FAQs — ABOUT THE GAME

Q. "Table Tennis" vs. "Ping Pong"– what's the diff?

A.  It's a common question, for good reason: Both terms have been around for more than a century, and both refer to exactly the same game. Since its early days as a casual pastime invented by English colonials in India in the 1800s, it's been referred to as Whiff Whaff, Flim Flam, Gossima, Ping Pong, and other zany names. "Ping Pong" (or "Ping-Pong") caught on and was trademarked by an English sports equipment maker in 1901, who eventually transferred the rights to Parker Brothers in the U.S.  But by the 1920s, international growth of the sport demanded an official, generic name, and in 1926 the International Table Tennis Federation was born.  "Table Tennis" has been the official name of the sport ever since. Still, "Ping Pong" is widely used by recreational (and sometimes serious) players.  

Q. WHere does the ball have to land on a serve? How many points in a game? what are the official rules?

A.  A served ball can land ANYWHERE on your opponent’s side of the table – in singles. But to save time, we’ve compiled all of the essential rules of table tennis in an easy list. They’re boiled down from the official rules of table tennis from USA Table Tennis, the national governing body of the sport in the U.S.

Q. How should i stand when i play? (what’s the proper stance?)

The basic “ready stance” you’ll see the pros use is a wide, low, bent-knees position. Similar to a basketball player getting ready to defend an opponent dribbling the ball at them. And for right handers, your right foot should be slightly farther away from the table than your left. Reverse for lefties. This aids in setting up your forehand stroke. Especially when receiving serve, being low helps your visual perspective in reading the spin and trajectory of the incoming ball. And your legs are already “spring loaded” to launch in any direction quickly as needed. Also, as former world champion Tybie Sommer has said: “Bending your knees is important but it won’t help at all if you’re still flat-footed! You gotta keep your weight forward, on your toes!” Your arms should be relaxed but not limp, held in front of you for balance, and your paddle hand should be roughly in the middle of your body, in front of you, ready to swing back either way to initiate a backhand or forehand stroke.

NOTE: The stance varies throughout the rally, and various playing styles may dictate different stance adjustments (higher/lower, more right/left for offensive, defensive, backhand-oriented, etc.). But whatever your style, always try to “reset” yourself to ready position after you hit each ball.

Q. WHERE CAN I PLAY PING PONG IN MY TOWN?

A.  If you live in a large U.S. city you may have one or more good options relatively close to you. As a first step, try the listing of USA Table Tennis Member Clubs, which is searchable by state. There are more than 200 clubs listed there, all in good standing with governing body USATT. Many of these clubs have a good number of tables, a range of player skill levels, opportunities for training with a coach, and will welcome new blood into their communities! If you don't have luck with USATT's listing, don't despair. Searching other social platforms like Meetup.com or Yelp for ping pong can yield some unexpected results. Also, many churches and temples might have a table or two hidden away, and you may find willing players if you ask around (or better yet, volunteer to organize a game night!).

FAQs — ABOUT PONGFIT

Q. Where does Pongfit operate?

A.  PongFit is based in Los Angeles, but we engage with a worldwide community. Our actual programs are mainly in California, but we can set up school, corporate, and community events throughout the U.S. And someday, overseas. Learn about some of our activities.

Q. How can i get pongfit to come to my school or company, and what would you do for us?

A.  Contact us about your organization, and we can talk about creating a custom program for you: A one-day exhibition, an eight-week instructional series, a teamwork volunteering event, or tournament, depending on your situation and goals. We’d love to hear from you!

  

Q. HOW ARE DONATIONS TO PONGFIT USED?

A.  Your generous donations go directly to funding our operations in schools, workplaces, senior citizen facilities, and special events. We offer free equipment, instruction, and fitness guidance to underserved communities that don't have many fun, safe, and social places to engage in a healthy activity like ping pong. And remember, PongFit is a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit, so your donations are fully tax deductible. Donate today!