A Brief History of table Tennis

The origins of table tennis, like so many other racket games, can be traced back to the forerunners of tennis. Externally, however, not much of it is recognizable anymore, because table tennis did not develop from classical tennis, but is a side branch, so to speak.

When you see today the top players, who are usually professionals, playing their dynamic sport, it seems strange that table tennis started as entertainment in the salons of the turn of the century. 

history of table tennis
Table Tennis in 1940

The idea of the game called ping pong

The idea was taken over from tennis, and in the beginning probably also the counting method. The shape of the racket was similar to the tennis racket at that time, only slightly smaller. Around 1910 “Ping-Pong”, as it was called, took its way as a competitive sport from the cafes and salons to the sports halls and rooms. Today, the percentage increase is of course much lower; but the popularity of the sport is unbroken, because with few games fun and fitness is so easy to get.

Table tennis is played on a relatively small playing field, which is a table, with a board-like racket over a low net. The rules are designed in such a way that a very fast, dynamic rebound game can be achieved with the correct equipment.

The device and the rules require a game that is the fastest and most responsive. This is one of the reasons why high-performance table tennis is almost synonymous with professional sport today. Above-average performance can only be achieved with at least 4 hours of training daily.

The low weight of the racket and ball also gives the less ambitious, children, beginners and older people the opportunity to exercise in a healthy and fun way.

The history of table tennis

As early as 1890, an Englishman named James Gibb invented the celluloid ball, and only a short time later, the first wooden racket was introduced. 

In the following time table tennis became more and more popular, although it was almost exclusively played in cafes and clubs. Most of the coffee must have been drunk by the English and Hungarians, at least they were the best table tennis players in the world at the beginning of the 19th century.

The First World War brought the development of table tennis to a standstill. Almost many years later new activities were started. The ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation), founded in 1926, managed to create general rules for the individual countries. Uniform and exact measurements for tables and nets were established and special guidelines were worked out about the nature of the ball. 

In 1952, the Japanese national table tennis team made its first appearance with pimpled rubbers at the World Championships in India. The European table tennis players had never played against such material before. Even today, and this brings us back to the present, most table tennis players still prefer these pimpled rubbers. Their way of playing cannot be compared with the way they were played in the past. They play much faster and seek their salvation in attack.