You can literally find a table tennis table everywhere from schools to recreational centers to even picnic spots. Well, there is a reason for this – Because the game is so POPULAR. Right?

But it’s so-called popularity, is one of the primary reasons, the general public does not consider the sport as a REAL Sport. Irrespective of being an Olympic sport, table tennis is the most overlooked game in the world.

Popularity & Misconception:

Did you know the sport of Ping Pong has 300 million player base? The estimates are from 2012, and the numbers would have vastly improved since then. But the wide-scale popularity has led to a belief amount people that Ping Pong is more of a recreational sport. 

To the naïve public, the sport may look it does not require real athleticism. But they can’t be more wrong. As per Kevin, owner of a premier sporting equipment review site PingPongBros‘Table Tennis is the fastest indoor sport which requires not only fast hand-eye coordination but also real physical prowess. Table tennis players are the fittest among most of the indoor sports.’  

Lack of Visual Content:

Tennis, Football, and other ball sports are rather more visually appealing to the audience. Due to the poor viewing angles, the spectators are not adequately able to judge what is really happening. Secondly, a typical rally is so fast, that before the spectators start to develop interest, the rally is already over.

In Tennis, you can see ball tracking and replays confirming the trajectory of the stroke. Not only that, but it also shows the range with which the ball missed the line. These replays and stats make a lot of difference to the viewers. 

The Element of Surprise:

Watching live is a different thing. But when viewing a pre-recorded match, there is no factor of surprise. Suppose the complete video is of 55 min and the match score is 3-2 with 7 minutes remaining for the video to an end. At this point, even a beginner can tell who is going to win the match. This is very much, unlike Football where 1-0 lead is not secured until the closing whistle is blown.

Chinese Influence:

People who understand a little bit of Table Tennis are so tired of seeing the same country and the same athletes winning major trophies. Frankly, people are quite used to Chinese dominance in the international arena, which leaves a little to guess who is going to win the title.

It would be inspiring to see competitive players emerging from different countries. For example, lately, US has been doing well in international tournaments. The recent match between Kanak Jha and Ma Long was quite a stunner. Kanak lost to Ma Long after a fierce battle contrary to what others were expecting to be a clean sweep.

A Complicated Sport

This game involves a lot of spin techniques. The pros will combine all of these spins in their serves. But the inexperienced eye just detects a slow-moving ball, which may or may not spin. For the naïve eyes, it may look – This looks so easy, why the competitor is finding it challenging to pick. Only an enthusiast or players can genuinely understand what’s really happening on the court.

The game has the complexity and on-screen drama, but viewers are unable to figure it. This is why it takes away all the attention and makes it look dull.

The Ball Moves Too Fast

In a typical tennis rally, it takes about one full second for the ball to go from one player’s push to the other. With so much time within each hit, it’s clear for spectators to watch the rally and feel the heat.

In table tennis, the ball might have moved back and forth 2-3 times in the same period. For serious players or people who have been following the sport for quite some time, it may be easy to follow the action, but for the infrequent observer, it all occurs in the blink of an eye.

You need to understand the game

Unlike Football and other popular sports, you need to be into the game to truly understand what’s happening. You can’t be sipping on your beer, soaking in the sun and watch the sport. Everything happens so fast, you need to have a constant.

The Absence of High Power Shots

Each sport has its own unique movements –  For Football, it could be a free-kick, for baseball it is the home run, but for tables tennis there is none. It’s just a plain and simple game. You miss, and you lose a point.

Table tennis doesn’t have high power shots in it, which will push the audience to stick to the screen. Also, the spectator of the sport is incapable of seeing it due to the poor viewing angle. The atmosphere, where one shot would completely change the game and one more hit would end it, is hard to create in table tennis.

Smaller Rallies

With such an attacking game, the rallies have become very short. A common approach is a third-ball attack, which involves doing a difficult server, hoping the player misreads the turn and makes a lousy return, then hit the next ball. As a player, it is an appreciable strategy to utilize it often, but for spectators, it appears in rallies that are over far too soon. 

In an attacking game, a typical really lasts just 6 seconds, which is quite low. ITTF did make some adjustments on the ball size, to slow down the game but it’s still fast enough for the general public.

 Final Words

Despite many benefits, table tennis is the most overlooked sport and doesn’t get much exposure. With technology advancement, we hope there will be some enhancement in the game too. But before that, people need to provide it a chance or at least work it out. It will surely flourish to create a history with lots of players and huge fan base.