Skip to main content

Full text of "Ping-pong (Table Tennis): the game and how to play it"

See other formats





THE CAME AMD 
HOW TO PLAY IT 





PFlOFUSt^LY^ 
ILLUSTR/VfED 



RNOLD PARKER 



CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 







DATE DUE 



^v^^^-'m 



Jl ifi frifii 



Q K Mflg- ?^ 



fiftH-8- 



BTTT Tv 



jrn piif m?tr 



i>.M/r 



23 ;nfvr 



GV1005 .P23" ""'""""'' "-'""^ 
'''"Sr,B.?Sa,.ffi?,'.?., Jenn'slv the game and h 



olin 



3 1924 029 902 743 



Gv 

I 005" 
PZ3 



PING-PONG 




i»«nr.WAMn OKIES ESOU SIflUX tO tSET. 



FING-PONG 

( Table Tennis ) 

THE GAME AND 
HOWTO PLAY IT 



BY 

ARNOLD PARKER 

Winner of the Queen's Hall Open Ping— Pong Tournament, 

and of the Second Prize Table Tennis 

Championship of England 



ILLUSTRATED WITH MANY DIAGRAMS 



R. F. FENNO & COMPANY, : : 9 and ii EAST 
SIXTEENTH STREET, : : NEW YORK CITY ' ( 
1902 



<^f'f.l 



f /. 



/ 



mbK 



P r e f a c e 



Ik compiling this hand-book my main object 
was to put before the public in the simplest and 
clearest manner, the way in which the chief 
strokes of this fascinating game can be per- 
formed. No literary merit is claimed, but it is 
hoped that this little work will introduce a great 
deal of new interest into a game which is sure to 
stay, for as an indoor game it has not a rival. 

Everything has been explained with great 
detail for the benefit of those who live far from 
the great towns and have not the opportunity of 
personally gaining knowledge of the game. 

My deepest thanks and gratitude are due to 
Mr. W. E. Houlbrook for his valuable assistance 
throughout every stage of the work; to Mr. 
T. G. Figgis for his article on the state of the 
game in Dublin ; and to Messrs. Jaques for per- 
mitting me to print the official rules of Ping- 
Pong. Without their help and that of many 
other friends too numerous to mention, it would 
have been impossible for me to have compiled 
this little manual. 

Abnoid Pakkbr. 
7 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924029902743 



Contents 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I. INTRODUCTION 1 3 

II. HISTORY ...... 17 

III. IMPLEMENTS ..... 22 

IV. GRIP OF RACKET AND FIRST STEPS . 36 
V. SERVICE ...... 42 

VI. STYLES OF PLAY AND STROKES TO BE USED 50 

VII. HALF-VOLLEY STROKES ... 56 

VIII. BALLS HIT NEAR TOP OF BOUNCE 

(1) FORE-HAND STROKES . . 64 

(2) BACK-HAND STROKES . . 77 

(3) MAKING THE BALL BREAK . . 84 
IX. GENERAL REMARKS ON PLAYING THE GAME 86 

X. IDEAS FOR HANDICAPPING ... 92 

XI. HOW TO RUN A TOURNAMENT . . 95 

XII. THE FOUR GAME . . . . IO4 

XIII. PING-PONG IN DUBLIN. BY MR. T. G. 

FIGGIS ..... 106 

XIV. PING-PONG FOR LADIES. BY MRS. HOUL- 

BROOK . . . . . .110 

XV. OFFICIAL RULES OF THE PING-PONG ASSO- 
CIATION 112 

9 



List of Illustrations 



PAGE 

LEFT 

Frontispiece 

23 



back-hand drive from right to 

i. method of lighting table 

2. convertible table 

3. table made by local carpenter 

4. 5, 6, 6a. ball pickers-up 

7. ball holder 

7A. POSTS .... 

8. GRIP OF RACKET. FORE-HAND 

9. GRIP OF RACKET. BACK-HAND 
ID. PENHOLDER GRIP 

11. THE SERVICE (l) 

12. FAST SERVICE (2) . 

13. SCREW SERVICE (3) 

14. SCREW SERVICE (4) 

15. SCREW SERVICE (5) 

16. BACK-HAND SERVICE FROM RIGHT-HAND 

SIDE (6) 
BACK-HAND SERVICE 



18. 

ig. 

20. 



HALF-VOLLEY BACK-HAND 
HALF-VOLLEY BACK-HAND 
II 



25 
26 

33 

34 
35 

37 
37 
38 
43 
44 
45 
46 
46 

47 
48 

54 
56 
57 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



21. HALF-VOLLEY BACK-HAND FROM RIGHT- 

HAND SIDE 58 

22. FORE-HAND HALF-VOLLEY ... 59 

23. FORE-HAND HALF-VOLLEY STRAIGHT DOWN 

TABLE ..... 59 

24. FORE-HAND HALF-VOLLEY . . . 60 

25. FAST HALF-VOLLEY . . . . 61 

26. THE ROUND ARM FORE-HAND DRIVE . 65 

27. UNDERHAND FORE-HAND DRIVE . . 67 

28. FORE-HAND LOB FROM SIDE OF TABLE . 68 

29. DIAGRAM OF SCREWBACK ... 69 

30. CROUCH STROKE FORE-HAND . . . 70 

31. UNDERHAND DRIVE FROM BEHIND END OF 

TABLE ...... 72 

32. FORE-HAND STROKE FROM BACK-HAND SIDE 73 

33. FORE-HAND DRIVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT 74 

34. THE SMASH ...... 75 

35. BACK-HAND LOB FROM SIDE OF TABLE . 77 

36. TAKING BALL WITH BACK TO TABLE . 78 

37. BACK-HAND CROUCH STROKE . . 80 

38. BACK-HAND DRIVE FROM RIGHT-HAND SIDE 8 1 

39. BACK-HAND DRIVE FROM RIGHT TO LEFT . 82 

40- 83 



PING-PONG 



CHAPTEE I 

INTKODTJCTION 



Thebe is ample justification for the publica- 
tion of a volume on Ping-Pong, for, as far as I 
know, no treatise of any kind has yet been pub- 
lished about this fascinating and popular game. 

Ping-Pong is a game which has been jeered at 
and called ridiculous, and articles have recently 
appeared in the Press which even go so far as to 
say that the popularity this game has attained, 
and the fascination it exercises over strong men 
as well as over women, is a sign of decadence in 
the people of this country. These articles must, 
I think, have been written by those who had 
never seen the game played well and had never 
tried to play it themselves ; for, like another 
well-known game played with small white balls, 
it looks so easy till one tries to play I 

Many people must have asked themselves, why 
Ping'Pong in so short a time has become so 

13 



14 PING-PONG 

amazingly popular. The answer, I think, is easy, 
and will be found in the following facts : — 

Firstly, all who have played must allow that it 
is an excellent game, excellent because it affords 
amusement for hours together, and because there 
is no small amount of skill required to play it at 
all well ; this will account for much of its popu- 
larity. But there are other and, I think, 
weightier reasons. It has been called the " poor 
man's billiards," not that it resembles that king 
of indoor games any further than that balls are 
used in the playing of both, but because it sup- 
plies its place in the houses of those whose rooms 
and means are too small to permit the adoption 
of billards, since a very small outlay will pur- 
chase all accessories necessary for Ping-Pong ; 
and if the proportions mentioned in a later 
chapter of this work be observed as regards 
height of net, not only can an excellent game be 
had on a small table, but any one can learn to 
play it well and will find himself able to do so 
on a larger table ; play on a small table being 
excellent practice for play on the club-size table. 

Further a great deal of exercise is obtainable 
from the pursuit of this game ; and many a wet 
afternoon, be it summer or winter, which would 
otherwise be passed most probably in laziness 
with a novel, can now be spent enjoyably and 
healthily by playing a few games of Ping-Pong. 

And last but not least, in answer to my ques- 
tion regarding the game's popularity, there can 



PING-PONG 15 

be no doubt that in the fact of ladies being able 
to play almost as well as men, is one of the chief 
reasons of its popularity. 

In discussing the various strokes of the game, 
and the course the ball tends to take as the re- 
sult of those strokes, I have endeavored to make 
the description of them as clear as possible, and 
to avoid mathematical terms. Moreover, it will 
be found that all the strokes described have been 
carefully illustrated, so that the reader, should 
he be willing, will be the better able to give 
them a trial. I have devoted a chapter to be- 
ginners, which I deemed especially necessary, as 
although the game is of some years' standing its 
light has, during most of these years, been hid 
under a bushel, and it is only during the last few 
months that it has sprung into popularity, and I 
venture to say into such popularity as no other 
indoor game has ever attained in so short a time. 
Therefore there are but few players who have 
played more than one year, and the vast major- 
ity have only played a few months, and must 
therefore rank as beginners. 

Indeed, the game itself is still in its infancy, 
and there are many points which I mention in 
the ensuing chapters which must of necessity be 
debatable. I have given my own views on the 
matter, but experience alone will show if they 
are sound. 

It must of course not be imagined by any in- 
tending Pongist who should happen to read this 



i6 PING-PONG 

treatise that the game can be learned solely from 
reading a manual. Each stroke will require con- 
stant practice before any degree of efficiency can 
be obtained, and each intending player wiE have 
to adapt the strokes to his own peculiarities ; for 
what is the best for one player is not necessarily 
the best for another. The qualities that a player 
must possess to excel are good nerve, sound 
judgment, resolution, and temper under control, 
together with fair sight and sympathy between 
hand and eye. Of these, some are the gifts of 
nature and cannot be acquired ; others careful 
training will improve. From which it will be 
seen that, as in all other games of skill, there are 
bound to be some who will far surpass others in 
their play, and the less gifted must be content 
with mediocrity. 

A chapter on the arrangement and manage- 
ment of tournaments will be found, together 
with a few hints to umpires. Also a chapter on 
Ping-Pong for ladies has been included. 



CHAPTEE II 

HISTOEY 

It is not possible to write much concerning the 
history of a game that has had so short a life as 
"Ping-Pong." The earliest date I have heard 
mentioned in connection with the game is 1881. 
There is a rumor that some one started to play 
the game in that year with cigar box lids for 
bats, champagne corks for balls, and a row of 
books for a net. Most players, however, seem 
to agree that the game was first started by Mr. 
James Gibb about eleven years ago, and was 
published at his suggestion by Messrs. J. Jaques 
and Son under the title " Gossima," changed in 
1900 into the name which has met with universal 
approval, namely, Ping-Pong. 

Previous to the introduction of the celluloid 
balls, which was the feature of the game Gos- 
sima, the game had been in existence for some 
years as Table Tennis, which was originally 
played with a small india-rubber ball like a Lawn 
Tennis ball ; but the game found but little popu- 
larity, nor did it under its new title until about 
two years ago, when the present seamless xylonite 
balls were invented and placed on the market. 

17 



i8 PINTJ^P^ONG 

The game sprang into popularity directly it 
was discovered that great skill was necessary to 
play well, and that the result of a match did not 
depend on the vagaries of a very badly made 
ball. This was about Christmas, 1900. For the 
next few months every one, more or less, played 
Ping-Pong, but summer coming on induced most 
people to put the game away until the present 
winter. 

The boom started about September; clubs 
were formed everywhere, both in London and 
the provinces, and then a tournament was held 
last December at the Koyal Aquarium, West- 
minster, for the Table Tennis Championship of 
London. The entry was enormous, numbering 
between two hundred and three hundred. Partly 
as a result of the success of this tournament the 
Table Tennis Association was formed, and about 
the same time the Ping-Pong Association sprang 
into existence. 

It is not my intention to go into the merits 
of the two rival associations. AU I will say is 
that it is a matter of great regret to all that 
there should be two governing bodies. The rules 
are almost identical, and it is to be sincerely 
hoped that a way will be found to bring the two 
Associations into one body. 

The height of the Ping-Pong boom was 
reached during the tournament held at the 
Queen's Hall. Every paper had long reports 
and some of them leading articles. The majority 



PING-PONG 19 

of the articles and reports were, I am sure, writ- 
ten by people who had never seen the game 
played. I will mention a few that seem most 
interesting. 

One paper said: "The Ping-Pong game is 
smaller in every respect than the Table Tennis 
variety, and strikes the onlooker as less scientific. 
One misses the marlced courts, and the scoring is 
confusing." 

