Table Tennis Or Ping Pong: A Story Behind The Two Popular Names

In times when table tennis is an official sport, many people are actually wondering which name is mostly used to describe this sport. Speaking of, there are two main names that are used to describe the sport – table tennis and ping pong.

However, many are shocked to discover that there is no actual difference between both ping pong and table tennis.

Ping Pong Vs. Table Tennis: Is There A Difference?

In ping pong, the ball must bounce on your side of the table before going over the net when serving it. This extra bounce gives the game the onomatopoeic name of pingpong – which is why some call it “ping pong” and others refer to it as table tennis. However, all the other rules and gameplay are identical to table tennis.

In the official records, the game is coined under the term “table tennis” but the popular handle which is “ping pong” is still commonly (or even more) used than the official term. So, when you see it, both of the terms are correct when describing this sport

According to the ITTF website, the first use of the name “table tennis” appeared on a board and dice game made by J.H. singer in 1887, resembling the similarities of the sport with tennis with the only difference that it is played on a table.

The term “ping pong” came later in 1901, mostly as a nickname of the sport – referring to the sound it makes when two people are playing. The American rights to the term “ping pong” were sold to Parker Brothers. The “Ping Pong Association” was formed in England in addition to “The Table Tennis Association” – but the two associations later merged in 1903 to become “The United Table Tennis and Ping-Pong Association” which changed the name to “The Table Tennis Association” in 1904.

“Ping Pong” As Recreational, “Table Tennis” As Official Name Of The Sport

This is why most of the people use both of the terms when describing the sport. Obviously, “ping pong” is a more universal name which is why it is used more commonly. However, it is mostly recreational players and amateurs who use the term “ping pong” to describe the game – while professionals stick to “table tennis” when calling and viewing the sport (as a professional one).

China seems to be an exception, though, as the phrase “ping pong” is still popular for the sport. The truth is, most of the recreational players don’t really care what the sport is called – they are too busy having fun.

Therefore, it is safe to say the sport “table tennis” in its serious and professional form, and for it to be used accordingly in all the official records. However, the phrase “ping pong” seems to be more exciting and one that won’t offend anyone – especially not the recreational players enjoying this wonderful game.