Ping Pong vs Table Tennis

Ping Pong vs Table Tennis – Is There a Difference?

Ping Pong vs Table Tennis remains a popular question among the enthusiasts of the game. Some call it Ping Pong, some Table Tennis.

In the UK, they call it Whiff-Whaff.

So, is there a difference between Ping Pong and Table Tennis or do they address the same game by different names?

Spoiler alert. Yes, there is!

Ping Pong vs Table Tennis

Up until 2011, they used to be the same sport, but not anymore.

There’s a significant difference between Ping Pong and Table Tennis as far as the rules are concerned.

Back in the day, Ping Pong was just an informal name for Table Tennis (in the US). Ping Pong is now a trademarked name for a totally different sport.

It was a term used by amateurs while Table Tennis was used by professionals.

The Difference Between Ping Pong and Table Tennis?

In England, they organize a Ping Pong World Championship every year. The event is usually held in Alexandra’s Palace in London.

On the other hand, ITTF organizes World Table Tennis Championship as well.

 Table TennisPing Pong
SpeedHighMedium to Slow
SpinHighMedium to Slow
Service VariationsManyFew
Different paddle types?YesNo
Olympic Sport?YesNo
World Championship?YesYes
Are Rules Flexible?NoYes
Points Per MatchWas 21, now 1115
Trademarked?NoYes

Not just the rules, the equipment/gear is also different. With Table Tennis, you can use pips-out, pips-in rubbers and various blades.

On the other hand, only Sandpaper paddles are used in Ping Pong. You can’t use these to compete in Table Tennis tournaments.

With Table Tennis, there’s a best of 7 games with 11 points in each (used to be 21 before). With Ping Pong, it’s 15 points per game.

It’s best of 3 in Ping Pong except for semifinals and finals where it’s 5.

Even with scoring in Table Tennis, you’ll need double points if the game goes to 11-11 (deuce). On the other hand, 15-14 is a winning score in Ping Pong.

Because of the nature of equipment used, there’s a lot of spin/speed and service combinations in TT. Because of this, it’s also more appealing to the audience.

With sandpaper paddles, it heavily limits what you can do. These use two laminated layers instead of the rubbers that Table Tennis paddles use.

For the same reason, Table Tennis paddles are a lot more expensive.

Ping Pong World Champion

So, who’s the world champion of Ping Pong?

Since its inception in 2011, there are a few countries that enjoy a complete monopoly in the sport.

Russia, England, and China seem to have a knack of winning Ping Pong games having produced several world champions over the years.

A 20 y/o Chinese player named Yan Weihao is the current champion.

Table Tennis World Champion

This list contains some of the best Table Tennis players of all time.

In Table Tennis, over the last several years, China has held the crown. 

Ma Long, one of their top ranked players, has won the championship 3 times in a row. As of this writing, he’s also #3 in world rankings.

Wrapping Up

That brings us to the end of this article.

Hopefully, after reading this brief piece, Ping Pong vs Table Tennis won’t be much of a debate anymore!

For a quick view, here’s a Ping Pong vs Table Tennis comparison table again:

 Table TennisPing Pong
SpeedHighMedium to Slow
SpinHighMedium to Slow
Service VariationsManyFew
Different paddle types?YesNo
Olympic Sport?YesNo
World Championship?YesYes
Are Rules Flexible?NoYes
Points Per MatchWas 21, now 1115
Trademarked?NoYes

These are totally different sports now.

There’s quite some difference between Table Tennis and Ping Pong, yet they share a lot in common (grips for example).

Both have Championships, one of them is now trademarked. They both use blades even though with Ping Pong, you’re limited to an extent.

Audiences tend to enjoy Table Tennis more because there’s different serves, different paddles. Variable spin/speed add an element of excitement.

Ping Pong is usually slower because of the flat rackets, but they help with long rallies. If you fancy long rallies, you’ll enjoy Ping Pong better.

Have you played either of these Table sports?

If you have, how did you like them?

Let us know by leaving a quick comment down below!