Considering that Table Tennis and Ping-Pong 
tables are similar in every respect and that the 
method of scoring is identical, the absurdity of 
the above is obvious. Another paper mentioned 
a white waistcoat as making the ball invisible to 
the opponent. As a matter of fact it makes no 
difference whether black or white is worn, as any 
one who has played against an opponent in flan- 
nels will know. Then, again, the fact that a 
little boy (who, by the way, is sixteen years old) 
can compete with adults at the game is cited as 
a matter for scorn. There are many boys of 
that age who are much finer golf players than a 
very large number of men in the prime of life. 
In fact, in every sport youths will be found quite 
capable of holding their own against the average 
man. 

I think it is a proof of the difficulty of the 
game that only one boy has come to the front. 
For, Ping-Pong being a new game, every one has 
played practically the same time, and a boy has 
had the same chance of practice as his elders, 



20 PING-PONG 

and, moreover, has all the adaptability of youth 
to help him. 

There is no doubt that the game is being 
rapidly developed. It is generally agreed that 
the play at the last tournament held at the 
Aquarium was much better than that at the 
tournament held two months previously. The 
stonewallers, although prominent, were not so 
preeminent as on the first occasion. 

Through the kindness of the proprietors of 
Punch I am able to conclude this chapter with 
the conjugation of the new verb " to ping." It 
appeared in their issue of December 25, 1901. 

AN EXTEA-ACTIVE VERB. 
On all fours with To Mote, Tu Be, Ta Boo, and To Week-end. 

["Table Tennis " achieved its apotheosis in a Championship 
Tournament at the Eoyal Aquarium last week. It has there- 
fore to be conjugated.] 

Peesknt Tensb. 

I PING. 

Thou pongest. 

He— ahem ! — plays "table-tennia." 

We are all championa. 

Ye pay subscriptions. 

They are outsiders ! 

Impebfect and Amatetjeish. 
I was pooh-poohing. 
Thou wast using an eighteenpenny set. 
He was wearing a club "blazer." 
We were pitching into the umpire. 
Ye were making your own rules. 
They were having words. 



PING-PONG 21 

Past {last Season), 
I pang. 

Thou pongedst. 
He pung. 

We groveled after balls. 
Ye split your trouser-knees. 
They burst their braces. 

FUTUEE. 

I vnll ping, or perish in the effort. 

Thou shalt "retrieve." 

He will upset the furniture in his enthusiasm, 

"We shall annex the dining-room. 

Ye shall go vnthout dinner. 

They (the servants) will bless us ! 

Potential Mood. 
I may turn professional. 

Thou mayest take lessons from me (five guineas an hour). 
She may show off her figure. 
"We may electrify Balham. 
Ye may get " blues " (not " the blues "). 
They may win at the Aquarium. 

Optative oe Matrimonial Mood. 
I might become a "parti." 
Thou mightest introduce me to thy daughter. 
She might double her chance of marrying. 
"We might ping-pong into "Society." 
Ye might " stand the racket." 
They might hit it off. 

lMPKEATI"ra. 
Play! 

Let him mop ! 
Let's have a drink ! 
Go it, ye cripples ! 

Game ! 

Paeticiples. 

Present: Ping. Passive: (not found). 

Infinitive : To get into the Badminton Series and abandon 

the now undignified title of "Ping-Pong," A. A. S. 



CHAPTER III 

IMPLEMENTS 

The Room. — If possible, the room in which the 
game is played, should be as free from furniture 
as can be conveniently managed ; tables and 
chairs in odd corners should be covered by cloths 
or rugs, otherwise the time and energy spent in 
searching for the balls will take a considerable 
amount of enjoyment from the game. The ex- 
ercise in playing Ping-Pong being considerable, 
the room should be well ventilated. If possible, 
without causing too much draught, have both 
windows and doors open. 

Lighting. — A good light is an absolute neces- 
sity if Ping-Pong is to be played with any com- 
fort and skill. The light should be directly over 
the centre of the table, and as high up as possi- 
ble. As it is most irritating to play under a 
flickering light, either electric light or incandes- 
cent gas burners should be used. Take care that 
any, shade used does not cause a shadow on balls 
outside the table, otherwise players who drive 
from the back will lose sight of the ball after it 
passes the edge of the table. If the ordinary 
gas-jet is at the side of the room, and not over 
the centre of the table, the following is a very 

22 



PING-PONG 



23 



good method of fixing it up: On the wall at 
each side of the room place hooks so that a wire 
can be stretched between them, crossing directly 
over the middle of the table. An incandescent 
burner can be hung on this, and the gas con- 
nected with it whenever necessary by means of 




«0. I.— MKTHOD OF UGHTIHG TABLR. 



india-rubber tubes from the side burners. When 
Ping-Pong is not being played, and the room is 
wanted for other purposes, the wire can be taken 
down and all signs of the game removed. Thus 
an ordinary dining-room or drawing-room can be 
turned into a splendid room for Ping-Pong with- 



24 PING-PONG 

out destroying its use in any other directioa 
The light should be as high above the table as 
possible, so that it does not catch the eye of the 
players. 

Tables. — For ordinary home play any kind of 
table can be used. Its size should not be less 
than 5 ft. 6 in. by about 3 ft., nor larger than 10 
by 5, although many players assert that they get 
a finer game on a table 12 ft. long than on the 
regulation size, 9 by 5.^ If the table has a large 
beveled edge, many more balls strike the edge 
than is the case with the ordinary championship 
table. These strokes should be treated as lets if 
the edge is very large. As the polish of ordinary 
tables causes the balls to bounce very high, the 
game resolves itself into hard smashing, and the 
finer touches of the game are lost. Therefore it 
is better to buy one of the table-tops, which can 
be had from several different makers at a cost of 
from $10 to $15. The best' seems to be that 
made by Messrs. Slazenger. Any one not caring 
to go, to the expense of one of these table-tops 
can get the local carpenter to make a top to place 
on the table in the same way as a bagatelle 
board. It can be made of ordinary boards glued 
together and planed smooth. It should have a 
joint in the middle, and be stained dark green or 
black. The cost for a top to go on a table 9 ft. 
by 5 ft. will be about $5 to $6. The tops can 

' Height of net should be f in. for every foot in the length of 
the table. 



PING-PONG 



25 



be made to shut up without the net and posts be- 
ing removed ; in fact, it is no more difficult to 
fit up the Ping-Pong table than to put a cloth 
on. A very serviceable table designed by Messrs. 
Jaques for general use when closed is that shown 
in illustration No. 2. When opened out it forms 
a club-pattern Ping-Pong table. The largest 
size made when opened out is 
"When closed, it 
makes a very good 
card-table. The 
cost is $35. 

To urnament 
Tables. — Yor 
tournaments, of 
course, it is neces- 
sary to have tables 
of the regulation 
size ; that is to say, 
9 ft. by 5 ft., and 
the height of the 
top of the table 
from the ground 

must be 2 ft. 6 in. There are four makes of 
tables in use at different tournaments. (1) A 
very fine table which has a composition surface. 
These tables were used at the Queen's Hall Ping- 
Pong Tournament, held at Christmas, 1901, and, 
so far as the writer can judge, seem to be some 
of the best on the market. The ball comes away 
from these tables in such a manner that a good 




MO. S.— CONTEBTIBLS TABLB. 



26 PING-PONG 

hard-hitting game is possible. The ball bounces 
nearly as high as on an ordinary dining-room 
table, but rises slow enough to allow the finer 
touches of the game to be brought into play. 
(2) A table which has a somewhat shiny surface. 
The ball on that account does not break very 
much and bounces rather high and quickly, 
making it something like the ordinary dining- 
room table so far as play is concerned. (3) The 
Table Tennis Supply Association table is some- 




no. 3.— TABCB MADE BY LOCAL CAKPENTBB 

thing like number one; the surface, however, 
seems to be rougher, and the ball gets up very 
slowly, does not rise much, and is most difficult 
to hit hard. (4) Is the table made by one's local 
carpenter. This table will be made of boards 
glued together and planed smooth, and can have 
trestles made to support it as in illustration. 
The bounce of the ball varies according to the 
kind of wood used. The harder the wood, the 



PING-PONG 27 

higher the bounce. American white wood is, I 
think, the best that can be used in making tables 
of this kind. They should be stained a dark 
green, and have a white line painted round the 
edge. 

Balls. — Originally the celluloid balls used for 
Ping-Pong were very light, and had a big rim 
where the two halves of the ball joined, causing 
it to bounce in all manner of unexpected direc- 
tions. About two years ago a better ball was 
put on the market ; it was heavier, and the joint 
of the two halves was almost impossible to per- 
ceive. Since that time they have improved very 
much ; the finish is greater and the weight of the 
ball has considerably increased. This increase 
in weight was necessary owing to the size of the 
table, nine feet by five, as the light balls did not 
travel truly owing to the resistance of the air. 
In the chapter on the screwing of balls and their 
course in the air the observations have been 
made with the baUs in use up to about three 
months ago ; the heavier baU does not appear to 
be affected so much by screw or twist. Celluloid 
balls covered like tennis balls have been tried, 
but were found to be far too dead and heavy for 
a good game. Messrs. Slazenger will shortly 
put a greatly improved ball on the market. 
"While of the same weight as the other balls it is 
much harder and can be hit faster. 

The Sachet. — Ping-Pong rackets appear to be 
made pf every imaginable substance and of any 



28 PING-PONt 

size and shape. The Table Tennis Association, 
however, limit the size to six inches bj seven, 
although the Ping-Pong Association do not. 
Some are almost square, others quite round, 
others, again, pear shaped. The length of the 
handle varies in nearly every one ; in some it is 
nearly a foot long, in others it has practically 
disappeared, and some of them have a huge bulb 
instead of the ordinary handle. I propose to 
mention in detail the various kinds of racket 
used, vidth their chief advantages. 

The Vellum Racket. — The vellum racket con- 
sists of vellum stretched over a w^ooden or metal 
frame. There are several kinds of racket on the 
market. In the old-fashioned vellum racket the 
wooden frame was very thick, and the vellum 
not particularly tightly stretched. With the 
improvement in the playing of Ping-Pong the 
vellum had to be tightly and evenly stretched, 
and the tendency has been for the rim of the 
racket to become much narrower. The quality 
of the vellum used in making Ping-Pong rackets 
has perceptibly increased, and sometimes it is 
almost as thin as paper, with a great amount of 
elasticity. Sometimes the vellum is covered 
with a thin coat of emery powder or powdered 
glass, the object being to obtain a greater spin. 
Some vellum rackets consist of a single strip of 
parchment strained inside a wooden frame. In 
one of them (an invention of Mr. Newman's) 
the tension of the racket can be altered by means 



PING-PONG 29 

of screws. The great objection to vellum rackets 
with a rim is that the ball in a large number of 
cases strikes the edge of the racket on leaving 
the vellum, its direction being completely altered. 
The best vellum racket is the Queen Kacket 
made by Messrs. Slazenger, an improvement of 
which, to be called after the writer, will be on 
the market shortly. 

The Parchment Racket. — The parchment 
racket is practically never seen nowadays ; it is 
merely the old battledore; but as parchment 
alters so considerably under atmospheric in- 
fluences, it has been found necessary to give it 
up. The imitation parchment, as it is called, is 
merely paper treated with sulphuric acid.^ 

Wooden Backets. — There are many kinds of 
wooden rackets on the market; some of them 
are made of hard wood, such as ebony, oak or 
mahogany. Others again are made of pine or 
some other soft wood. The hard wood rackets 
are, as a rule, very thin. This is necessary on 
account of the great weight they would other- 
wise be. Some of the rackets have holes bored 
through them. This does not seem to make any 
difference to the way in which the ball leaves 
the racket. A wooden racket not, I believe, on 
the market, but which has been used by one or 
two players, consists of two thin strips of wood 
fixed on the frame used for the ordinary veUum 
racket. 

' Keal parchment is sheepskin dressed with ohaXk. 



30 PING-PONG 

Covered Wood Rackets. — Some wooden rackets 
have parchment or vellum glued on the surface ; 
others, again, have emery paper or sandpaper, or 
glass paper — all with the object of imparting a 
greater screw to the ball. There are also rack- 
ets on the market covered with cloth ; and there 
is one make covered with an india-rubber pad, 
very similar to those one sees on many cash- 
desks to allow money to be picked up more 
easily than it can be off the smooth counter. 

Metal Rackets. — The chief objection to the 
metal rackets is their great weight and the dead- 
ness with which the ball leaves the racket. 
There is only one on the market at present, so 
far as I know, and it is made of aluminium. So 
far as can be seen it has no advantage over a 
wooden racket, and many disadvantages. 

