The History and Evolution of Table Tennis

Table Tennis Thoughts

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a sport that has a rich history and has undergone many changes over the years. From its humble beginnings as a parlor game to its current status as a competitive sport played at the highest levels, table tennis has come a long way. In this post, we'll take a look at the history and evolution of the sport, and how it has become the game we know and love today.

1. Origins of Table Tennis

Table tennis has its roots in the late 19th century, when it was played as a parlor game in England. The game was played with a net strung across a table, and the paddles were made from books or cigar box lids. The ball was originally made from a champagne cork. The game quickly gained popularity and was referred to as "wiff-waff" or "ping-pong", a name that is still used today in some countries.

2. The First Table Tennis Club

In 1901, the first table tennis club was formed in England, called the "Ping Pong Association". This organization helped to standardize the rules and equipment of the game, and it also began to organize competitions. The popularity of the game continued to grow, and it was soon being played in other countries as well.

3. Table Tennis as a Competitive Sport

In the early 20th century, table tennis began to be taken more seriously as a competitive sport. The first official World Championships were held in London in 1926, and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was formed in 1926 to govern the sport. The ITTF still governs the sport today and is responsible for organizing major tournaments and events such as the World Cup and World Championships.

4. Changes to Equipment and Rules

Over the years, there have been many changes to the equipment and rules of table tennis. The ball, for example, has gone through several changes, from the original champagne cork to the celluloid balls that were used for many years, to the current plastic balls. The racket has also evolved, with the introduction of new materials such as carbon fiber and new designs that have improved control and power. The rules of the game have also been modified, with the introduction of new serves and the use of the "let" rule. Another major change was the scoring system. Games used to be played up to 21 points but are now played up to 11.

5. Table Tennis Today

Today, table tennis is a popular sport played at the amateur and professional level, with millions of people participating around the world. The sport has become much more athletic and fast-paced, and the top players are able to generate incredible speed and spin on their shots. The sport is also widely recognized as a great form of exercise, it is also a Paralympic sport. With the development of new technology, the game is also now being broadcasted and streamed online.

In conclusion, table tennis is a sport with a rich history and has undergone many changes over the years. From its humble beginnings as a parlor game to its current status as a competitive sport played at the highest levels. The sport continues to evolve and adapt, and its popularity is likely to continue for many years to come.

Posted 1 year ago

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Mario Spoor

Mario Spoor Posted 1 year ago

Picked from the Internet:

The sport originated in Victorian England, where it was played among the upper-class as an after-dinner parlour game. It has been suggested that makeshift versions of the game were developed by British military officers in India around the 1860s or 1870s, who brought it back with them.

Did China invented table tennis?
Afbeeldingsresultaat voor origin of table tennis wikipedia
Although its name may sound Chinese, the sport of table tennis (ping pong, Pīngpāng qiú, 乒乓球) did not originate in China; invented as an after-dinner diversion in late-19th century England, it made its way into China through the Western settlements via Japan and Korea only in 1901.

Neville Young

Neville Young Posted 1 year ago

From Nicholas Griffin's excellent book, "Ping Pong Diplomacy - the secret history behind the game that changed the world".

Ivor Montagu the British aristocrat who founded the ITTF was a communist spy for the entire time (41 years) he was president of the ITTF.

If it wasn't for the fact that the Sands Toy Company owned the trademark for the term Ping Pong we would have the IPPF.

In a game during the the1936 world championship, Alex Erlich was playing Arnon Paneth.

Paneth was the type of player called a chiseler, a player who relied on never playing an attacking stroke and waiting for their opponent to make mistakes. It had started to become a popular tactic. Players had complained to the ITTF and Montague that this type of play was ruining the game and leading to spectators leaving during games due to boredom and lack of excitement for players. Montagu refused to act on the complaints.


Montagu turned up to watch the game between Erlich and Paneth. Erlich decided that he would prove a point to Montague and decided to mirror Paneth’s play. For the first ten minutes of the game there was laughter as the crowd recognised the joke. Soon booing started, eventually the crowd lapsed into silence and then much to Montagu’s horror they began to leave. During the game Erlich ate a cheese baguette, had a chessboard set up and called out his moves against an opponent during the game. The first point lasted 2 hours and 13 minutes. At this point Erlich’s return hit the top of the net and dropped over, giving him the first point of the game. Erlich then resumed his normal playing style and won the rest of the match in 10 minutes. Following this match the expedite rule was born.

If you want to find out about the history of the game, this is the book to read. 

Neville Young

Neville Young Posted 1 year ago

Montagu was responsible with getting Table Tennis established in China by inviting China to compete in the 1952 World Championships. To Montagu it was the perfect instrument to spread communism around the world.

During WW2 his brother Ewan had one of the top jobs in Naval Intelligence within MI5 - (Military Intelligence Section 5) and always carried a loaded automatic pistol. Unknown to Ivor Montagu, British military intelligence produced table tennis bats with hollowed out handles containing silk maps and tiny compasses for POWs in German Prison Camps.

Ewan described his brother as being simply enormous, almost all tummy.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 1 year ago

Interesting stuff Neville!

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