Striking Games (Table Tennis)

Striking games refer to a diverse category of games that involve using a tool such as a stick, bat, racket, or paddle to hit an object, typically a ball or shuttlecock. The objective of these games is to strike the object with force and accuracy, making it difficult or impossible for the opponent to return it.

These games are commonly regarded as offensive, as they require players to be proactive and assertive in their approach. The emphasis is on striking the object with precision, power, and finesse while anticipating the movements of the opponent.

Striking games have a long history and are played in almost every society around the world. From street games like stickball to sophisticated sports like tennis and cricket, striking games have become an integral part of human recreation and entertainment.

Moreover, many of these games have developed into professional sports with a huge following and spectatorship, attracting millions of fans around the globe. From the high-speed action of baseball to the intense precision of golf, striking games offer a thrilling experience for both players and fans alike.

Striking games have become an essential component of human leisure and sports culture. Whether playing for fun, relaxation, or as a profession, these games continue to captivate audiences and inspire people of all ages to engage in the joy of hitting an object with a stick, bat, racket, or paddle.

The Origin and History of Table Tennis

Table tennis is a fast-paced and exciting sport that involves two or four players hitting a lightweight ball back and forth across a hard table using specially designed rackets. The table is divided by a net at the centre, and players must use skill, speed, and agility to outmanoeuvre their opponents and score points.

The roots of table tennis can be traced back to England in the 1880s, where it was initially played as a leisurely after-dinner game among the upper class. At that time, the sport was known by a variety of names, including “wiff-waff” and “ping-pong,” due to the distinctive sound made by the ball striking the table and racket.

In 1901, a British manufacturer called J. Jaques & Sons Ltd trademarked the name “ping-pong” and began producing equipment for the game. The company later sold the rights to the name to Parker Brothers, who placed their own trademark on the game. Parker Brothers then encouraged various associations related to the sport to change their names to “table tennis,” which eventually became the most commonly used term.

During this period, several key developments helped to propel the popularity of table tennis to new heights. In 1901, James W. Gibbs discovered that celluloid balls were perfect for the game, providing a consistent bounce and flight path. In the same year, E.C. Goode invented the modern racket design, which featured a sheet of pimpled or stripped rubber affixed to a wooden blade.

Thanks to these innovations, table tennis tournaments began to be organized, and in 1902, an unofficial world championship was held. In 1921, the Table Tennis Association was founded in Britain, followed by the creation of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) in 1926. That same year, the first official world championship was held in London, cementing the status of table tennis as a global sport.

Today, table tennis is played and enjoyed by millions of people worldwide, with top players competing at the highest levels of international competition. Whether playing for fun or pursuing serious competition, table tennis offers a thrilling and engaging experience for players of all skill levels.

Development of Table Tennis in Nigeria

Table tennis was first brought to Nigeria in the early 1930s by British seamen and missionaries who settled in Lagos. The game quickly caught on, being played in their quarters and eventually introduced to various missionary schools. The enthusiasm for table tennis among youths in Lagos was palpable, and it soon became a favorite pastime.

In 1949, Jack Farnsworth, along with a handful of British and Nigerian friends, established what was then known as the Lagos and District Table Tennis Association. Two years later, on January 19, 1951, this same group of individuals reconvened to form the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, with Jack Farnsworth being elected as its first chairman.

The creation of the N.T.T.F. was a turning point for table tennis in Nigeria, as it opened up opportunities for the sport to be played at a higher level. It also led to the first-ever international table tennis competition involving a club from Gold Coast (now known as Ghana) and a club in Lagos. This historic event marked the beginning of a new era for table tennis in Nigeria, as the sport began to gain recognition and popularity across the country.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of individuals like Jack Farnsworth and his colleagues, table tennis has become an integral part of Nigeria’s sporting landscape, with the country boasting a number of top-ranked players and successful national teams. The legacy of those early pioneers of the sport lives on today, as table tennis continues to inspire and captivate a new generation of young Nigerians.

Nature of the Game

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a highly popular indoor game enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. The game is played on a table surface, with each player using a lightweight paddle to hit a small celluloid ball back and forth across the table. The objective of the game is to score points by landing the ball on the opponent’s side of the table, without the opponent being able to return it.

Table tennis can be played either as a singles game, with two players on opposite sides of the table or as a doubles game, with two pairs of players. In a singles game, each player is responsible for covering the entire table, while in a doubles game, each player covers only half of the table.

To win a game of table tennis, a player or pair of players must score 21 points before their opponents. However, there are a few additional rules to consider. If both players are tied at 20 points each, the game continues until one player gains a two-point advantage. Additionally, players must alternate serving the ball every two points, and if the ball touches the net on a serve and lands on the opponent’s side, a “let” is called and the service is repeated.

Table tennis is a game of skill, agility, and strategy. Players must be quick on their feet and have the excellent hand-eye coordination to keep up with the fast-paced gameplay. In addition, players must constantly adapt their tactics based on their opponent’s playing style and strengths.

Basic Skills in Table Tennis

Tennis is a highly enjoyable and engaging sport that requires a solid foundation of basic skills to play effectively. These fundamental skills are essential for beginners to learn before they can start playing the game confidently and improving their overall performance.

