Table Tennis Lesson Plan for Physical Education

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

This lesson plan will educate your students about the fun and exciting sport of table tennis. They will learn four major grips, practice drills, and finally participate in some actual competition.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Explain the four most common grips and how to execute them
  • Perform various drills to improve their skills
  • Play in an actual game of table tennis


1-1.5 Hours


  • Internet access
  • Preprinted worksheets with 15 important dates in the history of table tennis (not including the dates), one copy per pair of students
  • Table tennis balls
  • Table tennis paddles
  • Table tennis tables

Key Vocabulary

  • Blade
  • Net
  • Paddle
  • Penhold grip
  • Seemiller grip
  • Shakehand grip
  • Spin
  • V-grip

Curriculum Standards

Please note that each state has different standards for physical education. Please consult your state's standards to ensure proper alignment.

Instructions and Activities

  • Inform your students that today they are going to be learning about the fun and exciting sport of table tennis.
  • Ask them if anyone has watched the sport on television or has actually played the game.
  • Review the eight key vocabulary terms.

Activity One

  • Let your students know they will be learning about four basic grips utilized in the sport of table tennis.
  • Divide your students up into four groups.
  • Group One: you will be Team Penhold Grip
  • Group Two: you will be Team Seemiller Grip
  • Group Three: you will be Team Shakehand Grip
  • Group Four: you will be Team V-Grip
  • Tell your students the following:
    • Now research your type of grip on the Internet. Find out as much information as you can about the grip.
    • Pick a spokesperson from your group to give a presentation on your findings.
    • Does anyone have any final questions or comments?

Activity Two

  • Explain to your students that they will be performing some drills to improve their table tennis skills.
  • Have two students stand at either end of the table tennis tables.
  • Each student will have a paddle, and Student One will have a ball.

Forehand Drill

  • Show them the difference between a forehand grip and a backhand grip, which is a similar concept to the game of tennis.
  • Have Student One serve with a forehand grip diagonally across the table to Student Two's forehand grip.
  • Now Student Two should return the ball diagonally to Student One.
  • The students will now repeat the process, using only forehand shots and no backhand shots.

Backhand Drill

  • Now a similar drill will be performed, but this time the students will utilize only backhand shots, and once again hit the ball only in a diagonal fashion.

Forehand to Backhand Drill

  • Next Student One will use a forehand grip, but this time Student Two will use a backhand grip. Thus, there will be no diagonal shots, but the ball will travel in a straight line fairly close to one side of the table.

Backhand to Forehand Drill

  • This is basically the same thing as the previous drill, but the students will switch grips. Student One will start with the backhand grip, while Student Two will return with the forehand grip. Therefore, the ball will travel in a straight line, but on the other side of the table.

Activity Three

  • Inform your students they will now get to actually play in real table tennis matches. Tell them:
    • This exciting game is called Table Tennis Winner Stays and Plays.
  • Have Student One and Student Two stand at opposite ends of the table.
  • Student One will serve the ball.
  • As soon as one student loses a point, that student must leave the table, and the next student in line will replace the losing student.
  • Now the winning student serves the ball to the new student.
  • Repeat the process continually. If a student loses a point, that student immediately leaves the table and is replaced by a new student.
  • See which student can win the most times consecutively without being eliminated. This student will be declared the Class Champion!
  • Hand out a small prize to the winner.

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