The Glass Racket. — One racket on a stall at 
the Aquarium was made of glass surrounded 
by a wooden rim. Its weight was excessive. 
The writer has never seen any one playing 
with one, and cannot imagine it being of any 
use. 

Cork. — Many players think a cork racket is 
the only thing to be played with. The ball 
comes away with a very great spin, and, in their 
opinion, all the objections to the wooden racket 
are overcome. 

Out. — A gut racket looks like a miniature 
tennis racket. It is very tightly-strung with 
yerjr fine gut. All players I have seen using it 



PING-PONG 31 

seem to be quite novices. They are unable to 
control the ball in any way. This is, I feel sure, 
chiefly the fault of the racket, which does not 
seem suited to Ping-Pong. 

Vellum Rackets compared to Wood and Simi- 
lar Rackets. — Vellum, as everybody knows, 
alters under atmospheric influences. This is the 
chief objection to it. Several patents have been 
taken out lately to overcome this ; the principle 
of them all is that of the drum or banjo, in- 
ventors trying to introduce the system of alter- 
ing the tension of the vellum of the racket with- 
out increasing its weight, or having a rim, which 
ruins many strokes. The chief advantage of 
vellum, when in a proper condition for playing, 
is that a greater spin can be imparted to the 
ball. When the ball hits the racket, in the case 
of a vellum one it does not fly off immediately and 
time is given to impart the top spin necessary to 
keep a hard drive within bounds, and in fact 
time is also given for the direction of the ball to 
be altered after it has once touched the racket. 
In the case of wood and composition rackets this 
is not so ; the ball leaves the racket the moment 
it is touched ; no time is given for much top spin 
to be imparted, hard driving is very difficult, and 
the flight of the ball cannot be controlled with 
ease. The genius may arise who will be able to 
perform the same strokes with a wooden racket 
that are possible with a vellum, but at the pres- 
ent time players who use wooden rackets confine 



32 PING-PONG 

themselves as a general rule to half-volleying, 
and very rarely hit a ball after it has risen to the 
top of its bounce. As will be shown later on, 
this is a great disadvantage ; the important point 
is not the time that elapses between the ball be- 
ing struck by one player and returned by the 
other, but the time between the ball being struck 
and its striking the opponent's court. In the 
case of the player driving the ball hard this time 
is shortened considerably. Many of the finer 
strokes that are possible with a vellum racket 
are absolutely impossible where wood is used. 
Another objection to wood is that balls hitting 
the racket somewhere near the edge travel much 
faster than those hit at in the centre, owing to 
the greater spring. Players who use thick oak 
or mahogany rackets say this is not the case, but 
then the disadvantage of using a racket made of 
such a heavy wood is obvious. Metal rackets are 
hardly worth discussing, there are so few of 
them played with. The great majority of them 
are too heavy for use ; one, an aluminium racket, 
has been put on the market lately, and seems to 
be the best of the metal rackets. The ball, how- 
ever, seems to travel very slowly from such a 
racket, and bounces high from the table, giving 
a hard hitter every opportunity of bringing off 
his strokes. 

To overcome the diflficulty of vellum altering 
under atmospheric influences, the writer has 
lately taken out provisional protection for a 



PING-PONG 



33 



racket that, it is hoped, will overcome all 
difficulties. 

It will be possible to 
adjust the tension of the 
vellum, and the rim, which 
is the great objection to 
Mr. Newman's patent, 
will be conspicuous by its 
absence. 

£all PicTcer-ups, or ""'* *"** 
Hetrievers. — Many people 
having found the exercise 
of picking up balls too 
much for them, several 
instruments for picking 
them up without the necessity for stooping have 
been put on the market. I have given illus- 




.(^ 



NO. 4.— BALI FICKEK-UP. 



esuimo 



BBU-aaeen'^/ 




tm, 9. 



NO. 6. 
BAU. FICKES-UFS 



HO. 6a. 



34 PING-PONG 

trations of four of them. The first one consists 
of a metal frame at the end of a long stick. 
Across the front of the frame two pieces of 
elastic are fixed, and at the back there is a 
small net. By placing the rim at the end of 
the stick over the balls they can be picked up, 
the elastic preventing them falling out again. 
The principle of the others can be seen in the 
illustrations. 

Ball Holders. — Those in use at the last Queen's 
Hall Tournament seem to be the only ones that 




RQ. 7<'— BAU. HOLDER. 



are of any use. It is merely a wire basket fixed 
underneath the table so that it can be reached 
easily by the player, and does hot in any way in- 
terfere with him during the course of play. It 
is fixed to the table by rubber suction disks. 

Posts. — I will only mention two of the numer- 
ous makes of posts on the market. The first one 
is best suited for home use, the second for 
clubs. 

(1) The posts are fixed in two heavy lead feet, 
which keeps them upright, and the net is fixed 
between. There i^ no danger of the table being 



PING-PONG 



35 



hurt by screws if these posts are used, but the net 
does not project beyond the sides of the table, as 
required by the rules for tournaments. 

(2) The posts for club use screw on to the 
tables and project beyond the 
sides. , They have extending 
bases so that they will fit any 
width of table. (See illustra- 
tion.) 

]!f^ets. — There are three 
makes of nets on the market at 
present. 

(1) "White gauze net. 

(2) Green gauze, with white 
band running along top. 

(3) Net similar to a tennis net, made of string. 
The green gauze net is the best for ordinary 

use, although the tennis net variety is very much 
liked by some who have tried them. 




NO. JA.— POSTS. 



CHAPTER IV 

GRIP OF EAOKET AND FIEST STEPS 

Theofghout the wliole of this book every- 
thing has been explained with great detail. 
Many players will think I have given unneces- 
sarily minute instructions. My object in writing 
this book, however, is to teach, in the simplest 
possible manner, firstly, any one who has never 
played any game before the best way to play 
Ping-Pong ; and, secondly, to give such informa- 
tion as will make any ordinary player equal to 
the best. Many points that a tennis player 
would take for granted any one else would be 
completely mystified about. How to grip the 
racket must be learned first. 

Grijp of Racket. — It is most important that 
the racket should be held in the best possible 
manner. Many players will say that the best 
possible manner is that which comes naturally to 
any one. This is not so in most cases. Of course 
there are born players, who succeed in spite of 
their peculiarities not because of them, and it is 
not wise for the average individual to copy them. 
First of all I will describe what may be called 
the perfect grip, and afterwards, one or two 
different ways of holding the racket noticed at 

36 



PING-PONG 



37 




NO. 8. — GRIP OF RACKET. FO&E-UANO. 



the recent tournament will be discussed. Place 
the thumb on the vellum of the racket quite close 
to the head, the first finger being on the other 
side of the 
racket exactly 
opposite to the 
thumb. The 
three remain- 
ing fingers hold 
the handle 
lightly. The 
handle of the racket should be cut quite short ; 
in fact, the little finger should just reach the end 
of the handle (see illustrations). If this grip be 

used all strokes de- 
scribed later on can 
be accomplished with 
ease ; many of them 
may be made with 
the other grips to be 
mentioned below, but 
generally only a por- 
tion with any partic- 
ular grip. Of course 
the position of the 
fingers varies slightly 
with each stroke. 
This particular method of holding the racket is rec- 
ommended as allowing these changes to be made 
without interfering with the accuracy of the re- 
turns. Some players, instead of putting the 




NO. g. GRIP OF RACKET. 

BACK-HAND. , 



38 



PING-PONG 



thumb and first finger on the face of the racket, 
place them straight down the side of the handle, 
so that the tips of both thumb and finger just 
touch the frame. If the wrist be exceedingly flex- 
"ible this grip is almost, but not quite, as good as the 
one mentioned above. Many ladies use this par- 
ticular method of holding the racket. Their 
wrists as a rule are more flexible than a man's. 
Some players hold the racket very much as you 
would a penholder; both 
thumb and first finger are 
the same side of the racket, 
the other fingers being be- 
low, the handle coming up 
between the thumb and first 
finger the same way as the 
penholder (see illustration). 
Others, again, instead of 
holding the racket quite 
close to the face, use a long 
handle. Players who hold 
the racket in this way as a 
rule play only back-hand or only fore-hand. 
They have small variety of strokes, but as a 
rule can drive a very hard ball when it comes 
in a suitable position. The great objection to a 
long-handled racket is the difiiculty of taking 
balls aimed straight at the body. 

The above are the chief ways of holding the 
racket. There are hundreds of others which are 
merely variations of those mentioned. I must, 






MO. 10. — FENHOLOaX 
CRIP. 



PING-PONG 39 

however, again strongly recommend every one 
to use the grip described first, or at any rate 
some modification of it best suited to individual 
peculiarities. 

Position at Table. — The best position to take 
up at the commencement of the game is one mid- 
way between the sides of the table, the distance 
behind it depending on the nature of the service. 
A player who only half-volleys naturally has to 
be quite close to the table, but one who both 
half-volleys and plays back can be continually 
shifting his position, making him a most worry- 
ing opponent. 

First Steps. — Any one attempting to play 
Ping-Pong for the first time will feel most awk- 
ward. Tennis players, as a rule, think they 
ought to be able to play the game directly they 
commence. It is a great mistake. The game is 
so different in many ways from all others. The 
lightness of the ball makes its flight through the 
air very difficult to judge, and after it has 
bounced causes it to fall comparatively slowly, 
so that in most cases the ball is struck too soon, 
and is sent flying out of court. If beginners 
would only realize that there is plenty of time to 
hit the ball their play would improve rapidly. 
In starting to play adopt either the half-volley 
or back play, whichever comes most natural to 
you, but take balls both back and fore-hand. 
Balls on the left take back-handed, those on the 
right fore-handed. It is most important to com- 



40 PfJfG-PONG 

mence in this way, as the single style game is 
most difficult to eradicate. Do not attempt to 
win strokes, but do the very best you can to hit 
the ball with the middle of the racket, and place 
it somewhere in the opposite court. The rest 
will come in time. Do not be disheartened if 
the ball at first rarely travels in the direction 
you expect it to go. It is impossible to learn the 
game all at once. There is no royal road to sue 
cess. Before trying any of the strokes men 
tioned later on, try and keep up a rally of say 50 
or 60 strokes. Be quite certain of returning the 
ball slowly before attempting to hit. So many 
players (particularly lawn tennis players) try to 
hit all at once. They do not keep the ball in, 
and consequently think it is impossible for them 
ever to do so when hitting hard. They then 
adopt a system of merely returning the ball, and 
assert that the stronger game is the purely de- 
fensive one. That is because they started at the 
wrong end ; they should have commenced with 
pat-ball and trained themselves to hit instead of 
commencing to hit before knowing even the 
rudiments of the game. When you have got 
quite certain of returning the ball to the opposite 
court, then try and learn one of the strokes 
mentioned in the next chapter. When you have 
mastered one stroke learn another, but do not 
try and get in ore than one stroke at once. So 
many things have to be remembered in doing 
any particular stroke that failure will only at- 



PING-PONG 41 

tend any one who tries to learn too much at 
once. If possible, try to master the combined 
style recommended in the next chapter, and also 
learn, if possible, to half-volley and to play the 
back game. Some players will find it impossible 
to manage this. If their wrist is not flexible 
enough to play the combined style, I recommend 
the adoption of the back-hand play in preference 
to the fore-hand, as more variety of strokes is 
possible to a back-hand player than to one who 
plays fore-hand. 



CHAPTEE V 

SERVICE 

In spite of the great importance of the service, 
but few players have taken, the trouble to study 
the question. Several services are mentioned 
below, and every player should try to acquire 
all those mentioned, and think out new ones 
himself. 

Any one who is inclined to serve from above 
the waist should fix a stick lengthways about the 
height of the waist, and standing close to it prac- 
tise serving underneath it. 

There are a great many varieties of service in 
Ping-Pong. Yery few players at the present 
time have developed a really hard service. Those 
that have a really hard service as a rule are very 
erratic, and lose more points than they gain in 
their efforts to serve an untakable ball. 

( 1 ) To serve hard with accuracy, stand about 
two yards behind the table, and, throwing the 
ball from a position a little below the level of the 
top of the table, swing the racket straight to- 
wards the point you wish to place the service. 
The moment the ball is touched the racket must 
be drawn across it from the bottom upwards. If 

this be done smartly, however hard the stroke 

42 



PING-PONG 



43 



may be, the service will not travel outside the 
limits of the table. By turning the racket to the 
left or right the ball can be placed to either side 
of the court. This 
service must be prac- 
tised continually ; in 
fact, to get perfectly 
certain of, say, four 
balls in five, it is 
necessary to practise 
constantly for weeks. 

