I grew up playing table tennis in my parents' basement. Before we got a table one year for Christmas, it was one of the highlights of going to my grandparents' house. Whether we were actually playing the game or just hitting random balls at each other is another story.
Eventually, I'd move around the country, but even then, I never seemed to find myself far from a table (the above picture was taken outside of my apartment in Southern California).
What I didn't know then that I do now is just how popular table tennis is worldwide. According to the site Ping Sunday, there are more than 350 million players and fan across the globe. That's a lot of people!
The International Table Tennis Federation or ITTF has 226 country associations, and table tennis was the most watched sport by the Chinese at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
It makes sense, as 7 out of the 15 Olympic medals handed out in 2020 went to the Chinese. Ma Long won the men's singles title, while Chen Meng captured gold on the women's side.
While table tennis continues to grow in popularity, I had some questions that I wanted to get answers to. Today, we go on a fact-finding mission to learn more about the 8th most popular sport in the world.
Is the term "Ping-Pong" Offensive?
The short answer here is "no," ping-pong is not an offensive term, and here's why:
When used appropriately to refer to the sport itself, "ping-pong" is considered a neutral, non-offensive term. It is routinely included in rulebooks, tournament names, and table tennis organizations.
Why is Table Tennis so Popular in China?
What are the 5 Basic Rules of Ping-Pong?
While we've probably all played some version of ping-pong, I'd be lying if I said I know all the formal rules. Rather than rattle off multiple pages, the key points can pretty much be summed up in these 5 statements.
Are Ping-Pong and Table Tennis the Same?
So, while the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some differences. In general, ping-pong refers to more informal, recreational play, while table tennis denotes professional, regulated competitive play at the highest levels.
Why do Table Tennis Players say "Cho"?
There are a few reasons why table tennis players might say "cho" while playing:
Are There Any Great Table Tennis Books?
Admittedly, there haven't been many published on the sport, but I do have two recommendations.
1. 100 Days of Table Tennis
Dubina is a former pro and used to run a table tennis academy in the state of Ohio. For full disclosure, he was recently arrested, and while I don't know any details regarding his case, I'll let you make the decision about his book.
2. Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers
Hodges is a USATT Certified National Coach and Hall of Famer and knows a thing or two about the sport. This is a super-informative book that will challenge how you think about the game.
Table tennis or ping-pong is a tremendous "life sport," that is easy to play recreationally, and good way to burn a few calories with a friend.
Several years ago, I was at a "ping-pong bar," and I noticed comedian Frank Caliendo in a heated match with a friend. Frank was actually pretty good, and I've always been a fan of his comedy, especially his Jon Gruden bits.
I hope you enjoyed today's piece. For more articles, please check out the rest of our Blog.
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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