Table Tennis 101: Equipment

Table Tennis 101: Equipment
Posted at 11:14 AM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 13:12:16-04

The table

The playing surface in table tennis is a rectangle 9 feet (2.74 meters) long and 5 feet (1.53m) wide. It is elevated 2 feet, 6 inches (76 centimeters) above the floor. The playing surface includes the top edges of the table but not the sides. The net splits the table into two equal courts and is 6 inches (15.25cm) high. The net extends 6 inches outside the sideline. The white line dividing each side (used for doubles) is 1/8 of an inch wide.

The paddle/racket

Officially called a "racket" by the International Table Tennis Federation, "paddle" (generally used in the United States) and "bat" (in Britain) are also common terms. Rubber may be applied to one or both sides, depending on the player's grip. The "blade", or wooden portion of the racket, is approximately 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) long and 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) wide. Each side of the racket may use a different surface to emphasize certain styles of play. 

The ball

A plastic table tennis ball weighs 2.7 grams (0.095 ounces) and possesses a diameter of 50 millimeters (1.57 inches). Depending on the table's color, the ball can be either white or orange. Any ball used in official competition must be inspected by the International Table Tennis Federation to ensure it meets quality standards. 

The ball's size was a source of controversy around the turn of the century. The ball had increased from 38 to 40mm, which decreased its speed. Though the Chinese argued this change was intended to help non-Chinese teams, China still won gold in all four major table tennis categories at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.