Table Tennis 

Welcome back folks.  For toady’s sports and fitness installment, I’d like to talk about table tennis, a relatively uncovered sport and one that’s not always fully understood.  Many still refer to the sport in a leisurely way as Ping-Pong, which is generally something you would play as a child with your nan or granddad, though it’s actually an incredibly technical (hundreds of grades and styles of bat, rubber and glue), fast -paced sport that is played competitively worldwide. 

In terms of physics, angles and force it’s a scaled-down version of tennis and played across a table with a net fixed across the middle.  The strokes used by each player are based on tennis and the techniques are largely the same, except the elbow is brought in closer to the body and hip movement is therefore accentuated as a result. 

Table tennis

To accommodate these differences the ball is made from celluloid, the same material from which photographic film is made.  It’s considerably light - light enough to be affected by external factors such as wind, which is why it is an indoor sport – and also light enough to be dramatically affected by spin, caused by the technique of the player’s stroke and the tackiness of the glue and rubber combination of the bat used by the player. 

The Equipment 

Unlike fifty years ago, where the equipment basically consisted of two bats (with either ‘reverse’ rubber to add spin or pimpled rubber to take away the spin) these days it’s really only about bat, rubber (and thickness and compression of the sponge attached to the rubber) and glue combinations, of which there are thousands.  

It’s not uncommon today to see a table tennis player remove the rubber from his bat, take out a new sheet of rubber with razor sharp grip padded up with 2mm of pressure condensed superfast foam before slapping on another 2mm thick layer of quick drying superfast glue to attached the new sheet of rubber to thus giving it a whole shot of extra nitro.  Bats like this are the cutting edge of technology and will have devastating affects on that tiny little impressionable ball of celluloid and send it over the net in an arc that would put David Beckham to shame.  This, ladies and gentleman is the game of table tennis, not Ping-Pong. 

Table tennis bat 

During a particularly fast-paced rally, the average table tennis player will generally not be looking at the ball rather playing his next shot the very moment after he played his last shot, in a kind of auto pilot mode.  The only thing that would break that level of concentration would be anything suddenly unusual about the hip positioning or weight change of his opponent which would be spotted and processed instantly, in order to adjust as necessary and maintain the pace of the rally.

The Clothing 

Generally, table tennis players wear synthetic sports shirts and shorts, and as table tennis is a fast-paced sport famed for its short bursts of alternating energy (similar to Squash) it requires specially made extra-lightweight hardwearing footwear.  All this can be very expensive, especially when coupled with all the options of bats, rubber and glue.  Personally, if you were serous about getting in to table tennis I would recommend buying used or second hand and taking advantage of online used classified ads sites such as

The Rules 

Serving: the ball must be visible to the opposing player before it is served.  The server can serve from anywhere on his/her side of the table and when hit, must bounce once, first anywhere on the server’s side of the table, over the net (without touching it) and then bounce once, anywhere on the opponent’s side of the table.

Returning serve:  the player returning the serve, once the ball has bounced on his/her side of the table must hit the ball once, over the net, in order for the ball to land anywhere on the opponents side of the table, in the same manner as tennis is played.

Table tennis shoes 

Each player continues to exchange strokes in this way thus forming a ‘rally’ until either a player misses a stroke, returns the ball into the net, or returns the ball and misses the opponent’s side of the table.  In such a case this will be considered a foul and the opposing player will be granted a point.  Points are won in this way each time the ball is served.

Each player has the opportunity to serve five times and to receive serve five times.  This continues until the first player achieves eleven points.  If the current score is 10-10, then the winning player must win by 2 clear points i.e. 12-10, 13-11, 14-12 and so on.  I hope that gives you a little insight into the world of table tennis folks, thanks for stopping by.  Until next time..


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Welcome back folks.  For toady’s sports and fitness installment, I’d like to talk about table tennis, a relatively uncovered sport and one that’s not always fully understood.  Many still refer to the sport in a leisurely way as Ping-Pong, which is generally something you would play as a child with your nan or granddad, though it’s actually an incredibly technical (hundreds of grades and styles of bat, rubber and glue), fast -paced sport that is played competitively worldwide.  Read more



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