Table Tennis: History, Rules and Equipment

Table tennis, also commonly referred to as Ping-Pong, is a ball game similar in principle to lawn tennis and played on a flat table that’s divided into two equal by a net fixed across its width at the middle. The objective is to hit the ball so that the ball can go over the net and bounce on the opponent’s half of the table in such a way that the opponent cannot reach it or play it back correctly. The lightweight hollow ball is propelled back and forth across the net by small rackets (bats, or paddles) which were held by the players. The game is very well known all over the world. In most countries, it is very well organized as a competitive sport, particularly in Europe and Asia, most especially in China and Japan.


History Of Table Tennis


The sport emanated in Victorian England, where it was first played among the upper-class as an after-dinner parlor game. It has been proposed that makeshift versions of the game were developed by British military officers in India in the 1860s or 1870s, who brought it back with them.


The name “ping-pong” was in broad use before British manufacturer J. Jaques & Son Ltd had it trademarked. The name “ping-pong” then came to describe the game which was played using the rather expensive Jaques’s equipment, with other manufacturers naming it table tennis. A similar circumstance arose in the United States, where Jaques sold the rights to the “ping-pong” name to Parker Brothers. Parker Brothers then executed its trademark for the term in the 1920s, making the various associations change their names to “table tennis” instead of the more common, but trademarked term.


The next major invention was by James W. Gibb, a British enthusiast of table tennis, who found novelty celluloid balls on a trip to the US in 1901 and found them to be ideal for the game. This was followed by E.C. Goode who, in 1901, invented the newest version of the racket by fixing a sheet of pimpled, or stippled, rubber to the wooden blade. Table tennis was becoming popular by 1901 to the point that tournaments were being organized, books being written on the subject, and an unofficial world championship was held in 1902. In those early days, the scoring system was the same as it was done in lawn tennis.


Although both a “Table Tennis Association” and a “Ping-Pong Association” existed together

In 1910, a new Table Tennis Association was established in 1921 and was given the new name English Table Tennis Association in 1926. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) followed in 1926. London had its first official World Championships hosted in 1926.


On the other hand, the popularity of the sport declined in the 1930s Soviet Union, partly because of the promotion of team and military sports, and partly because of a theory that the game had adverse health effects.


During the 1950s, paddles that used a rubber sheet combined with an underlying sponge layer changed the game dramatically, introducing greater spin and speed. These were introduced to Britain by sports goods manufacturer S.W. Hancock Ltd. The use of speed glue begin in the mid-1980s and increased the spin and speed even further, thereby bringing changes to the equipment to “slow the game down”. Table tennis was first introduced as an Olympic sports Olympics in 1988.


Starting a Game


According to ITTF rule 2.13.1, the first service will be decided by lot, normally a coin is tossed. It is also common for one player to hide the ball in one or the other hand, usually hidden under the table, allowing the other player to guess which hand the ball is in. The correct or incorrect guess will give the “winner” the option to choose to serve, receive, or choose which side of the table to use.

This is commonly referred to as “serve to play”, “rally to serve”, “play for serve”, or “volley for serve”


Service and Return


In table tennis games, the player serving the ball commences a play. The server will first stand with the ball held on the open palm that is not carrying the paddle, this hand is called the freehand, and tosses the ball directly upward without spin, at least 16 cm (6.3 in) high. The server hits the ball with the racket on the ball’s descent so that it touches first his court and then touches directly the receiver’s court without touching the net assembly. In casual games, many players do not toss the ball upward; however, this is technically unlawful and can give the serving player an outrageous advantage

The ball must remain behind the end line and at the top of the upper surface of the table, known as the playing surface, at all times during the service. The server cannot use his/her body or clothing to hinder the sight of the ball; the opponent and the umpire must be able to have a clear view of the ball at all times. If the umpire is doubtful of the legality of a service they may first stop the play and give a warning to the server. If the service is a clear failure or is doubted again by the umpire after the warning, the receiver has Scored a point.


