Friday, September 5, 2008

Ping Pong Basics

Ping pong, or the more popular term table tennis, was first invented in China. Before learning the game and becoming good at it, one has to first understand the history and tradition behind the sport which is lovingly known as ping pong in the East, but the Western world prefers the drab sounding table tennis, as they thought it was a copy of tennis, which in fact it was the opposite.

After giving birth to it, the Chinese brought ping pong to Europe and the rest of the Americas. Why is it called ping pong, and not some other name? Well, if you know Chinese, then you will get it immediately. The Chinese term for the sport is "ping pang", which therefore evolved into ping pong. Soon, this sport which could be played both indoors and outdoors where table tennis tables are set up, quickly became popular from Asia, to the Gulf area and eventually to the rest of the Western countries.

It is also understood that the name of the sport could also have been derived from the sound which ping pong balls hit the paddles, or rackets. Ping pong balls are usually made from a hard plastic or synthetic material filled with air, and when a paddle is used to strike it, the distinct ping and pong sounds will be produced. That could be one way the Chinese came up with the name, which is quite ingenious compared to table tennis, if you think about it.

With the increasing popularity of the game at that time, it was not long before ping pong or table tennis equipment became widely available. These included the requisite table tennis balls, paddles or rackets, nets and covers, as well as the essential tables on which the sport is played. There will be one player on each end of the ping pong table, with a net separating them in the middle. The players will then hit the ping pong ball to each other in an attempt to make the other miss. Table tennis is a simple game with uncomplicated rules, but one which requires a great level of skill to succeed in it at a competitive level.

The best table tennis players come from Asia and some European countries. With the relaxation of citizenship rules, other countries such as the US and Nigeria have started to import better players from China to represent them on the international stage. This might not be the best for the sport as you end up seeing ping pong players from China most of the time in international table tennis competitions, but it does raise the standard of the game. Furthermore, China players are also definitely the best in the world at the moment, followed closely by European players from Denmark and Germany.

To develop good ping pong basics, one must ensure that the equipment they use is of sufficient quality and standard. Ensure that good table tennis paddles or rackets are used, and avoid thinking that a cheap one might be enough. There are good quality and less expensive paddles, but this is the most important equipment a player will need in the sport.

Table tennis balls are a dime a dozen. They can mostly be purchased cheaply in bulk, and normal retail prices of these ping pong balls are already very low in the first place. With a table tennis table, the surface material and quality must also be good, and make sure the dimensions are correct. Also try to maintain the tables in good condition, and avoid wearing down the surface, sides and corners too much by covering them when not in use.

Modern table tennis has evolved tremendously. The basic rules of ping pong are such that each game is played to a maximum of 11 points in international competition, with matches typically involving a best of 3 or 5 games. This has allowed the sport to prosper as a spectator sport, as the matches are fast due to table tennis players serving and hitting the balls are full force and maximum speeds. In recent months, there has also been a change to the type of table tennis paddles surface that can be used in official international tournaments. This was aimed to further level the playing field. One can also learn more about the different rules, skills and technique of the sport through a ping pong DVD.

Ping pong, or table tennis, was almost exclusively an indoor sport before it became playable and popular outdoors as well. It was restricted to indoors at a time when it became immensely popular due to that fact. People found that they could play a sport without having to leave their homes, or at least stay in the comfort of indoors. But the increasing number of good outdoor table tennis tables being seen worldwide has shown that it has grown beyond the confines of four walls. Playing table tennis outdoors might be a little bit more difficult, as you would have to learn how to overcome the weather aspect such as wind, which can blow the table tennis balls off course or entirely off the table tops.

There are table tennis games made for the computer and arcades too. These were very popular many years ago when they were first created, but have died down for the most part. However, it might even be revived if the Nintendo Wii were to adapt ping pong to their console. Afterall, tennis is already available, so why not the original table tennis for arcade gamers to exercise with great fun?

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