Table Tennis vs Ping Pong
Though Table Tennis and Ping Pong share the same game play there is a difference between them, especially when it comes to the level of acceptance. Today there is hardly a person who doesn’t know something about table tennis as it is a sport played at Olympics with Chinese players traditionally dominating the sport at world level. However, table tennis has nothing to do with tennis, though both are ball games. The name of the game gives a clue about it being played on a table with players hitting plastic ball with specially designed rackets across a net that is held over the table at a height of 6 inches. In some countries and cultures, table tennis is referred to as Ping Pong though the official name remains table tennis. Why would this game be called Ping Pong and what are the differences, if any? Let us see.
What is Table Tennis?
Table tennis is an internationally accepted game which is even played at the Olympics. In table tennis, a table is used which is divided into half in the middle using a small net. Two players stand at either end of the table and hit a ball using rackets especially made for table tennis. These table tennis rackets are normally made of wood. The ball used is a small one that makes the ping-pong sound as it hits the rackets and the table. The goal of the game is to score points by making your opponent miss hitting the ball.
Table tennis is a very competitive sport. You can play table tennis as a single event or as a double event with a partner. Table tennis has a number of serious rules. For example, take the service. When you are serving the ball, the ball has to be thrown six inches up from an open palm and you have to hit the ball from behind the end of the table, which is the baseline.
What is Ping Pong?
It is a true that Ping Pong is a game similar to Table Tennis with some minor variations in the serve and bounce of the ball on the side of the server. However, if one just happened to look up the website of International Table Tennis Federation, he will find that the name Table Tennis was in use even before the phrase Ping Pong was coined. How and when did ping Pong got linked with the great game of table tennis?
It was one John Jacques, who registered the name Ping Pong in England and sold American rights of the word to Parker brothers. Parker Brothers used Ping Pong for the sets to play the game and were very protective about the name. The game was named table tennis to avoid any disputes with this trade name. There are many who still feel that Ping Pong is another version of the game with slightly changed rules. It is actually true. This difference is mostly seen in the way the game is played as Ping Pong. We can say, Ping Pong is a colloquial version of table tennis. It does not have as many rules as table tennis regarding different aspects of the game such as serving, scoring, and service as this is a game that is played purely at a recreational level. For example, you do not have to throw the ball six inches high in Ping Pong during a service. You can serve the ball by hitting it straight from the hand while it is only a few inches high.
The word Ping Pong, though not used at the international level, remains associated with the game somehow, more because of usage by recreational players at home or club level. One country is an exception though, and it is China, where the game is lovingly called Ping Pong. There are even some local level Ping Pong tournaments, though even Chinese refer the game as Table Tennis when their teams participate in international level tournaments.
What is the difference between Table Tennis and Ping Pong?
• Both table tennis and ping pong is a game played using a table. Two players on the either side of the table hit the ball using rackets trying to score points by making opponent miss a strike.
• Table tennis is the accepted name of the game at a formal level. For athletes who engage in the game, it is table tennis.
• Ping pong is the colloquial version of table tennis which does not have as many rules as table tennis as it is played purely for fun.
• Rule of Service:
• In table tennis, when you are serving the ball, the ball has to be thrown six inches up from an open palm and you have to hit the ball from behind the end of the table, which is the baseline.
• You do not have to throw the ball six inches high in Ping Pong during a service. Some even drop the ball on the table to start.
• Table tennis – players score up to 11 points. During that time, players take two serves at a time.
• Ping pong- many players still prefer the older version of 21-up for scoring.
• Playing with doubles:
• Table tennis follows the correct order of serving which (if we take teams as A and B) is A1, B1, A2, B2, A1 and repeat.
• Ping pong does not follow such an order and plays as the players wish.
- Table tennis men’s singles – Rio 2007 by Agência Brasil (CC BY 3.0 br)
- Ping pong via Pixabay (Public Domain)