(2) Another way 
of serving hard is to 
take the ball f roni the 
right-hand side of the 
body, using a similar 
action. This seems 
to be a more difiicult 
stroke, but a harder 
ball can be served 
into the left-hand 
court than is possible 
when the ball is 
taken in front. 

(3) Some players 
rely solely on the 
screw service. They 
make the ball break 
are many ways 




MO. II.— THE SERVICE (l). 



in either direction. There 
in which this is done. Some 
will throw the ball up, and, swinging the racket 
with its face parallel with the floor and from 



44 



PING-PONG 



right to left, hit the ball underneath, causing it 
to break from left to right. By swinging from 
left to right the reverse break can be managed. 
This, however, is most difiB.cult. The great 
objection to this service is the height of the 
bounce, enabling a hard hitter frequently to kill 
with the ball. 

(4) Others hold the 
racket (as shown in 
diagram No. 14) so 
that the face of the 
racket is at right 
angles to the table. 
By turning the 
racket round, using 
the handle as the 
axis, the baU can be 
made to break on 
either side. When 
the racket faces the 
left the ball will 
break to the left, and 
vice-versa. 
(5) Another screw service is performed in the 
following manner : The ball is held in the hand 
a little way in front of the body, and the player 
looks at the portion of the court he wishes the 
ball to strike. The racket is swung with a cir- 
cular, sweeping motion towards the ball, and hits 
it out of the player's hand without his throwing 
it up. The ball in this case travels rather fast, 




12. — FAST SERVICE (2). 



PING-PONG 



45 



and has a big break to the right. It is, how- 
ever, very uncertain, as the position of the ball is 
guessed rather than seen. 

(6) One player at the recent tournament held 
at the Aquarium served a very fast ball back- 
handed from the 
right-hand side of 
the body. He, how- 
ever, did not use the 
grip recommended 
previously, and had 
no fore-hand strokes. 
His racket was held 
as shown in the illus- 
tration (No. 16). I 
do not recommend 
the average player 
to adopt this style 
of play, as the gen- 
tleman in question 
had a marvelously 
flexible wrist, which 
made strokes easy 
for him which the 
average player would 
find to be impossible. 

(7) Many of the stone-wall players one sees in 
tournaments have no service that can be dignified 
with the name of such. They are content with 
getting the baU over the net somehow, and 
thereby starting the game, One or two of 




46 



PING-PONG 



these, or solely back-hand players, serve from 
the left-hand side of the body. One player, how- 
ever, served an extremely hard ball back-hand. 
Leaning somewhat forward, and standing well 
away from the table, he swung his racket from 
under the right arm (he played left-handed) and 
hit the ball with tremendous speed. The service, 





RO. 14.— SCREV\r EKRyiCB (4). NO, 15.— SCREW SERVICE (5), 



in the tournament at any rate, was erratic, but is 
perhaps capable of development. "When serving, 
back-hand players have great difficulty in keep- 
ing the racket below the waist. (See illustration 
No. 17.) 

General Hints on Service. — Every one ought 
to develop at least two kinds of service — a hard 



PING-PONG 



47 



service and a screw service. After playing con- 
tinuously against a hard server it will be found 
that, provided he does not change his service 
very considerably, the difficulty of taking it is 
no more than 
in the case of 
an ordinary 
pace service. 
If, however, in 
addition to con- 
tinually chang- 
ing the side he 
serves to, he 
also alters the 
pace and screws 
some balls, 
using the same 
action screwing 
as for the fast 
serve, he is al- 
most certain to 
win the major- 
ity of his serves. 
Do not serve 
every ball from 
the same side 
of the table. 
Serve the first ball, for instance, from the right- 
hand part of the court across to the left, and 
then put one straight down the side. With 
practice this can be done without altering the 




MO. l6.— BACK-HAND SERVICE FKOU 
RIGHT-UAMD SIDR (6).j 



48 



PING-PONG 



position of the head. That is to say, while look- 
ing to the left the ball is served to the right. 
Uiitil your opponent gets used to this he will be 
continually deceived, and frequently will never 
touch the baU. It is difficult, when standing on 
the left-hand side of the court, to serve a ball 

straight down the 
side line without 
bringing the 
racket above the 
waist. It is, how- 
ever, possible to do 
so using the second 
service described 
above. Standing 
at the left-hand 
side of the court it 
will be found pos- 
sible to place a 
screw service just 
over the net on 
the right-hand 
side. This should 
frequently be 
used when playing 
against an opponent who uses fore-hand strokes 
only. It is very difficult to serve a ball close to 
the net on the left-hand side. To serve a ball 
so that it drops about two feet from the net on 
the left-hand side is as good a stroke as can be 
expected. Occasionally, instead of serving to the 




NO. 17. — BACK-HAND SERVJCB (7). 



sides of the court, it is advisable to send the ball 
straight at the opponent. This will take him by- 
surprise, and the return, if the ball be taken at 
all, will be very weak. 

Therefore vary the service as much as possible 
both as regards — 

(1) Pace. 

(2) Position at table. 

(3) Direction of service. 

(4) Screw or plain. 

To take the Service. — To take a very hard serv- 
ice it is better to stand well behind the table so 
as to take it on the bounce and not at the half- 
volley. Services quite impossible to take at the 
half-volley become comparatively easy to an 
active player standing well back. Of course, 
the great objection to standing well away from 
the table is that a ball served short unexpectedly 
is difficult to take, but by watching your op- 
ponent carefully this can easily be anticipated. 



CHAPTEE VI 

STYLES OP PLAY AND STEOKES TO BE USED 

The styles of play adopted can be divided into 
three classes — 

{a) The back-hand style. 

{b) The fore-hand style. 

(c) The combination of the two. 

Players who adopt either {a) or (5) as a rule 
play with the handle some two or three inches 
longer than that recommended in a previous 
chapter, otherwise without great agility a ball 
falling close to the net or on the side lines cannot 
be taken. One of the greatest objections to the 
back-hand style is the difficulty of hitting balls 
falling on the right-hand side of the court unless 
the grips (illustrations Ifo. 10 and 16) be used. 
These grips, although allowing a player with a 
very flexible wrist to play a fast game, does not 
conduce to great variety of strokes, the finer 
touches of the game being conspicuous by their 
absence, and short cross rallies almost impossible. 

"With fore-hand strokes only a player has to 
move right across to the left beyond the side of 
the table to take balls falling on the left-hand 

5° 



PING-PONG 51 

side of the court, and to take returns falling 
close over the net on that side has almost to be 
a contortionist. 

Fore-hand players stand naturally somewhat to 
the left of the court ; indeed, some take up a po- 
sition level with the side line, and with arm 
fully extended and a comparatively long-handled 
racket, take everything with a sweeping stroke. 
This kind of player, as a rule, develops a very 
hard drive straight down the table, but by put- 
ting top spin on the ball so as to keep it low all 
danger from this source can be avoided; and 
besides, a . player good at placing can return 
every ball short down the side line on the 
player's back-hand. 

It stands to reason that any one adopting a 
combination of the two has a great advantage. 
Players who can train themselves to play equally 
well back-hand and fore-hand have an immense 
advantage over those who can only play one 
way. This does not mean that any one using 
both back- and fore-hand strokes will always win 
against players adopting a single style, but that 
other things, such as natural aptitude, amount of 
practice, etc., being equal, the player who plays 
both back- and fore-hand will win. 

To put the case more clearly, suppose that 
some one who only plays back-hand has a handi- 
cap of say 10. If he had learned to play both 
back- and fore-hand the handicap in all probabil- 
ity would be 5, or even less. 



52 PING-PONG 

The principal reasons accounting for this are 
the following : — ■ 

(1) A player standing midway between the 
sides of the table can, provided he be of average 
height, with very little effort and without shift- 
ing the position of the feet, reach any ball wher- 
ever placed. If below the average, he, of course, 
will have to move slightly, but nothing compared 
to the running about when only back-hand or 
only fore-hand strokes are used. 

(2) The firmer the position maintained the 
harder and more accurate may be the hitting ; 
the necessity of constantly moving so as to be 
well placed to return a ball, when either of the 
single styles is used, interferes with the balance 
and causes inaccuracy. Moreover, since the 
player's relation to the table is constantly chang- 
ing, so also are the table and surrounding objects 
constantly changing their position in his field of 
vision. This is both confusing and tiring to the 
eye owing to the constant effort necessary for it 
to accustom itself to the frequent changes. 

(3) Since aU the strokes possible to those who 
adopt the single styles are played in the combined 
style, it of course follows that variety of play 
and scope for improvement are much greater. 

Strokes to be Used. 

Now comes the question of strokes to be used. 
These can be divided into two main classes. 



PING-PONG 53 

(a) The half-volley. 
(h) All other strokes. 

First must be discussed the merits of the two 
classes. 

The great majority of players take every ball 
as often as possible at the half-volley. 

In half-volleying a baU the stroke is not made 
at the ball, but at where the ball will be im- 
mediately after it has struck the table. That 
is to say, a player half-voUeying a ball does not 
see it from the time immediately preceding its 
striking the table until the return has been made. 
"While with the half- volley the ball can with great 
accuracy be returned over the net, it is almost 
impossible to hit it hard. Not only has the ve- 
locity of the ball, and the amount and kind of 
spin, to be accurately gauged, but being taken so 
much below the level of the net a the ball has to 
describe a much sharper curve than if struck 
when it has reached a'. (See illustration N"o. 18.) 

A very hard service can be taken far more 
easily if the ball has had time to bounce, as its 
direction can be seen and time is given to swing 
the racket from one side of the table to the other, 
which, in the case of a fast placed serve is most 
difficult for a half- volley player to do in time. 
Also the angle at which the ball leaves the table 
shows the amount of spin to be allowed for in 
making the return. 

By waiting until the ball has reached the top 



54 PING-PONG 

of its bounce, or at any rate until it has been 
seen after hitting the table, a hard fast ball can 
be driven to any part of the court. The ball can 
be played " short " over the net and can be made 
to break in either direction. Players unused to 
the ball having any cut find a breaking ball most 
difficult to play. 

Of course half-volley players argue that the 
ball is returned much quicker by half-volley 




NO l8. 

strokes. By this they mean that the time be- 
tween the ball leaving their opponent's racket 
and touching their own is considerably shortened. 
But in most cases this is not the point to be con- 
sidered. The important point is that the ball 
after leiTig struck should reach the court opposite 
in the smallest possible time and in the least ex- 
pected direction. Therefore it is not the time 
between the ball leaving one racket and hitting 
another that counts, but the time between the 
striking of the ball and its falling on the court 
opposite. 
Of course an opponent who plays a single 



PING-PONG 55 

style may at times be driven to move to such an 
awkward position that the stroke can be won by 
half-volleying the ball before he has time to re- 
cover. A ball when driven near the top of its 
bounce can be made to travel at a much greater 
speed than a ball half-volleyed, and is on that ac- 
count all the more difficult to return, especially 
as the direction of the return may be varied at 
the last moment. 

A defensive game is chiefly played with half- 
voUey strokes, the characteristic of other strokes 
being attack. I say " chiefly," as it is possible 
by lobbing every ball to the back of the court, 
to " stonewaU " for a time without resorting to 
the half-volley, and it is possible by quick half- 
volleys across the court to attack. A fast half- 
volley stroke will be described later on. 

As both back- and fore-hand strokes should be 
played by every one, so should every player, who 
wishes to improve, cultivate both half-volley 
strokes and driving and lobbing the ball after its 
bounce has been seen. 



CHAPTEE YII 



HALF-VOLLEY STROKES 



To half -volley judge where the ball will fall, 
then swing the racket so that it will meet it im- 
mediately it springs from the table. To half- 
volley back-hand 
the position of the 
racket will be that 
shown in illustra- 
tion No. 19. 

(a) The hall is 
sovne distance 
away at the left- 
hand side of the 
court. The body 
will be considera- 
bly bent, and the 
forearm, wrist, 
and racket form a 
somewhat curved 
line, so that the 
position will be that shown in the diagram. 

If the face of the racket is at right angles to 
the direction in which the ball comes, the ball 
will be returned in the same direction ; if the 
angles made be not right angles, the direction 

56 




NO. 19.— KALF-VOLLBT BACK-HARD. 



