F2 Table Tennis

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Aim: To introduce young people to the game of table tennis. Taken from the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Recreation, Sports and Games F2


Activity 1, 2 & 3
• Table tennis table
• Bats
• Balls


Activity 1 - The Basics

Aim: To learn the basic shots of table tennis.

It is always important to learn the basics before advancing onto the more difficult shots and techniques. For each element below get the young people to stand in a line and play the shot or demonstrate the action. Then line the young people up and get them to play the shot as you feed the ball.

Grip — the most common way to hold a table tennis bat is the shake hands’ grip.
• The bat is gripped with all fingers, and is analogous to shaking a hand. CD
• The pinky, ring, and middle finger wrap around one side of the handle, and the index finger rests on the bottom edge of the rubber.
• The thumb rests on the top of the handle on the other side, thumbnail perpendicular to the wood.
• The grip should feel natural, with no particularly uncomfortable areas. Too tight a grip can sacrifice control and power.

The Ready Position — must be kept to as much as possible to ensure maximum control and consistency.
• The typical table tennis stance is a slight crouch forward, feet shoulder-width apart with most of the weight on the bails of the feet.
• The upper arm should be close, but not flush, to your body.
• For right-handers, the place to stand is on the backhand half of the table.
• The right foot should be slightly to the left of the centre line with the left foot slightly forward.
• Stand enough distance away from the table so that the tip of your bat barely touches the edge of the table.

Basic Strokes — For all of the strokes described below, the arm should be very relaxed.

Power should be concentrated on the waist, forearm, and wrist (acting together) like a whip, with the upper arm moving very little. Always remember to return to the ready position following each shot.

• The Drive — Drives, a light topspin stroke that produces a low ball trajectory, are the primary offensive strokes in table tennis. In executing this and all other offensive strokes, the use of the entire body in unison is important for consistency and power.

— The forearm should be at roughly 90 degrees to the upper arm.
— It should be drawn back to the 3 o’clock position, and let the waist turn naturally along with the arm with weight shifting towards the right foot.
— While shifting your weight back to your left foot, swing forward with a slight upward motion, with the waist providing additional force in the swing.
— Use The elbow as a pivot point; contact with the ball should be made after the top of The bounce.
— Make sure the bat is closed (facing slightly downwards), and remains That way throughout the stroke.

— From the ready position, the waist tums left with the bat pointing towards the 9 o’clock position.
— When following through, contact with the ball is made in front of the body, slightly after the top of the bounce.
— Let the elbow again act as the pivot point, and snap the forearm forward in a slightly upward direction.
— Make sure the bat is closed.

Note: Be sure to contact the top half of the ball when hitting topspin drives.

The Push — Pushes are the basic backspin shots, used to change the pace of the ball. It is usually a defensive shot and allows placement anywhere on the table. The ball should be contacted right after the bounce with an open bat. How open the bat is depends on the intensity of backspin on the ball. Heavier backspin requires a more open bat to return over the net. Try to keep The ball low, c varying the amount of backspin and bat angle.

— Bring the bat slightly up and back, while keeping the elbow at your waist.
— Bend the wrist back.
— Swing forward with a downward motion, and when the bat reaches the ball snap the wrist forward for extra bat speed.
— With an open bat, graze the bottom half of the ball.

— Bring the bat slightly up and back, close into your stomach while cocking the wrist back.
— Try to contact the ball directly in front of your body, and remember to keep the elbow still while the forearm and wrist move forward and down.
— Graze The bottom of the ball and follow through.

Note: Keep the push stroke gentle, it is more of a finesse and touch’ shot. As you advance the stokes can start becoming more aggressive, with a variety of spins.

• The Block — Blocking allows a player to use The opponent’s force against themself and is done immediately after the bounce so that maximum control and speed are retained. Adjusting the bat angle depends on the severity of topspin on the ball; The more topspin there is, the more you should close the bat. There is very little backswing and follow-through. Depending on how much control you have over the block, it can be used offensively as well.

• The Smash — Any ball that is high enough and close enough to the opponent’s side can be smashed. Smashing combines waist, forearm, and wrist movement to the fullest extent. A good smash is very hard to return, but it can be done. Do not dawdle after you have executed a smash. The ball is contacted at the top of the bounce at its highest point.

