to combat the growing childhood obesity crisis."
- Meghan Lewit, The Weekly, USC Health Sciences Campus Community
It is widely believed by experts in the field of childhood obesity that a simple lack of exercise and poor dietary choices are the critical problems that need to be addressed immediately. In the state of California alone, the obesity rate has gone from less than 10% in 1987, to a staggering over 22% in 2007. Obesity among the poor who live in inner cities is even higher, approximately 33% nationwide.
Our SAEF programs for children are dedicated to addressing this serious health issue.