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Teaching table tennis to large groups

Printed From: Alex Table Tennis - MyTableTennis.NET
Category: Coaching & Tips
Forum Name: Coaching & Tips
Forum Description: Learn more about TT from the experts. Feel free to share your knowledge & experience.
Moderator: yogi_bear
Assistant Moderators: APW46
Printed Date: 07/19/2018 at 4:57pm

Topic: Teaching table tennis to large groups
Posted By: Simon_plays
Subject: Teaching table tennis to large groups
Date Posted: 08/04/2017 at 11:32am
I am about to take over an after-school table tennis club and was hoping that anyone who has experience with teaching large groups of high-school kids table could share some tips.

Ideally I am looking for is a plan of how to potentially transition some of these kids from casual pongers into fully fledged EJs.

Does anyone know of any helpful material on how to keep large mixed ability groups interested and also on how to potentially help some of the kids become more serious about the sport?

Posted By: mjamja
Date Posted: 08/04/2017 at 3:46pm
I would suggest 3 things:

1. Multi-ball games  -  Each player hits a certain number of balls (5-10 so wait in line is low).  But unlike plain multi-ball there is some competition to win such as: knocking cups over, hitting a target, getting all their shots to land, most balls landed in 3 tries, etc.  Google "Larry Hodges worm juice game" for one coaches unique approach.

2. Group shadow practice of strokes and footwork.

3. A  "keep busy" activity to reduce wait time for multi-ball.  So before they go to the end of the line for multi-ball they do some activity.  These might include things like bouncing ball 10 times on each side of racket,  doing some shadow strokes, doing a footwork pattern around an adjacent table, serving 10 balls, etc.  So they stay more involved and do not get bored and start acting up.

Truth in advertising -  I have not really done this myself, but it iswhat I have seen in numerous videos and read in various articles.  

Good luck

Mark - Once the world's greatest coach, but now just a pretentious internet poster

Posted By: Chairman Meow
Date Posted: 08/04/2017 at 3:55pm
+1 to all the stuff above. Also, a good way to keep them busy is to have them constantly picking up the balls. Have maybe 2/3 of the kids training or doing the above mentioned multi ball drill with rotation, and then the other 1/3 should be picking up the balls This way, they get some down time, but are not fully unoccupied. It is also more efficient than stopping training and picking up all the balls at once. Every few minutes, rotate the people who are picking up balls, so they don't get bored.

Also, teach them how to feed balls early on. It helps to have everyone be a proficient ball feeder, so you can have more training going on at once, with less people waiting.

Try to keep them under control as well. My experience is mainly with younger children (ages 5-12), and they are hard to teach. The lose focus very easily, and often don't listen. You are working with high-schoolers, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

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Posted By: Fulanodetal
Date Posted: 08/04/2017 at 3:58pm
The door to TT addiction for me was doubles!!

I watched other ppl playing doubles and since they looked like they were having a blast I decided to join in.
Got hooked into playing TT right then and there.
If somehow you can incorporate doubles play in your class I think it might do the trick!!


Posted By: yogi_bear
Date Posted: 08/04/2017 at 9:46pm
also try doubles in a multiball drill. at least the kids will enjoy the alternating shots

Independent online TT Product reviewer of ADIDAS, STIGA, TIBHAR, NEXY, JOOLA, ALSER & XVT

ITTF Level 1 Coaching Course Conductor, ITTF Level 1 Coach

Posted By: Simon_plays
Date Posted: 08/05/2017 at 3:24am
Thanks all round for the suggestions, some good tips here. 

Larry Hodges is definitely a good resource, that guy has a lot to say about teaching table tennis!

My main problem will be with keeping the kids on task and busy whilst also enjoying themselves but I'm sure it will all just come together once I get started.

Posted By: larrytt
Date Posted: 08/07/2017 at 11:17pm
I have ten pages on this in my http://" rel="nofollow - Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handboo k, which comes in print ($5.99) and Kindle (currently on sale at 99 cents). I've run the beginning junior classes at MDTTC for decades. 

I generally go with a 2-1 ration - 2/3 practice, 1/3 games. (More like 50-50 for kids 8 and under.) For new players, you'll be doing a lot of multiball. At the high school level, they should have the coordination to hit among themselves after some multiball practice. 

For games, have them play king of the table, up-down tables, or Brazilian Teams. However, it's also good to have a large supply of paper cups and a bottle of Gatorade. Kids like to build large pyramids and walls out of the cups, and then they line up, taking turns knocking them down while you feed multiball. (Perhaps three shots each, though only one on first round.) Or you put the Gatorade bottle on the table and feed multiball, and they line up, taking turns trying to hit it, two shots per turn - and if they hit it, you have to drink it. But since these are high school kids, you'll want to focus more on the real games mentioned above. But let them try different games and see which they like. 

As to getting them serious about the sport, first teach the basics; then let them see real table tennis by good players, and they'll want to be like that; and then let them know about other opportunities (private coaching, more advanced group sessions, leagues, tournaments). Many will continue and become serious players. 

A key is finding the balance between serious and fun. If you are too serious, it's not fun, and you lose them. If you make it just fun, it's like playing Parcheesi, and they don't take it seriously and you lose them. Find that balance. 
-Larry Hodges" rel="nofollow -

Professional Table Tennis Coach & Writer
Member, USATT Hall of Fame
USATT National & ITTF Certified Coach
Butterfly Sponsored
Chair, USATT Coaching Committee

Posted By: Simon_plays
Date Posted: 08/12/2017 at 4:48am
Hi Larry, thanks a lot for the reply.

I had actually already invested in a copy of your handbook, lots of good stuff in there. Thumbs Up

Looking forward to starting the programme soon.

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