Are Ping Pong and Table Tennis the same? This Might Surprise You!

Are Ping Pong and Table Tennis the same? This Might Surprise You!

Many new players think Ping Pong is the other name of Table Tennis. Trust me! They’re not the same!

Ping Pong was a trademark name of table tennis in 1901 in England. Before 2011, “Ping pong” and “Table tennis” were two names of one sport. In general, Ping Pong was for amateur players, while Table Tennis players needed to be formally trained to play.

After 2011, Ping pong and Table Tennis are two distinguished sports for different audiences. However, many people still do not know this, and they play ping pong without the right formal rules.

Now lets me compare the differences between these two sports for you.

What is table tennis?

Table Tennis is a favorite sport with two or four players, using a table, a hard paddle to alternatively pass a celluloid or plastic ball. It uses a lot of complicated techniques combined with the movement of foot and body.

A table tennis tournament

What is ping pong?

Ping Pong was the trademark name of Table Tennis at the beginning of the 20th century, and many believe that this is a less formal form of Table Tennis. But the fact is, it has its own style of play which focuses on the combination of hands and eyes to hit the ball.

World Championship of Ping Pong 2016

Today, the rules of Ping pong and Table Tennis have been defined. Here are the striking differences between these two sports.

The difference between table tennis and ping pong

Here I will show you the main criteria to differentiate Ping Pong and Table Tennis.

Below are some criteria in more details.

Table TennisPing Pong
Amount of SpinHighLow
SpeedHigh-speedMedium or slow-speed
Type of serviceOnly wayMany ways
Different types of paddlesYesNo (same paddle)
Points per match1121
Olympics SportYesNo
World ChampionshipYesYes
Flexible rulesNoYes
Grand slam players50


Table tennis players can use various types of paddles like pips-in, pips-out rubber, and there is no limit for that. Each performer has their own customized paddles.

But they use only one type of paddles for ping pong called “blue sandpaper bats.” Do Ping pong paddles make a difference? We will not talk about it in this article.

Sandpaper paddles

While many people use the same type of ball for both sports, table tennis balls can be slightly smaller than ping pong balls which have the diameters of 40 mm and 34 mm respectively.


Table tennis matches usually end at 11 points. Each player will have two turns of serving before switching servers.

Ping pong rule allows either 11-point or 21-point format, but they often apply the 21-point one. Players will have five alternate turns to serve.

Playing style

Table tennis and ping pong are distinguished from each other by the spinning of the ball used in the game. For table tennis, instead of hitting the ball, the players have to spin it in many different ways to make their hits unpredictable. Their footwork also helps them with this.

Ping pong is a game of hitting the ball which does not require you to spin it a lot. Sandpaper paddles do not have a design for spinning. Besides, you don’t have to use too much footwork but need to rely on hand-eye coordination.

Table tennis has a quicker pace and gets more spin while ping pong is slower with medium speeds. The players will experience a playing style of offensive or defensive in table tennis matches. However, they can mix both of them in the ping pong games.


In table tennis, there is the only way to serve which is throwing the ball out of your palm at least six inches above, then hit it from behind the line.

There are not any hard and fast rules on serving in ping pong. Someone likes to do this as they do in table tennis, while others prefer to drop the ball then hit. They even can let the ball bounce once before serving it.

Level of competition and formality

Table tennis has a higher competitive and technical level than ping pong, and it is a recognized sport of Olympic. There are many leagues, national championships and international championships for table tennis.

While anyone can play table tennis even for fun, many people suppose that it is a competitive sport, while ping pong is the leisure activity.

Like table tennis, ping pong also has global championships and other tournaments for serious players. However, it is not an Olympic sport. Plus, its rule is not as strict as table tennis’s, and you can change its formats depending on each match.

Final thoughts

Ping pong and table tennis were previously the same sports, but now this is no longer true. Ping pong has its own rules and style and requires some specific techniques. It’s also a good exercise that you might practice with your friends or take part in competitions.

You can share your thought on the comment below. And don’t forget to like and share this article if you think it’s useful and informative.

Source: Sport Life Z


We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

      Sport Life Z
      Enable registration in settings - general