55 Perfect Ping Pong Facts To Stimulate Your Mind And Body

Sridevi Tolety
Jan 23, 2024 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Mar 14, 2022
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam
Know how a game played on a table
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.8 Min

Ping pong game has evolved over the years and has gained popularity as table tennis.

Table tennis is a beautiful game that involves both mental and physical fitness. It is also a much-loved Olympic sport globally, convenient even for para players.

In this article, we will take a glimpse at the history of table tennis. We will also learn some interesting facts about its governing body. We will understand how most of the countries embraced this sport and how table tennis helps improve the health of its players. Interestingly, though table tennis and tennis sound similar, there are many differences between them. Let us look into all these facts brought together in this article.

Discovery Of Ping Pong

Table tennis is also popularly known as ping pong game. The term 'ping pong' imitates the sound of the ball when hitting the table and the bat, like ping and pong. Isn't it interesting to know how a game played on a table, fondly called ping pong, became so popular?

Ping pong is a recreational activity.

The term 'ping pong' comes from the onomatopoeic sound when the ball hits the table.

In the Far East, this game originated in the year 1884.

Later in the late 19th-century, table tennis was introduced in England.

In England, in middle-class Victorian society, people started playing table tennis, inspired by lawn tennis.

Funnily, it is said that champagne cork was used as a ball, cigar boxes were used as bats, books were placed as nets and the game was more of a recreation than a sport.

An Englishman by the name, David Foster, introduced the first game of table tennis in the year 1890. From that time, this game gained huge popularity.

In 1897, Hungary organized the first national championships.

Celluloid ball for table tennis was introduced to the game by James Gibb in 1901, after his trip to the United States.

E.C. Gould introduced bats covered in rubberized pimples and rubber in 1902.

First public tournaments were conducted in London at Queen's Hall.

In 1902, first official world table tennis championship took place.

After the first table tennis championship, British table tennis Federation was created.

The first European championships were subsequently organized in 1907.

Table Tennis Association was created in the country of England in 1921.

International Table Tennis Federation was created in 1926.

French Table Tennis Federation was first created in the year 1927.

French played at the international forum in Budapest in 1929.

It was only in the '50s that the sport gained popularity in Asia.

Japanese dominated world team events between 1954 and 1959.

In the '60s, world rankings were taken by the Chinese. This game had a positive impact on Sino-American relationships.

'Chinese service' was first used in World Championships in Birmingham in 1977, which became an important strategic element in the sport.

Table tennis game has been an Olympic sport since 1988 in the country of Seoul.

Austro-Briton player Richard Bergmann, Franco-Polish player Alojzy Ehrlich and the Romanian player Angelica Rozeanu, Japanese player Hiroji Satoh, Chinese player Zhuang Zedong are just a few legendary names in the field of table tennis.

With a rich history, table tennis evolved into an indoor and an outdoor sport.

Table tennis was declared the national sport of China, and the country won the most gold medals in table tennis in Olympics.

Ping Pong Vs. Tennis

Table tennis, as we know it today, dates back to 11th century when French monks played a similar game then. This game continued to evolve till the 1800s. In 1873, Major Walter Wingfield is credited with giving more face to the game, which evolved into what we see today. Let us now look into the differences between tennis and ping pong games.

The major difference, which is obvious, is that table tennis is played on a table, while tennis needs an open court and is played on the court.

Speed of the ball and the speed at which a player needs to travel and respond on the court is much higher in tennis, whereas a table tennis ball travels at much lower speeds.

Ping pong games can be winded up within an hour, whereas tennis is played for hours on end.

Tennis demands a lot of physical strength and stamina compared to a ping pong game.

Ping pong equipment is obviously smaller than that of tennis.

Tennis court is considerably larger than table tennis table.

Expenditure for tennis is more, while table tennis is lighter on the pockets of the players and game enthusiasts.

Another major difference is that only sandpaper bats are used in ping pong.

