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Table tennis
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Ping-pong" redirects here. For other uses, see Ping-pong (disambiguation).
Table tennis
Mondial Ping - Men's Singles - Round 4 - Kenta Matsudaira-Vladimir Samsonov -
Table tennis at the highest level
Highest governing body ITTF
First played 1880s Victorian England[1][2]
Contact No
Team members Single or doubles
Type Racquet sport, indoor
Equipment Poly, 40 mm (1.57 in),
2.7 g (0.095 oz)
Olympic since 1988
Paralympic since inaugural 1960 Summer Paralympics
Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit
a lightweight ball back and forth across a table using small bats. The game takes
place on a hard table divided by a net. Except for the initial serve, the rules are
generally as follows: players must allow a ball played toward them to bounce one
time on their side of the table, and must return it so that it bounces on the
opposite side at least once. A point is scored when a player fails to return the
ball within the rules. Play is fast and demands quick reactions. Spinning the ball
alters its trajectory and limits an opponent's options, giving the hitter a great

Table tennis is governed by the worldwide organization International Table Tennis

Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926. ITTF currently includes 226 member
associations.[3] The table tennis official rules are specified in the ITTF
handbook.[4] Table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988,[5] with several
event categories. From 1988 until 2004, these were men's singles, women's singles,
men's doubles and women's doubles. Since 2008, a team event has been played instead
of the doubles.

Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 Rule changes
2 Equipment
2.1 Ball
2.2 Table
2.3 Paddle/racket
3 Gameplay
3.1 Starting a game
3.2 Service and return
3.3 Let
3.4 Scoring
3.5 Alternation of services and ends
3.6 Doubles game
3.7 Expedite system
4 Grips
4.1 Penhold
4.2 Shakehand
4.3 Seemiller
5 Types of strokes
5.1 Offensive strokes
5.1.1 Hit
5.1.2 Loop
5.1.3 Counter-hit
5.1.4 Flip
5.1.5 Smash
5.2 Defensive strokes
5.2.1 Push
5.2.2 Chop
5.2.3 Block
5.2.4 Lob
6 Effects of spin
6.1 Backspin
6.2 Topspin
6.3 Sidespin
6.4 Corkspin
7 Competition
8 Notable players
9 Governance
10 See also
11 References
12 Bibliography
13 External links

Parker Brothers Ping-Pong game

The sport originated in Victorian England, where it was played among the upper-
class as an after-dinner parlour game.[1][2] It has been suggested that makeshift
versions of the game were developed by British military officers in India in around
1860s or 1870s, who brought it back with them.[6] A row of books stood up along the
center of the table as a net, two more books served as rackets and were used to
continuously hit a golf-ball.[7][8]

The name "ping-pong" was in wide use before British manufacturer J. Jaques & Son
Ltd trademarked it in 1901. The name "ping-pong" then came to describe the game
played using the rather expensive Jaques's equipment, with other manufacturers
calling it table tennis. A similar situation arose in the United States, where
Jaques sold the rights to the "ping-pong" name to Parker Brothers. Parker Brothers
then enforced its trademark for the term in the 1920s making the various
associations change their names to "table tennis" instead of the more common, but
trademarked, term.[9]

The next major innovation was by James W. Gibb, a British enthusiast of table
tennis, who discovered novelty celluloid balls on a trip to the US in 1901 and
found them to be ideal for the game. This was followed by E.C. Goode who, in 1901,
invented the modern version of the racket by fixing a sheet of pimpled, or
stippled, rubber to the wooden blade. Table tennis was growing in popularity by
1901 to the extent that tournaments were being organized, books being written on
the subject,[7] and an unofficial world championship was held in 1902.

