USA Table Tennis What's New Cardiopong Brain and...

Cardiopong Brain and Body Engagement - Taking Table Tennis to the Next Level

By Dr. Angie Miyashiro | Feb. 23, 2015, 8:06 p.m. (ET)

Cardiopong Brain and Body Engagement - Taking Table Tennis to the Next Level

Dr. Angie Miyashiro

     Table Tennis commonly known as ping pong is a sport referred to as a chess game, boxing and endurance run at lightning speed. It has become the most popular racket sport in the world. More than 19 million Americans play Table Tennis. Since the debut as an Olympic sport in South Korea in 1988, more people are playing than ever before.   Table tennis has been an Olympic Sport since 1988. The ITTF has over 195 member countries. Table tennis is the fastest sport in the world with the ball traveling over 60 miles per hour and 140 revolutions per second. Table tennis is the National sport of China and helped to bring the East and West together 40 years ago through the Ping Pong Diplomacy. Professional leagues are all over the world and continue to form (2011).

      The purpose of this this presentation is to introduce to the table tennis and the fitness benefits.    Participants will learn how ping pong can actively engage the brain and body. Participants will learn how table tennis fulfills standard requirements and can be part of the curriculum. Participants will learn through the content, the history of table tennis and how it evolved to the high level sport it is today.  Participants will learn some of the science behind ping pong and by utilizing this science, can improve play. Students will learn strokes and positioning. An added emphasis will be on the ability to improve aerobic capacity through footwork and drills that create what can be called Cardiopong.

     Table tennis or ping pong is a fast action game that can has health benefits for all ages and ability groups.  It is a lifetime sport that can bring cultures and different ethnicity groups together. Cardiopong is a fitness activity that is gaining popularity around the nation. This workshop takes table tennis to the next level and turns it into a real cardio workout. The focus is on footwork and conditioning drills as well as strokes. It not only gives a good cardio workout, but increases agility, balance and strength. The sport enhances physical and health related components of fitness. The need for focus and tracking the ball may improve reading skills. Table tennis is a perfect addition to any curriculum both in and in-between school time. So, ready to Pong?


     Table tennis originated in the 1880’s as an upper class after dinner parlor game later called Wiff Waff. A cover of a book would be used as a net and books would be used as rackets as the players hit a gold ball from one side of the table to the other. Later cigar lids were used as paddles and the balls were made from champagne corks.

     The popularity of the game led to manufactures to sell it commercially. In 1901, Gossma J Jacque and Sons created the name ping pong. In 1901, James Gibb, a Britton, had the novel idea of using celluloid balls on a trip to the U.S. Wooden paddles were introduced and soon after, parchment was stretched onto the wooden paddles. The sound created a wiff waff noise hence the name Wiff Waff or ping pong. (On a side note, the USTTA is considering going to plastic balls due to environmental reasons and ball speed change).

     Table tennis was gaining so much popularity that a book was written about it. In the early 1900’s, Russian rulers banned the game with the thought that it hurt eyesight. However, ping pong survived and the Parker Brothers in 1932 patented the name Ping Pong, so the sport was given the name table tennis

      In 1901 as well, E.L. Goode created a modern version of the racket by attaching a pimpled rubber to the wooden paddles. However, it was the early 1930’s that rackets were being covered with rubber as it created greater force and spin. Sand paper rackets developed prior were still popular and gave the defensive player the advantage, but top level layers were changing to the rubber rackets that created an offensive advantage.

     In 1933, the USTTA formed and for the most part used the hard rubber pips for play. In 1952, at the World Championships, a Japanese player came to the competition with this strange racket made of wood, sponge and rubber. This new racket created tremendous spin and therefore dominated the tournament. The game changed dramatically form there as is now dominated by speed and spin. The ball changed as well going from 38 mm balls to 40 mm. balls in 2000. The game also went from a 21 point game to an 11 point game to make it more exciting for players as well as spectators.

Brain and Eyes

   Table tennis improves vision, coordination, and cognitive thinking. At high levels of play, all parts of the brain are active.  It provides a great mental workout. Decisions are made within split seconds all while coordinating and contacting a speeding ball. This high level of speed is seldom seen in other sports. A study conducted by Dr. Teruaki Mori and Tomohiko Sazto (2003) demonstrated that table tennis activates as many as five different portions of the brain simultaneously. A study from Dr. Wendy Suzuki showed that movement, fine motor skills and strategy were activated and may improve these parts of the brain.

     This activation has been shown to increase awareness, create an improved state of cognition, and improve motor functioning, attentiveness, concentration, and endurance. Other health benefits include an increased and efficient cardiovascular blood flow and an improved cerebral blood flow to the cerebellum and brain stem. It is a sport that especially at high levels of play, demand that both the body and brain interact at much higher levels. As players use their eyes, there is a heightened reflex function as well as balance and coordination. Research has shown the rapid eye movement required improves the contraction and relaxation of the cillary muscles. Table tennis has shown that table tennis can be beneficial for those individuals with Alzheimer’s, brain injuries, or dementia. Studies have shown that ping pong may even delay the effects of these debilitating diseases. Dr. Daniel Amen says it is the best brain sport in the world (2014).