Jf IMU-l^OMG 



57 



taken ■will be on the side of the obtuse (or 
greater) angle, and the greater the obtuse angle 
the nearer the side line will the ball faU. 

The .distance the returned ball will travel be- 
fore striking the table can be regulated by the 
angles which the face of the racket makes with 
the table. The smaller the angle on the side 
further removed from the player, the nearer the 
net will the ball fall, the greater the angle the 
nearer the back line. 

The length of the return can also be regulated 
by the speed at which the ball is struck. 

The nearer the ball 
falls to the body the 
more the position alters 
to that shown in the 
next illustration, but 
the grip on the racket 
is practically the same. 
The body, however, 
from stooping has be- 
come upright, and the 
arm is straight down 
with the racket at right angles to it on the left 
side. 

(&) Half-volley haohhand from right-hand 
side. — When half- volleying with back-hand 
strokes balls hit to the right-hand side of the 
court the grip alters to that shown in illustration 
No. 21. The fingers have left their hold on the 
handle and stick straight out, and the racket is 




ZO.^HALF-VOLLEY UACK- 
HAND. 



58 



PING-PONG 



held by the thumb and first finger only. The 
ball can then be returned at the half -volley in 

any direction by 
moving the wrist 
backwards or for- 
wards. 

(c) Screwhack 
h a If- volley. — A 
very effective half- 
volley, but very 
difficult to accom- 
plish, can be made 
by bringing the 
racket sharply on 
to the table so as 
to hit the ball at 
right angles to its 
flight, making it 
travel quickly 
back with a spin 
that may bring it back over the net and which 
certainly will cause the bounce to be at right 
angles to the table. 

The racket must be held so that the handle 
slopes away from the net. 

The fore-hand half-volleys are performed in 
almost the same manner as the back-hand, but 
are more difficult to accomplish. Some players 
have asserted that it is impossible to half-volley 
fore-hand, but by holding the racket as recom- 
mended on page 37 and illustrated there, and 




KO. 21. — HALF-VOLLEY BACK-HAND 
PSOU RIGHT-HAND SIDE. 



FliNG-FONG 



59 



keeping the hand 
almost on the 
table, the strokes 
can be performed 
with certainty. 
(See illustration 
E'o. 22.) 

As the wrist ■ 
does not move 
freely backwards, 
placing straight 
down the table a 
ball that comes 
from the right is 
difficult, but, with 
the body in the 





MO. 23. — FOKB-KAND HALF-VOLLET 
SnUaOKT DOWH TA2LE. 



position shown in 
illustration 23, a 
fore-hand half -vol- 
ley can be made 
straight down the 
table. 

All these strokes 
can be made with 
the racket upright. 

To accomplish 
them back-hand, 
the first finger and 
thumb hold the 
vellum of the 
racket, the fingers 
being straight out 



6o PING-PONG 

and not round the handle. The ball can easily 
be placed then by turning the racket, which can 
be accomplished by moving the fingers very 




NO. S4.--FORB-BA»D BALF-VOIXEV (UFXIGHT). 

slightly, but the return is neither as hard nor as 
certain as when the first method is used. It is, 
however, a good stroke to use occasionally as the 
direction of the return can be altered by such a 



PING-PONG 



61 



very slight movement that the flight of the ball 
is difficult to predetermine. 




KO. 25.— FAST HALF-VOLUY. 



Exactly the same method can be used to make 
the strokes fore-hand. (See illustration No. 24). 



62 PING-PONG 

Fast Half-Volley with Top Spin. 

A very killing half-volley stroke is the follow- 
ing : Hold the face of the racket so that it in- 
clines very much towards the net, and in stri- 
king the ball give a rapid upward motion. The 
ball travels fast with a very great top spin, but 
the stroke is very difficult to perform owing to 
the impossibility of foretelling the angle at which 
the ball will leave the table. (Illustration No. 25.) 

As before explained, the half -volley seems to 
be chiefly defensive. Services and drives difficult 
to take from pace alone and not placing, can with 
practice be half -volleyed. Also it is possible to 
" stonewall " with great accuracy. But " stone- 
walling " is not the beginning and end of Ping- 
Pong. 

Against some players it is imperative, par- 
ticularly in conjunction with "lobbing," to be 
described later on. A half -volley player would 
often win rests otherwise lost had he at least one 
hard drive, as lobbing against a hard hitter is 
dangerous, to say the very least about it. 

Every player will now see how necessary is 
the cultivation of as many hardkilling strokes as 
possible, and to kill a ball the stroke must, as a 
general rule, be made at the baU, and not at the 
place where it is calculated the ball will be at a 
certain time. The amount of screw and the 
elasticity of the ball (which varies slightly ac- 
cording to whether it falls on the joint or no) 
render the calculations very liable to error. 



PING-PONG 63 

The player who is as good half-volleying as 
otherwise will be able to play each ball in that 
manner best suited to its velocity and direction. 

In the next chapter will be found a description 
of strokes made either when the ball has reached 
the top of its bounce or immediately before or 
after. 



CHAPTEE YIII 

BALLS HIT WEAK TOP OF BOUNCE 

Fore-hand Strokes. 

It is most difficult to describe accurately the 
way any particular stroke is made, but it is 
hoped that the diagrams and illustrations given 
will enable the reader to understand clearly what 
is meant. 

Every one of course introduces little pecul- 
iarities of their own, but if the directions given 
be carefully followed, it is hoped that the strokes 
will be found easy of accomplishment. 

Slight differences in the grip may make some 
of the strokes seem impossible, but with practice 
these difficulties can be overcome. 

The strokes described are all possible, provided 
the racket be held quite close to thp vellum. 
Every one is, however, recommended to adopt 
some modification of the grip shown in diagrams 
Nos. 8 and 9. 

Many players use a few of these strokes, but 
very few use the whole of them. The fore-hand 
strokes will be dealt with first. 

(1) The Round-arm Fore-hand Drive. — In 
driving from right to left, arm, wrist, and racket 

64 



PING-PONG 



65 



are almost in a straight line, the face of the 
racket leaning slightly towards the table, and 
the ball being taken well away from and some- 
what in front of the body (see illustration). 
Swing the racket towards the baU with the arm 
in this position, taking care that the racket 
travels almost parallel with the table. To do 




NO. 26.— TKS ROUND-ARM FORE-HAND OKIVB. 



this the body must be considerably bent. The 
moment the baU comes into contact with the 
vellum, swing upwards so as to lift the ball over 
the net. The spin imparted to the ball by this 
movement will cause it to fall rapidly and keep 
low, and travel fast after striking the table. 
The wrist can be used in combination with the 



66 PING-PONG 

arm and body to bring the racket upwards. 
This increases the spin on the ball, but also in- 
creases the diflB.culty of performing the stroke. 

If the ball bounce high this stroke can be per- 
formed without any spin being necessary. The 
racket, instead of swinging parallel to the table, 
moves slightly towards it. Great care must be 
taken that the ball is struck truly without any 
down cut, as otherwise the ball will fly out of 
court, the down cut causing the ball to rise. 
Strokes will be shown later in which the down 
cut can be used. 

To place the ball straight down the table with 
this stroke the ball can be taken when it is level 
with the body instead of in front of it. 

If the baU be played straight down the table 
from in front of the player the racket must bend 
back as far as possible. 

The question of making the ball screw in the 
air and break after striking the table wiU be dis- 
cussed later on. 

(2) The Underhand Fore-hand Drive. — The 
ball is driven from straight in front of the body 
or close to it on the right-hand side, the arm 
moving at right angles to the table. 

The racket is held almost at right angles to 
the arm and below it, the face being somewhat 
to the right of the hand (see diagram). Directly 
the ball is struck, pull the racket sharply up- 
wards, chiefly by bending the forearm and turn- 
ing the wrist so as to bring the racket above it. 



PING-PONG 



67 



This imparts the top spin necessary to keep the 
ball low. 

The direction of the ball is controlled by turn- 
ing the racket round on the axis of the handle 
by the movement of the forearm, not by moving 
it backward or forward with the wrist as pivot, 
as is the case in the " round-arm drives." Mov- 




SO,_27.7-Uia>ERHAND n)S£-HAND ORIVS., 



ing the racket backwards or forwards in the 
underhand drive controls the length of the 
return. 

Although it is possible to drive a ball with 
greater pace and force by the use of the round- 
arm stroke, the ease with which the underhand 



68 



PING-PONG 



drive can be placed makes it almost more difficult 
for an opponent to return. 

The effect of a side screw on the flight and 
break of a ball will be discussed later on. It will 
be shown that the ball can be made to break in 
any direction. 

(3) The Lob. — By a "lob" is meant tossing 
the ball into the air. This is the only possible 
■way of taking some strokes. 




tfO. a8.--P0RB.lIAND LOB FROM SIDE OF TABLE. 



A ball driven or served half-way down the 
right-hand side of the court near the edge, and 
traveling away from the table, must be taken in 
this manner unless half-volleyed (see illustra- 
tion), or a ball just touching the edge of the 



PING-PONG 69 

table can frequently be taken quite close to the 
floor and returned high over the net. Care must 
be taken to return the ball well to the end of the 
opponent's court, as otherwise the smash to be 
described later on will end the rally. 

A short player is frequently compelled to turn 
his back to the table and play the ball over his 
shoulder. 

(4) The SorewhaeJc. — This stroke has been 
called the "screwback" not because the ball 
actually always comes back over the net, but be- 
cause instead of traveling forwards in direction 
J it rises from the table in the direction a. The 






T=r" ' F=7 

NO. 29.— DIAakAllJ>F SCBEWBACX. 

tendency of the ball is to come back over the 
net, although sufBcient spin can rarely be im- 
parted to render this possible. It has, however, 
occurred. 

This stroke is possible only when the ball 
bounces high, unless the half-volley described 
previously is used. Hold the racket somewhat 
loosely, the head being either above the wrist or 
at one side. Swing the racket parallel to the 
table rapidly towards the ball, and the moment 
contact takes place let the stroke take a down- 



70 PING-PONG 

ward swing, the racket being turned slightly 
back so as to hit the ball somewhat belon^ the 
centre. This will impart a spin the reverse of 




Sa'O-CKOUCH STROKE FORE-HAND. 



that given in both the round-arm and underhand 
drives mentioned above. 

(5) The Croiwh 8i/r6ke. — This stroke is very 
difficult to perform effectively, but is one of 
the finest returns to a hard service or shooting 
ball. 

A hard drive falls some few inches inside the 



PIN(^-PONG 71 

table and keeps very low. Bend down so that 
when the wrist is below the level of the table 
the ball can be struck overhand when it is level 
with or below the table (see illustration). The 
ball can be taken well behind the table in this 
manner. 

It will help greatly if the right foot is drawn 
back, as in this position the body is quite steady. 
If the racket be made to describe a short circle 
from below the wrist to above it an extremely 
fast return is made, but great care must be taken 
to hit the ball truly without any cut. A very 
slight amount of cut from above downwards 
will cause the ball to fly out. Owing to the na- 
ture of the stroke a top spin is almost too diffi- 
cult to attempt, although by lifting the arm 
during the stroke it may be imparted to the ball. 

(6) Playing Short Balls. — This is a variety of 
the " lob," only instead of hitting the ball high 
into the air it is played so as to fall just over the 
net. It is most useful in taking balls that have 
hit the net and just dropped over. With practice 
the return can be made to fall on the table within 
an inch or two of net, and as the ball has been 
driven, in all probability from behind the end of 
the table, such a short return can only be taken 
very hurriedly. 

(7) A very effective underhand drive can be 
brought off from right behind the end of the 
table after the ball has fallen below the level of 
the surface. 



72 



PING-PONG 



The ball must be hit as hard as possible, and 
directly it touches the racket the arm and wrist 
must draw the vellum sharply upwards so as to 
cause the ball to spin rapidly. 




NO. 31.— UKDEEHAND DSIVB FSOU BEBINO END OP TABLE. 



Its course will be very similar to that of the 
dotted line in diagram 31. It will be seen that 
the ball falls very rapidly towards the end of its 
journey, and shoots with great velocity. 

The great objection to this stroke is that the 
ball sometimes goes under the table owing to the 
pull upwards not being sharp enough. 

(8) Talcing halls falling on the lack-hand side 
of the court vnth a fore-hand strohe. — (This is 
a cross between a back-hand and fore-hand 
stroke.) 



