Are Table Tennis And Ping Pong The Same Sport?
The terms table tennis and ping pong are often used interchangeably. However, the two are actually different sports. Keep reading to learn about the differences between ping pong and table tennis!
Table Tennis and Ping Pong History
Historically, table tennis and ping pong were the same sport, just under different names. Ping pong was the trademarked name for table tennis, a brand founded by John Jacques & Sons in 1901. For many years ping pong was the name for table tennis used by recreational players, especially in the United States. In Britain, the sport was also popularly called “whiff-whaff.”
Until 2011, the average American referred to table tennis as ping pong, but professionals and common players who wanted to take the sport more seriously referred to it as table tennis. Even today, many people believe ping pong is the amateur version of table tennis. However, as of 2011, ping pong is its own distinct sport.
Ping Pong as a Separate Sport
Since 2011, ping pong and table tennis have officially been separate sports, though they remain extremely similar. Both sports even host different tournaments and world championships. However, one major difference is that table tennis is an official Olympic sport, and ping pong is not. Ping pong is still considered more of a backyard and casual game, though it has become more regulated since becoming a unique sport. The World Championships of Ping Pong are hosted yearly in England.
Ping pong is now a trademarked sport in which all players must use the same wooden paddle. Due to this, table tennis has more spin and is a faster-paced game compared to ping pong, where players can spin the ball less and generate less power. In table tennis, players also have more flexibility, as they can use any paddle they choose. A final major difference is that ping pong matches are played to 15 points rather than the 21 or 11 points table tennis games go up to.
Differences Between Table Tennis and Ping Pong
- Ping pong players must use a wooden paddle while table tennis players can use any paddle that fits standard measurements.
- Ping pong players have sandpaper attached to their wooden paddles while table tennis players have rubber with two styles of pimpling on their paddles.
- Ping pong matches are played to 15 points while official table tennis matches are played to 11 points (and informal matches are often still played to 21).
- Table tennis is an official Olympic sport while ping pong is not.
- Ping pong players play the best of three games while table tennis players play the best of five games.