Table tennis and ping pong games are the same sport. However, over time ping pong has turned out to be the informal version of table tennis. While on the other hand, table tennis has grown extensively into an Olympic sport. Nevertheless, to tell anything between these two sports, it will depend on your perception of them. What could be the difference between these two games?
Table tennis has its bat made of rubber sponges on both sides. While in ping pong the bats have sandpaper scratch surfaces. As a result, ping pong games are much slower than table tennis games. Table tennis has a faster pace and a higher spin rate.
Table tennis and Ping pong games have been subjects of discussion because of their similarities and differences. Read ahead for more info on these and get to differentiate them, one from another.
What’s the Difference Between Table Tennis and Ping Pong?
The difference between ping pong and table tennis is in ping pong games both the serve and the rally get to bounce on both sides of the table. In table tennis for doubles, the service must bounce on both the receiver’s and the server’s right court.
Before the 19th Century, ping pong and table tennis were almost similar games, but as more things evolved around the world, the more the two gradually grew apart. So during the inception of table tennis, ping pong was just another name referring to table tennis.
Here is how it started:
So table tennis started as an indoor game in England for playing in winter when people would not make it to play in the cold weather. So it happened to grow in popularity because back then the people had little space for playing outside.
In the same way, companies rush to profit from any trending product that springs up at the moment. It is the same way at the beginning of table tennis, several companies rushed to sell the necessary equipment branding them complex names.
And that’s how the name ping pong came through because it was one of the brands used in promoting the sale of different table tennis equipment. Other common names you must have heard include whiff whaff, Pom Pom, and Gossima.
The rules, equipment, and competition levels make it possible to distinguish the two games.
- The Rules
Unless you are playing both games, you cannot tell their difference without an insider in their rules. Nonetheless, they may share some rules.
Table tennis counts to the best of 11 points over seven games. While in ping pong the game is played to 15 points best of 3 games. But ping pong’s game-winning point is at 14, and their finals go the best of 5 sets.
Additionally, if you were serving in ping pong and you won the game, there is always a double-point ball that grants you 2 points. As a receiver, however, you would receive 1 point if you won.
Did you know despite their almost similar looks, these two games use different equipment? Check this out, in ping pong the players use 5 ply sandpaper as their paddle. Although there are varieties of them. You can also use the Abco Tech ping pong paddle. Both of these have small spins thus the reason behind ping pong games having slower speed.
It is because the paddles used here slow the game down. On the other hand, table tennis rackets are made of rubber, so the players have varieties to choose from.
Due to their lack of rubber on both sides, ping pong paddles are much cheaper than table tennis rackets.
Table tennis has grown over time into a world Olympic game. It is also because of its rules and different equipment. On the other hand, ping pong is in the world championships and has its governing body named World Championships of Ping Pong. While the governing body of table tennis is known as the International Table Tennis Federation.
What Are the Equipment for Table Tennis?
The equipment for table tennis includes a racket, net, table, paddle, and a table tennis ball. To be sure you have the right standardized equipment, you have to make sure each of these pieces of equipment meets the ITTF standard.
Have you had a chance to play ping pong? This is what you may not know about the game, most of its equipment are almost similar to that of table tennis. Apart from the bats, the only noticeable difference might be the labels on the equipment.
I have an in-depth article about all the possible equipment used in table tennis, but below you can see the essential ones.
These equipment are:
When buying ping pong paddles you might need to check into several factors. These include:
The blade is always made of wood and can include other fibrous particles. So you should always check for 100% blade of wood. It guarantees you a better spin and control of the ball.
The paddle can have a sandpaper surface on one side and pimples on the other. The handles can be straight or penfold. So it’s up to you to choose a ping pong paddle that fits you.
On the other side, a table tennis paddle has rubber covers on both sides of the blade and they are pricier.
The advantage here is you can use table tennis tables to play ping pong. However, the tables can be costly on their side. But one good thing is once you buy them, you need no more. However, I have seen several people opting to have custom-made tables that are suitable for either of the games.
In table tennis, the balls have a diameter of about 40mm with a bounce height of about 240mm when dropped from 30cm height. The balls also weigh between 2.67 and 2.77 grams. You need to check that the ITTF has approved it before using it since it is made of plastic only.
As for the ping pong balls, they are almost the same as table tennis balls. However, some people prefer small-sized balls.
What Are the Playing Rules In Ping Pong?
The playing rules in ping pong are that your serves are legal if they bounce to both sides of the table. The table edges are also part of the game’s play except for the sides. A server must toss the ball from behind the table baseline.
