Table Tennis

What’s the deal?

This is not your basement rec room version of ping pong. This is a high-speed, blink-and-you-miss-it sport that requires amazing focus and reflexes.

Players paddle a ball back and forth on a net-divided table, trying to hit it in such a way that their opponent can’t return it. Stymie your opponent, and you get a point. First to 11 points wins, though if tied at 10-10 you have to win by a two-point margin. Winning a match requires winning the best out of 7 games.

In the four-person team competition, it’s the best of 5 games, but that’s 4 singles and 1 doubles game.

Who’s competing?

Men and women have their own individual and team competitions.

Why should I watch?

Give table tennis 30 seconds, and you’ll be hooked. The speed and agility of these athletes is really unbelievable, and the ball moves so quickly you may not understand how players can hit it. And then you’ll realize that maybe you own a table and decide to dust it off and get your game on.

Potential drinking game:

Every time a player serves into the net (a fault), drink.

The perfect snack:

Cheese balls



The International Table Tennis Federation is the international governing body of the sport, and here you can find out some basics, including a web series on the basics.

Prefer to be on the other side of the table? Table tennis requires referees and umpires in order to keep games running smoothly. If you want to learn more about officiating table tennis, check out this site and then your national organization for how to get involved.

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