PING-PONG 



73 



This is a very ugly and not very powerful 
stroke, and should be used only when it is im- 
possible to take the ball in any other way. This 




NO. 32. — FORE-HAND SI'KOKE TROM DACK-IIANI> SIBE. 

only occurs when the flight of the ball is mis- 
judged, so that instead of falling on the fore- 
hand, as expected, it comes to the other side, and 



74 



PING-PONG 




there is no time to turn the racket so as to make 
a back-hand stroke. 

The position is that illustrated, diagram 
No. 32. 

The forearm is across the body, palm of hand 

facing up- 
wards, and the 
stroke is made 
chiefly by 
movement of 
the wrist. 

The STnash. 
— When the 
ball bounces 
very high it 
can be hit 
straight on to 
the table, as 
shown in illus- 
tration No. 34. 
The fore- 
hand drive 
from left to 
right. — When 
the ball bounces high on the left-hand side of the 
court step smartly across, moving left foot as far 
as possible parallel with the table, the right 
taking a slight step backwards ; swing the racket 
parallel with the table so as to hit the ball with 
the rio'ht-hand corner of the 



-F0P..E.3IAND KRIViS FROM LEFT 
TO RIGHT. 



facing 



the racket 
opponent's court. 



The ball will then travel with 



PING-PONG 



75 



a twist that will take it off the right-hand side of 
the table almost at right angles (to the side of 
the table). It is possible to do this stroke when 
the ball does not 
bounce very high. 
In this case, how- 
ever, the move- 
ment becomes a 
jump. Either the 
underhand or 
round-arm drive 
can be used. 
Should it be neces- 
sary to play a 
straight ball with- 
out any break the 
underhand drive „„ ,. ,„„ „.,.^., 

NO. 34. — THE SMASH. 

must be used un- 
less the stroke is taken standing by the side of 
the table. 




Back-hand Strokes. 

No. 1. Ths round-arm hach-hcmd drive. — In 
driving from left to right back-hand, the fore- 
arm, wrist, and racket must be almost in a 
straight line, the face of the racket being at right 
angles to the table or slightly inclined towards 
it, and the ball must be struck when a consider- 
able distance from the body. Swing the racket 
freely at the ball, moving the arm chiefly at the 
elbow. The moment the vellum touches the 



76 PING-PONG 

ball, give a sharp upward stroke, causing the top 
spin necessary to keep the ball within the court. 
It is very difficult to place this drive straight 
down the table. It can, however, be managed 
by turning the body considerably round so that, 
instead of being square with the table, it is at 
right angles to it. By drawing the racket from 
left to right across the ball it can be made to 
break from right to left. This is not advisable 
unless the drive is straight down the table as in 
playing across the table the break brings the 
ball nearer the opponent. In driving straight 
down the table this break can be increased by the 
action of the wrist. If the ball bounces high this 
stroke can be performed without any top spin. 
The racket, instead of swinging parallel with the 
table, takes a direction towards it ; the ball, how- 
ever, must be struck square so that no undercut 
is given, otherwise the ball will fly out of the 
court. Strokes will be shown later on in which 
the down cut back-hand can be used. 

ISTo. 2. The underhand hacltrhand drive. — The 
racket head must be well below the wrist, at 
right angles to the arm, and the ball can be taken 
from any part of the left-hand court, The face 
of the racket must incline towards the table, and 
the moment the ball is struck the racket must be 
drawn sharply upwards by the use of both wrist 
and arm. The direction of the ball can be con- 
trolled by turning the racket on the axis of the 
handle, and can be placed with ease to any part 



PING-PONG 77 

of the court. The length of the return can be 
regulated by the angle the face of the racket has 
to the table as well as by the strength of the 
stroke. Although it Is possible to drive a much 
harder ball by the round-arm stroke, the ease 
with which the return can be placed by the 




NO. 35.— BACK-HAND LOB FROM SIDE OF TABLE. 

underhand drive makes it a far more valuable 
one owing to the difficulty the opponent has of 
prejudging the direction of the return. It will 
be shown later on that the ball can be made to 
break on either side. 

No. 3. The lob hack-hand. — The use of the 



78 



PING-PONG 



back-hand lob and the method of doing it is very 
similar to the fore-hand. A ball driven well out 
of reach on the back-hand side must be taken in 
this way (see illustration No. 3Y). A fast ball 
touching the edge of the end of the table can 




NO. 36.-^TAKIHG BALL WITH BACK TO TABLE. 



frequently be taken by turning the back to the 
table and taking the ball from the position a yard 
in front of the body (again see illustration No. 
36). Instead of getting square with the table by 
stopping and turning back, continue right round, 
taking the ball without stopping the swing of 
body. Much time will be saved if this way of 
taking the ball be adopted instead of the usual 
one of stopping and turning back again. 



PING-PONG 79 

No. 4. The screwhach. — This stroke can be 
used more frequently back-hand than its fore- 
hand counterpart, owing to the greater flexibility 
of the wrist in the necessary direction. Hold 
the racket fairly loosely and swing it straight at 
the ball. The moment before contact turn the 
face of the racket so that the ball is hit on the 
under side. This will cause the ball to travel 
slowly upwards, and on striking the table it will 
bounce straight up, or even occasionally come 
right back towards the net. 

This stroke can also be done by swinging the 
racket at right angles to the table, so that the 
face of the racket is drawn across the ball from 
top to bottom. 

No. 5. I'he crouch stroke. — This stroke is far 
more difficult to perform effectively back-hand 
than the fore-hand stroke ; in fact, on but few 
occasions is it even possible. It only becomes so 
when a player has been driven a long way from 
the table and the return faUs 4 or 5 inches within 
the court and shoots considerably. Step forward 
quickly with the right foot, and hit the ball as 
shown in diagram 37. Take care that the racket 
is not drawn downwards across the ball, other- 
Avise the return will rise and go out of court. 
Owing to the nature of this stroke, top spin is 
extremely difficult, but perhaps possible, so that 
the ball usually falls on to the table by the action 
of gravitation alone. 

No. 6. PloAjing short halls. — This is merely a 



8o 



PING-PONG 



variety of the lob, in which, instead of playing 
the ball high into the air, it is struck so as to 
fall just over the net. It is practically the same 




NO. 37.— BACK-HAND CROVCU STROKE. 



as the fore-hand shot, the only difference being 
that it is possible to place the ball closer to the 
net on the left-hand side by the back-hand stroke 
than is possible in the other case. 



. . 8i 

No. 7. Driving halls with the hack-hand, stroke 
from the right-hand side of the hody. — This stroke 
is a very effective and powerful one, very differ- 
ent from the fore-hand scoop-up from the left- 
hand side. The arm is turned round so that the 




,110. 38.;^BACS<HAI<S DBIVB FROU RIORT-HAMD StSB. 



back of the hand faces the net and the forearm 
and upper-arm are almost at right angles, and 
TveU extended from body, the racket being held 
at right angles to arm. It is possible to drive 
hard in any direction, but no side or down spin 



82 



PING-PONG 



can be imparted to the ball. It is only necessary 
to use this stroke when forced by a very quick 




NO. 39.— BACK>BANI> DKIVZ FBOM EIGHT TO LEFT. 



return to half -volley back-handed on the right- 
hand side of the body. If the return comes back 



PING-PONG 



83 



quickly it can then be driven without changing 
to the fore-hand. (See illustration No. 38.) 

No. 8. The 
h a ck - hand 
drive from the 
right-ha/tid side 
of the table. — 
Step to the side 
with the right 
foot and some- 
what back- 
wards with the 
left, when the 
ball falling on 
the right-hand 
side of the court 
bounces fairly 
high. Swing- 
ing the racket 
as instructed in 
the round-arm 
drive, the ball 
can be driven 
with great 
speed to the, 
left-hand side of 
the table. If at 

the moment of striking the ball the racket be 
drawn quickly from left to right, the ball comes 
off the table with a tremendous spin, making it 
almost impossible for the return to be placed 




NO. 40. 



84 PING-PONG 

within the court. This stroke always causes the 
ball to break considerably without any wrist 
action^ Owing to the wrist having more play 
in the direction needed, this stroke is far more 
effective than the fore-hand stroke from right to 
left. Occasionally, instead of placing the ball to 
the left, it can be driven half-way down the right- 
hand side of the table. The ball is then taken 
with the racket above the wrist. If done quickly 
this is a killing stroke. (Illustration E"o. 40.) 

Making the Ball Break. 

A great deal can be done in the way of making 
the ball shoot and break by imparting spin. I 
propose to state shortly the different ways of 
causing a ball to screw and the effect of the 
screw. 

To cause top spin {i. e., to make the ball spin 
in the direction of its flight) the racket must be 
drawn along the ball from the lower part up- 
wards. This will cause it to shoot and travel 
fast as it leaves the table. When struck, by the 
opponent's racket the tendency is for the ball to 
rise, and the return will very likely give you an 
opportunity for killing. 

By drawing the racket from the top of the ball 
downwards, or by cutting across it underneath, 
the reverse spin to the above will be imparted 
and the ball will bounce perpendicularly, or even 
break back. 

By drawing the racket across the ball from 



PING-PONG 85 

right to left the ball will break to the right on 
hitting the table. The tendency of the baU 
when struck by the opponent's racket is to the 
left, that is to say, the opposite way to the break 
off the table. 

By reversing this action the ball can be made 
to break to the left. Top spin, or the reverse, 
and a break can be imparted at the same time by 
drawing the racket diagonally across the ball. 

The above directions hold good for both back- 
and fore-hand strokes. It will be found that a 
break difficult to perform back-handed is easy 
fore-handed, and vice versa. 



CHAPTEE IX 

GENERAL REMARKS ON PLATING THE GAME 

In this chapter I propose to mention the chief 
points to be observed in playing a game of Ping- 
Pong. 

1. Do not commence the game by serving too 
fast. "Wait until you have got set, and gradually 
increase the pace of the service until your normal 
delivery is reached. 

2. Vary the service as much as possible. Do 
not continually serve from the same place and in 
the same manner. The following are methods 
by which you can get variety of service, (a) By 
placing. Place the services so far as is possible 
at your opponent's weak point. If you observe 
that he is a fore-hand player chiefly, place them 
well down to his back-hand. Do not mind if the 
service is only a slow one, as the diflBculty he 
will have in returning a ball from his weak side 
will in all probability give you the chance of 
killing with your next stroke. (5) Serve some- 
times from the right-hand side of the table, at 
other times from the left and occasionally from 
the middle. In this way your opponent will 
never get used to the angle at which the ball 
leaves the table, (o) Vary the pace as much as 

86 



PING-PONG 87 

you possibly can without altering the action used 
in serving. One of the best ways in which to 
alter pace, and at the same time make the service 
more diflB.cult, is by imparting the cut mentioned 
in the chapter on service, {d) A twist or back- 
cut service is also extremely useful, particularly 
after a very hard service, when your opponent 
has been led to stand well behind the table. 

Develop, as I have said before, one or two 
services, and make certain of being able to place 
them. When serving take particular notice of 
the point to which most of the returns come. 
You will thus frequently be ready to deliver a 
killing stroke from anticipating your opponent's 
intentions. 

3. At the moment of striking the ball, when- 
ever possible, give an upward twist to the wrist. 
This adds pace, makes the ball go nearer the top 
of the net and come quicker from the table ; also 
if the ball strikes the top of the net this twist 
will, in many cases, cause it to roll over. 

4. Do not slog too hard at every ball ; the 
primary object is to get the ball back over the 
net with sufficient pace and length to force a 
weak return. Do not start a game by hitting 
too hard, but start slowly and gradually work 
up to your full drive. 

5. When your opponent gives you a ball 
which it is possible to kill, never hesitate from 
careful motives, but try to win the point. 

6. In placing the ball always send it to the 



88 PING-PONG 

spot most inconvenient to your opponent. The 
most inconvenient spot as a rule is that part of 
the court he least expects the ball to be returned 
to. Thus a ball straight at him down the table 
is very often a more telling stroke than one on 
one of the side lines. Also it is frequently more 
effective to place the ball to that part of the 
table his racket has just left rather than to the 
side it is being moved towards. 

7. Do not lob against an opponent who can 
drive hard from the back line. He will in all 
probability kill every one of your returns. 

8. Always anticipate, if you possibly can, 
where your opponent is going to return the ball. 
Do not move towards the spot you expect the 
return to come to until he has actually hit the 
ball, otherwise he may at the last moment change 
its direction, completely beating you. 