Despite being almost similar games, ping pong has somewhat different rules from table tennis. However, some might match in both games but the majority of them are distinguishable.
The rules you have to follow in ping pong are specific according to the flow of the match, making scores, and your service in the game.
You open the service in a ping pong game by tossing the ball as you would in table tennis. After tossing the ball, you must strike it when it is six inches away from you. So for the service to be legal:
- Serves must be thrown from behind the baseline and higher than the height of the table.
- After the service, the ball can bounce once or multiple times on the opposing side. It does not matter whether it’s a long or a short serve.
- The serve is still legal if it goes to the sides of the table or straight down the table on your competitor’s side.
- If you are on the recipient’s side, you must return the service after the first bounce. Any contact other than that is a score for the server.
- Servers are advantaged in that there is no limit for let serves. A let serve is a service that gets hindered by the net. However, there is no second serve as it is in table tennis.
Each player serves two points in a row and then they switch the service to the other partner. But in case the players are at a draw of 10-10, each person gets only one chance to serve before it’s switched to the other player.
After each ping pong game, you get to switch sides with your partner. In the finals, if any partner scores five points, you also switch sides with your partner.
Primarily ping pong matches are played to the best 3 of 5 games. Nevertheless, it is bound to change if there are time constraints.
The table’s edges are legally part of the table except for the sides.
Points accrue after each rallied ball, not from serves alone.
What Is the Regulation Size of a Ping Pong Table?
The regulation size of a ping pong table is 9ft long(274cm), 5ft Wide(152.5cm) and a height of 2.5ft( 76cm). The net at the center of the table should also be 15.25cm high and not less than 15mm long.
In both ping pong and table tennis, the most expensive equipment is the tables. Most players would prefer to have custom homemade tables than buy new ones. You can get a table tennis table or ping pong table if you don’t have a budget restriction.
Recreational ping pong tables have almost identical dimensions as official tables, except for their thickness. You should learn more about the tabletop thickness as it’s the most important thing on a table.
So if you were wondering whether you could use ping pong tables for table tennis, you should know that no hindrance can stop that. They are all the same tables and are of the same sizes. The only difference you will find is that one brand labels table tennis balls, while the other labels ping pong tables.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Table Tennis Vs Ping Pong?
The pros and the cons for table tennis are you can be sure of physical workout while its cons are you might not escape a game without an injury. The pros for ping pong are the game is relatively effortless. Its cons are this may not be our best game for an aerobic workout.
In my discussions with a long-time table tennis player, I learned a lot about these two sports.
The Pros for table tennis are:
- Physical Gain:- Although they are both workout activities, table tennis has a deeper workout than Ping pong. It is because table tennis involves much energy at times to propel the balls as compared to ping pong whose game is much slower. The muscles are worked more in table tennis as well.
- Practice Locations:- It is somewhat easy to find locations for playing table tennis anywhere around you because of its extensive popularity in the world today.
- Startup Cost:- If you intend to start playing table tennis from home, besides the table that can be somewhat costly, the game is generally easy to begin.
- Training Partner:- It is simple to find a practice partner for table tennis because of its increased popularity worldwide. Altrough, you can still practise table tennis alone.
- Ageless:- Though you may sweat while playing table tennis, it is a game for anyone to play, even the seniors. It is because the game needs more skill and tactics to play it than energy.
- Learning:- table tennis has simple instructions to master but you may need more time to master the rules before attaining the intermediate level in the game, or growing higher to the advanced level. It takes up to 15 years to be a table tennis pro.
- Injury:- You might not escape a table tennis match without an injury. The most common injuries are shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle injuries.
The Pros for Ping Pong
- Mental Gain:- although playing ping pong might not consume up the extra fats in your body as you would have expected. The game can activate and increase your general body coordination. You also get to sharpen your mental abilities as you work to make a score from different shots.
- Injuries:- Ping pong games do not require as much effort as other games, so you have no chance of getting injured. Aside from the balls being very light, the paddles have a sandpaper surface that slows their movement.
- Startup Cost:- Like table tennis, ping pong requires little cash to create a playing base at home. All you will need to think about handling is the table which can be somewhat expensive.
- Physical Gain:- if you intend to play ping pong as a workout activity, I think this game is not your right bet for that. Since you use less energy when playing this game, you may burn very little fat as compared to table tennis.
- Training Partner: –it is not easy to find a training partner to practice ping pong with, because it is not that popular. It is also the same case for a playing lounge. You may have to increase your search zone before getting a place where you can play ping pong.
Learn more: 19 Advantages and Disadvantages of Table Tennis