FOREHAND SMASH: Similar to the drive, however, there are some key differences which result in greater power being yielded. A longer backswing, greater weight transfer during swing, a more intense snapping of the forearm when contacting ball and a longer follow-through should provide this.

BACKHAND SMASH: The same changes should be applied to the backhand drive. Note on smashes: Don’t just indiscriminately smash the ball when you find the opening; instead, try to direct the ball to a location where it is least likely to be hit back, accidentally or intentionally.

Basic Service — The following are the basic rules of service:
1. The ball must be held above the table level in order for the opponent and umpire to see it.
2. The ball must be held in the palm of the hand with fingers stretched, and tossed vertically at least six inches.
3. The ball must be struck only on the way down.
4. The ball must be struck behind the end line.

• Backspin — a backspin serve is executed with an open bat slicing the bottom of the ball.
• Topspin — topspin serves can be done hitting with a fiat bat, or by grazing the top of the ball with a closed bat for more spin.
• Sidespin — simply hit the back of the ball in a left-to-right or right-to-left motion, as desired. Try holding the bat in front of you and brushing the bottom of the ball in a pendulum motion.

Note: Keep the ball as low as possible to prevent an early attack by the opponent. A serve in a single’s game can go anywhere on the opponent’s court.

Tips / Advice:
Get someone who has played table tennis before to help, especially in the rust few weeks of playing.

Safety Issues / Risk Assessment:
Make sure there is adequate supervision for the number of young people, to both help some with their technique whilst also watching the rest.

Activity 2 - The Game

Aim: To learn the rules of the game.

The best way to learn the rules of the game is to play it. Keep a copy of the rules close (which can be found on the HF website), then any disputes can be solved according to the correct rules.

• The Service:
— the ball must bounce in the server’s court, pass over the net and then touch the receiver’s court.
— In doubles, the ball shall touch the server’s right half court and then the receiver’s right half court.
— If the ball touches the net in service a let is called.

• The Return:
— The ball, having been served or returned, shall be struck so that it passes over the net and touches the opponent’s court (it can hit the net before passing over).

In doubles, the server shall first make a service, the receiver shall then make a return, the server’s partner shall then make a return, the receiver’s partner shall then make a return and this sequence continues until the rally stops.

• Points — Unless the rally is a let, one player will score a point. A player will score a point if...
i. your opponent fails to make a correct service
ii. your opponent fails to make a correct return
iii. the ball passes over their court or beyond their end line without touching the court, after being struck by your opponent
iv. your opponent strikes the ball twice successively
v. a doubles opponent strikes the ball out of turn

The game is played to 11 points unless both players score 10 points, when the game is won by the first player gaining a lead of 2 points.

The serve is changed after every 2 points until the end of the game, unless both players score 10 points when it is changed after every point. The first player to serve is alternated with every game.

Tips / Advice:
Get the young people to referee each other’s matches, this will help them learn the rules and keep them involved when not playing a game,

Safety Issues / Risk Assessment:
Make sure that any young people not playing keep away from the playing area, so not to be hit.

Activity 3 - Variations

Aim: To enjoy the game In different forms.

General Information:
There are a variety of table tennis games that can be played to suit a range of abilities and number of players.

Round the Table:
— Split the young people into two halves, one at each end of The table with the first person in The normal playing positions.
— The rest of the players should be lined up down the side of the table as in the picture.
— The side with the majority always serves (if there are the same number on each team then it doesn’t matter) and each player only takes one shot at a time.
— Once a player has had their shot then they run round and join the back of the queue on the other side.
— The rally continues until someone fails to return the ball legally, that player is then out.
— The players continue to run round the table until there are two players left who Then play in a final. The final is a best of 5 and the players take it in turn to serve.
— As an alternative, give each player 3 lines and in the final get each player to spin 360° after every shot.

— The shots for doubles are exactly the same as for singles.
— There are some slight modifications to the rules however.
— Firstly the serve is alternated between sides with each player getting 1 serve per round.
— The playing order is kept the same throughout the game and is described in the return section above.

Tips / Advice:
Always keep spare balls as they are prone to breaking.

For full details and diagrams see the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Recreation, Sports and Games F2


  • company
  • discoverer
  • recreation
  • sports and Games
  • Table tennis

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