Games Tables for Youth Clubs

When your youth club is designed to attract the youngest and most easily-bored members of society, it can be difficult to keep them entertained.
Games equipment is a great way to make your youth club sociable, exciting and a place kids will want to return to - again and again. Read on for some great tips from the Liberty Games sales team, who routinely advise and sell to youth clubs across the UK.

Games Tables for Youth Clubs

Youth clubs, where young people congregate to socialise, learn and spend time, are popular locations for games tables. We sell a wide range to youth clubs, most commonly pool tables, football tables and table tennis tables, but also air hockey tables and arcade machines too.

A pool table being played at a youth club.

If you operate a youth club, and want to install some games tables to keep everyone entertained, this guide is for you. We'll run through some popular options, discuss the reasons why games tables are so good in these venues, and tell you everything you need to know before you buy.

Our Experience Supplying to Youth Clubs

At Liberty Games, we've been helping youth clubs across the UK to introduce games tables to their visitors for decades. Our experience means we know what works, what you need in terms of products and service, and how to make the whole process go smoothly.

We take POs for youth club orders, and can help you in the process of applying for grants from relevant organisations. And we know how important it is for deliveries to arrive on schedule, so we're ultra-flexible and can work around you. Read on to understand the best way to bring games to your youth club.

Which Games Work Best?

For a youth club, you'll want games that promote socialising and interaction between visitors. And ideally, games that are also great to watch while others play. You want visitors to have fun together, to gently compete and to enjoy each other's company.

You'll want your games tables to be tough and durable, and easy to maintain. And you'll definitely want games that are appealing to your guests, so they keep coming back to play and spend time in your venue.

Some games tables are more suited to youth clubs than others. Below we'll go through a few of the most popular types, and the pros and cons of each.

Pool Table

A pool table fits pretty much all the criteria. Games are relatively slow and considered, requiring strategy and logic. It makes your visitors analyse, calculate and apply, in their own time, and spectators will love the suspense as players think about the game.

A pool table being played at a youth club.

It can also be used for games of doubles, or even for more convivial games like 'round robin'. The scope for versatility is huge, and it's this that makes a pool table a great choice.

They're so versatile, in fact, that some pool tables are compatible with lift-on tabletops. These tables are sold as 'pool dining tables', and can also be used as desks or office spaces. It's a great way to get more use out of the space a pool table occupies.

You'll need to think about the bed type. MDF bed pool tables are cheaper, but don't give the same game experience as a true slate bed pool table. MDF tables also aren't as durable. Most slate bed tables are made to commercial standards, so they will withstand lots of abuse for many years. This is why we would recommend a slate bed table for a high energy environment like a youth club. Learn more about the differences between MDF and slate bed pool tables here.

The Omega slate bed pool table.

The tough, resilient Omega slate bed pool table is a great option for a youth club. (From £1549.00) [ view in store ]

And you'll need to consider the footprint a pool table occupies. They are large items, and need lots of space around them for cueing. Check out our pool table room size guide here to learn how to measure a room for a pool table installation.

Football Table

A football table - or a 'foosball', as it's often known - is a great choice for a lively youth club. This fast-paced, boisterous game is big on excitement, great for improving hand-to-eye coordination, and it's just as fun to watch as it is to play.

A football table being played at a youth club.

In most tables, two full 11-a-side teams line up to take control of the pitch. They're controlled by rods that run through the table, allowing players to operate different figures at different times, as the ball travels across the pitch. The winner is the first to fill their scoring abacus with goals.

In a youth club environment, we would normally recommend a commercial standard foosball table, as this will be resilient and tough enough to withstand lots of abuse. Some youth clubs, perhaps where guests are younger and are under more supervision, might be okay with a cheaper 'family' table - if it's looked after.

You can also choose telescopic or solid rods. Telescopic rods retract into themselves during play, so the sharp end doesn't poke out of the other side of the table. This is a useful safety feature, especially when youngsters are excited and running around. Solid rods are just that - solid, unbroken metal rods, that extend through the other side of the table. Expert players will say they give more precise control over telescopic.

Another option is a glass top. This can be a good addition in a youth club environment - it stops hands going into the playfield and interfering with the game, and keeps balls inside. Whether combined with a coin mech (which can be set to use tokens - see below) or not, this makes for a much more organised, calm game.

The San Siro football table.

The glass-topped San Siro football table is ideal for a busy youth club. (From £1250.00) [ view in store ]

A football table is relatively compact, compared to a pool table, and takes up much less floor space. Read our comprehensive foosball table guide here, which includes details on the amount of floor space needed.