Cardiovascular and Muscular Balance and Coordination

   Playing table tennis can burn anywhere from 570 to 950 calorie per hour. It is an aerobic activity that is relatively low on injuries. It strengthens the heart and lung as well as strengthens and tones upper and lower body muscle groups. Table tennis can improve balance coordination and reaction time. The higher the level and the more skills acquired the higher the cardio demand.


     Table tennis is non-discriminatory. Able bodied as well as disabled people are able to play. In fact not only is Table tennis in the Para Olympics, but many tournaments held throughout the world wheel chair or disability sections. Table tennis is gender equal as male and females compete on equal levels. All sizes and body types are able to play. All ages can play from 3-103.

Research has shown that table tennis can be beneficial for those individuals with Alzheimer’s, brain injuries, or dementia.

     Table tennis is a cost effective recreational or competitive sport activity that can have a natural transition into the P.E. curriculum. It is a lifetime sport activity that incorporates the aerobic system, muscular strength and endurance, balance, coordination, flexibility, and reaction time. Ping Pong is a physical activity that students are able to participate in both in school and outside of the classroom setting. Table tennis meets all four of the standards in physical education. It is both fun and rewarding. It is no wonder it is the most played game in the world.

Basic Rules and Etiquette

2-4 players

Paddles (wooden with pips or inverted rubber)

40 mm regulation balls (celluloid)

Regulation table and net height (tables are 5’ X9’ with 6” net height)

In a tournament there is a two minute warm up as players rally back and forth. Serve is called by rolling the ball and hiding it in one hand. Other player tries to choose the hand ball is in.

Serve begins and rally continues until a point is made or the ball misses the table. Serve goes two by two. The first one to make 11 with a two point lead wins. If there is a tie at 10-10 game continues with add in add out scores until someone wins by two points. There are three game matches, five game matches with tournament play, and best out of seven. Doubles is similar, except serving and receiving is alternated by player and partner. Serve must also go from right corner to right corner to be a proper serve.

Warm up Drills and Conditioning Drills (cardio)


     Footwork is essential for good table tennis. Drills through cones, balls and over tape can be used to enhance speed, coordination and leg strength.

Always begin in ready position. Practice shuffle side to side

Practice shuffle back and forth with arm movement-forehand and backhand

Practice stepping close to table and back and them into ready position.

Jog or walk briskly around room. Give high fives or knuckles to those you pass.

Line (s) with plenty of space.  Stretch arms legs, torso.

Get in ping pong ready position. Shuffle to the right, shuffle to left 5X

Ready position, step forward and back with dominated leg 10 x

Karaoke side to side

Zig Zag around ping pong ball forward back and up and down

Hop over tape forward and back, side to side, all forward, all back

Squats up and down and then side to side keeping body upright

Hop on one foot then hop on the on other foot 10X

Fast feet

Jump with two feet forward and back close and then wide

Back and forth touch either spots or table

Drills with balls and paddles

Bounce ball on top of paddle 15 X-advanced walk around and bounce

Bounce on backside of paddle 15X

Bounce ball on the ground 15X

Bounce on wall 15X              

Toss ball up in the air and catch with non-racket hand

Toss and catch with partner

Partner mirror

Do relays bouncing and recovering or going through cones


Shake hands grip (European)

Pen Holders grip (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean)

Seemiller (American) used by some

Offensive shots

Speed, Drive, Topspin Loop, counter drive, flip

Defensive shots

Push, chop, block, lob

Effect of Spin

Magnus effect-1742, Benjamin Robbins, from England explained the trajectory and fluid spin about a ball to create force and spin

Topspin, underpin, sidespin and many variations


Ball toss is from behind the table. The palm of the hand must be flat and open. Ball must be tossed at least 6”.


Check for control, position, placement, and times


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Brueker, S. (1995) Table Tennis Education Program. A curriculum program by Harvard sports.

Landon, M. (2012).  Michael Landon video. Retrieved February 2, 2014 from

History of Table Tennis. Retrieved from Wikipedia March 10, 2014 from

Ping Pong Nation (2014). Retrieved from Tagged Archived. Wordpress.

Tepper, G. (2003). Table Tennis International Table Federation, Level 1 coaching manual.

USA Table Tennis May/June 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2014 from

USA Table Tennis Nov/Dec, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2014 from

USA Table Tennis Jan/Feb 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2014 from

Winkler, L. (2014) Table Tennis and more Inc. Retrieved January 20, 2014 from