Table tennis is a great inclusive sport and is suitable for all ages and where both sexes can compete against each other in an evenly matched game.
The game of table tennis is most probably descended from a medieval game called Royal tennis which was played in the 12th century. However it wasn't until the late 1800s that the game began to really evolve and resemble the game as it is known today. Back in those days the table tennis bats were made only of wood and it wasn't until 1902 that Englishman E.C.Goode was credited with putting rubber on his blade to help generate more spin on the ball. During this period the ball, too, also evolved from being made of cork to the hollow plastic ball. Wooden bats or paddles remained popular until the 1950s, after which, sponge and rubber coated bats became much more widely used.
Table Tennis Vs Ping Pong
As the popularity of the game spread, two rival organisations were set up in England with the 'Table Tennis Association' and the 'Ping Pong Association' formed within days of each other in 1901. 'Ping Pong', relating to the sound the ball makes, was registered as a trademark by a sports company who banned use of the term for competitions which did not make use of their proprietary equipment. Thus the name Table Tennis became more widely used to refer to the sport as a whole, particularly with the establishment of the sport's governing body the ITTF in 1926.
The overall objective of the game of table tennis, or ping pong, is to win enough points to win more than half the total number of games to be played. A point is won if your opponent fails to hit the ball back over the net and onto your side of the table. A game is won by the first player to reach 11 points and be at least two points ahead. A match commonly consists of 3, 5 or 7 games, but can comprise any odd number of games.
One of the great things about Table Tennis is the cost of entry compared with other sports. Beginners can pick up a cheap racket and a set of balls for well under $50. A table typically costs anywhere from $200-$5000, but at an introductory level any large table will do, with books typically used by many beginners instead of a net. However as your skill increases so will your likely demands on equipment. If there's a club nearby then membership is likely to be reasonably priced and if you have space at home beginner-intermediate level tables are a great way of allowing you to build your skills and play with friends and family. As with any sport, practice is the key. Fortunately, with table tennis, this practice need not depend on a significant investment.