In 1921, the Table Tennis Association was founded, and in 1926 renamed the English
Table Tennis Association.[10] The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)
followed in 1926.[1][11] London hosted the first official World Championships in
1926. In 1933, the United States Table Tennis Association, now called USA Table
Tennis, was formed.[1][12]

In the 1930s, Edgar Snow commented in Red Star Over China that the Communist forces
in the Chinese Civil War had a "passion for the English game of table tennis" which
he found "bizarre".[13] On the other hand, the popularity of the sport waned in
1930s Soviet Union, partly because of the promotion of team and military sports,
and partly because of a theory that the game had adverse health effects.[14]

In the 1950s, paddles that used a rubber sheet combined with an underlying sponge
layer changed the game dramatically,[1] introducing greater spin and speed.[15]
These were introduced to Britain by sports goods manufacturer S.W. Hancock Ltd. The
use of speed glue increased the spin and speed even further, resulting in changes
to the equipment to "slow the game down". Table tennis was introduced as an Olympic
sport at the Olympics in 1988.[16]

Rule changes

Assortment of 40 mm table tennis balls

After the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, the ITTF instituted several rule changes that
were aimed at making table tennis more viable as a televised spectator sport.[17]
[18] First, the older 38 mm (1.50 in) balls were officially replaced by 40 mm (1.57
in) balls in October 2000.[7][19] This increased the ball's air resistance and
effectively slowed down the game. By that time, players had begun increasing the
thickness of the fast sponge layer on their paddles, which made the game
excessively fast and difficult to watch on television. A few months later, the ITTF
changed from a 21-point to an 11-point scoring system (and the serve rotation was
reduced from five points to two), effective in September 2001.[7] This was intended
to make games more fast-paced and exciting. The ITTF also changed the rules on
service to prevent a player from hiding the ball during service, in order to
increase the average length of rallies and to reduce the server's advantage,
effective in 2002.[20] For the opponent to have time to realize a serve is taking
place, the ball must be tossed a minimum of 16 cm in the air. The ITTF states that
all events after July 2014 are played with a new poly material ball.[21] [22]


Table Tennis Plastic Ball 40+ mm

The international rules specify that the game is played with a sphere having a mass
of 2.7 grams (0.095 oz) and a diameter of 40 millimetres (1.57 in).[23] The rules
say that the ball shall bounce up 24�26 cm (9.4�10.2 in) when dropped from a height
of 30.5 cm (12.0 in) onto a standard steel block thereby having a coefficient of
restitution of 0.89 to 0.92. The ball is made of celluloid plastic as of 2015,
colored white or orange, with a matte finish. The choice of ball color is made
according to the table color and its surroundings. For example, a white ball is
easier to see on a green or blue table than it is on a grey table. Manufacturers
often indicate the quality of the ball with a star rating system, usually from one
to three, three being the highest grade. As this system is not standard across
manufacturers, the only way a ball may be used in official competition is upon ITTF
approval[23] (the ITTF approval can be seen printed on the ball).

The 40 mm ball was introduced after the 2000 Summer Olympics.[19] However, this
created some controversy at the time as the Chinese National Team argued that this
was merely to give non-Chinese players a better chance of winning since the new
type of ball has a slower speed (a 40 mm table tennis ball is slower and spins less
than the original 38 mm one, and at that time, most Chinese players were playing
with fast attack and smashes). China won all four Olympic gold medals and three
silvers in 2000, and have continued to dominate.[citation needed]


Diagram of a table tennis table showing the official dimensions

The table is 2.74 m (9.0 ft) long, 1.525 m (5.0 ft) wide, and 76 cm (2.5 ft) high
with any continuous material so long as the table yields a uniform bounce of about
23 cm (9.1 in) when a standard ball is dropped onto it from a height of 30 cm (11.8
in), or about 77%.[24][25] The table or playing surface is uniformly dark coloured
and matte, divided into two halves by a net at 15.25 cm (6.0 in) in height. The
ITTF approves only wooden tables or their derivates. Concrete tables with a steel
net or a solid concrete partition are sometimes available in outside public spaces,
such as parks.[26]

Main article: Table tennis racket
Players are equipped with a laminated wooden racket covered with rubber on one or
two sides depending on the grip of the player. The ITTF uses the term "racket",[27]
though "bat" is common in Britain, and "paddle" in the U.S. and Canada.

The wooden portion of the racket, often referred to as the "blade", commonly
features anywhere between one and seven plies of wood, though cork, glass fiber,
carbon fiber, aluminum fiber, and Kevlar are sometimes used. According to the ITTF
regulations, at least 85% of the blade by thickness shall be of natural wood.[28]
Common wood types include balsa, limba, and cypress or "hinoki", which is popular
in Japan. The average size of the blade is about 17 centimetres (6.7 in) long and
15 centimetres (5.9 in) wide. Although the official restrictions only focus on the
flatness and rigidity of the blade itself, these dimensions are optimal for most
play styles.

