Difference between Table Tennis vs. Ping Pong

Difference between Table Tennis vs. Ping Pong

What is the difference between table tennis vs. ping pong? Are they the same or different?

Trust me! It’s not the same!

There are indeed many different rules between these two names. Many new players asked me this same question. Let’s me compare the difference between ping pong and table tennis right now.

Why is table tennis called ping pong?

Some players have posted on theguardian.com that “Table tennis and ping pong are exactly the same game”. But this is no longer true!

Ping-pong is a trademarked name for the game also known as table tennis. In 1901, John Jacques registered “Ping-Pong” as a trade name in England, then the rights were sold to Parker Brothers. Ping Pong is also called as “whiff-whaff” in England. Such a funny name 🙂

Before 2011, “Ping Pong” or “Table Tennis” is the same sport. Some recreational players tend to use “ping-pong” or “table tennis in the basement”. Amateur players consider “ping-pong” as a hobby. But serious players call it as table tennis exclusively and consider it as a sport. In general, Ping Pong relates to garage players, while Table Tennis is used by players that formally train in the sport.

Difference between Ping Pong vs. Table Tennis?

After 2011, Ping Pong is another sport. Nowadays, Ping Pong and table tennis are not the same. There is the World Championship of Ping Pong, organized every year in England. There is also the World Table Tennis Championship organized by ITTF. The Ping Pong event is held in London England (Alexandra’s Palace) hosted by Match Room (Barry Hearn’s) enterprise.

Ping Pong World Championship Event hosted in England
Ping Pong World Championship Event hosted in England
  • Equipment: Table tennis can use various type of equipment: pips-in, pips-out rubber, and no limit type of table tennis blade. However, Ping Pong use only one type of equipment: blue sandpaper bats. So in Ping Pong, every player uses the same equipment.
  • Rule: Table tennis plays best of 11 points, in 7 games. While ping pong plays 15 points best of 3 (except the semi-finals and the final which is best of five sets), with a sudden death point at 14 all and a double point ball played once on the serve. There is a special “double-point ball” that can be used once per match when serving, and it gives 2 points to the serving player if won, and 1 point to the receiving player. It is white instead of orange to mark this occasion.
  • Scoring: Score ends at 11 points with a difference of at least 2 points for Table Tennis. Score ends at 15. A final score of 15-14 is a winning score.
  • Playing style: Ping Pong use sandpaper which provides medium to slow speed and medium spin. Table tennis has a faster pace and a higher amount of spin. Table tennis has offensive and defensive playing style. Ping Pong can mix both playing-styles in a game.
Sandpaper paddle used in Ping Pong
Sandpaper paddle used in Ping Pong

Are ping pong and table tennis the same sport?

No! Table tennis and ping pong were originally the same sport. But nowadays, Ping Pong and Table Tennis are different! They are the two different sports. So Ping pong is no longer the informal American title of the game of table tennis. Here is the summary table of table tennis versus ping pong.

Table Tennis versus Ping Pong
Table Tennis Ping Pong
Trademarked No Yes
Amount of Spin Very high Little
Speed Very high Medium Slow
Type of service Many Little
Different types of paddles Yes No (same paddle)
Points per match 21 then 11 (now) 15
Olympics Sport Yes No
World Championship Yes Yes
Flexible Rules No Yes
Grand Slam players 5 0

 

Equipment for table tennis and ping pong

The main equipment difference: In Table Tennis, each person has their own customized paddle. In Ping Pong, the standard paddle used by all: sandpaper.

Equipment for ping pong players

Unlike table tennis, in Ping Pong, every player use the same equipment: Sandpaper paddle. If you love “Ping Pong” and want to buy a “Sandpaper paddle”, you can order it here. Advantages: 2 Sandpaper paddles at the cheap price + 5 Ply racket + Laminated layers.

Champion Sports Sandpaper Face 5ply Laminated Table Tennis Ping Pong Paddle red (2-Pack) One Size
Champion Sports Sandpaper Face 5ply Laminated Table Tennis Ping Pong Paddle red (2-Pack) One Size

Equipment for table tennis players

If you really want to be a “serious table tennis” player (not a ping pong player), don’t buy cheap, and low-quality equipment. But choose this, one of the best set-ups for the serious table tennis player. The racket + 2 sides rubbers are hand assembled by Butterfly Equipment Expert.

Butterfly Pro-Line Hand Assembled Professional Table Tennis Racket - Choose Your Professional Ping Pong Paddle Combination – Butterfly Table Tennis Blade – Butterfly Table Tennis Rubber – ITTF Approved Tournament Ping Pong Racket
Butterfly Pro-Line Hand Assembled Professional Table Tennis Racket – Choose Butterfly Table Tennis Blade – Butterfly Table Tennis Rubber – ITTF Approved Tournament Racket

Order the Professional table tennis combination, by Butterfly Expert here.

Who is the World Champion of Ping Pong?

From 2011 to 2014, the World Champion of Ping Pong is Maxim Shmyrev (RUS). The next two years (2015 to 2016), the champion is Andrew Baggaley (ENG). In 2017, the Chinese players started to interest to “Ping Pong”. The latest Ping Pong Champion is a Chinese “Yan Weihao”. He is only 20-year-old and comes from Nanking.

YAN IS WORLD CHAMPION OF PING PONG 2017
YAN IS WORLD CHAMPION OF PING PONG 2017

Who is the World Champion of Table Tennis?

As you see, table tennis and ping pong are not the same! So the World Champion of table tennis is also different. Here is the list of the Men’s World Champion of table tennis. They are the best table tennis players of all time!

  • 2003 Werner Schlager
  • 2005 Wang Liqin
  • 2007 Wang Liqin
  • 2009 Wang Hao
  • 2011 Zhang Jike
  • 2013 Zhang Jike
  • 2015 Ma Long
  • 2017 Ma Long
Schlager Werner is the World Champion of table tennis in 2003 Paris
Schlager Werner is the World Champion of table tennis in 2003 Paris

Table Tennis vs Ping Pong Player, Who Win?

Let’s watch the funny match between the Table Tennis Champion (Zhang Jike, Liu Guoliang) versus the Ping Pong Champion (Yan Weihao). They are using the hardbat (or sandpaper racket). Who will win?

 

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If you are a new player, learn the basic table tennis techniques here.

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5 thoughts on “Difference between Table Tennis vs. Ping Pong”

  1. What’s the benefit of using sand paper bats, are they recommended for beginners, please explain

  2. Thank you EmRatThich for another great article. I am a sponge player but also enjoy hardbat and sandpaper paddles, but only when both my and opponent and myself are playing with the same paddles.

    I feel that playing with the hardbat/ sandpaper paddles, the strokes are much more intuitive and simpler. And I think since I like hitting, rather than spinning, it feels good too.

    There is a good article by Scott Gordon who is a sponge player who plays hardbat full time against sponge players. He says that Table Tennis is the only sport where it is disconnected from it’s history which is hardbat. Whereas, in Baseball they have Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, etc and hold them up as heroes of the past. Our players regularly say that “We dont play that way anymore”, and we dont hold up those players of old such as Barna, Marty Reisman, or Dick Miles up as our heroes.

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