What Is The Difference Between Ping Pong & Table Tennis?

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Table Tennis and Ping Pong have long been understood synonymous to each other. To talk about the look and the discussions about both the games that move around the world, you cannot, perhaps spot out many differences. But if you reach the depth of it, you’ll be able to mark a number of points that could separate Ping Pong from Table Tennis. 

To throw light on the very basic point that creates a line between Ping Pong and Table Tennis is the fact that Table Tennis is a game that is played mostly formally, while Ping Pong is regarded more as a recreational sport. This is where the differences begin. 

Did You Know? 

The Ping Pong ball can travel at a speed of 105.6 miles/ hr hitting the paddle. 

Crazy Fast!

To The Origins: 

The existence of Ping Pong has been traced much before Table Tennis as the history says some Victorians accidentally formulated this game, dragging in Tennis to the indoors to stay warm in the winter chills. 

The International Ping Pong Federation was also once registered in Berlin that had to go through some legal issues and the International Table Tennis Federation was then established, replacing the Ping Pong one. 

Since then, the officially played one is known as Table Tennis and the one played for a fun purpose is called Ping Pong.

Difference Between Ping Pong And Table Tennis: 

One can mark out the difference between Table Tennis and Ping Pong only when they look deep into their technicalities. The more you dig deep into the rules, paddles, table, way of playing, playing speed, and nature of playing, the better you understand what sets them both apart from each other. 


  • In Ping Pong, the game is for 15 points, unlike Table Tennis, where the game is for 11 points and the one to win needs to have a margin of 2 points. 
  • In Table Tennis, the player gets to serve twice before he/she passes it to the opponent. This is not so with Ping Pong. 
  • In Table Tennis, the ball needs to be white (mostly) as the game is played mainly in the tournament levels. Also, the players cannot wear skirts or pants in the color of the ball. For Ping Pong, you can wear anything, until it’s played just for recreational purposes and it doesn’t bother the game. 

Did You Know? 

The Ping Pong ball was 38 millimetres earlier.  Presently the standard size of the Ping Pong ball is 40 millimetres.

Game Pattern:

  • For Table Tennis, in a 7-plays game, the best of 11 points is played. Whereas, in Ping Pong, the best is for 15 points and 14 all is considered the instant death point. Also, in the finals and semi-finals of Ping Pong where the best of 5 decide on the winner.
  • As the game of Table Tennis is played officially, the ball needs to be thrown high up to 6 inches. For Ping Pong, however, where the games are not essentially formal, this number may vary. 


  • For a game of Ping Pong, the scores may reach up to 21 points and each player may get 5 serves. In Table Tennis, a player gets to serve twice in a game and the game may reach only to 11 points.
  • For a game of table tennis, any kind of a  customised paddle can be put into play, whereas only the blue sandpaper paddles are allowed in Ping Pong. 
  • The ball in Table Tennis is bigger than that of Ping Pong with a diameter of 3.4 mm, while the later has a diameter of 3.7 mm.

Did You Know? 

It would take exactly 390,625,000 balls of Ping Pong to fit into an Olympic swimming pool.


Much before the establishment of an official federation for the game, call it Ping Pong or Table Tennis(which then had to face legal issues to be established), the game of Ping Pong was being played. It began with an accidental discovery and became much popular all over the world. But to talk of the tournaments and championships, it’s only the official game, Table Tennis that offers these opportunities. There are various matches for both men and women, played in singles and doubles like men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles as well as mixed matches. 

Currently, approximately 140 nations are parts of the International Table Tennis Federation


To look onto the size of the tables and the look and feel of the game, Ping Pong and Table Tennis are not very different. If the official and non-officially logic is removed, we can clearly see that it’s the same game, with the same origin (which again has a number of controversies), only the travel through time has made them both separate. Interestingly enough, even these two names are not the only ones, there is a lot more to just the naming part, which has had quite a hassle in the past. 

So, for now, it’s safe to declare that Ping Pong is much like a nickname for Table Tennis and the later being the official one, the former is played mostly on a recreational level. To fit into better words Ping Pong is more of a parlor game whereas Table Tennis is a proper sport, played at all levels including USTTA and ITTF, Olympic Games, etc. One is basically a game and the other is a sport. 

Stay updated on your favorite game or sport, call it whatever, with Ping Pong Beast.


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