Table tennis (ping-pong) is a sport in which two players or two teams consisting of two people (a doubles match) compete with each other trying to throw a special ball with rackets (through the net on the gaming table) to the opponent’s side so that the rival does not hit it back. In this case, the ball must touch the opponent's part of the field at least once.
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was established in January 1926 and it manages the world table tennis. The headquarters of the federation is located in Lausanne (Switzerland).
History of Table Tennis
Now it is difficult to say which country table tennis originated. Some believe that for the first time, table tennis appeared in Japan or China, while others consider that its homeland is France or England. A number of historians are looking for the origins of the game in ancient Rome. Despite all these disputes, one can say for sure that the history of tennis has its roots in the distant past.
The first games were held on the ordinary desks where books were installed instead of a net. Pieces of cardboard served as rackets. Later, there appeared the net and rackets of various shapes. The game began to gain popularity very rapidly.
In 1900, the first rules were developed, and the manufacturers of tennis equipment could breathe a sigh of relief as there appeared some clearness in the tennis equipment.
Since 1901, the game began to bear the proud name of "Ping-Pong". Before there were many other similar variations ("Flim-Flam", "Vif-Vaf", "Gossim"), but they did not take root. The current name consists of a combination of two sounds such as “ping”, which is the sound made by the ball when it hits the racket, and “pong”, the sound of the ball bouncing off the table. The name was officially registered by the American John Jaques, later it was sold to the Parker brothers.
The real revolution of table tennis took place in 1930 when the rubber-coated rackets started being used for the game. When such rackets appeared, absolutely all the tactics of the game, as well as the method of training, changed. Apart from that, the dynamics of the game increased and the contests became much more exciting.
In 1927, the first world championship was held in London. At that time, table tennis leaders were the sportsmen from Hungary who invariably became the world champions for a number of years.
In 1958, the first European Championship was held.
Today, table tennis is dominated by the sportsmen from PRC. Sometimes it even happens that individuals cannot find a place in the Chinese national team and start playing for other teams.
Table Tennis Rules
The current edition of the table tennis rules was published in 2012 and it is available on the website of the International Table Tennis Federation.
Here are several definitions:
- "Playoff" is the period of time when the ball is in the game.
- A "ball in the game" is counted from the last moment of its being on the motionless palm of a free hand before deliberately throwing it up to serve it until the moment when it is decided that the playoff should be replayed or it is completed by scoring.
- "Replay" is a playoff the result of which is disallowed.
- "Point" is a playoff the result of which has been counted.
- "Server" is the player who must hit the ball first in the playoff.
- "Receiver" is the player who must hit the ball second in the playoff.
Each playoff consists of draws, each of which, in turn, begins with the serving. The server of the first draw is determined by lot. Then the servers change after every 2 servings. The game continues until one of the players scores 11 points. With a score of 10:10, another player (team) is serving after each draw until there is a gap of two points.
According to the old rules, the game lasted up to 21 points, the servers changed after every five servings, and with the equal score of 20:20, another player (team) was serving after each draw until there was the gap of two points.
Ping-pong table has a rectangular shape with the following dimensions:
- The length of the table is 274 cm.
- The width of the table is 152.5 cm.
- Its height is 76 cm.
The playing surface can be made of various materials. The main rule is that it should ensure a 23 cm ball’s bounce, provided that it is thrown from the height of 30 cm. The playing surface must be matte and uniform. Apart from that, it should be painted in a dark color. The surface of the table is divided into two parts by a vertical net, and along each edge of the table, there should be marking, a white 20 mm wide line.
Table Tennis Equipment
Table tennis equipment includes the following:
- At the height of 15.25 cm, there should be the ledge next to the side lines of the table.
- A table tennis ball is made from celluloid or similar plastic. It should have the diameter that is slightly bigger that 40 mm. The ball should be painted white or orange. Currently, two-color balls (white and orange) are being tested.
- Rackets consist of several layers of various wood species and several layers of titanium (the base), covered with one or two layers of special rubber (lining) on both sides. The rubber layer can be of two types, the one with the spikes in (smooth) and the one with spikes out (spiky).
The board of referees includes:
- main referee;
- assistant referee;
- chief scorer;
- assistant chief scorer;
- major referees;
- assistant referees;
- public-address announcer;
- competition manager.
Table Tennis Competitions
The major international competitions include:
- Olympic Games.
- World Championship.
- World Cup.
- World Tour.
- European Championship.
- Europe Top-12.
- Asian Table Tennis Championship.
- Asian Games.