9. Notice all your faults, and if possible get 
some onlooker who understands the game to 
point out any fault he may have noticed. Prac- 
tice all your weak points as much as possible. 
Do not mind losing practice games, but leave off 
some of your pet strokes during practice, and try 
and take every ball in the particular manner that 
happens to be most difficult to you. 

10. Do not when practising think that any 
manner of stroke or any kind of play will have 
no influence over your game. Always play your 
best and your hardest. However you have been 
handicapped try your best to win. Tour constant 



PING-PONG 89 

motto must be " Improvement." If yoa do not 
improve you will gradually become a weaker 
player. It is impossible to remain at a dead 
level : one must either improve or go back. 

11. Do not be content with thinking of the 
game only when you are playing it. In spare 
moments try and think out some new strokes or 
methods of play, and then, when next practising, 
turn your theories to practical use. 

12. Play as large a variety of opponents as 
you possibly can. Tou wiU then learn to attack 
many kinds of defense and to defend many kinds 
of attack. The experience gained will be of 
great use when playing in tournaments, and you 
are less likely to be upset by some entirely new 
method of playing or placing. 

13. Deceive your opponents as much as pos- 
sible as to the direction of your strokes. Prac- 
tise looking one way and hitting the other. 
Practise moving your body so as to deceive your 
opponent as to the direction you intend placing 
the ball. With practice it will be found possible 
to move the body in almost any direction and 
any way, and at the same time to place the ball 
to any part of the court. 

14. Do not play too much or too long at once. 
After playing for an hour or two the eye and 
wrist will get tired, and the play will become 
wanting in variety and sting. 

15. Try practising by yourself. The follow- 
ing are three good methods for improving one's 



90 PING-PONG 

control of the ball : (1) Stand about a yard or a 
yard and a half from an ordinary wall and hit 
the ball up against it, keeping it up as long as 
possible. The naore expert you get in this the 
closer can you stand to the wall. This will make 
the wrist flexible, and is excellent practice in 
hitting the ball truly, because a slight screw put 
on the ball will make it impossible to keep up 
the rally. (2) A similar exercise to the above 
can be done by using the table instead of the 
wall. It will be found possible with practice to 
keep the ball bouncing on the table when hold- 
ing the racket within three inches of top. (3) 
If the room is not too lofty practise hitting the 
ball upwards so as just to touch the ceiling. 
Keep this up as long as possible. This is a most 
difficult exercise, as the ball as a rule hits the 
ceiling too hard, making it impossible to send it 
up again. 

16. Do not play when tired, either physically 
or mentally, as it is impossible to play one's 
proper game unless fresh, and to do otherwise 
tends to weaken one's game. 

17. Make sure of easy strokes. Because it 
seems impossible to miss a certain return many 
players slash wildly at the ball, and frequently 
miss making a good return. Many games are 
lost through carelessness in hitting easy balls. 
The easier a ball is to take the more care must 
be used in making the stroke. If the stroke be 
lost not only does your opponent gain one point, 



PING-PONG 91 

he also gains courage and nerve, especially if the 
game be a level one. 

18. Yariety is the great secret of success. 
Change your game so as to suit every opponent. 
!N"ever play the same game against two different 
players, and if your opponent seems to be master- 
ing you try another method of tackling him. 

19. Always attack wherever possible. It is far 
less tiring to attack than to be continually on the 
defensive. Many tournaments have been won at 
Ping-Pong by purely defensive players. I do 
not think this will be so in the future. Lawn 
tennis in its earlier days was purely defensive ; 
the great idea of every player was to keep the 
ball up. "Winning strokes were unknown. In 
the present day something more than mere ability 
to defend is necessary to win lawn-tennis tourna- 
ments, and I feel certain that this will be the 
case with Ping-Pong in the near future. 



OHAPTEE X 

IDEAS FOR HANDICAPPIK0 

"When a stronger player is playing a weaker 
he should, if possible, in all cases be handicapped 
in some way, otherwise the strong player is liable 
to take no trouble or interest in the game, which 
is extremely bad both for himself and his op- 
ponent. There are many ways in which a hand- 
icap at Ping-Pong can be arranged : — 

(1) The handicap usually adopted, or I might 
say always adopted, at tournaments, is to make 
the stronger player give points to the weaker — 
that is to say, the stronger player can use all his 
best strokes, but has to win more points than the 
weaker. The real object of a handicap should 
be not only to produce a level game so far as 
points are concerned, but also to produce good, 
rallies, and make each player play the very best 
game that it is possible for him to do. This can- 
not be attained simply by giving one player a 
certain proportion of the game, but some system 
of handicapping such as the following should be 
adopted, to place them on a more even footing. 

(2) Let the stronger player leave out a certain 
proportion of his most killing strokes. For in- 
stance, suppose his best strokes are those straight 

down, the table, make him lose a point for every 

92 



PING-PONG 93 

ball he does not send diagonally. By making 
the stronger player do without his best strokes, 
he will be forced to improve his weaker points, 
thereby improving his game, while his opponent 
can play a better and stronger game, not having 
to fear so many killing returns. 

(3) Make the stronger player place every ball 
to one-half of the court. For this purpose the 
court can be divided by a tape, or a cloth or 
something similar can be placed on the part of 
the table he is not allowed to play at. This 
again will improve his power of placing, and 
thereby strengthen his game. It should be ar- 
ranged that if the player receiving points is weak 
on the back-hand, the stronger player should 
have to play to the back-hand side of his court 
and vice versa. The stronger player can also be 
made to play to the halves of the court alter- 
nately. 

(4) Place an object such as a tobacco tin on the 
stronger player's court. The weaker player will 
be able to win many points by aiming at this 
tin. Even if he do not manage to hit it, it will 
be most disconcerting to the stronger player and 
cause him frequently to miss strokes owing to 
the proximity of this obstacle to the ball. The 
weaker player will considerably improve his 
power of placing by aiming at this tin. The po- 
sition of the tin can be changed from time to 
time so as to induce him to place in every part of 
the court. 



94 PING-PONG 

(5) Make the stronger player use the left hand 
in playing. This will not improve his game di- 
rectly in any way, but it will help to develop the 
left wrist and the left side of the body. Many 
players find that with a little practice they can 
play almost as well with the left hand as with 
the right, and they will also find that many 
strokes are easier left-handed than right. In one 
way playing left-handed helps the right-handed 
player, as he has to move about very rapidly to 
.take many of the balls, and in this way becomes 
able to take balls either back- or fore-handed, no 
matter where they faU. 



CHAPTEE XI 

HOW TO EUN A TOURNAMENT 

In this chapter I propose to put in the clearest 
and simplest manner the chief points to be con- 
sidered in the arrangement and management of 
an open tournament. 

Secretary. — The first thing to do is to get a 
good secretary. He must be a good man of busi- 
ness, able to make himself liked and respected, 
and should know all the points of the game. 

Committee. — A strong committee is the next 
difficulty. It is as weU to let the secretary ap- 
prove all the people selected for the committee 
before they are elected. In choosing your 
committee the following points must be con- 
sidered : — 

(1) Capability of taking a portion of the secre- 
tary's duties from him and helping in the man- 
agement on the tournament days. 

(2) Ability to secure entries or sell tickets of 
admission. 

(3) "Whether any name on the committee would 
be a help or the reverse. It is decidedly unwise 
to have any one who is distinctly disliked in the 
neighborhood, ' even by only a smaU section of 

95 



96 PING-PONG 

the inhabitants, while the name of the popular 
person is worth a great deal. 

Patrons, guarantees, and referee must also be 
selected with care. 

It is most important that the referee should 
thoroughly understand his duties and can give 
his decisions with firmness. 

The committee will first have to decide on the 
hall at which the meeting is to be held. Choose 
a place where there are good lighting arrange- 
ments. If play is to be by daylight there should 
be windows on each side of the hall, and if by 
artificial light the gas or electric light should be 
so placed that each table can be lighted from im- 
mediately above its centre. The hall should 
have plenty of accommodation for spectators and 
the cloak- and refreshment-rooms should be large 
enough for the purpose. 

The date of the tournament has next to be 
fijsed. The date should be about three weeks 
after the first circulars are out. The secretary, 
before the committee meeting, will have obtained 
the various dates on which the halls suitable are 
free, so that the committee can decide on the day 
or days without fear of the hall being engaged. 
The date on which the entries close must also be 
fixed. The date for commencing the tournament 
being decided the times of play have to be con- 
sidered and the number of days the tournament 
will take. The latter wiU depend on the number 
of entries expected compared to the number of 



PING-PONG 97 

tables available. It is as well to have the ladies' 
events in the afternoon and the men's in the 
evening. This reduces the number of days neces- 
sary to get through the programme. 

The different events to be held next requires 
consideration. 

Handicapping in the present state of the game 
is almost impossible, so that all the events should 
be scratch ones. 

Two events should always be held — one for 
ladies and another for gentlemen ; and if there 
is time mixed doubles on the system explained in 
this book might be included. 

Another point to be considered is whether the 
tournament should be held under Table Tennis 
or Ping-Pong rules, or if ordinary lawn-tennis 
score should be adopted and special rules made. 

The next question to be considered is whether 
the tournament should be on the American sys- 
tem in sections or a knock-out tournament. This 
will depend on the number of days it is proposed 
to devote to the tournament. A knock-out 
tournament of three games of twenty points is a 
better test of a player's ability, but a larger 
entry wiU be received if the American system be 
adopted. 

It will be found as a general rule that fifteen 
games of twenty points can be played on each 
table every hour. 

The question of entry fee comes next ; 60 cents, 
including admission, is, I think, sufficient for all 



98 PING-PONG 

local tournaments. The fee should be increased 
for tournaments held at places like the Queen's 
Hall or the Eoyal Aquarium. The value of the 
prizes will of course depend on the funds ex- 
pected to be received. If possible the whole of 
the money received as entry fees should be spent 
in prizes. 

The price of admission to view a tournament 
will of course depend to a certain extent on the 
neighborhood. I think that 25 cents for admis- 
sion, with another 25 cents for a front seat round 
any table, is a fair and reasonable charge. 

The above points should be embodied in a cir- 
cular and sent to all Ping-Pong or Table Tennis 
clubs within a reasonable distance, as well as to 
any one the committee think likely to enter, 
obtain entries or sell tickets. Big bills should 
also be printed and shopkeepers induced to dis- 
play them. They might also be persuaded to 
sell tickets if given free admittance. 

The Secretary should, as far as possible, divide 
his duties among his committee, keeping, of 
course, supreme control. 

For instance, committeeman No. 1 should have 
charge of the refreshments, and should be in the 
first round, and the winner plays responsible for 
all arrangements connected with them. 

No. 2 should have the preparation of the hall 
for the tournament. He must see that sufficient 
tables are provided, that the lighting of each is 
good, that the nets and posts are properly fixed. 



PING-PONG 99 

He should make arrangements for keeping a clear 
space round each table, so that players are not 
hampered by the spectators, and each table 
should be clearly numbered. Also he must take 
care that there is an abundant supply of balls of 
good quality. Seats should be placed round each 
table (about two or three rows are sufficient), so 
that people can watch the game comfortably. 

ISTo. 3 should have charge of the umpires and 
scoring. He must make arrangements for the 
results of each game being-clearly posted up and 
must generally see that the umpires are efficient 
and that time is not wasted in playing off the 
matches. 

No. 4 should have charge of competitors. He 
must see that they are wearing their numbers as 
printed on the programmes, that they know 
where to play, and he must take care that they 
are acquainted with any special rules the com- 
mittee have made, such as length of game, etc. 
Also, if the tournament is a knock-out one, he 
must see that they play the proper people and 
that no table is left vacant. 

The Draw. — Directly all the entries have been 
received, the draw should be made. All the 
names should be written on slips of paper, and 
when well mixed together drawn one by one. 
The names as they are drawn should be entered 
in lists. 

First, we will suppose that the tournament is 
a knock-out one. All the byes should be in the 



loo PING-FONG 

first round. To find out how many byes there 
should be, take the difference between the power 
of two next above the number of entries and the 
number of entries. This will give the number 
of byes. Thus, suppose the number of entries is 
17. The power of two next above 17 is 32, 
32 — 17 = 15. The number of byes is therefore 
15. The programmes should be printed as shown 
in diagram. What is meant may be clearly seen 
on p. 101. 