Table tennis regulations allow different surfaces on each side of the racket.[29]
Various types of surfaces provide various levels of spin or speed, and in some
cases they nullify spin. For example, a player may have a rubber that provides much
spin on one side of their racket, and one that provides no spin on the other. By
flipping the racket in play, different types of returns are possible. To help a
player distinguish between the rubber used by his opposing player, international
rules specify that one side must be red while the other side must be black.[28] The
player has the right to inspect his opponent's racket before a match to see the
type of rubber used and what colour it is. Despite high speed play and rapid
exchanges, a player can see clearly what side of the racket was used to hit the
ball. Current rules state that, unless damaged in play, the racket cannot be
exchanged for another racket at any time during a match.[30]

Starting a game
According to ITTF rule 2.13.1, the first service is decided by lot,[31] normally a
coin toss.[32] It is also common for one player (or the umpire/scorer) to hide the
ball in one or the other hand, usually hidden under the table, allowing the other
player to guess which hand the ball is in. The correct or incorrect guess gives the
"winner" the option to choose to serve, receive, or to choose which side of the
table to use. (A common but non-sanctioned method is for the players to play the
ball back and forth three times and then play out the point. This is commonly
referred to as "serve to play", "rally to serve", "play for serve", or "volley for

Service and return

Service by Alexander Shibaev

In game play, the player serving the ball commences a play.[33] The server first
stands with the ball held on the open palm of the hand not carrying the paddle,
called the freehand, and tosses the ball directly upward without spin, at least 16
cm (6.3 in) high.[34] The server strikes the ball with the racket on the ball's
descent so that it touches first his court and then touches directly the receiver's
court without touching the net assembly. In casual games, many players do not toss
the ball upward; however, this is technically illegal and can give the serving
player an unfair advantage.
The ball must remain behind the endline and above the upper surface of the table,
known as the playing surface, at all times during the service. The server cannot
use his/her body or clothing to obstruct sight of the ball; the opponent and the
umpire must have a clear view of the ball at all times. If the umpire is doubtful
of the legality of a service they may first interrupt play and give a warning to
the server. If the serve is a clear failure or is doubted again by the umpire after
the warning, the receiver scores a point.

If the service is "good", then the receiver must make a "good" return by hitting
the ball back before it bounces a second time on receiver's side of the table so
that the ball passes the net and touches the opponent's court, either directly or
after touching the net assembly.[35] Thereafter, the server and receiver must
alternately make a return until the rally is over. Returning the serve is one of
the most difficult parts of the game, as the server's first move is often the least
predictable and thus most advantageous shot due to the numerous spin and speed
choices at his or her disposal.

A Let is a rally of which the result is not scored, and is called in the following

The ball touches the net in service (service), provided the service is otherwise
correct or the ball is obstructed by the player on the receiving side. Obstruction
means a player touches the ball when it is above or traveling towards the playing
surface, not having touched the player's court since last being struck by the
When the player on the receiving side is not ready and the service is delivered.
Player's failure to make a service or a return or to comply with the Laws is due to
a disturbance outside the control of the player.
Play is interrupted by the umpire or assistant umpire.
A let is also called foul service, if the ball hits the server's side of the table,
if the ball does not pass further than the edge and if the ball hits the table edge
and hits the net.


Table tennis umpire

A point is scored by the player for any of several results of the rally:[37]

The opponent fails to make a correct service or return.

