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Things to know about Table Tennis

Updated on January 28, 2017

In this article you will learn things you may or may not know about table tennis before now. Every information in this article has been summarized and explained in the simplest way possible to make you have a fun time going through it.

So lets begin...

The game of table tennis began in 1880 in Britain as a parlor game and was played with racket made of parchment stretch on frame attached to a wooden handle.

At that time it was also called ping pong because of the sound it usually made when being played on a wooden surface.

The game grew more and more popular along the years with international competitions being held around the world including the Olympics games.

Table tennis can be played both indoors and outdoors and can also be played by two or four players. When it is played by four players, which is two players on both side, it is called table tennis doubles.

People playing table tennis
People playing table tennis | Source

Anybody can play table tennis, both old and young. It is a sport for everyone.

Playing table tennis can help to improve your overall body fitness.

The first step for a beginner is to know how to choose the right equipment.

The second step is to know how to play table tennis and to know how to play the game you must know the rules of the game and the basic skills of the game.

There are the basic rules and the official rules. The basic rules is what you need to enjoy the game anywhere at anytime but in professional games the official rules are fully applied.

Gluing rubber to racket blade
Gluing rubber to racket blade

Table tennis equipment

Equipment used in table tennis are mainly the table and the racket but there are other accessories like the balls, nets, table covers, racket covers and much more.

Table tennis racket

The table tennis paddle which is also called racket or bat is made of wooden blade which is covered with rubbers on each side, the rubber have red on one side of the blade and black on the other side of the blade.

The rubbers are glued to the blade either directly from the manufacturers or can be bought separately and assembled by the player using a special kind of glue.

table tennis equipment
table tennis equipment | Source

Table tennis table

A table tennis table which is also known as a ping pong table is divided into two equal half with a net attached to the middle. The official color of the table is green or blue. It is produce in different shapes and sizes but the official size is 9 feet long, 5 feet wide and 30 inches or 76 cm high.

Table tennis balls
Table tennis balls

Table tennis balls

Table tennis is played with a racket use to hit a small plastic ball called table tennis or ping pong balls.

The ball is made of high bouncing celluloid material and it is either made with white or orange color. The ping pong ball is 2.7 gram and 40mm by diameter.

Learning how to play table tennis
Learning how to play table tennis

How to play table tennis

Do you want to know how to play table tennis? Then you must first acquaint yourself with the rules of the game and the basic skills needed to play the game.

Laws of table tennis

The sport of table tennis is controlled by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) which was established in 1926. The official table tennis rules are drafted by ITTF and are specified in the laws of table tennis handbook.

Here is a summary of the basic rules that you must know for you to start playing a fun game at home.

1) To start the game a coin is toss to know who will serve first.

2) To serve you have to hold your bat or racket in one hand and the ball in the other hand then you have to toss the ball up at least 6 inches before you hit it to your opponents half or across the net. When a serve is made and the ball hits the net before crossing to the other half, it is called a let and the ball is reserved.

3) The ball is played back and forth until someone misses or fail to play the ball back to his or her opponent and a point is scored.

4) The first player to get to 11 points with at least 2 points lead wins the game. A match is won by the first person to win 3 games.

How to serve in table tennis
How to serve in table tennis | Source

Basic skills in table tennis

There are different techniques and skills used to play table tennis. A lot of spin is also involved in the game and this is one of the things that differentiate it from other racket sport.

The basic skills are the racket grip, basic serve, basic strokes, ready stance and footwork.

(click column header to sort results)
Basic serves  
Basic strokes  
Basic grips  
Spin serve
Speed drive
Looping serve
Block stroke
Chopping stroke
Table illustrating the basic skills in table tennis.

Is table tennis a sport or a game?

Some people may not really know if table tennis can be called a sport or a game. Table tennis can be called a game as well as a sport in the following ways;

  • It can be played for fun.
  • It involves the participation of people or individual.
  • It is a competitive activity with a fixed set of rules.
  • It is govern by an official set of rules.
  • It involves the participation of individuals or group.
  • It could be played competitively or for pastime.

Most people think that ping pong is the game while table tennis is the sport, this is not correct. Table tennis is a game that falls into the definition of a sport. A sport is a physical activity while a game can be a physical or non-physical activity.

Is table tennis the same as ping pong?

Technically speaking ping pong and table tennis refers to the same sport but officially table tennis happens to be the correct name for the sport.

The term ping pong originated as a result of the sound which was made by the ball when played with the vellum rackets that was used at the early years of the sport.

You can call it ping pong unofficially but officially you have to call it table tennis.

Ping pong diplomacy - Obama and Cameron playing table tennis
Ping pong diplomacy - Obama and Cameron playing table tennis

What is ping pong diplomacy

In the history of table tennis, there is a term that is well known which every table tennis enthusiasts need to know. This term is referred to as ping pong diplomacy.

The term originated from1970s during the time when ping pong or table tennis led to the mending of diplomatic relations between the United States and The Peoples Republic of China.

During 1949 to 1972, these two countries didn't have good diplomatic relations. When the United States table tennis team was in Japan for the 31st world table tennis championship photographs of a United States ping pong player and a Chinese ping pong player exchanging gifts together was published in the news media.

Glenn Cowan and Zhuang Zedong
Glenn Cowan and Zhuang Zedong | Source

The players were American Glenn Cowan and Chinese Zhuang Zedong.

In April 1971 the American table tennis team visited China for the first time in many years and they played friendly matches and also took a tour of the country.

In 1972 United States president, Richard M. Nixon took a diplomatic trip to China and this visit future strengthen the diplomatic relations between both countries.

Table tennis was the major factor that rebuild the diplomatic relationship between America and China in the 1970s.

I hope that through this article you would have learn one or two things about table tennis that you might not have known before now.

However if you have any questions or suggestions on what to add to this article feel free to drop a comment.

Is table tennis a sport or a game

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