Governed by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), it is a game loved and adored by people of every age group irrespective of their gender, caste or race. Popular in many regions as Ping-Pong, it is a game played by a light weighted seamless ball being passed between two or four players holding the wooden rackets also known as the paddle. The game is played on a wooden table specially designed to make the movement of the ball easier. Originally originated from the England it is now popular among all the nations around the globe.
The Story behind its origin
It first grew as an after-dinner parlor game in the Victorian England. It was limited just to the upper-class families at the start but later grew its roots to the other sections of society as well. At the beginning, books were used to serve as a net on any wooden table, and rackets were made from the books as well along with golf ball being used, as the British military officers made these modifications at the time of their presence in India at the time of colonial expansion there. The transformed version of the Ping-Pong game was brought back with them to the country. All of the citizens then adapted these changes in the game.
With the expansion of the Ping Pong to the other countries, it went through various transformations and modifications and gradually started to make its place among the people of all sections of the society. Soon enough it was considered as a sign of standard among all the people and grew its popularity through the tournaments held to establish the top player in the game. At present, it has become the game with the most number of participants from all around the world.
Modern changes made to the game
The table used
As the game grew its popularity and was welcomed by the people, many companies started to design the equipment specially meant for the game. All the equipment underwent several changes and evolution as the dinner table used back then to act as a field for the game to played on was replaced by the original Ping Pong table designed for improvement and to carry on the proper course of the game. The table available now is made of a special kind of wood chosen to make the ball bounce while playing.
The table tennis racket
The books used as the racket formally were replaced by the original rackets made from the laminated wood in with rubber sheet coated on each side of it. The rackets are made in the semicircular shape with a handle attached to it, for providing a grip to the players to hold the racket. It depends on the player to use whichever side of the racket while plying depending on their grip and style of playing the game. The racket is given various names in many parts of the world. In the US it is known as the paddle, whereas Europeans prefer calling it bat but the official term assigned by International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is racket used in all the tournaments and leagues. Unlike the other rackets, it does not have any strings attached to an open metal frame but a plain wooden board.
The ping pong ball
Formally the golf ball was used to act as the ping pong ball but now we have the exact and perfectly seamless ball available in the market used for the game. The ball, unlike others, is made of true plastic without any mixing with other substances or elements, use of true plastic for the manufacturing of ball is done to make it bouncy and carry forward the entire game easily. It is made light weighted and small in size to make it easy for the players to make a hit and score points. The feather weighted ball just weighs 2.7 gram and is made very small with a diameter ranging to just 40 mm. The ball keeps on passing from one player to another throughout the game and the player missing to make a hit loses a point while the opponent gains it and leads a step in order to win the game.
The books used as the net previously were not a good choice, as they were not stable and needed to be fixed again and again while the ongoing game. Also, the exact distance could not be possible given to both the players with those books and also would not be used as a permanent net. That is why we prefer using the synthetic net today; these nets can be adjusted and fixed to any of the tables of our choice. It remains stable, stiff and upright throughout the whole game. These nets divide the table into exactly two halves assigning each one of it to one player. The player remains on their sides while the game and try to hit the ball each time it approaches its side.
Number of players in the game
The number of players that can play the game depends on the players available. It can be played as singles as well as doubles. The singles mode consists of two players each of them assigned one side of the table as their territory and has to operate from there itself, the players serve from their side of the table and try to hit the ball each and every time it approaches them in order to win points and win the game. While in the doubles mode there need to be four players playing with two in a team. Each of the team is given one side of the table to protect and act from, both of the players are given equal chances to serve and also in most cases in the doubles mode one of the player plays in the attacking position while other in the defensive position. The team scoring maximum points with their unity, collaboration and teamwork win.