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An Introduction to Table Tennis

Table tennis as a sport has been around for more than a century. Although table tennis, or "ping pong", started out as just a fun game to play indoors, it grew into a serious sport, especially in Asian countries like China. It is now also an Olympic sport.

People who are interesting in taking up the sport for recreational play or competitively should be aware of the basic aspects and rules of the game, some of which are discussed below:

1. Each player needs a table tennis paddle. The paddle is to table tennis what a racket is to tennis. It is made of wood, and the striking surfaces, known as blades, are to be covered with rubber, usually colored black on one side and red on the other. Interestingly though, the paddle may be any size, shape and weight, the only stipulation is that the blade must be flat and rigid.

In tournaments, the umpire will inspect the players' paddles to see that there are no tears or any damage to the rubber that might affect the way the ball bounces off of the blade of the paddle. Typically players are not allowed to replace their paddles during the match.

2. The table tennis table should measure 9 feet in length and 5 feet in width and be 2 feet 6 inches above the floor. This is made of timber, and is usually painted dark green with 3/4 inch wide white lines painted along the edge. There is also a 1/8 inch wide white line down the middle for use in doubles games. Players must keep the ball inside these markings much like in tennis.

3. A net divides the table into two courts of equal size. The net should measure 6 inches in height. The net is anchored to a post on each side of the table, which can be up to 6 inches outside the side lines.

4. When the ball is served, it must first hit the table on the server's side of the net and then bounce over the net and hit the table on the other side. If the ball hits the net or goes off the edge of the table, without hitting the table, it is a lost point. If the ball hits the net but goes over and hits the table on the other side, it's a let serve and the server gets another chance.

5. When playing doubles, the server is requires to serve the ball so that it bounces on the other side of the net, in the opposite half of the table from which he is serving from. Each player serves the ball 5 times, which result in a score, and then the serving duties rotates to the next player.

6. Matches are divided into sets, which are usually played until one player scores 21 points, and leads by 2 points. A match is typically won by the player to win 2 sets. During tournaments the specific scoring rules will be set beforehand.

Table tennis can is played by 2 people against each other, or 4 people as two pairs. The rules in both are similar except for serving.

Table tennis is a fun and exciting sport to play or watch. Knowing the rules and the other details of the game, will help you enjoy the game.

Evert DuToit is the webmaster and publisher of Table Tennis Facts, where you can find information and tips about table tennis, like The History of Table Tennis. Table Tennis Facts is located at www.tabletennisfacts.com/.

Source: www.articlesbase.com