TABLE TENNIS ACTIVITY CARD
Parts of the Body Worked
Upper & Lower Legs
Heart & Lungs
Table tennis is a fun indoor game.
You’ll need the right equipment to get started. First, you’ll want a table. The tables that are used look a lot like a tennis court – they are usually rectangular and green with white lines. A six-inch net is used to divide the table in half.
Next, you’ll need a ball and paddles. The balls used in tournaments and during professional competitions are made of plastic and are hollow inside. Paddles, sometimes called rackets, are mostly made of wood. Each side is covered with a sheet of rubber. Often times the rubber sheets are made with different textures. This allows players to hit the ball at different speeds and with different types of spin. Even if a player chose different textures for each side of the paddle, official regulations require one side to be red and one side to be black. This way, players can always tell which side of the paddle their opponent is using.
Chances are, you’ve played table tennis at school or at a friend’s house. But did you know table tennis, also called Ping-Pong, is one of the most popular competitive sports in the world? It can be very different from what you might play at school or at home with friends. Table tennis is played at a very fast pace – some people even say it’s the fastest ball sport in the world! This makes it really challenging and requires athletes to be in great shape. AND, they have to have super hand-eye coordination!
Table tennis is a pretty new when you compare it to sports like running or soccer. In fact, it started at the end of the 19th century. It’s believed that table tennis began in England where people used common household objects like corks and box lids to play. Once hollow, plastic balls replaced the cork and rubber balls originally used, the game became popular in North America too. These new balls allowed people to play with more bounce and at a much faster pace which helped to turn the game into a competitive sport.
Play it Safe
During any physical activity, it’s always important to play it safe! Understanding the rules of a game always helps, and you should do things like stretching to help prevent injuries. So when playing table tennis, make sure you play by the rules and stay alert. It’s also a good idea to rest in between training sessions so that your body can relax and your muscles can recover from the workout!
How to Play
First, you’ll need to know how to stand and hold your paddle. Hold your arm out in front of you – like you’re about to shake hands. Then extend your fingers but keep your thumb pointing up. The paddle’s handle should rest between your thumb and forefinger, and its face should point up like your thumb. Close your fingers around the handle, and use your forefinger and thumb for control. You’ll want to grip the handle firmly, but keep it relaxed. Simply tighten your grip for more powerful shots.
Stand far enough from the table so that your arm and paddle can be fully extended. Shift your weight to the balls of your feet, and keep your knees slightly bent. Lean forward a bit, using your non-paddle hand to keep balance.
Toss the ball up for a serve, and let it bounce one time before hitting it. Each player serves five times, and then the serve goes to their opponent.
Stand like you’re about to serve the ball for a forehand shot. Only this time, face sideways so that your non-paddle shoulder points toward the other player. Swing your paddle back, shifting your hips in the same direction. Remember that the further you swing back, the more powerful the shot will be. Hold the paddle at the height of your waist, and keep your wrist tilted slightly toward the floor. This way you’ll hit the ball in an upward direction and send it over the net. Swing your arms and hips forward, and take your shot!
When you take a backhand shot, your thumb should be on the back of your paddle. Like in the forehand shot, your non-paddle shoulder should face your opponent, and the paddle should be waist-high. Let your elbow lead your arm as you swing quickly and hit the ball as it bounces off the table.
There are a variety of ways to score a point. You’ll score when a server makes a bad serve or when a player isn’t able to hit the ball back to the other player. Points are also scored if the ball bounces two or more times on one player’s side, or if the player touches the net or table.
Table tennis’s other name comes from the sound that is made when the ball hits the table – Ping-pong.
Table tennis did not become an Olympic sport until 1988. Sweden, China, Germany, Belgium and South Korea are the world’s leaders.
Throughout it’s history, people have used all sorts of things to play table tennis. Even some things that may seem a little strange – like sponges, wood, boxes and sandpaper.
Table tennis is very popular in Europe and Asia. The best players in these countries have endorsements from big businesses, similar to basketball or football players in the United States.
- Page last reviewed: May 9, 2015
- Page last updated: May 9, 2015
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