Difference Between Table Tennis and Ping Pong

During the initial stages of its development, Table Tennis was popularly called ‘Ping Pong’. Later on, due to trademark issues, International Table Tennis Federation chose to opt for the name ‘Table Tennis’, rather than ‘Ping Pong’. However, since 2011, the two terms formally stand for different sports, that have separate world championships.

Table Tennis vs Ping Pong

The main difference between Table Tennis and Ping Pong is that Table Tennis is more formal, fast-paced and exciting, while Ping Pong is more flexible, has slower ball movement, and comparatively longer rallies.  

Table Tennis vs Ping Pong

Table Tennis is a sport, in which two or four players hit a ball, in a back and forth manner across a table divided by a net, using rackets. It is fast-paced, in which players can use a variety of rackets, has an 11- point game, and is an Olympic sport. 

Ping Pong is widely considered a more casual and less competitive version of Table Tennis. It is comparatively slow-paced, in which players can use only sandpaper paddles, has a 21- point format, and is not an Olympic sport. 

Comparison Table Between Table Tennis and Ping Pong

Parameters of ComparisonTable TennisPing Pong
Trademarked Nomenclature‘Table Tennis’ is not a trademarked term.‘Ping Pong’ is a trademarked term under American Parker Brothers.
Equipment UsedPlayers can use a variety of rackets in Table Tennis, for e.g. pips-in, pips-out rubber blades etc.Players can use only sandpaper paddles.
ScoringIt has an 11-point format.It usually has a 21- point format.
ServesPlayers are given 2 serves before switching servers.Players are usually given 5 serves, each alternately.
ServiceThe service should take place at least 6 inches above the palm, by hitting from behind the line.There are no hard and fast rules for service in Ping Pong.
Playing StyleIt has faster pace and more spin. Further, it has separate offensive and defensive playing styles.It has slower pace and medium spin. It does not have any separate offensive or defensive styles, but a mixture of both. 
Flexibility of RulesIt has a rigid system of rules.The rules in Ping-Pong are quite flexible, for e.g. it allows team-play, which gives rise to more variations.
Part of OlympicsIt is an Olympic sport.It is not an Olympic sport.
World ChampionshipIt occurs once in two years, and is conducted by International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).It occurs every year since 2011 and is promoted by British sports enthusiast Barry Hearn.

What is Table Tennis?

Table Tennis is a sport, in which there are two or four players that are positioned on two opposite sides of a table. They hit a light- weighed ball, in a back and forth manner, using rackets. It is a fast-paced game, which has a higher amount of spin. It has a differentiated offensive and defensive playing style.

It has an 11- point format, and players are given 2 serves before changing the servers. The service in a Table Tennis game should be done by throwing the ball at least 6 inches above the palm, by hitting from behind. The players can use and choose from a variety of paddles or rackets, like pips-out, pips-in rubber blades, etc.

 It is overseen by an international governing body called the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), which has laid down a fixed system of rules for Table Tennis. Its world championship is organized once every two years by the ITTF. Apart from that, it is also an Olympic sport.

What is Ping Pong?

Ping Pong originally was a more popular term that was used to describe a game that we now associate with Table Tennis. The term ‘Ping Pong’ was trademarked by Parker Brothers from America when the ITTF was being set up. Therefore, it decided to drop this term, and use ‘Table Tennis’ to describe the game.

In the time that followed, Ping Pong came to describe lighter and less formal versions of Table Tennis. Presently, the differences between them have become quite prominent that they are now considered separate sports. Ping Pong is a slow-paced game, which has less spin. Being informal, it does not have distinguished defensive or offensive styles but a mixture.

It has a 21- point format, and players are given 5 serves alternately. There are no rules for service; the players can let the ball drop or bounce, before hitting it. The players can use only sandpaper-based paddles.

It is not an Olympic sport, but the World Championship of Ping Pong takes place every year since 2011.

Main Differences Between Table Tennis and Ping Pong

  1. Table Tennis is a formal and fast-paced game, while Ping Pong is more casual and comparatively slow-paced.
  2. Table Tennis has an 11-point game format, whereas Ping Pong usually has a 21-point game format.
  3. In Table Tennis, the players are given 2 serves before switching, while in Ping Pong, the players are given 5 serves alternately.
  4. The players in Table Tennis serve typically by throwing the ball at least 6 inches above the palm and then hitting from behind the line. No such hard and fast rules exist in Ping Pong.
  5. A variety of paddles can be used in a game of Table Tennis, while only sandpaper-based paddles can be used in Ping Pong.
  6. Table Tennis is an Olympic sport, and its world championship takes place once in two years. However, Ping Pong is not an Olympic sport and its world championship takes place every year since 2011.

Conclusion

The modern-day sport of Table Tennis was originated in Victorian England. It was initially played by placing a row of books on a table as a net and using two or more books as rackets that continuously hit a golf- ball. Initially, it was known by different names, Ping Pong being the most common one. However later due to copyright issues, the ITTF opted to name the game Table Tennis.

For most of the time that followed, Ping Pong was understood as a casual version of Table Tennis, which was played informally, without much sticking to its rules. However, with time, the differences between them widened and they emerged as separate sports.

Table Tennis is a more formal and regulated version, while Ping Pong is a less formal and regulated version of the game that originated in 19th century England.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/026404102317284754
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6485142/

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