After making a service or a return, the ball touches anything other than the net
assembly before being struck by the opponent.
The ball passes over the player's court or beyond his end line without touching his
court, after being struck by the opponent.
The opponent obstructs the ball.
The opponent strikes the ball twice successively. Note that the hand that is
holding the racket counts as part of the racket and that making a good return off
one's hand or fingers is allowed. It is not a fault if the ball accidentally hits
one's hand or fingers and then subsequently hits the racket.
The opponent strikes the ball with a side of the racket blade whose surface is not
covered with rubber.
The opponent moves the playing surface or touches the net assembly.
The opponent's free hand touches the playing surface.
As a receiver under the expedite system, completing 13 returns in a rally.[38]
The opponent that has been warned by the umpire commits a second offense in the
same individual match or team match. If the third offence happens, 2 points will be
given to the player.[39] If the individual match or the team match has not ended,
any unused penalty points can be transferred to the next game of that match.[32]
A game shall be won by the player first scoring 11 points unless both players score
10 points, when the game shall be won by the first player subsequently gaining a
lead of 2 points. A match shall consist of the best of any odd number of games.[40]
In competition play, matches are typically best of five or seven games.

Alternation of services and ends

Service alternates between opponents every two points (regardless of winner of the
rally) until the end of the game, unless both players score ten points or the
expedite system is operated, when the sequences of serving and receiving stay the
same but each player serves for only one point in turn (Deuce).[41] The player
serving first in a game receives first in the next game of the match.

After each game, players switch sides of the table. In the last possible game of a
match, for example the seventh game in a best of seven matches, players change ends
when the first player scores five points, regardless of whose turn it is to serve.
Service is subject to change on game point of the match. Upon the possible last
point of the match, the player with the lesser score serves. If the sequence of
serving and receiving is out of turn or the ends are not changed, points scored in
the wrong situation are still calculated and the game shall be resumed with the
order at the score that has been reached.

Doubles game

Service zone in doubles game

In addition to games between individual players, pairs may also play table tennis.
Singles and doubles are both played in international competition, including the
Olympic Games since 1988 and the Commonwealth Games since 2002.[42] In 2005, the
ITTF announced that doubles table tennis only was featured as a part of team events
in the 2008 Olympics.

In doubles, all the rules of single play are applied except for the following.


A line painted along the long axis of the table to create doubles courts bisects
the table. This line's only purpose is to facilitate the doubles service rule,
which is that service must originate from the right hand "box" in such a way that
the first bounce of the serve bounces once in said right hand box and then must
bounce at least once in the opponent side's right hand box (far left box for
server), or the receiving pair score a point.[34]
Order of play, serving and receiving

Players must hit the ball in turn. For example, if A is paired with B, X is paired
with Y, A is the server and X is the receiver. The order of play shall be A�X�B�Y.
The rally proceeds this way until one side fails to make a legal return and the
other side scores.[43]
At each change of service, the previous receiver shall become the server and the
partner of the previous server shall become the receiver. For example, if the
previous order of play is A�X�B�Y, the order becomes X�B�Y�A after the change of
In the second or the latter games of a match, the game begins in reverse order of
play. For example, if the order of play is A�X�B�Y at beginning of the first game,
the order begins with X�A�Y�B or Y�B�X�A in the second game depending on either X
or Y being chosen as the first server of the game. That means the first receiver of
the game is the player who served to the first server of the game in the preceding
game. In each game of a doubles match, the pair having the right to serve first
shall choose which of them will do so. The receiving pair, however, can only choose
in the first game of the match.
When a pair reaches 5 points in the final game, the pairs must switch ends of the
table and change the receiver to reverse the order of play. For example, when the
last order of play before a pair score 5 points in the final game is A�X�B�Y, the
order after change shall be A�Y�B�X if A still has the second serve. Otherwise, X
is the next server and the order becomes X�A�Y�B.

Men's doubles. Brothers Dmitry Mazunov and Andrey Mazunov in 1989.

Women's doubles finals, 2013 World Table Tennis Championships.

Mixed doubles finals, 2013 World Table Tennis Championships.

Expedite system
If a game is unfinished after 10 minutes' play and fewer than 18 points have been
scored, the expedite system is initiated.[38] The umpire interrupts the game, and
the game resumes with players serving for one point in turn. If the expedite system
is introduced while the ball is not in play, the previous receiver shall serve
first. Under the expedite system, the server must win the point before the opponent
makes 13 consecutive returns or the point goes to the opponent. The system can also
be initiated at any time at the request of both players or pairs. Once introduced,
the expedite system remains in force until the end of the match. A rule to shorten
the time of a match, it is mainly seen in defensive players' games.

