Table tennis in the Philippines began around 1900 when the Americans colonized the country. Filipinos were introduced to the sport through early teachers known as “Thomasites.”
Also known as “ping pong,” the game is played by two or four players to hit the ball back and forth over a net on a table while using a paddle or racket. Points are accumulated if one of them fails to return the ball or hits it out of bounds.
In the Philippines, table tennis has been popular with Filipino-Chinese communities, but with the rise of Ian “Yan Yan” Larbia, the sport became one of the most beloved sports in the country.
Table tennis in the Philippines has a unique recreational aspect that sets it apart from other countries. While elite athletes in the country use modern equipment like their counterparts worldwide, a select private population still employs sandpaper rackets at an almost elite level.
At lower levels, however, table tennis is played by the general public anywhere there is a table and people to play, such as in the streets, alleys, and local gymnasiums. Despite the rest of the world moving away from sandbats and towards hardbats with cheap rubber rackets, the preservation of sandbat play has persisted and even thrived in the Philippines. Many top elite liha experts, or lihadors, exist in the country, and they possess an impressive level of skill, performing with pure grace and beauty.
A significant difference between liha and modern table tennis is that liha players become equally proficient in offensive and defensive strokes, provided that the old liha rules of the sport are applied. This proficiency often needs to improve in modern table tennis, both at the recreational and elite high-performance levels around the globe.
Table tennis started briefly in the 1800s in the United Kingdom before migrating to the USA in 1989, and from there, history has been made.
The first rackets used for the sport were ‘battledores,’ commonly known as rackets/paddles. The rackets’ heads were covered in animal skin and had long handles. These hand-made paddles were used until 1905 before being replaced by smaller, hand-held, sandpaper-covered rackets or ‘Sandbats.’
The Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) standardized the rules and equipment used in the sport, including the ball’s size and weight, the net’s height, and the paddles’ shape and composition.
Table tennis has also played a significant role in international diplomacy. In 1971, an exhibition match between the United States and China, known as “ping pong diplomacy,” paved the way for improved relations between the two countries. The game was followed by a US table tennis team visit to China, marking the first time Americans were allowed to visit China since the communist takeover in 1949.
It’s time to acclimate to the table tennis rules. Here are the 11 most common guidelines for playing the sport:
Playing table tennis has several benefits for physical and mental health. Here are some of the benefits of playing table tennis:
Here are five of the most common table tennis terminologies:
Serve: A serve is hitting the ball to start a point. In table tennis, serves must follow specific rules, such as tossing the ball upwards and hitting it on the way down, and must land on the opposite side of the table.
Rally: A rally is a sequence of shots in which the ball is hit back and forth between players. A rally continues until one player fails to make a valid return or commits a rules violation.
Spin: Spin is the ball’s rotation in the air, which can influence the direction and bounce of the ball when it hits the table. Players can use different types of spin, such as topspin, backspin, and sidespin, to make shots more challenging to return.
Forehand: A forehand is a shot played by a player’s dominant hand, usually with a closed racket face and a forward swinging motion.
Backhand: A backhand is a shot played by a player’s non-dominant hand, usually with an open racket face and a sideways swinging motion.
Like any other sport, betting on table tennis involves placing wagers on the outcome of matches or specific events within a game.
Different types of bets can be placed on table tennis, including:
Match winner: Betting on the player who will win the entire match.
Handicap betting: Betting on the player who will win after considering a handicap. For example, a player with a -1.5 handicap must win by at least two points to cover the handicap and win the bet.
Total points: Betting on the total number of points scored in a match.
Set winner: Betting on the player who will win a specific set within the match.
Live betting: Betting on the outcome of a match while it is in progress.
It’s important to research and understands table tennis rules and strategies before placing bets. Additionally, it’s essential only to bet what you can afford to lose and to avoid becoming addicted to gambling.
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There were early accounts of the early creation of table tennis, with some claiming that the ones that invented table tennis were middle-class Victorians who played the sport using a champagne cork, cigar boxes, and books to divert themselves during challenging times.
Early development of the sport began in 1890 when David Foster of England had it patented. Seven years later, the first table tennis national championships were held in Hungary.
Table tennis was believed to have originated in the country of England during the late nineteenth century.
The first person to develop the game was James Gibb, who introduced celluloid balls to replace rubber balls.
The year was 1988 when table tennis became an official sport for the Olympic Games. It was introduced during the Seoul Olympics.
In table tennis, scoring works on a simple point-based system. A point is awarded to a player or team when the opponent fails to make a valid return, hits the ball out of bounds, or commits a rules violation. The first player or team to reach 11 points wins the game if they have a lead of at least two points. If the score is tied at 10-10, players must continue to play until one player or team achieves a two-point lead.
A match in table tennis typically consists of the best of five or seven games, depending on the level of competition. To win a match, a player or team must win most games. If the match is tied at two games apiece in a best-of-five round or three games apiece in a best-of-seven competition, the final game becomes a tiebreaker, and the first player or team to reach 11 points wins the match.
The official size of a table tennis table, as defined by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), is 2.74 meters (9 feet) long, 1.525 meters (5 feet) wide, and 76 centimeters (2.5 feet) high. The net should be 15.25 centimeters (6 inches) tall and stretch the entire width of the table, which is divided into two halves by the net. The table’s playing surface should be rectangular, made of any material that provides a consistent and uniform bounce, and have a dark matte finish.
Table tennis is primarily an indoor sport, typically played in a controlled environment and with proper lighting. Indoor play ensures consistent conditions, with no wind, rain, or other weather conditions that could affect the game.
However, it is possible to play table tennis outdoors as well, but unique outdoor tables are required to withstand the elements. These tables are often made of weather-resistant materials, such as aluminum or plastic, and have a waterproof surface.
Outdoor table tennis is less common than indoor play, but it can be a fun and challenging way to enjoy the sport in the great outdoors.