Table Tennis

Table tennis is a game similar to lawn tennis, usually played by two or four players on a table with wooden paddles and a small hollow plastic ball. As in lawn or indoor tennis, the table has a net that divides the playing area into two portions. However, during the service in table tennis, the ball must bounce once before clearing the net and again bounce before being struck by the receiver. The player returning the ball should not let the ball bounce again on his side after striking the ball.

A player scores a point when his opponent's service does not land properly or when his opponent's ball is not returned properly. Players serve five times in a row, and the player who first earns 21 points wins the game.

The service in table tennis starts with the ball resting freely on the open palm of the server's stationary free hand. The server then tosses the ball upwards and strikes it as it begins to fall, bouncing it once on his side before it passes over the net and bounces on the opponent's side.

It is believed that table tennis or ping pong, as it is known as in some countries, began as a social hobby in England toward the end of the 1800s. Dining room tables and balls of cork were used as equipment. Around the turn of the century, however, the game witnessed a few changes in England. The recreational game became less popular and it was left to the devices of some interested groups to revive it in the form of table tennis in the 1920s. In 1926, the International Table Tennis Association (ITTA) was formed. The sport caught on in Japan and other Asian nations. The Japanese dominated the sport for much of the 50s and 60s but later faced stiff competition from the Chinese. Table tennis became an Olympic event in the 1980s.

Table tennis has its own terminology. Backspin, backhand, chop, high toss serve and inside out are some of the terms that refer to how a person hits the ball. A match refers to a series of games either the best 2 out of 3, 3 out of 5 or 4 out of 7. The bat paddle and is normally made out of wood, covered by rubber sheets on both sides.

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