Though table tennis players grip their rackets in various ways, their grips can be
classified into two major families of styles, penhold and shakehand.[44] The rules
of table tennis do not prescribe the manner in which one must grip the racket, and
numerous grips are employed.

The penhold grip is so-named because one grips the racket similarly to the way one
holds a writing instrument.[45] The style of play among penhold players can vary
greatly from player to player. The most popular style, usually referred to as the
Chinese penhold style, involves curling the middle, ring, and fourth finger on the
back of the blade with the three fingers always touching one another.[45] Chinese
penholders favour a round racket head, for a more over-the-table style of play. In
contrast, another style, sometimes referred to as the Japanese/Korean penhold grip,
involves splaying those three fingers out across the back of the racket, usually
with all three fingers touching the back of the racket, rather than stacked upon
one another.[45] Sometimes a combination of the two styles occurs, wherein the
middle, ring and fourth fingers are straight, but still stacked, or where all
fingers may be touching the back of the racket, but are also in contact with one
another. Japanese/Korean penholders will often use a square-headed racket for an
away-from-the-table style of play. Traditionally these square-headed rackets
feature a block of cork on top of the handle, as well as a thin layer of cork on
the back of the racket, for increased grip and comfort. Penhold styles are popular
among players originating from East Asian regions such as China, Taiwan, Japan, and
South Korea.

Traditionally, penhold players use only one side of the racket to hit the ball
during normal play, and the side which is in contact with the last three fingers is
generally not used. This configuration is sometimes referred to as "traditional
penhold" and is more commonly found in square-headed racket styles. However, the
Chinese developed a technique in the 1990s in which a penholder uses both sides of
the racket to hit the ball, where the player produces a backhand stroke (most often
topspin) known as a reverse penhold backhand by turning the traditional side of the
racket to face one's self, and striking the ball with the opposite side of the
racket. This stroke has greatly improved and strengthened the penhold style both
physically and psychologically, as it eliminates the strategic weakness of the
traditional penhold backhand.

Shakehand grip
Shakehand grip (forehand)
Shakehand grip (backhand)
The shakehand grip is so-named because the racket is grasped as if one is
performing a handshake.[46] Though it is sometimes referred to as the "tennis" or
"Western" grip, it bears no relation to the Western tennis grip, which was
popularized on the West Coast of the United States in which the racket is rotated
90�, and played with the wrist turned so that on impact the knuckles face the
target. In table tennis, "Western" refers to Western nations, for this is the grip
that players native to Europe and the Americas have almost exclusively employed.

The shakehand grip�s simplicity and versatility, coupled with the acceptance among
top-level Chinese trainers that the European style of play should be emulated and
trained against, has established it as a common grip even in China.[47] Many world
class European and Asian players currently use the shakehand grip, and it is
generally accepted that shakehands is easier to learn than penholder, allowing a
broader range of playing styles both offensive and defensive.[48]

The Seemiller grip is named after the American table tennis champion Danny
Seemiller, who used it. It is achieved by placing your thumb and index finger on
either side of the bottom of the racquet head and holding the handle with the rest
of your fingers. Since only one side of the racquet is used to hit the ball, two
contrasting rubber types can be applied to the blade, offering the advantage of
"twiddling" the racket to fool the opponent. Seemiller paired inverted rubber with
anti-spin rubber; many players today combine inverted and long-pipped rubber. The
grip is considered exceptional for blocking, especially on the backhand side, and
for forehand loops of backspin balls.[49] The Seemiller grip's popularity reached
its apex in 1985 when four (Danny Seemiller, Ricky Seemiller, Eric Boggan and Brian
Masters) of the United States' five participants in the World Championships used

Shakehand grip (Vladimir Samsonov)

Chinese penhold (Ma Lin)

Traditional penhold (Ryu Seung-min)

Types of strokes
Table tennis strokes generally break down into offensive and defensive categories.

Offensive strokes
A direct hit on the ball propelling it forward back to the opponent. This stroke
differs from speed drives in other racket sports like tennis because the racket is
primarily perpendicular to the direction of the stroke and most of the energy
applied to the ball results in speed rather than spin, creating a shot that does
not arc much, but is fast enough that it can be difficult to return. A speed drive
is used mostly for keeping the ball in play, applying pressure on the opponent, and
potentially opening up an opportunity for a more powerful attack.

