Learn the Definition of Ping-Pong Game Terms

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If you're new to the game of ping-pong and taking it quite seriously, you may have heard some terms being thrown around? What is the definition of words like fault, lob, and block? Check out this collection of some common terms in table tennis.

Basic Table Tennis Terms

  • Doubles: Playing a game of table tennis with two players on each side. 
  • International Table Tennis Federation: This is the organization that serves as the international governing body for the sport of table tennis.
  • Inverted: A rubber type on the racquet that has a smooth finish but grips well; it can generate a large amount of spin and is also known as pips-in. 
  • Long pips: Refers to racquet rubber with a surface of long pimples, which can result in an unpredictable spin. 
  • Match: A game of ping-pong where the winner is the person who gets the best of three or five games. 
  • Skunk: This refers to a type of scoring method in the game that is used in more recreational play. With this, a player wins the game when they score 7-0 or 11-1.
  • Bat: Another reference to the ping-pong paddle or racquet.

Ping-Pong Strokes and Gameplay Terms

  • Backhand: This stroke played across the front of the body when the back of the hand faces forward.
  • Spin: This happens when the ball rotates on an axis during flight. This occurs when the rubber surface of the racquet or bat grips the ball. 
  • Fault: A fault in table tennis is the failure of the server to make a good service according to the Laws of Table Tennis.
  • Block: A defensive play in the game that is used to combat loops and smashes in order to keep the ping-pong ball on the table.
  • Closed: This occurs when a player strikes the top of the ball with a specific angle of the racquet.
  • Drive: Taking a shot offensively in a rally where the ball is hit back and forth at a medium pace. 
  • Drop shot: Hitting the ball so it just passes the net and the other player has a hard time responding.
  • Lob: This defensive shot in the game is usually performed against high-speed shots and results in the ball being returned high in the air.
  • Topspin: This type of spin causes the ball to bounce low and fast on the opponent's side of the table.
  • Twiddle: This is a ping-pong technique that involves a player turning the bat in his hand during the rally so use both surfaces of the racquet on the ball. 
  • Loop: This is an offensive shot with topspin.
  • Open: This refers to the angle of the racquet when the bottom of the ball is hit.
  • Shake hands: This is a type of paddle grip when a player holds the racquet with the middle, ring and little finger gripped around the handle.
  • Short: This refers to a type of serve that bounces twice on the opponent's side of the table, or would potentially do so, and is difficult for the opponent to return.