Though both sports are popular worldwide, statistics show that ping pong is played by around 300 million people around the world.

Both games have similar rules for scoring, with the winner being the one who leads by two points after a tie.

Governing Body Of Ping Pong

The governing body of ping pong, which has all the national table tennis associations, is International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). Let us learn about the facts and responsibilities of ITTF since 1926.

William Henry Lawes founded ITTF.

Founding member nations were Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Weimar Republic, Kingdom of Hungary, British India, Sweden, and Wales.

The very first international tournament of table tennis game was held in January 1926, in Berlin.

The very first World Table Tennis Championships were held in December 1926, in London.

Headquarters of ITTF are located in the city of Lausanne, Switzerland.

There are 227 members as of today. This number is growing as the federation encourages even the unrecognized teams from around the world to join.

With annual meetings, the federation takes care of the rules and regulations to be followed and also the technological advancements inculcated in the game with time.

A recent change brought by the federation is the material with which the ball is made. Earlier, they were made of celluloid. From 2015 till now, the balls are made of ABS plastic.

ITTF also maintains world rankings of countries and players based on the competitions held in that year.

Interestingly, these tournaments are divided between men, women, singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. These are scheduled and conducted yearly or once in two years, with Summer Youth Olympic Games held every four years.

Paralympic table tennis championships are also held every four years.

A game between skilled athletes can see the ball being slammed around 173 times in a minute.

Health Benefits From Playing Ping Pong

Ping pong has many health benefits. These benefits include both physical and mental. It is easy on the body and sharpens our minds to a great extent.

Ping pong players show increased levels of hand-eye coordination.

Reflex actions increase in regular players of table tennis.

Gross and fine muscle movements improve because of the speed and pace of the game.

Mental acuity and development are more compared to any other sport.

A very good advantage is that this sport is smooth on joints, and players can continue to play even after an injury.

Not only as a tournament, but this game is also compatible and easy to play by players of all age groups benefitting their overall development, including social skills.

Table tennis is correctly referred to as the best brain sport by a renowned psychiatrist, physician, and brain-imaging expert Dr. Daniel Amen. 'The reason is it is incredibly aerobic, uses both upper and lower body, and is great for eye-hand synchronization or coordination', he says.

It is also observed that playing table tennis increases fine motor skills.

Table tennis is a very fast and interesting game popular all over the world. This is one sport that most sports enthusiasts and health-conscious people take up for its multiple benefits. Not only is it recreational, but is also a platform for socialization in many communities.


Q: Why do they call it ping pong?

A: The word 'ping pong' is an onomatopoeia, which means the word resembles or imitates the sound it represents. So, ping pong is a word that resembles the sound a ball makes as it comes in contact with the paddle. Other examples of such words are 'tick-tock' of a clock or a 'ding-dong' of a bell.

Q: Is tennis harder than ping pong?

A: Ping pong is like a beginner's game. It is definitely easier than tennis for obvious reasons. The bigger court for tennis needs the player to cover more area than in ping pong. Also, statistics show that many players like to play ping pong over tennis.

Q: Are professional ping pong tables smaller?

A: Professional ping pong tables come in two sizes. International Table Tennis Federation gave out the regular table dimensions. A smaller standard size is also accepted for Butterfly Junior, which is 81 in (205.7 cm) long and 45 in (114.3 cm) wide.

Q: Who invented ping pong?

A: This lovely game of ping pong was invented by an English firm. The name of the firm is J. Jaques and Son, and they created this game in the 1800s. Parker Brothers was another firm in the United States that later trademarked this game.

Q: What is the Olympic size of ping pong table?

A: According to ITTF, a rectangular table 9 ft (2.7 m) long, 5 ft (1.5 m) wide, and 2.5 ft (0.7 m) above the ground is considered to be the standard size of a ping pong table used in tournaments. This is also the Olympic size of ping pong table.

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Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

Sridevi Tolety picture

Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

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