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There are a number of games you can play besides table tennis singles. Many of them involve having more than two players to a table, which can be a great help when you have too few tables. They should be mixed in at various times as a break from regular practice sessions. They are, above all else, great fun for the kids, which is the basic reason they are being taught table tennis.


Table tennis doubles is similar to tennis doubles in that you have two players on a side, thus four players to a table. There are a few differences between doubles and singles, however.

First of all, the players must alternate shots. If one player on one team hits the ball twice in a row, that team loses the point. This enables all participants to get an equal number of shots and have equal fun.

In the situation where the teams are Players A and C versus Players B and D, the rotation is as follows:

1. Player A serves to Player B

2. Player B returns to Player C

3. Player C returns to Player D

4. Player D returns to Player A

5. Player A returns to Player B (i.e. start over)

This rotation continues until a point is won.

After Player A serves two times, Player B (on the other team) serves to Player C. Player C then serves to Player D, and the rotation continues in this way. The second difference is that all serves are served diagonally from the server’s righthand court to the receiver’s righthand court. If the serve hits the table outside these courts, it is a lost point.

Brazilian Teams

For Brazilian teams, break the class into teams of three to five players each. Two teams play against each other on each table - a great way to make up for a lack of tables!

The players on each team get into a line and the first one from each team goes to the table. They play out one point, and the loser of the point goes to the end of the line for his team. The next in line takes over for him/her.

This is done over and over, with the winner of each point staying on the table and the loser going to the end of his team’s line. The new person on the table always serves. Score is kept for each team, with the first team to reach 51 (or 31 if you want a shorter game) wins, although you have to win by two.

Canadian Singles

Canadian singles is a variation of Brazilian teams. This time, players play for themselves, with three or more players on a table. The players get into a single line.

The first two players play out a point, with the loser going to the end of the line. The next player goes to the table. As in Brazilian teams, the new person always serves.

Each player keeps score for himself/herself or you can have someone score for everyone. The game continues until someone has scored 11 points and wins the game.

Ladder Singles

Arrange the tables into a specific numerical order. Put your two weakest players on the first table, the two strongest players on the last table, and everybody else in between going from weakest to strongest. Have them hide the ball to see who serves first; and when everybody is ready, shout “GO!” Everybody begins playing out points, alternating serves. The first person to score seven points yells “STOP!” Everybody stops, and whoever is in the lead at that time advances one table toward the first table. The loser goes down a table. Have them hide the ball again for service and continue as before.

If there is a tie when “stop” is yelled, play a sudden death playoff. One point wins. Have the entire class watch - they’ll love it!

The object of the game, of course, is to reach the first table and stay there. This is why you start with the strongest players on the last table and the weakest on the first table. Note that whoever wins on the first table and whoever loses on the last table stay where they are.

If you have a few players too many to have two to a table, have your strongest players sit out the first round(s) by the last table. They should get in line to get onto the last table. In this version, the loser on the last table goes to the end of the line of those sitting out and the first in line gets on the table. Of course, if the player loses right away, he/she is put back off the table again. This is another reason to put your strongest players on the first table.

Ash Tray Table Tennis

Ash tray table tennis is the same as regular table tennis with one exception: ash trays or similar objects are placed on the table at various points. There are two ways of scoring: either play it straight with the ash trays as obstacles or score only if a point is won by hitting an ash tray.

Stroking Contests

Two games that can be played that also help a player practice his/her strokes are backhand to backhand games and pushing games.

In the first, have them play out a game hitting just backhands from their backhand corners. (No backspin shots!) If the ball hits to the right of the middle line (for righties), it is a lost point. Lefties should play together or you can have a lefty and righty play the game hitting their shots down the line (parallel to the sidelines).

You can also set up a pushing game. Only backspin serves are allowed, and the players push all over the table until one of them misses.

Relay Races

As mentioned earlier, relay races are great fun and great for fitness. They can be done bouncing the ball on the racquet, on the floor, or any other version you can think of.

Table Tennis Olympics

Events include:

  • Table tennis ball shotput

  • Table tennis ball throw (if there is room)

  • Table tennis sprint done while bouncing the ball on racquet

  • Table tennis target shooting - See who can hit a target on the table with the serve the most times

  • Table tennis obstacle course - Running around and under pre-arranged tables

Add any events you can think of!

Copyright Larry Hodges

Copyright Mark Nordby, Dan Seemiller, John Oros

Copyright USA Table Tennis

Teaching the FH Loop  <


> Scheduling Practices


Last Update : 06 Kasım, 2002

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