Table tennis is a beloved game by many across the world. Whether you call it Table tennis or Ping-Pong, it is a great sport that you can enjoy. Get to learn how to play Table tennis and have fun with friends playing it.
Learning this particular game for fun is easy, however, learning to play it exceptionally and to high standards calls for much more than just knowing the rules. Several people have established themselves as stars in the game and have played to highest levels such as Olympics.
What is Table tennis?
It is a game played indoors using a small and lightweight ball and paddles (rackets), and it involves bouncing the ball back and forth on a hard table divided into half by a net. Either two or four players play the game, and to effectively compete, you need to know how to play it plus the rules of the game.
All about table tennis
Ping-Pong, like most people, would like to call it, had a humble beginning just like most sports. The game started when lawn tennis players slightly altered their game to play it indoors. It was in the 1880s during the winters.
English firm J. Jaques and Son invented the trademark name Ping-Pong in the late 1880s. The sport was then trademarked in the United States by the board game company called Parker Brothers.
It attracted the attention, and as early as 1901, tournaments were being conducted with over 300 participants. The first world championships were held in 1927 and were won by Dr Jacobi, a Hungarian.
In 1988, the sport was first played in the Olympic competitions held in Seoul. The live coverage of men's finals attracted an incredibly huge audience. Today, the game is being played almost everywhere on the planet.
What is the difference between singles and doubles in Table tennis?
The sport has traditionally been played by either two people in single or four in double. In the single tennis individual players compete against each other, while in the doubles, two teams of a pair of players aside take on one another.
How to play Table tennis
If you want to know how to play Table tennis effectively, then mastering the rules of the game is a must. However, before we proceed to Table tennis rules, let us first debug some myths that have hitherto existed in the sport.
- Before you start "play for serve", the ball has to cross the net four times.
This is a misconception out there among many players. In a highly competitive event, a server is decided by either picking a coin or which hand they think has the ball. However, there are times when players agree on "play for serve", but it is not a rule.
- When the ball hits you, then that is a point for your opponent.
If you whack the ball at an opponent without hitting the table, this is a miss and no score. This is not a dodge ball game.
- Serving diagonally.
When playing singles, you do not have to serve diagonally like in squash, lawn tennis, and badminton. You can serve the way you like including off the sides of the table if it will grant you enough side-spin. However, in tennis doubles, you have to do it diagonally, and from right-hand half across to the right-hand half of the opponent.
That said, there are sets of rules governing the game that are essential for all players.
General match play rules
- Players have to change sides if they are playing best of 3, 5 or 7.
- At 10-10 it is deuce, and each side gets one serve each, which they must win by two points.
- A player has two serves before the opponent his or her turn to serve twice.
When serving, you need to take note of the following.
- Serving must start with the ball in an open palm.
- The ball must be thrown at least 16 cm vertically.
- Throughout the service, the ball must be above and behind the table.
- The server must get their free arm and hand out of the way after throwing the ball.
The rules of how to play Table tennis doubles
Tennis double has four players, with a pair on each side. The following rules are in place to prevent players from tangling up during the game.
- The ball must be served diagonally, from the right-hand side of the server to that of the receiver.
- The ball must be struck alternately by the pair.
- When changing service, the previous receiver becomes the new server, and the partner of the last server becomes the receiver.
What is an illegal serve in Table tennis?
There are several illegal serves in this particular game. Unfortunately, most of these serves are used by amateur players. As much as they provide numerous advantages, they are dirty. Some of the most common ones include:
- Quick serve
- In the table serve
- Time abused serve
- Hidden serve
- Throw in and No toss serve
Simple Table tennis basics
Table tennis is a complex, layered sport and mastery requires mental strategies and physical skills. However, this game is built on four fundamental skills that anyone interested in the game can learn and practice to master. If you want to know how to play Table tennis well, check the tricks below.
Stance and footwork
Getting your body in the right position is essential. The correct stance depends on whether you are serving, receiving, attacking or defending.
The right posture guarantees you balance, stability, and agility during the match.
- Feet: They should be shoulder-width apart to allow you to move side to side swiftly.
- Knees and ankle: They should be slightly bent and flexible, with your weight on the toes to allow you to move back and forth.
- Shoulder and back: Slightly bend your upper body at the waist.
- Arms: They should be in front of your body, with the elbow and paddle in front of you.
How to hold the paddle
The sport has two basic paddle grips: the pen-hold and the shake-hand grip. The different handles have unique variations for the position of your hand on the paddle.
This depending on the style of play and preference.
Basic Table tennis strokes
The game has four strokes essential for your forehand and backhand attack and defence. They are as follows:
- Forehand drive
- The backhand drive
- The backhand push
- The forehand push
Ordinarily, this is all you need to know if you are to enjoy playing Table tennis. At this point, you will agree with me that even though the game appears simple from face value, the rules are a little bit twisted and strict. However, the joy in this particular game lies in the mastery of these rules.
The above rules and guidelines will help you know how to play Table tennis. However, if you are to play it like a star, they say practice builds perfection. Ensure that you enrol in training programs and dedicate a substantial amount of time to it.
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