Perfected during the 1960s,[1] the loop is essentially the reverse of the speed
drive. The racket is much more parallel to the direction of the stroke ("closed")
and the racket thus grazes the ball, resulting in a large amount of topspin. A good
loop drive will arc quite a bit, and once striking the opponent's side of the table
will jump forward, much like a kick serve in tennis.

The counter-hit is usually a counterattack against drives, normally high loop
drives. The racket is held closed and near to the ball, which is hit with a short
movement "off the bounce" (immediately after hitting the table) so that the ball
travels faster to the other side. A well-timed, accurate counter-drive can be as
effective as a smash.

When a player tries to attack a ball that has not bounced beyond the edge of the
table, the player does not have the room to wind up in a backswing. The ball may
still be attacked, however, and the resulting shot is called a flip because the
backswing is compressed into a quick wrist action. A flip is not a single stroke
and can resemble either a loop drive or a loop in its characteristics. What
identifies the stroke is that the backswing is compressed into a short wrist flick.

The offensive trump card is the smash. A player will typically execute a smash when
his or her opponent has returned a ball that bounces too high or too close to the
net. Smashing consists of using a large backswing and rapid acceleration to impart
as much speed on the ball as possible. The goal of a smash is to get the ball to
move so quickly that the opponent simply cannot return it. Because the ball speed
is the main aim of this shot, often the spin on the ball is something other than
topspin. Sidespin can be used effectively with a smash to alter the ball's
trajectory significantly, although most intermediate players will smash the ball
with little or no spin. An offensive table tennis player will think of a rally as a
build-up to a winning smash.

Defensive strokes
The push (or "slice" in Asia) is usually used for keeping the point alive and
creating offensive opportunities. A push resembles a tennis slice: the racket cuts
underneath the ball, imparting backspin and causing the ball to float slowly to the
other side of the table. While not obvious, a push can be difficult to attack
because the backspin on the ball causes it to drop toward the table upon striking
the opponent's racket. In order to attack a push, a player must usually loop the
ball back over the net. Often, the best option for beginners is to simply push the
ball back again, resulting in pushing rallies. Against good players, it may be the
worst option because the opponent will counter with a loop, putting the first
player in a defensive position. Another response to pushing is flipping the ball
when it is close to the net. Pushing can have advantages in some circumstances,
such as when the opponent makes easy mistakes.

A chop is the defensive, backspin counterpart to the offensive loop drive.[50] A
chop is essentially a bigger, heavier push, taken well back from the table. The
racket face points primarily horizontally, perhaps a little bit upward, and the
direction of the stroke is straight down. The object of a defensive chop is to
match the topspin of the opponent's shot with backspin. A good chop will float
nearly horizontally back to the table, in some cases having so much backspin that
the ball actually rises. Such a chop can be extremely difficult to return due to
its enormous amount of backspin. Some defensive players can also impart no-spin or
sidespin variations of the chop.

The block is a simple shot, but nonetheless can be devastating against an attacking
opponent. A block is executed by simply placing the racket in front of the ball
right after the ball bounces; thus, the ball rebounds back toward the opponent with
nearly as much energy as it came in with. This requires precision, since the ball's
spin, speed, and location all influence the correct angle of a block. It is very
possible for an opponent to execute a perfect loop, drive, or smash, only to have
the blocked shot come back at him just as fast. Due to the power involved in
offensive strokes, often an opponent simply cannot recover quickly enough, and will
be unable to return the blocked shot. Blocks almost always produce the same spin as
was received, many times topspin. Depending on the spin of the ball, the block may
be returned to an unexpected side of the table. This may come to your advantage, as
the opponent may not expect this.

The defensive lob is possibly the most impressive shot, since it propels the ball
about five metres in height, only to land on the opponent's side of the table with
great amounts of spin.[51] To execute, a defensive player first backs-off the table
4�6 meters; then, the stroke itself consists of lifting the ball to an enormous
height before it falls back to the opponent's side of the table. A lob is
inherently a creative shot, and can have nearly any kind of spin. Top-quality
players use this to their advantage in order to control the spin of the ball. For
instance, though the opponent may smash the ball hard and fast, a good defensive
lob could be more difficult to return due to the unpredictability and heavy amounts
of the spin on the ball.[51] Thus, though backed off the table by tens of feet and
running to reach the ball, a good defensive player can still win the point using
good lobs. However, at the professional level, lobbers will lose the point most of
the time, so the lob is not used unless it is really necessary.

