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Ping Pong 101

It's the back-and-forth sport with a ball that travels up to 100 miles per hour. Kidzworld looks at the game of table tennis.


Table tennis or ping-pong started as a social hobby in England in the late 1800s. It's believed to have been invented by army officers who used rounded wine corks for balls and old cigar boxes as paddles. It remained popular as a party game for rich people in England until it officially became a competitive sport in 1927. In the 1950s, a plastic ball was invented and table tennis exploded in world wide popularity, especially in Asia, where countries like China and South Korea have produced most of the world's top players. Ping-pong became an official Olympic sport at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

How To Play

Ping-pong is played on a table with two opponents. The player serving the ball throws it up in the air and hits it. The ball must bounce once on the servers side and once to the other end. The player receiving the serve must then hit it back one bounce on their side and one bounce on the other side. If a player misses the ball after it bounces once on his or her side, the other player gets a point. A player can lose a point if they hit the ball out of bounds, off of the table or into the net. The player who first scores 11 points wins the game.

Fun Facts

  • In 1993, Jackie Bellinger and Lisa Lomas set a world record by hitting 173 balls back and forth in 60 seconds.
  • Table tennis was banned in the former Soviet Union from 1930 to 1950 because the sport was believed to be harmful to the eyes.
  • The world's top table tennis players can smash the ball at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour!
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Do You Play Ping Pong?

  • Yes! Ping pong rules1
  • No! This game sucks!
  • Sometimes. If somebody has a table I'll play.
  • What's ping pong?

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