Table Tennis

Has table tennis changed since 1891?

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February 07, 2017 7:53PM

Table tennis started out as being played on a dining room table in England in the 1880s, using cigar box tops as blades (paddles) and wine corks as balls. It became very popular, and with one man's invention of rubber (it only had pips with no sponge back then) there became two categories: hitters and choppers. Hitters all-out hit the ball, and choppers just put underspin on the ball. In fact, one match lasted for 12 hours because of two choppers! Then, someone decided to play both and the all-round player was created. Later, someone thought of sponges (which are these floppy sponges, basically, attached to the rubber to make the ball travel faster) made the hitters more powerful. Then someone thought that there would be more spin on the ball if you flipped the pipped side upside down and had smooth rubber and sponges. Now, instead of using cork for balls, we use plastic balls filled with a flammable gas.

Table tennis is still changing with inventions like speed glue (which is all banned now anyway so don't use it in an official tournament) and Tenergy. Pips are still used to create an advantage (thought of by me and a few people as an unfair one) and there still are all-round players. Choppers (now created into a huge category called defensive players: choppers, loopers, blockers, and junkers (who use long pips). Hitters are now offensive players. And there are many companies that compete to make better equipment. Some of these are:

Tibhar, Donic, Stiga, Butterfly, Yasaka, and Hunter.

Butterfly is my favorite.

A ratings system has also developed, with the highest (at the moment) being 3159 held by Ma Long of China, and the lowest (at the moment) being 3, held by David Girdner of Kentucky.