The equipment used in table tennis consists of a ball, a racket, a net and a table, which is also commonly referred to as a court. The court consists of one half of the playing surface separated from the other half by a net. A regulation table measures just under 9 feet long and 5 feet wide. The table sits horizontally two and a half feet off the floor.
Table tennis, also known as ping pong, uses white or orange plastic balls which are 1 1/2 inch in diameter and weigh one-tenth of an ounce. The racket can be any size, shape or weight but must be 85 percent wood. The racket is covered by a sponge, which is a cellular rubber material used under the layer of sandwich rubber. Sandwich rubber is then covered with a layer of pimpled rubber. Posts and clamps support the net and attach it to the table. The bottom of the net should lie as close to the table as possible.
Table tennis was first played in Victorian-era England, using a row of books for the net, a champagne cork for the ball and a cigar box lid for the racket, according to the International Olympic Committee. The International Table Tennis Federation was formed in 1926, but the sport had to wait until 1988 to make its Olympic debut at the Seoul summer games.