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A Beginner’s Guide to Table Tennis

A Beginner's Guide to Table Tennis
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While everything about the sport might appear miniature – the balls, the rackets, the size of the table – don’t be fooled. Table tennis has enough visual clout to cram an IMAX screen.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

Players use rackets to hit a light, hollow ball across a table divided into two halves by a net.

Players must allow the ball played toward them only one bounce on their side of the table before returning it to the opposite side.

Points are scored when a player fails to return the ball within the rules, including failing to make a correct service, failing to make a correct return, striking the ball twice or moving the playing surface.

All matches in the Singles events are best of seven games, while the Doubles and Team events are best of five games. A game is won by the player first scoring 11 points or more with a lead of at least two points.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE WATCHING TABLE TENNIS

Table tennis is the world’s largest participation sport with 40 million competitive table tennis players and countless millions playing recreationally. To compete at an international level athletes need reflexes so sharp it appears they have a sixth sense.

Some players rely on attacking shots to outwit opponents, while others are content to soak up the pressure – playing defensively before turning the tables with an explosive change of pace.

TABLE TENNIS PUB QUIZ ROUND

  • Singapore’s Jia Wei Li is the most successful Commonwealth athlete in table tennis, with six Gold medals to date. 
  • Table tennis first appeared on the Commonwealth Games programme in Manchester 2002. 
  • 32 teams competed for medals in Delhi 2010.

KNOW YOUR TABLE TENNIS TERMINOLOGY

  • Blade – the flat, rigid part of the racket used for striking the ball. 
  • Loop – an attacking shot often played with topspin. 
  • Penhold – a type of grip where the racket is held as if it were a pen. 
  • Let – occurs when the result is not scored. As well as service, a let can be called if play is interrupted. 
  • Time-out – each player may claim a time-out of up to one minute during a match.

 

The Glasgow XX Commonwealth Games are now over. This website is closed and for reference purposes only. Some external links may no longer work. For the latest news and information, please visit the Commonwealth Games Federation website.