It will be seen that No. 9 plays No. 10 No. 11 
in the second round. There are thus eight pairs 
in the second round. Had there been eighteen 
entries. No. 11 would have played No. 12 in the 
first round, and the winner have played winner 
of Nos. 9 and 10 in second round, No. 13 playing 
14 in second round, and so on. 

The byes are always at the top and bottom of 
the list, those whose names are drawn in the 
middle always having the extra round to play. 

If the tournament is an American one in, say, 
three sections, then Nos. 1-6 would form one 
section, Nos. 7-12 another, and Nos. 13-17 an- 
other. The winners of each section then play 
oflE for first, second, and third prizes. 

When the entries are very large the winners 
of the first round of sections are drawn into new 
sections, and the winners of these sections play 
for places. 

At the Table Tennis Tournament, held at the 
Koyal Aquarium during January, the winners of 



PING-PONG 101 

Name. First Bound. Second Bound. Third Bound. Final. 



[ bye 


-| 






- 


\ bye 




\ bye 




f bye 


■ 


1 1 






bye 




-J 


[ bye 




r bye 






- 


> bye 







102 PING-PONG 

the first twenty-four sections were drawn into 
four sections of six players. The winner of sec- 
tion A played the winner of D for right to play 
in final, and the winner of B played winner of 
C. The winners played for first and second 
prizes in final, and the losers for third and fourth 
prizes. 

If the tournament is to last for more than two 
days, each competitor should be advised as soon 
as possible after the draw of the day he is to 
play. Arrangements should be made for admit- 
ting competitors into the hall early, so that they 
can get some practice before playing. It would 
be as well if some committeeman were appointed 
to see that only competitors playing the same 
evening were practising, otherwise they often 
experience some difiiculty in getting a table to 
play on. 

The Keferee's duties are to decide all doubtful 
questions of law and any disputes that may arise 
during play. In the case of a knock-out tourna- 
ment he will also have to keep all the results 
and arrange all the matches in the different 
rounds. 

The duties of the Umpire are the following : 

To see that the game is played strictly in ac- 
cordance with the rules. Great care and judg- 
ment must be used over the following points : — 

(1) The service. Every service not under- 
hand, not helow the waist or not hehind the end 
of the table must be called a, fault immediately. 



PING-PONG 103 

(2) The score must be called distinctly after 
every point. 

(3) In giving a " let " when the player is ob- 
structed by spectators. 

(4) If doubtful Avhether the ball touched table 
or not the umpire should call a let. 

(5) The result must be handed into the 
referee, and care taken that the correct result is 
given. 

(6) The umpire must not be influenced by any- 
thing the spectators say. Some umpires give 
their decisions according to the opinions of the 
onlookers rather than their own judgment. 

(7) If the tournament is an American one in 
sections, the umpire will have to arrange the 
order of play in the section of which he is 
umpire. The players should play in regular 
rotation. 

If the secretary can divide his duties among 
his committee on the day of the tournament as 
suggested above, all his energies can be devoted 
to supervising things in general, and looking 
after the spectators and the Press represent- 
atives. 



OHAPTEE XII 

THE FOUK GAME 

The following is a description of Ping-Pong 
for four players. So far as I know, Hendon is 
the only place where the game is played in this 
manner. 

Divide the table down the centre by a piece of 
tape. The table will then be divided into four 
courts. 

The four players each defend one half court, 
A and B being partners and C and D. Suppose 
A commences to serve. The service must fall 
into C's court, and must be taken by him and 
returned into B's court, who must return it to D, 
who sends it back to A, and so on. 

If the ball falls into the wrong half-court, or 
is taken by the wrong player, the point is lost. 
This stops poaching. Any ball falling on the 
tape counts as right. After each has served 
once the rotation changes, A serving to D, who 
returns to B, and so on. Every one thus plays 
straight and diagonally. 

This game greatly improves a player's power 
of placing. 

A tape is better than a painted line, for not 
104 



PING-PONG 105 

only can it be removed for singles, but line balls 
can be more easily judged owing to the different 
sound the ball makes when it strikes the tape. 
A couple of drawing-pins fix the tape perfectly. 



CHAPTEE XIII 

PING-POKG IN DUBLIIT 

Me. T. G. Figgis, of the Mount Temple Ping- 
Pong Club, Dublin, has very kindly written the 
following article for me on the state of Ping- 
Pong in Dublin. 

I may mention that Mr. Figgis is one of the 
strongest players in Dublin, and that, in addition 
to a tremendously fast service, he has a powerful 
round-arm fore-hand drive that it is almost im- 
possible to take. 

Mr. Figgis says : — 

" For a game introduced into Dublin within 
the comparatively recent period of six months, 
nothing is more surprising than the rapidity 
with which Ping-Pong has sprung into popu- 
larity. To use an advertising phrase, it ' supplies 
a long-felt want ' in the way of winter amuse- 
ment. Apart from billards, it is by far the best 
indoor game hitherto invented, while the fact of 
its cheapness and adaptability brings it within the 
reach of everybody. 

" Will the Ping-Pong craze continue ? is a 
question we constantly hear. I would unhesi- 
tatingly reply that it has come to stay. At the 
commencement of its career numerous cynics 

io6 



PING-PONG 107 

were met with, who pooh-poohed the game as 
suitable only for girls and children, but recent 
developments have shown that such is far from 
being the case, and the limits of the scientific pos- 
sibilities of the game have not yet apparently 
been attained. At an early stage in the history 
of the game in Dublin, clubs sprang up rapidly 
all over the city and suburbs. The Mount 
Temple Club, I should say, can lay claim to 
having the best exponents of the game, and Mr. 
A. K. Hodges, who is a member of this club, 
may fairly be considered the best all-round player 
in Dublin. He has won about four or five open 
tournaments, and, I think, been beaten only once 
in an open competition. His style of play is 
very neat, and he confines himself principally to 
front-hand half-volleying, though when oppor- 
tunity arises he gets in some smashing strokes. 
A peculiarity of his stroke, wherein he differs 
from most players, is that he takes balls on both 
corners of the table with the front part of the 
racket. How he can twist the wrist of his right 
hand to take a left-hand corner ball in this 
manner is a marvel, and the stroke, to be appre- 
ciated, needs only to be tried. 

" We have also some very hard hitters, who 
go in almost entirely for the slogging game, 
amongst whom I might mention Mr. H. Kooke, 
who is very little behind Mr. Hodges. This 
kind of game, from a spectator's point of view, 
is much more interesting, though perhaps not 



io8 PING-PONG 

quite so certain or safe a game as the steady 
half-volley. 

"A hard serve is an important factor in a 
game, and if delivered indiscriminately to both 
corners of the table, is often unplayable. The 
half-volley, in my opinion, is the only way to 
deal with such strokes. 

" Perhaps one of the best managed tourna- 
ments up to the present was one held in the 
Sackville Hall, Sackville Street, on the 6th and 
7th January, under the auspices of the Presby- 
terian Association. The tournament was con- 
ducted under the rules of the Ping-Pong 
Association, and the tables were of brown 
compo board, 9 ft. by 4 ft. by 30 in. There 
were about 120 entries, and some exciting and 
brilliant play was witnessed by a large audience. 
Hodges eventually worked off all his opponents, 
and got first prize in the Gents Open Singles, 
the second going to Mr. S. L. Fry, a well-known 
tennis player, and also a member of the Mount 
Temple Club. 

" The largest tournament up to now will be 
held on the 31st Jan. and February 1st at the 
Earlsfort Kink, when prizes to the value of ;^25 
will be offered. It will be worked on the same 
lines as the tournament held at the Queen's Hall, 
London, and as all the best players in the city 
will probably enter, one will be in a position to 
judge of the respective merits of their play. 

"At present an effort is being made to or- 



PING-PONG 109 

gaulze a match, between this city and Belfast, 
where I understand there are a number of first- 
class players, and where the enthusiasm for the 
game is no less than here. 

"In the northern Athens I am told they use 
principally wooden rackets. Here, however, all 
good players advocate the vellum racket, which 
is held very close to the head. I have never yet 
seen a really first-class player of the game use a 
wooden racket, and many people who have tried 
them have resorted again to the vellum. 

"What the future of Ping-Pong may be in 
Dublin I cannot say, but I am confident that it 
will still further gain in public favor, as the 
tendency indicates that the more it is played the 
better it is appreciated." 



CHAPTEE XIY 

PING-PONG FOE LADIES 

By Mrs. HouTbrook, winner Second Prize Queen^s 
Hall Tov/rnament. 

This chapter, written specially for ladies, 
must of necessity be short, and the few remarks 
I shall make will consist in large part in a few 
hints as to the costume which will be found most 
suitable and best calculated to allow of freedom 
of movement and a thorough enjoyment of the 
game. For as regards strokes, service, etc., there 
is nothing further to be added, as all that has 
been written in other parts of this volume ap- 
plies equally to men and women. 

There is little to say about dress ; in fact, one 
of the great advantages which the game 
possesses for women is that it can be played in 
almost any variety of costume with comfort, if 
the following few points be observed. 

The shirt should be fairly short, that is to say 
it should be of the length of an ordinary walk- 
ing skirt and clear the ground all round. Trains 
are to be avoided, as in the course of a keen game 
the most skilled manipulator of that form of 
skirt will most surely step on it — an accident 



PING-PONG 111 

which cannot fail to unsteady the balance some- 
what, even if it does not actually cause a fall, 
and so an important stroke may be lost. More- 
over, it will in all probability injure the skirt, 
the knowledge of which injury will not tend to 
help the player to maintain the equilibrium of 
her temper, which has already been sorely tried 
by the loss of an important stroke. 

Bodice. — The sleeves should be long and suffi- 
ciently loose to permit freedom of movement. 

Ornaments. — With regard to these, I have not 
found that there is any need to remove either 
rings or bracelets; but I strongly advise that 
long chains round the neck should be dispensed 
with, as the hand or racket is very apt to become 
entangled in it. 

Boots a/nd Shoes. — These are the only other 
articles of apparel I consider require mention. 
I — and many others have told me the same 
thing — consider that patent leather should be 
avoided, as boots or shoes made of this are very, 
tiring to the feet. 

And whatever kind of boot or shoe be worn, 
low heels will be found the most comfortable, 
as high French heels tire the ankles and feet. 

In conclusion, let me exhort ladies who intend 
to take up this charming and fascinating pastime 
to give it the serious attention it merits. For 
there is no other game which offers so many 
possibilities to women to excel and play on equal 
terms with men. 



CHAPTEK XV 

LAWS OF PING-PONG 1 

Note. — Eeprinted by kind permission of 
Messrs. John Jaques and Son, Ltd., and Hamley 
Bros., the owners of the copyright, by whom all 
rights are reserved. 

1. — The game is for two players. They shall 
stand one at each end of the table. The player 
who first delivers the ball shall be called the 
server, and the other the striker-out. 

2. — The server shall stand behind the end and 
within the limits of the width of the table. 

3. — The service shall be strictly underhand, and 
from behind the table ; that is to say, at the time 
of striking the ball the racket may not be over 
the table, and no part of the racket, except the 
handle, may be above the wwist. 

4. — The ball served must drop on the table-top 
beyond the net, and is then in play. If it drops 
into the net or off the table it is called a " fault," 
and counts to the striker-out. 

6. — There is no second service, except when the 
ball touches the net or posts in passing over and 
drops on the table, heyond the net when it is called 
" a let," and another service is allowed. 

"The new laws will be published shortly. Although dif- 
ferently worded to those printed, they have the same meaning, 
except Rule 2, which wiU read that the hall and not the sener 
shall be within the limits of the width of the table. 

IIZ 



niNtr-rurNij 113 

6. — If the ball in play strike any object above 
or round the table before it drops on the table 
(net or posts excepted), it counts against the 
striker. 

7. — The server wins a stroke if the striker-out 
fails to return the service, or the ball in play. 

8. — The striker-out wins a stroke if the server 
serve a " fault," or fails to return the ball in play 
so that it falls off the table. 

9. — No volleying is allowed, whether in- 
tentional or otherwise, and if any ball shall be 
touched before striking the table it counts against 
the player touching it ; should, however, a ball 
pass the limits of the table without dropping on 
it is dead, and counts against the striker. 

Scoring. 

The method of scoring shall be by points, 20 
points up constituting a game, the service chang- 
ing after each five points scored. Should the 
score reach 19 all, it shall be called " game all," 
and the best of 5 points shall decide the game.