What is Ping Pong?

Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a fun and easy game with a competitive spirit. Today, ping pong is growing in popularity, both as a recreational and fun game and as a competitive one. The rules of ping pong are simple and easy to understand, and while it requires quick reflexes, it is less physically strenuous than many competitive games. Ping pong began as a Victorian pastime, with simple makeshifted objects and equipment was soon manufactured and sold.

Great for year-round play, ping pong is played on a green table with a solid surface and white lines marking the court for doubles play. A competition size ping pong table is 9 ft X 5ft X 2.5 ft, so many ping pong tables are made to fold up and store away when not in use. A net is secured across the center of the table. Two to four players can play, and players use small round racquets, typically with a rubber surface and layer of a spongelike core to hit the ball back and forth over the net and across the table. Changes have occurred over time, particularly with regards to televised competition play, including increased ball size, lower point levels to judge the winner, and changes in paddle design.

The game is won when 11 points are scored, and players alternate serves every two points. At 10 points, players alternate serves with each point. Matches are common, with a winner being declared after 4/7 wins or 3/5 wins. The first serve is most often decided by a coin toss. Errors, including missing the ball, hitting the ball off the table, not making a good return and others will award a point to your opponent. Players may use either a forehand or backhand stroke, and may use either or both hands in play. Recreational, non-competitive play often relaxes some of these rules.

Ping pong is a great choice for a competitive sport or a fun and relaxing activity. While many schools, rec centers and other public facilities offer ping pong tables, more and more families are choosing to invest in one. Ping pong offers year round physical activity, good clean fun, and a chance to work on being quick on your feet and with your ping pong paddle. The rules are quick to learn and you will find that you can pick up ping pong skills with just a bit of practice and effort.

Anna C. Knight

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