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The Art of Table Tennis

Manal Layachi

Volume 4 Issue 3

March 13, 2024

The Art of Table Tennis

Image Provided by Mamba Blades

What is Table Tennis? 

Table tennis, also known as ping-pong, is a fun and recreational sport that can be played at any age. In order to play this game, you need paddles, a rectangular table with a net, table tennis balls, and someone to play with. Table tennis can be played as singles or doubles. I prefer playing singles because I feel as though the court is not big enough to play with a partner. Did you know that table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988? I did not know that either and was surprised. Table tennis is like mini tennis and that is what I like about it. If you know how to play tennis, you will know how to play table tennis.  


The History of Table Tennis 

Table tennis first appeared in the late 19th century in England. It was inspired by lawn tennis and the first players were mainly members of the middle-class of Victorian society. The first game was played with materials such as champagne corks, cigar boxes, and books. Table tennis was a good distraction for the wealthy classes. David Foster introduced the first game of tennis in 1890. Seven years later, the first national championships took place in Hungary. Furthermore, James Gibb introduced a lightweight ball known as the “celluloid ball” in 1901. E.C. Gould introduced rubber bats or paddles that improved the playing of table tennis in 1902. During the same year, table tennis tournaments began, such as the first World Championship. In addition, table tennis organizations were founded; for example, the Table Tennis Association in 1921, and the International Federation in 1926. Some champions in table tennis include Austro-Briton Richard Bergmann, Aloizy Ehrilich, and Angelica Rozeanu. That is how the sport of table tennis came to be. Interesting history, right? 


The Rules of Table Tennis 

  • Games are played to 11 points and must be won by two points. A match is won based on whoever wins the most games: the best three out of five games. 

  • Every two points, the person who serves the ball alternates with their opponent. If there is a tie which is a score of 10-10 also known as deuce, the serves are alternated every point.  

  • When serving a ping pong ball, hold it in your palm behind the end of your side of the table. You must toss it at least six inches in the air for it to count; however, the ball must hit your side of the table first before going to the other side. If you miss the serve, your opponent gets the point. 

  • The serve can land anywhere when you are playing singles; however, the ball cannot bounce more than once on your side. 

  • A serve that touches the net on the way over is a “let.” If the ball is served and hits the net on the way over, that is known as a “let” and the serve must be repeated.  

  • When playing doubles, partners must alternate hitting the ball. 

  • Volleys are not allowed. 

  • You can touch the ball with your paddle hand. 

  • Touching the table with your non-paddle hand is illegal.  

  • An “edge ball” bouncing off the horizontal tabletop surface is valid and counts as a point. The vertical sides of the table are not part of the playing surface. 

  • The Honor system applies to disagreements if no referee is present during the match. 


Table Tennis is a Lifetime Sport: 

Anyone can play table tennis, no matter the age. It is considered a lifetime sport because it can be played anywhere and even when people get older. According to Danine Fruge, racket sports such as tennis and badminton have “proven to be one of the top categories of sport for increasing lifespan.” However, not everyone has access to tennis courts and others may have injuries. Table tennis is perfect for those who have injuries as it requires “no training or particular level of fitness to start playing.” Table tennis boosts longevity as it works out your brain, improves your agility, and gets your heart rate going. Overall, table tennis is an awesome sport to be a part of and I love playing this fun game with my cousins and friends! 


North’s Table Tennis Club: 

Fellow North students, have you ever heard of North’s Table Tennis Club? I joined the club this year and I am having a lot of fun. Mr. Fischer, our club advisor, has been running this club for 50 years! I decided to join the club as I wanted to have fun and stay active. I now know a lot more about table tennis than I did when I first joined. This sport has taught me to be patient and have confidence in myself. It also helps me clear my mind and distracts me from the stress of school and junior year. I also enjoy playing as I get to spend time with my cousin and make new friends. If you are interested in joining, we meet every Tuesday at 3:30 in the cafeteria unless the time has changed.  


Sources: The history of table tennis - Cornilleau 

Official Rules of Table Tennis — PongFit 

Why Table Tennis Is Great for Longevity and Health | Well+Good (wella

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