On the Sideline: Table Tennis

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, has been an Olympic sport since 1988. In table tennis, a 40mm celluloid ball is hit back and forth on a table from one player to another. The players can only hit the ball with a paddle.

A game is scored by a point system; the first player to score 11 points wins the game. The first player to win three games wins the match. Previously, the rule was 21 points, but that was changed eight years ago by the International Table Tennis Federation, the governing body for table tennis.

A player receives a point when his opponent is unable to return the ball correctly. A player must hit the ball over the net and bounce it on his opponent’s side. A table tennis match begins with a serve, where a player must hit the ball so it bounces on his side of the table and then his opponent’s. A table tennis serve can be as fast as 70 mph.

Table tennis was created in England during the late 19th century. The game was intended to be a smaller version of tennis that could be played indoors. What originally began as a novelty slowly grew into a widely accepted Olympic sport.

Moving from the beginner level to the Olympic level, the ball is returned faster and with more spin. Spin is when the ball is hit in such a way that the motion and trajectory of the ball are changed. There are several types of spin, but the two predominate types are topspin and backspin, or under-spin.

Topspin is more offensive and allows the player to hit the ball harder then curve it down towards the table and therefore faster.

Under-spin is more defensive than topspin and usually slower. The ball moves forward but when hit by the opponent, because of the spin, the ball will drop down more off his or her paddle and possibly into the net.

There is a ping pong table in Hainer and Gough residence halls for Eastern students to use. In addition, Eagle Hall has recently purchased a ping pong table and equipment for students.

If you would like to suggest an On The Sideline sport, contact the Waltonian’s sports editor, Chelsea Post, at cpost@eastern.edu

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