Scoring In Table Tennis


The opponent needs to make a correct service or return, after making a service or a return, the ball reaches anything other than the net assembly before it is being hit by the opponent.


The opponent will strike the ball with the side of the racket blade whose surface doesn’t get covered with rubber.


As a receiver under the expedite system, completing 13 returns in a rally. Any opponent that has been warned by the referee has committed an offense in the same

individual match or team match. If the third offense happens, two points will be given to the opposite player. If the individual match or the team match has not ended, The game will be won by any of the players that first score 11 points except both the players from the two teams scored 10 points, then the game can be declared won by the first player thereafter gaining a lead of 2 points.


Table Tennis Equipment


Table tennis makes use of simple equipment which are a table, bats, and balls. Indoor tables are favored for gentle indoor practice. Outdoor tables, which are a lot more solid and can be used for a long time, are perfect for outdoor games, without any risk of damage. Protective Cornilleau covers provide additional protection. For professionals, competition tables provide a level of solidity that can resist anything. Meanwhile, foam rubber bats with rubbers provide both precision and control. From beginner to expert or professional, there are various ball models to suit all kinds of games.


The history of table tennis is all the reason for its development. Today’s most popular sport in the world, it is constantly gathered together with players from all walks of life.


Rules of Table Tennis



A Game is played to 11 points. A Game has to be won by two points by either of the two teams.



Each side of the table substitutes serving two points at a time. Except after the two teams scored a tie of 10-10 service alternates at every point.



What is the way to serve the ball in ping pong? The ball has to be held in the open palm, behind the end of the table. And then toss at least 6 straight up, and strike it on the way down. The ball must hit the side of the table well as the other side. However, Once the ball leaves the server’s hand it is in play, and so is counted as the receiver’s point if the ball is missed or mis-hit.



There exists no limitation regarding where the ball lands on your side or your opponent’s side of the table. It can bounce two or more times on your opponent’s side or even hit the edge. And if so that’s your point.



The serve must bounce in the server’s right court and receiver’s right court. Double partners switch places after their team has served more than once.



Doubles partners must alternate hitting balls in a rally, regardless of where the ball might land on the table.



Can the ball be hit before it bounces in ping pong? No. In regular tennis, you may example like “volley” the ball (hitting the ball before it bounces on your side of the net). However, in table tennis, this will give your opponent a point. However, When your opponent hits a ball that sails over your end of the table without touching it and then hits you or your paddle, then the point belongs to you



The ball or the table can be touched with your paddle hand or with other parts of your body. However, If the table moves at all from your touching it during a rally, that can be said to be your opponent’s point.



If no referee was present during a match and the players disagree on a curtain call, the “honor system” can be applied and, the players should find a way to agree, or play the point over.


Types of stroke in table tennis

Table tennis strokes can generally be divided into offensive and defensive categories.

Offensive strokes


This is Also known as speed drive, a direct hit on the ball pushing it forward back to the opponent. This stroke is different from speed drives in other racket sports like tennis because the racket is mainly perpendicular to the direction of the stroke and most of the energy applied to the ball will result in speed instead of spin, creating a shot that does not arc much, but it is fast enough that it can be difficult to return. A speed drive can be used mostly for keeping the ball in play as well as applying pressure on the opponent, and potentially opening up an opportunity for a more powerful attack.



Perfected during the 1960s, the loop is essentially the setback of the chop. The racket is parallel to the direction of the stroke (“closed”) and the racket thus grazes the ball, thereby resulting in a large amount of topspin. A very good loop drive will arc quite a little, and once it strikes the opponent’s side of the table, it will jump forward, much like a kick serves in tennis. Many professional players presently, such as Ding Ning, Timo Boll, and Zhang Jike, primarily use loops for an offense.



The counter-hit is usually a counteroffensive against drives, normally high loop drives. The racket is held very close and close to the ball, which is often hit with a short movement off the bounce so that the ball travels faster to the other side. Kenta Matsudaira is known for primarily using counter-hit for the offense.



