Most sports will require some kind of skill or some form of characteristics that will make playing a little bit easier. Height for example is an advantage when it comes to basketball as players who are tall can easily get to the baskets. Bowling, on the other hand, requires strength of the arm as well as steadiness because the bowling ball can be really heavy. Chess needs a mind that thinks strategy and end game while those who are involved with gymnastics will need flexibility and coordination. Although all these can actually be learned through constant practice, there are still people who seem to play these sports so naturally.
Table tennis, however is one of those sports that seem to require no prerequisite conditions. Everything can actually be learned through practice, including the speed of the reflexes.
The start of the game
Similar to the beginnings of other sports, Table Tennis also began as a social activity. It is actually quite similar to tennis and to badminton except that instead of a lawn or a court with a net in the middle, table tennis has well… a table. In fact, Fred Perry, a World Champion in the sport went on to became a champion in Tennis. That’s how related these games are.
During the second half of the 19th century, the game gained popularity in England and even had various names such as Gossima and Whiff-Whaff. But of course, the name Table Tennis caught on. The name Ping Pong also became really popular.
Purportedly, the word ping pong came from the sound of the ball as it strikes the table and the rackets. But unlike other sports games, which are played primarily outdoors, table tennis became really popular as an leisure activity for the family. In fact, in the early 19th century, it is often played as an after-dinner activity during parties.
Between the periods 1905 to 1910, the craze for the ping pong spread through Central Europe and eventually to Asian countries like Japan, China and Korea.
After a period of waning interests, table tennis was once again revived in England, particularly in Wales by the early 1920s. This time, the name table tennis was officially used while ping pong became a trademark. At this time, national associations of players of table tennis were formed and rules about the game were standardized, not only in the country but in Europe and in the Far East as well.
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Over the next years up until now, table tennis has become a worldwide sensation. By a recent accounting, the sports has about 30 million competitive players all over the world. Since leisure players are not part of that figure, one can just imagine the extent of the sport’s success.
There are actually few changes in the rules of the game since its inception. It however became, faster and more demanding than before, with players becoming more skillful with their games and faster with their reflexes. Among the changes that occur through the years are: the height of the net in the middle of the table, some rules in serving and tie-breaking matches.
These changes are only made in the biennial meeting of the International Table Tennis Federation to ensure that rules are standardized all over the world. In addition, changes are not implemented until a vote of majority is reached.