Table Tennis vs Ping Pong – Same or Different Sport?

Table tennis and ping pong are two identical games played on a table divided into two equal portions with a net in the middle of the table. Tabletennis consists of two players being the opponents positioned on either side of the court.

Pingpong and table tennis are the kind of games requiring very less equipment but a lot of practice to have a winning grip over the game. Also, read the How To Hold A Ping Pong Paddle?

There is a total of three types of equipment required to play table tennis or ping pong. This equipment includes a racket, a ball, and a table.

The rules are quite simple and obligatory to follow by the players.

  • Stroke must be made in such a way that it bounces first on his side and then bounces once on the opponent’s side before the opponent hits it.
  • When a player shoots the ball that it doesn’t bounce on the opponent’s side, a point is given to the other player.
  • Players must be extremely prompt, responsive, and quick in decision-making to strike the best shot within the game rules.
  • A tip given by the experts includes the techniques involved in spinning the ball, giving a false impression to the opponent that might prove the winning technique.

Table Tennis and ping pong are very identical games. However, both the games have slight differences based on which different names know the games.

Moreover, world organizations approve and recognize table tennis and ping pong.

Table tennis is approved internationally by International Table Tennis Federation, an organization founded in 1926. The International Table Tennis Federation consists of 226 sub-associations that govern and manage the rules and regulations of table tennis.

The historical dissimilarity between Table Tennis and Ping-Pong:

The origin of table tennis was from England back in the 20th century, and at the beginning, it was also well-known for ping pong. Soon after 1926, ping pong evolved into a more professional version and got the name table tennis by International Table Tennis Federation.

Table tennis is almost similar to ping-pong without any difference in in-game rules and regulations. However, the main difference lies in the perception of how people conceive them.

Table tennis has gained popularity in the serious version in terms of a competitive side. This means that Table tennis is taken more seriously as being played in leagues and national cup tournaments worldwide and also in International Tournaments.

Pingpong is essentially the same game like table tennis but is known to be an informal and fun game instead of seriously played tournaments.

Major differences:

Invention and Purpose:

Pingpong was invented earlier and played in an informal way for the sake of fun and entertainment. However, table tennis is much of a professionally played game with competitive nature and is played worldwide.

Trade Name and promotion:

The original trade name was ping-pong but later on, assigned to table tennis which sounds more competitive for the sake of its popularity and promotion.

Rules and equipment:

Pingpong and table tennis have the same rules. The name ping-pong originated from the sound made by the ball when it touches the racket. The sound varied slightly from the type of material used in the racket. Initially, the ping pong association took hold of the equipment supplied everywhere, and the name remained ping pong. Afterward, when other brands started manufacturing the ping pong equipment and sound started varying, then the word table tennis came into being. Then the Table Tennis Association was formed, which took over the Pingpong Association, and hence Table Tennis name was registered officially for National and International Tournaments.


Ball size and material:

Since different companies started manufacturing equipment for Table tennis and Pingpong, the ball’s material and size also keep on varying with time.

The size of a table tennis ball is almost 27 millimeters, whereas the size of a ping-pong ball is approximately 25 millimeters in diameter.

Racket material and Racket exchange rule:

One of the most noticed variations between the two games is the material used on the rackets of ping pong and table tennis bats. The ping pong bat is covered with a hard textured material (more like sandpaper), giving more friction to the bat while hitting the shot. That’s the reason ping pong is not played professionally. The textured bat makes the game slower and less competitive.

Whereas the table tennis bat is made with an outer layer of rubber or soft plastic material, making it less friction. The ball bounces promptly and quickly toward the opponent, causing the game very entertaining to watch and competitive to play.

Moreover, the rubber material makes it more tricky to spin the ball for the new players giving an advantage to the expert and old players.

Apart from the racket material, another difference lies a strange rule of ping pong wherein while playing the match. The players can anytime be suggested to exchange their rackets for knocking out the biasdness of the equipment used. This rule makes the game more reliable and pure.

Whereas, in table tennis, the players are allowed to use rackets of their own choice individually made with any of the material, either rubber or sponge.

table tennis Racket

The double bounce versus single bounce rule:

– Considering the rules, according to research this has not yet been proved that either the rules for ping-pong and table tennis are exactly the same or vary in some way. However, one of the experts has said that there is a difference in one rule, where the number of balls bouncing in ping-pong and table tennis varies. An expert in England says that in ping-pong, the ball bounces twice in such a way that the first time it bounces before making the stroke, and the second time it bounces again within his range before crossing the net. This way, the ball is bounced twice before reaching the opponent’s side.

This difference in the rule is commonly known as the double bounce versus the single bounce rule. It is considered the major difference between the two games, making them unidentical. Also, read the Best Ping Pong Robots.

However, many other experts say that this double versus single bounce rule is of no meaning and does not exist. There is no major difference in the rues.

The difference in the Serve technique:

– Another difference between ping pong and table tennis games is the serving technique. In table tennis, it is mandatory to bounce the ball to the height of a minimum of 6 Inches while doing the service. However, in ping pong, it is not mandatory, and the player can serve from a hand’s height.

Table to show the difference between Tennis and Ping Pong

Table Tennis vs Ping Pong


Considering the history, equipment types, and rules of both table tennis and ping-pong, it can be concluded that both table tennis and ping-pong games cannot be considered the same. It can be said that table tennis and ping-pong are identical games sharing the historical background and playing rules, but each game has its own specialty. Also, read the How to Replace Table Tennis Rubber?

In simple words, it is said that when ping-pong was invented initially, the game was for the sake of fun and played by gentlemen with their families and friends. However, later on, the money-making companies made it more of a competitive and professional sport.

Frequently asked questions:

1- How long do table tennis, and pinging tournaments would take?

Table tennis lasts for hours until one of the players reaches 11 points.

However, in ping pong, the match lasts for 5 games and is also played until 11 points are secured by any of the players. The one who scores 11 points before the opponent would be the winner. If one player secures 10 points, it will be called a deuse in which the winner will be the one who gained two points in a lead.

2- Which was the longest table tennis game in history?

In 2017, a Chinese table tennis player named Ni Xialian won the award of playing the longest game at the World Tour Hybiome Austrian Open. The game lasted for 1 hour and 32 minutes. He was a 54-year-old player and had won several other trophies in the history of table tennis.

3- What is the material used in table tennis balls?

The material used in table tennis balls is basically soft plastic. Previously made with cellulite by the first equipment manufacturing brand, Comos, which was then overtaken by many other new brands who evolved the materials and designs of the equipment.

4- How long does it require for a player to be an expert at ping-pong?

Table tennis and Pingpong are types of sports that require long and back-breaking hours of practice. Usually, it is said that approximately 5-10 years are required to get a good grip on this game; however, it also depends upon the techniques and coaching tips. If the right techniques are adopted with consistent practice, the expert level expertise can be achieved within 3-5 years.

5- What is the legal procedure for a ping-pong service?

Legally, the ping pong serve should be made in such a way that the opponent would be able to view the ball as you are hitting the first serve. Ideally, the hand should be held high above the table net in the open palm of your hand. Once the ball is in the air and you hit it with the paddle, no other part of the body should come the hindrance of the opponent’s sight.

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