Mastering the basic skills in tennis is crucial as they lay the foundation for the development of more advanced techniques and strategies. As a beginner, it’s important to focus on learning basic skills such as proper grip, footwork, serving, forehand, and backhand strokes, as they will form the basis for your game.

Gaining proficiency in these basic skills requires consistent practice, patience, and dedication. With regular training and coaching, a beginner can improve their skills, build confidence, and enhance their overall development in the sport.

Basic skills in tennis are the starting point for every beginner who wants to play the game and advance their level of play. By mastering these skills, a player can build a strong foundation and develop the necessary techniques to play at a higher level. So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, never forget the importance of mastering the fundamental skills of tennis.

The basic skills include the following:

  1. Grip: The grip in table tennis is an essential basic skill that includes different types of grips such as:
  • Shakehand grip: This grip is the most common and easy to learn. To execute, hold the racket as if shaking hands with a friend, placing the index fingers and thumb along the bottom of the racket while wrapping the remaining fingers around the handle.
  • Penhold grip: This grip involves holding the racket as if holding a pen, gripping the racket with the thumb and index finger while tucking the rest of the fingers away on the other side of the racket.
  • V-grip: This grip is formed by making a “V for victory” sign, holding the blade of the racket between the forefinger and middle finger while allowing the other fingers to rest under and on top of the handle.
  • Seemiller grip: This is a variation of the shakehand grip popularized by Dan Seemiller, where the tip of the forefinger is placed near the edge of the bat while the other fingers wrap around the edge of the bat.

2. Service: Service is another fundamental skill in table tennis, which includes different types of serves such as:

  • A topspin serves: This serve involves sliding the bat over the top of the ball as you hit it, enabling the ball to curve downwards in flight and then skip forward after hitting the table. To execute this service, stand with your feet at roughly a 45-degree angle to the end line of the table, hold the ball on the palm of your free hand, and hit the ball with a bent elbow while slightly bending forward.
  • Backspin serve: This serve involves brushing the ball from the bottom with a forward and downward motion, causing the ball to spin backwards when it hits the table. To execute this service, hold the racket high towards your head as you toss the ball up, lean forward towards the table as the ball descends, and hit the ball on the top towards the bottom with a downward stroke.
  • Sidespin serves: This serve involves hitting the ball from the side, causing the ball to spin on a vertical axis instead of a horizontal axis. To execute this service, hold the ball with a flat, stationary free hand above the table and hit the ball with a sideways motion.

3. Bat or racket: The face of the bat or racket should be covered with either pimpled rubber or sandwiched rubber outward or inward. The blade surface should be flat, right, and made of wood. The bat may be of any shape, but the size of the blade should be about 6.5 inches (17cm) long and 6 inches (15cm) wide.

4. Dress: Any coloured clothing is allowed except white, which may insight the opponent. The official dress code is shorts and a shirt for men and a skirt and shirt for women.

The Rules and Regulations in Table Tennis

  1. Service:
  • The game starts with a serve.
  • The first server is determined by a coin toss or similar method.
  • The server’s stationary free hand should hold the ball at the start of service.
  1. Return:
  • After being served or returned, the ball must pass over or around the net assembly.
  • The ball must touch the opponent’s court directly or after touching the net assembly.
  1. Order of play:
  • In singles, the server makes the first service, and the receiver returns it.
  • Afterwards, each player alternates making a return.
  • In doubles, the order of play is as follows: the server serves, the receiver returns, the server’s partner returns, the receiver’s partner returns, and so on.
  1. Scoring a point:
  • A player scores a point if the opponent fails to make a correct service or return.
  • A point is also awarded if an opponent strikes the ball twice in succession or if their free hand touches the playing surface.
  1. Winning a game:
  • A game is won by a player or pair that scores 11 points.
  • However, if both players or pairs reach 10 points, the game is won by the first player or pair to subsequently gain a lead of 2 points.
  1. Winning a match:
  • A match consists of the best of any odd number of games, such as the best of three or the best of five games.

Officials in Table Tennis and their Functions

Striking Games (Table Tennis)

Table Tennis is a sport that requires the involvement of various officials to ensure that matches are played fairly and according to the rules. The following are the officials in Table Tennis and their functions:

  1. Umpire: The umpire is the main official responsible for overseeing a Table Tennis match. The umpire ensures that the rules are being followed and that the game proceeds smoothly. The umpire is responsible for making decisions on points, faults, and other matters related to the game.
  2. Referee: The referee is the highest-ranking official in Table Tennis. The referee is responsible for ensuring that the rules of the game are being followed and that the umpires are making the right decisions. The referee can also make decisions on appeals and protests.
  3. Assistant Umpire: The assistant umpire is responsible for helping the umpire make decisions on points, faults, and other matters related to the game. The assistant umpire also helps the umpire keep track of the score and any other relevant information.
  4. Technical Officials: Technical officials are responsible for ensuring that the equipment used in the game, such as the table, net, and balls, meet the required standards. Technical officials also help to ensure that the playing area is safe and suitable for play.
  5. The jury of Appeals: The jury of appeals is responsible for hearing and deciding on any appeals or protests related to the game. The jury of appeals can overrule decisions made by the umpire or referee if they believe that an error has been made.

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