Ping Pong Vs Table Tennis: Are They Different Games?

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  • Post last modified:November 1, 2023
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There is a huge debate on ping pong vs table tennis in various forums in the world. Are they the same? If not, what are the differences?

And the majority of opinions come up with the suggestion that they are basically the same game. They differ in the way people call them. People use both words according to the seriousness of the game. Amateurs call them ping pong whereas professionals love the term table tennis.

Yes, they are right, both indicate the same game. But there is a condition. Both the game is the same sport up to the year 2011.

Since 2011, ping pong and table tennis are not the same sport, they are different.

Before going into the differences between ping pong vs table tennis, let us remind the history of table tennis or ping pong ( As both are the same up to 2011)

Table Tennis Vs Ping Pong: Brief History

Table tennis came into this world as a table version of the lawn tennis game in the year 1880.

In the winter, due to freezing weather conditions, the inhabitants of Victorian England couldn’t go outside and play lawn tennis. Lawn tennis game was quite popular at that time.

They decided to play the game using a table as a playing surface inside a room. Sprung rackets, a 30 mm cloth-covered rubber ball, and a large net extended along the sides were the equipment for this table version of the game.

Why is Table Tennis Called Ping Pong?

In the year 1901, the British manufacturer, J. Jaques & sons trademarked the sport as “Ping Pong” and players played with the equipment manufactured by the company.

Players who used other companies’ equipment named the game table tennis.

ping pong rackets in 1901 available in united states trademarked under Parker Brothers
”Ping-Pong” game by Parker Brothers
Picture: Daniel Schwen/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, CC BY-SA 4.0

Jaques sold the rights of ping pong to Parker Brothers in the United States and the same situation arose in the US as that in England.

In the same year, E.C. Goode, an inventor, gave the game a new dimension with the introduction of the modern table tennis racket. He used a combination of pimpled rubbers and a wooden blade.

When did Table Tennis Become Popular?

Table tennis came into the limelight in 1926 when an association was formed with nine associate members. This association named the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) brought professionalism to this game and the first world championship in table tennis was held that year in London.

From that year, the same game was ping pong for recreational players and table tennis for professional players.

When They Became Different Sports?

In the year, 2011, the official world championship of ping pong was organized in Las Vegas with some different sets of ping pong rules.

From that, table tennis and ping pong became different sports.

Ping Pong Vs Table Tennis: The Differences

Though both follow the same concept, some differences distinguish them as separate sports.

Ping Pong Vs Table Tennis Rule

Ping pong follows the scoring system of 21 points in a game. A match consists of 3 games.

In table tennis, a game ends at 11 points if not tied at 10-10. In an official table tennis tournament, the winner of a match is decided based on the best of 7 games.

In ping pong, the server gets 5 consecutive services, whereas it is 2 services in a row for table tennis.

All other rules in ping pong match with table tennis rules except in ping pong, it is not necessary to hold the ball on your palm during the serve.

Introduction of the Concept of ‘The Rumble’ in Ping Pong

In this format, if a player loses a point, the next person on the line of his team replaces him while the winner continues playing. The loser goes at the back of his team’s line. This cycle continues until a team reaches 50 points with a margin of 4 points lead.

Difference Between Ping Pong and Table Tennis Bat

Ping pong bat with the combination of the blade and sandpaper. Sandpaper is used as a contact surface.
A table tennis bat with the combination of the blade and rubber. Rubber is used as a contact surface.
A Table Tennis Bat

Every ping pong piece of equipment is the same as table tennis except for the bat. Ping pong players use Sandpaper face 5 plies laminated paddle.

This type of bat is unable to generate more spin and speed. As a result, you may expect longer rallies in the game of ping pong.

There is no variation in ping pong paddle and every player uses the same type of paddle.

In contradiction, rubber acts as a contact surface in a table tennis bat. There is a wide variety of rubbers of various brands available in the market. Any player can choose any type of rubber. These rubbers are capable of producing greater speed and spin.

In table tennis, the majority of blades consist of 3, 5, or 7 layers of plywood whereas ping pong allows only 5-ply laminated paddles.

Paddles used for ping pong are generally lighter and cheaper than table tennis rackets.

Difference in Nature

Table tennis is very competitive and also hugely popular. Professional players participate in leagues in many countries. Also, there are tournaments at every level, it may be international, national, state, or even club tournaments. Table tennis is also a part of Olympic sports since 1988.

Though the world championship is held every year, ping pong is mainly a sport for recreation.


Though there are some differences, the basic nature of play is the same for both games.

But if you want to make a career in sports and are confused between ping pong vs table tennis to opt for, table tennis should be the only choice.

For recreation, you may choose anyone, both of them have a great benefit on physical and mental fitness.

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