What is the difference between Ping Pong and Table Tennis?

Many have this confusion why are there two names for same sport? Is there any difference between Ping Pong and Table Tennis? Let’s check if there is any difference or not.

Ping Pong and Table Tennis

This sport is split in two. The serious players exclusively call their sports table tennis, with many taking offenses at the title ping pong. Meanwhile, recreational players tend to use either ping pong or table tennis happily, worrying less and concentrating their energies instead on having some fun.

In Ping pong, point starts with a serve, which has to hit the table on both sides of the net. A point is won when your opponent fails to get the ball back. In contrast, Table Tennis it has complicated rules, particularly at service shot.

Rules that are negotiated in Ping Pong:


In Table Tennis, serve has to be thrown upwards six inches from an open palm and should be hit behind the baseline. In Ping Pong, there is no hard and fast rule. Some players even start with dropping the ball and start the match.


Table tennis match has been for 11 points since a decade, where two services have been given to each player. But Ping-Pong players prefer playing up to 21 points, five serves alternatively.

Deciding the Server:

Umpire decides by toss which player should be given the serve. Although in Ping Pong there is a unique way to decide i.e., it is customary for the umpire to hold both hands widely separated below the table and ask one player to guess which hand contains the ball.
There is another way called “Play for the Serve”.


In Table Tennis, one can’t hit the ball before it bounces. In ping pong, one has to touch the ball with bat, before hits the ground is likely to have your opponent claiming for the volley. Enjoy the argument! 😝

Basic differences to keep in mind:

  • One uses hands in “Ping Pong”, in contrast feet to play Table Tennis.
  • One hits a Ping-Pong ball, but spins a Table Tennis Ball.
  • Ping Pong is cheap strangely enough, Table Tennis is expensive.
  • Official ping pong balls are slightly larger than table tennis balls. Ping Pong = 3.7mm in diameter, while Table Tennis = 3.4mm diameter.

This will explain the grading system of the balls.

In conclusion, I would say that “the game, by any other name, would be as sweet”! Or maybe our motto should be “Don’t worry how you say it – just play it!”
Be it formal Table Tennis or fun version Ping Pong.

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