Effects of spin
Adding spin onto the ball causes major changes in table tennis gameplay. Although
nearly every stroke or serve creates some kind of spin, understanding the
individual types of spin allows players to defend against and use different spins

4 phases in a backspin curve

Backspin is where the bottom half of the ball is rotating away from the player, and
is imparted by striking the base of the ball with a downward movement.[52] At the
professional level, backspin is usually used defensively in order to keep the ball
low.[53] Backspin is commonly employed in service because it is harder to produce
an offensive return, though at the professional level most people serve sidespin
with either backspin or topspin. Due to the initial lift of the ball, there is a
limit on how much speed with which one can hit the ball without missing the
opponent's side of the table. However, backspin also makes it harder for the
opponent to return the ball with great speed because of the required angular
precision of the return. Alterations are frequently made to regulations regarding
equipment in an effort to maintain a balance between defensive and offensive spin
choices.[citation needed] It is actually possible to smash with backspin
offensively, but only on high balls that are close to the net.

4 phases in a topspin curve

The topspin stroke has a smaller influence on the first part of the ball-curve.
Like the backspin stroke, however, the axis of spin remains roughly perpendicular
to the trajectory of the ball thus allowing for the Magnus effect to dictate the
subsequent curvature. After the apex of the curve, the ball dips downwards as it
approaches the opposing side, before bouncing. On the bounce, the topspin will
accelerate the ball, much in the same way that a wheel which is already spinning
would accelerate upon making contact with the ground. When the opponent attempts to
return the ball, the topspin causes the ball to jump upwards and the opponent is
forced to compensate for the topspin by adjusting the angle of his or her racket.
This is known as "closing the racket". The speed limitation of the topspin stroke
is minor compared to the backspin stroke. This stroke is the predominant technique
used in professional competition because it gives the opponent less time to
respond. In table tennis topspin is regarded as an offensive technique due to
increased ball speed, lower bio-mechanical efficiency and the pressure that it puts
on the opponent by reducing reaction time. (It is possible to play defensive
topspin-lobs from far behind the table, but only highly skilled players use this
stroke with any tactical efficiency.) Topspin is the least common type of spin to
be found in service at the professional level, simply because it is much easier to
attack a top-spin ball that is not moving at high speed.

This type of spin is predominantly employed during service, wherein the contact
angle of the racket can be more easily varied. Unlike the two aforementioned
techniques, sidespin causes the ball to spin on an axis which is vertical, rather
than horizontal. The axis of rotation is still roughly perpendicular to the
trajectory of the ball. In this circumstance, the Magnus effect will still dictate
the curvature of the ball to some degree. Another difference is that unlike
backspin and topspin, sidespin will have relatively very little effect on the
bounce of the ball, much in the same way that a spinning top would not travel left
or right if its axis of rotation were exactly vertical. This makes sidespin a
useful weapon in service, because it is less easily recognized when bouncing, and
the ball "loses" less spin on the bounce. Sidespin can also be employed in
offensive rally strokes, often from a greater distance, as an adjunct to topspin or
backspin. This stroke is sometimes referred to as a "hook". The hook can even be
used in some extreme cases to circumvent the net when away from the table.

Players employ this type of spin almost exclusively when serving, but at the
professional level, it is also used from time to time in the lob. Unlike any of the
techniques mentioned above, corkspin (or "drill-spin") has the axis of spin
relatively parallel to the ball's trajectory, so that the Magnus effect has little
or no effect on the trajectory of a cork-spun ball: upon bouncing, the ball will
dart right or left (according to the direction of the spin), severely complicating
the return. In theory this type of spin produces the most obnoxious effects, but it
is less strategically practical than sidespin or backspin, because of the
limitations that it imposes upon the opponent during their return. Aside from the
initial direction change when bouncing, unless it goes out of reach, the opponent
can counter with either topspin or backspin. A backspin stroke is similar in the
fact that the corkspin stroke has a lower maximum velocity, simply due to the
contact angle of the racket when producing the stroke. To impart a spin on the ball
which is parallel to its trajectory, the racket must be swung more or less
perpendicular to the trajectory of the ball, greatly limiting the forward momentum
that the racket transfers to the ball. Corkspin is almost always mixed with another
variety of spin, since alone, it is not only less effective but also harder to