Table Tennis

Table tennis probably needs no introduction. This exciting game - now an Olympic sport - is guaranteed to get kids of all ages having fun - and adults too. Whilst requiring a relatively large floor space, most table tennis tables can actually be folded up and wheeled away very easily, making them ideal for where space is sometimes needed for other activities. You might decide to get an outdoor table tennis table, so it can be used and stored outside or indoors, depending on the weather. There are even table tennis tops available, that can be used to make any kind of table (even a pool table) into a table tennis table.

A table tennis table being played at a youth club.

Visitors will enjoy the fast-paced, action-packed games. Table tennis requires a lot of physical exertion, making it ideal for venting off excess sugar rushes or adolescent energy, and improving fitness. And of course, the level of hand-to-eye coordination needed to master the techniques of this sport means that minds are working just as hard as bodies.

The Quickfold Indoor tennis table.

The Quickfold Indoor table tennis table is the perfect indoor table for a youth club. (From £285.00) [ view in store ]

Promoting healthy competition is one of the big pros of table tennis. You can hold tournaments or organise quickfire knockouts, whether with single players or in doubles matches. Additionally, most table tennis tables can be half-folded, creating a 'playback' position for solo practice. So even for lone players, there's plenty to get involved with.

Read our table tennis table buyer's guide here for more details on what to look for.

Air Hockey

Air hockey is a very fast, very exciting game, commonly found in amusement arcades, bowling alleys and similar venues. Players ricochet a puck across an air hockey table's polished play surface, which features countless tiny perforations to allow pumped air through it. This allows the puck to 'float' above the surface, reducing friction to almost zero and creating super-fast puck speeds.

An air hockey table being played at a youth club.

If your youth club has the space for one, it's a superb choice. We would certainly recommend a 'commercial' standard table with a metal playfield. There are cheaper 'home' air hockey tables around with vinyl-coated wood playfields, but these may not be durable enough to survive for long in a youth club. The good news is that with a commercial table, you'll get all mod cons like automatic scoring, overhead gantry, powerful sound system (with music and effects) and a tough, resilient build. Some are even made to be weatherproof, for outdoor air hockey fun.

The Wik Gold air hockey table.

The arcade-standard Wik Gold air hockey table is tough enough for any youth club. (From £4595.00) [ view in store ]

Read our air hockey table buyer's guide here for more details on these fantastic games tables.

Arcade Machines

Arcade machines are the curve ball in this youth club rundown. They're not suitable for all youth clubs, but in certain situations, they are unparalleled. In today's video game-obsessed world, cooperative play among guests can be a great way to build relationships. And there are some kinds of arcade machine that are specifically designed for social environments.

An arcade machine being played by children.

Our range of multi game arcade machines is a great way to introduce kids to retrogaming. This is where oldskool video games from the golden age of the 80s and 90s are brought back to life, with modern technology and lots of fun. The arcade-based games are perfect for bringing kids together and enjoying time with each other.

Dance machines are ideal for youngsters with energy to burn. A booming sound system and addictive, energetic gameplay make them ideal for youth clubs. Or basketball arcade games, where players compete to shoot hoops most accurately. There are even boxer arcades, and also shooting games and driving/racing arcade machines where you can often have two units next to each other, for really competitive gaming.

The AtGames Legends 300 arcade machine.

The AtGames Legends 300 arcade machine is a fantastic intro to arcade retrogaming for all ages. (From £799.00) [ view in store ]

If you think an arcade machine is right for your youth club, the big consideration will be space. Whilst our home-oriented multi game arcade machines are compact and easy to squeeze in, the tough, commercial arcades that some youth clubs might prefer are generally much bigger, with a lot of presence (light shows, sound effects and more). Let us know if you're considering a commercial arcade and we can talk you through appropriate sizes, or read our arcade machine buyer's guide here.

Freeplay or Pay-for-Credit?

It's doubtful whether you want to charge cash for credits in a youth club. A charitable or nonprofit venue is unlikely to want to charge its guests.

What some of our youth club customers do, however, is use token mechs. Using tokens to buy game credits is a great way to regulate the table. It becomes less of a free-for-all, and more organised. Players wait their turn instead of arguing about who goes next, and the game has some intrinsic value.

You can even use the tokens to encourage your guests - giving them away as prizes or to reward good behaviour. Guests with tokens then get to use the table and choose who might play with them.

The vast majority of coin mechs - including all the ones we sell - can be converted or preset for tokens instead of coins. If you're interested in using a token-operated mech, here's our comprehensive guide on coin and token mechs for games tables.

Now Get Some Games for Your Youth Club!

If you're ready to equip your youth club with a games table or two, let us help you to choose the right one. Our specialist sales team will be happy to assist with advice and guidance - just drop us an email, hit the chat button below during office hours, or call us on 0800 612 8180.

This article was written by Liberty Games staff member
Joe O'Mara

Sales Manager at Liberty Games. Pool table specialist & pinball wiz. Film & cinema nerd, with a mental database of every episode of The Simpsons ever made.

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