Ping Pong vs Table Tennis: A Few People Know the Difference

Ping Pong Vs Table Tennis: Is There A Difference?


People often think of ping pong and table tennis as the same game. These two games are the same from a general view. These two games were originally the same as well. But now there are some differences. Table tennis has more official value from international associations.

There are various leagues, tournaments, and even world championship table tennis, which are so popular worldwide. However, ping pong is a similar game like table tennis, but there aren’t competitions or tournaments of ping pong with a hugely wide reach like that of table tennis.

As a game, ping pong is identical to table tennis. There are also variations of ping pong, such as beer Pong. Amateur players play ping pong as their hobby. Some recreational players also call it ping pong. But serious and professional players call it table tennis.

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In the past, people could consider ping pong and table tennis as the same. But the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) established some standardized rules and chose “Table Tennis” as the official name of the game. Now, these two are different games.

ITTF organizes the World Table Tennis Championship. On the other hand, Match Room (Barry Hearb’s) Enterprise arranges the World Championship of Ping Pong every year in England. So, ping pong is also an established sport like table tennis now.

At present, professional table tennis players don’t prefer the word “ping pong” for their game because of the ITTF rules and regulations. Some people also see ping pong as the downgraded version of table tennis. But the ping pong community is continuing their activity with the less formal name.

They focus more on the fun and social side of the game. However, “Ping pong” was the trademarked name from 1901 to stop others from adopting the name. But later, “Table tennis” came out as the official name.


In table tennis, players use various types of equipment. They use pips-out rubber, pips-in rubber. Players use their own customized paddles. There’s no limit for the table tennis blade. However, in ping pong, players use the same sandpaper bats. The sandpaper is their standard paddle. As a sandpaper paddle, there’s only a 5 ply racket.

This racket is slow and provides a lot of feedback and control to the ping pong players. The sandpaper paddle has two laminated layers, and it doesn’t have two rubbers. So, there’s no variation in equipment in ping pong like table tennis. However, sandpaper paddles are cheaper than typical table tennis rackets.

The balls are not the same in these two games. In ping pong, players usually use yellow balls while playing. In table tennis, players use white and yellow balls on the table. The table tennis balls are a little smaller than the ping-pong balls.


There are differences between ping pong and table tennis in terms of service. In ping pong, the server can hit the ball straight out of hand, or after a bounce on the table. In table tennis, the server has to throw the ball over six inches upward from his open hand and then hit it from behind the baseline of the table.

Also, they must keep in mind that they don’t extend beyond the left or right of the sidelines while serving. There are many types of services in table tennis. On the other hand, there are a few types of services in ping pong.

Playing Style

The playing styles of the two games aren’t also the same. In ping pong, players use sandpaper. Sandpapers provide medium spin and slow to medium speed. Table tennis differs from that. In table tennis, players play with a higher amount of spin and a faster pace.

Table tennis has both attacking and defensive playing styles. However, in ping pong, players can mix both attacking and defensive styles. However, as sandpaper paddles decrease the ball’s spin and speed, ping pong rallies are longer than table tennis rallies.

Again, because of low speed and spin, ping pong provides less entertainment. Ping pong has flexible playing rules, but table tennis follows strict rules.


In modern table tennis, players serve twice at a time. They play each game up to 11 points and a total of 7 games. In ping pong, players have five serves simultaneously, and the game goes up to 21 points. This scoring system is the traditional scoring.


Players have to see the ball clearly in the game. In table tennis, as the ball’s color is yellow or white, the players aren’t allowed to wear the same colored dresses. However, in ping pong, the players don’t have to follow such strict rules.

Variations in The Game

Apart from the usual singles and doubles matches, ping pong has some variations as well. Rundlauf or “Round the table” is one variation. It’s an excellent way to enjoy the game for a sizeable group of players. It started in Germany. Here, a larger group of players can play the game at the same time. Players of the two teams stand in two queues anticlockwise around the table.

One player serves first, then other players of the team take their turn to hit the ball one by one and go at the end of the queue, and the game goes on like this. Rundlauf is now becoming a more popular version of ping pong. Around 10 to 16 people can play this version of the game. Table tennis doesn’t have such versions. However, there are also ping pong versions, such as Backwards ping pong, the ceiling’s the limit ping pong, etc.


The words “Ping pong” and “Table tennis” were synonymous previously. But now these two games have many differences. Now, both games have different rules and regulations and also different competitions. Though table tennis competitions have a far wider reach around the world, ping pong is also an enjoyable game. Both of these games are enjoyable to watch. People love both games around the world

Other Questions

Are table tennis and ping-pong tables the same sizes?

Yes, the two tables have the same dimensions.

Table tennis and ping-pong are practically the same sports. The only difference between the two was installed in 2011, when the ITTF wrote the rules of the game, giving it the official name of Table Tennis. This name was chosen over ping-pong as this gave it a more serious look than ping-pong, which sounds a little childish.

The official size of a ping-pong or Table tennis table is 2.74m (9 inches) long, 1.525m (5 inches) wide and 76cm high.

Are there different sizes of ping-pong tables?

Yes, there are multiple sizes of ping-pong tables.

  1. The full size table. Also called the official or Olympic size. This is the table size used in tournaments or competitions.
  2. ¾ size table tennis table. This is the most common size after the full size. It is also called the Junior ping-pong table. It is 206cm long, 115cm wide and 76cm high.
  3. Mid-size ping-pong table. This table is very common in the United States. It is 180cm long, 91cm wide and 76 cm high.
  4. Mini or table top ping-pong table. These are foldable tables. They do not have legs so required a table to be played on.

Which country has won the most national titles in table tennis in the 20th century?

The country that won the most national titles in table tennis is China.

According to the ITTF statistics, between-

  • 1926-1999, China won the gold medals in the single men's category 11 times.
  • 1961-1999, they won 13 times in the single women's category.
  • 1963-1999, won 9 times in the Men double's category.
  • 1965-1999, won 13 times in the women's double's category.
  • 1971-1999, they won 12 times in the Mixed double category.

They are still the leading country in Table Tennis since the beginning of the 21st century (2001-today).

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If you require more information, please check these references

Table Tennis , article, "en.wikipedia.org", retrieved on, Fri 17-July-2020

The Butterfly Effect and the Making of 'Ping-Pong Diplomacy' , article, "www.tandfonline.com", retrieved on, Fri 17-July-2020

Bat or racket for game known as ping-pong or table-tennis. , article, "patents.google.com", retrieved on, Fri 17-July-2020

Author: Nick

is a Computer programmer with 25 years experience working in the Industry. Mainly using Microsoft products I have produced systems for several blue chip companies including The BBC, Natwest, British Rail.and Torbay Council.

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