Competitive table tennis is popular in East Asia and Europe, and has been[vague]
gaining attention in the United States.[54] The most important international
competitions are the World Table Tennis Championships, the Table Tennis World Cup,
the Olympics and the ITTF World Tour. Continental competitions include the

European Championships
Europe Top-16
the Asian Championships
the Asian Games
Chinese players have won 60% of the men's World Championships since 1959;[55] in
the women's competition for the Corbillin Cup, Chinese players have won all but
three of the World Championships since 1971.[56] Other strong teams come from East
Asia and European countries, including Austria, Belarus, Germany, Hong Kong,
Portugal, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sweden, and Taiwan.[57]

There are also professional competitions at the clubs level; the respective leagues
of Austria, Belgium, China (specifically, the China Table Tennis Super League),
France, Germany and Russia are examples of the highest level. There are also some
important international club teams competitions such as the European Champions
League and its former competitor,[vague] the European Club Cup, where the top club
teams from European countries compete.

Notable players
For a more comprehensive list, see List of table tennis players.
An official hall of fame exists at the ITTF Museum.[58] A Grand Slam is earned by a
player who wins singles crowns at Olympic Games, World Championships, and World
Cup.[59] Jan-Ove Waldner of Sweden first completed the grand slam at 1992 Olympic
Games. Deng Yaping of China is the first female recorded at the inaugural Women's
World Cup in 1996.

Name Gender Nationality Times won

Olympics World Championships World Cup
Jan-Ove Waldner Male Sweden SWE 1 (1992) 2 (1989, 1997) 1 (1990) [60]
Deng Yaping Female China China 2 (1992, 1996) 3 (1991, 1995, 1997) 1
(1996) [61]
Liu Guoliang Male China China 1 (1996) 1 (1999) 1 (1996) [62]
Kong Linghui Male China China 1 (2000) 1 (1995) 1 (1995) [63]
Wang Nan Female China China 1 (2000) 3 (1999, 2001, 2003) 4 (1997,
1998, 2003, 2007) [64]
Zhang Yining Female China China 2 (2004, 2008) 2 (2005, 2009) 4
(2001, 2002, 2004, 2005) [65]
Zhang Jike Male China China 1 (2012) 2 (2011, 2013) 2 (2011, 2014) [66]
Li Xiaoxia Female China China 1 (2012) 1 (2013) 1 (2008) [67]
Ding Ning Female China China 1 (2016) 3 (2011, 2015, 2017) 2 (2011,
2014) [68]
Ma Long Male China China 1 (2016) 2 (2015, 2017) 2 (2012, 2015)
Jean-Philippe Gatien (France) and Wang Hao (China) won both the World Championships
and the World Cup, but lost in the gold medal matches at the Olympics. J�rgen
Persson (Sweden) also won the titles except the Olympic Games. Persson is one of
the three table tennis players to have competed at seven Olympic Games. Ma Lin
(China) won both the Olympic gold and the World Cup, but lost (three times, in
1999, 2005, and 2007) in the finals of the World Championships.

Main category: Table tennis organizations
Founded in 1926, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is the worldwide
governing body for table tennis, which maintains an international ranking system in
addition to organizing events like the World Table Tennis Championships.[12] In
2007, the governance for table tennis for persons with a disability was transferred
from the International Paralympic Committee to the ITTF.[69]

On many continents, there is a governing body responsible for table tennis on that
continent. For example, the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) is the governing
body responsible for table tennis in Europe.[70] There are also national bodies and
other local authorities responsible for the sport, such as USA Table Tennis
(USATT), which is the national governing body for table tennis in the United

See also
International Table Tennis Federation
List of ITTF Pro Tour winners
List of table tennis players
Glossary of table tennis
Disability table tennis classification
Table squash
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External links
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