When a player attempts to attack a ball that has not bounced beyond the edge of the table, the player does not have the room to wind up in a backswing. The ball can still be attacked, however, and the resulting shot is called a flip because the backswing is reduced into a quick wrist action. A flip is not just a single stroke and can be compared with either a loop drive or a loop in its characteristics. What identifies the stroke is that the backswing is reduced into a short wrist flick.



A player will typically carry out a smash when the opponent has returned a ball that bounces too high or too close to the net. It is almost always done with a forehand stroke. Smashing makes use of quick acceleration to impart as much speed on the ball as possible so that the opponent cannot react in time. The racket is commonly perpendicular to the direction of the stroke. Because the speed is the main aim of this shot, the spin on the ball is often minimal, even though it can be applied as well. An offensive table tennis player will first think of a rally as a build-up to a winning smash. Smash is used more frequently with a penholder grip.


Defensive strokes


The push is frequently used for keeping the point alive and creating offensive chances. A push resembles a tennis slice: the racket cuts below the ball, imparting backspin and resulting in the ball floating slowly to the other side of the table. A push can be very difficult to attack because the backspin on the ball causes it to drop toward the table upon striking the opponent’s racket. To attack a push, a player must always loop or flip the ball back over the net. Frequently, the best alternative for beginners is to simply push the ball back again, resulting in pushing rallies against the good players, it may be the worst alternative because the opponent will counter with a loop, putting the first player in a defensive position. Pushing can have benefits in some situations, such as when the opponent makes it easy.



This is the defensive, backspin counterpart to the offensive loop drive. A chop is practically a bigger, heavier push, that was taken well back from the table. The racket face points primarily horizontally, maybe a little bit upward, and the direction of the stroke is straight down. The major objective of a defensive chop is to match the topspin of the opponent’s shot with a backspin. A very good chop will float nearly horizontally back to the table, in some situations can have so much backspin that the ball certainly rises. Such a chop can be a bit difficult to return as a result of its huge amount of backspin. Some defensive players can also impart no-spin or sidespin variations of the chop. Some popular choppers include Joo Sae-hyuk and Wu Yang.



A block is implemented by simply putting the racket in front of the ball exactly after the ball bounces; thus, the ball will rebound back toward the opponent with approximately as much energy that came with it. This needs precision, since the ball’s spin, speed, and location all influence the correct angle of a block. An opponent can’t carry out an exact drive, loop, or smash, only to have the blocked shot come back just as fast. As a result of the power involved in offensive strokes, frequently an opponent simply cannot extricate quickly enough to return the blocked shot, particularly if the block is aimed at a surprising side of the table.



The defensive lob pushes the ball about five meters in height, only to land on the opponent’s side of the table with great amounts of spin. The stroke itself is made up of lifting the ball to a tremendous height before it falls back to the opponent’s side of the table. A lob can have close to any kind of spin. Though the opponent may smash the ball hard and fast, a good defensive lob can be more difficult to return as a result of the unpredictability and heavy amounts of spin on the ball. Thus, although backed off the table by tens of feet and running to get in touch with the ball, a good defensive player can still win the point given it makes use of good lobs. The lob is used less often by professional players. A very outstanding exception is Michael Maze.



We hope after going through this article you will develop different kinds of skills as well as improved previous skills. Also, we hope that you will be able to develop different tactics and strategy skills that can be used to be a successful table tennis opponent. Through this article, you should also have developed and improved your social skills and teamwork skills (through doubles games). But most of all we hope that you will develop an enjoyment for the activity of table tennis that can carry with you through the rest of your life. Bearing this in mind, this will help to keep you physically active and also help to have more of social life and good interactions with others, making new friends and continually improving on all of these different aspects that explain the game of table tennis. Maybe this will also act as a segway to other sports, such as tennis, badminton, etc., that are also involved in racquets, nets, and some sort of ball.



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