Is It Called Table Tennis Or Ping Pong

Is It Called Table Tennis Or Ping Pong

Last modified: October 12, 2023

An Introduction to Table Tennis or Ping Pong

Ever found yourself stuck in a debate about whether it’s called ‘table tennis’ or ‘ping pong’? You’re not alone! This popular sport, which boasts international recognition and millions of players worldwide, has been known by both names since its inception. Today, we’re going to delve into the interesting aspects of these terminologies and provide some clarity to the table tennis vs. ping pong debate.

The History Behind The Names

The sport emerged in England during the late 19th century, and since then, it’s been called both ‘Table Tennis’ and ‘Ping Pong’. Let’s delve a bit deeper into the history behind each name.

Origins of Table Tennis

Table tennis was the original name of the game when it was patented in 1887. It was a pastime enjoyed by the affluent and was originally played as an after-dinner game among the upper-class Victorians. They transformed their dining tables into miniature versions of the lawn tennis playing field, and hence, the term ‘Table Tennis’ was born.

Ping Pong: More Than Just A Name

The term ‘Ping Pong’, on the other hand, was coined because of the distinctive sound the ball made when it struck the drum-tight coverings on the early versions of the game’s equipment. In fact, ‘Ping Pong’ was trademarked by a British manufacturer of sporting goods, J. Jaques & Son Ltd, and is still under their aegis in the United Kingdom.

The Great Divide

Eventually, the game’s growing popularity led to the birth of an international governing body. It was here that differentiation came into play. Table tennis became the official sport with standardized rules controlled by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), while ‘Ping Pong’ became more associated with recreational play and trade-marked equipment.

Table Tennis Vs. Ping Pong: Do They Differ In Gameplay?

You may wonder if there are differences in the way the game is played when it’s called table tennis vs. when it’s referred to as ping pong. Let’s explore this further.

Table Tennis: A Sport for Skillful Players

In table tennis, players use a variety of rubber-coated paddles and deploy a wide range of spins to the ball. It is considered a sport of precision, agility, and strategies. It’s also recognized as an Olympic sport.

Ping Pong: Call It The Fun Sibling

Ping Pong, while still requiring skill, focuses more on the fun aspect of the game. It is often played with ‘sandpaper bats’, leading to longer rallies and less spin-intensive gameplay. It’s more of a garage game, enjoyed among friends and family.

Decoding Equipment Differences

Although both games use a similar setup – a table, a net, paddles, and a ball, key differences lie in the paddles. In table tennis, the paddles can be custom-made with various types of rubber to control speed and spin. In contrast, Ping Pong paddles are typically identical for all players, limiting the variations in gameplay.


In conclusion, whether you call it table tennis or ping pong really boils down to your personal preference and how seriously you take the game. Both terms describe a game that has brought joy, challenge, and a bit of friendly competition to people around the world. Just remember, whether it’s a ferocious backhand smash in a high-octane table tennis match or a casual rally on a Ping Pong table in your garage, the goal is the same: enjoy the game!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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