When two or four people play table tennis, they use tiny rackets to smash a lightweight ball, also known as the ping-pong ball, back and forth across a table. Table tennis is also known as whiff-whaff. The game is played on a hard surface that is separated by a mesh net. With the exception of the first serve, the rules are as follows: players must let a ball hit toward them to bounce once on their side of the table before returning it so that it bounces at least once on the other side of the table before returning it. When a player fails to return the ball within the time limit specified by the regulations, a point is awarded. Play is fast-paced and demands quick reflexes. The batter gains a significant advantage by spinning the ball, which affects its trajectory and restricts the alternatives available to his or her opponent.
Table tennis is administered by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), which was established in 1926 and operates on a global scale. The ITTF now has 226 member organisations as members. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) manual contains the official table tennis regulations. There have been various event categories in table tennis since it was first included as an Olympic sport in 1988. From 1988 through 2004, the men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, and women's doubles were the events to watch. As an alternative to the pairs competition, a team event has been held since 2008.