Introduction: Ping Pong Ball Picker Upper

A ball retrieval for table tennis practice when you use a serving robot or coaching someone with multiple balls. Allows you to pick-up multiple table tennis balls without having to bend over. Made from inexpensive recycled materials. Ping pong ball picker upper will save you time on retrieval of table tennis balls so you can concentrate on your skills.

When I practice with the serving robot. It has a minimum of 50 balls that have to be loaded. I have 70 to keep me going. I have a net by the machine but I do not hit the table that often. I'm practicing. The balls get everywhere and the machine gives you a good cardio, so bending over is taxing on the workout. I was going to purchase a ball picker up but could see spending $24 to $35 on something that I could make from materials around the house or work.


  • Rubber band (thin or thick). You can use a broken rubber band too.
  • Cardboard tube. You can use either gift wrapping tube or poster/delivery tube.
    Note: tube diameter should be slightly larger than standard ping pong ball. The stiffer the tube the better on long term use.
  • Hole punch or sharpe end pencil (depending on the thickness of the tube).
  • Scotch tape or shipping tape.
  • Measuring tape (optional)

Step 1: Mark Tube

Mark a spot 1/2” center from tube end.

Step 2: Punch a Hole in Tube

Punch a hole using the hole puncher or sharpe end of pencil where you created the 1/2" mark. If the tube is too thick, then you will need something that will be able to punch a hole without bending the tube.

Step 3: Place a Mark for the Second Hole 1” From Same Side of First Hole.

Place a mark for the second hole 1” from same side of first hole. Make sure that the hole is slightly off-center from first hole. This will allow the ball to enter the hole more freely and not come out when lifted.

Step 4: Cut Rubber Band

Cut rubber band. 1 cut

Step 5: Double Knot Rubber Band

Double knot one end of the rubber band.

Step 6: Place Rubber Band Through Hole

Starting with the longer hole (1”). Stick the rubber band through from the inside to out. Your knot should be in the tube. Do not pull too hard to avoid rubber band passing through tube.

Step 7: Tape Knot Inside Tube

Take a piece of Scotch tape, about a 1/2” and tape the inside of the knotted end to the tube. You can use a couple of tape pieces if necessary. It will not hinder the balls in the tube.

Step 8: Rubber Band Through Second Hole (outside Tube)

Take the other end of the rubber band and over the outside of the tube into the second hole (1/2”). The band should be lay over the tube end.

Do not create too much tension in the band that it makes the tube hole oblong. It should have slight tension so the rubber band stays flat across the hole.

Step 9: Tape Second Hole (outside)

Tape the second hole with Scotch tape/Intergalactic bonding strip to the outside.

Step 10: Secure Outside of Tube

Take an additional piece of tape and go all the way around the hole on the outside. It should cover both holes.

I found on my first attempt that packaging tape works really well for this. It adds strength to the end of the tube that will be hitting the floor or mat over time.

Step 11: Pick Up Some Ping Pong Balls

You should be able to pick-up multiple balls from the ground.

Step 12: Do Not Use Tight Tube

Do not use a tube that is too tight around the ball. A tight tube with dents will cause the balls to get stuck.

The image above is too tight. There should be space around the ball.

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