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The exact origin of table tennis is unknown. It begansometime in the 1890’s as a parlor game andswept the country as a craze which soon died down.

It became popular again in the 1920’s, and pingpong clubs were formed all over the world. The original name, Ping Pong, was a copyrighted trademark of Parker Brothers. Therefore, the name was changed to table tennis. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was formed in 1926.

As a parlor game, the sport was often played with cork balls and vellum racquets. (A vellum racquet had a type of rubber stretched on a twisted stick.)In the 1920’s, wooden racquets covered with rubber “pips” were first used. These were the first hard rubber racquets, and they were the most popular type of racquet used until the 1950’s.

During that time span, two playing styles dominated - hitters and choppers. Hitters basically hit everything, while choppers would back up ten or even twenty feet, returning everything with backspin. A player’s attack with hard rubber was severely limited and so more and more choppers dominated. This became a problem whenever two of them met since both would often just push the ball back and forth for hours, waiting for the other to attack and make an error. One match at the World Championships lasted over 12 hours. This was stopped by the advent of the expedite rule. See the enclosed Laws of Table Tennis for additional information on expedite.

In 1952, a relatively unknown Japanese player showed up at the World Championships with a strange new type of racquet. It was a wooden blade covered by a thick sheet of sponge. Using this racquet, he easily won the tournament, and table tennis has never been the same since.

Over the next ten years, nearly all top players switched to sponge coverings. Two types were developed, inverted and pips out. The inverted type enabled players to put far more spin on the ball. Both types made attacking and counter-attacking easier. The U. S., which was a table tennis power up until that time, was slow to make the change.

In the early 1960’s, players began to perfect sponge play. First they developed the loop shot and soon looping became the most popular style. Spin serves were developed, as was the lob.

Today, players from Sweden, France, China, Germany and Korea dominate international competition.

Copyright Larry Hodges

Copyright Mark Nordby, Dan Seemiller, John Oros

Copyright USA Table Tennis

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Last Update : 06 Kasım, 2002

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