Since its inception, table tennis has undergone a remarkable journey spanning over a century, emerging as one of the most popular sports worldwide.

Over the decades, the sport has evolved through four distinct periods, marked by continuous technological advancements and intense competition among national teams.

The Golden Era of European Table Tennis(1926~1951)

Table tennis initially originated in Europe, particularly gaining prominence following the establishment of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) in 1926 and the inaugural World Table Tennis Championships.

From 1926 to 1951, spanning 18 World Championships, with 17 held in Europe, European players predominantly dominated the sport. European athletes secured 109 out of 117 championship titles during this period, accounting for a remarkable 93.16% success rate.

Essential Techniques: Defensive play, characterized by chopping strokes or a combination of chopping and offensive shots, dominated the era. The guiding principle emphasized minimizing errors while inducing mistakes from opponents, aiming for steady and strategic gameplay to gain an advantage.

Equipment: Players predominantly favored single-ply rubber with a pimpled surface, offering controlled spin but limited offensive capabilities.

Japanese Domination of the World Table Tennis Scene(1952~1959)

The 1950s witnessed the rise of table tennis in Asia, notably spearheaded by Japanese players. With their distinctive style of aggressive topspin attacks, Japanese athletes ended the long-standing European dominance, establishing their presence on the global stage.

From 1952 to 1959, encompassing seven editions of the World Championships (19th to 25th), Japan clinched 24 gold medals out of 49 championship titles.

Essential Techniques: Japan's aggressive topspin style, executed with straight-grip rackets and powerful forehand attacks from mid to long distances, revolutionized the sport, overshadowing Europe's traditional chopping techniques. The potent forehand drives and threatening backhand flicks created a formidable offensive system, challenging opponents' defenses.

Equipment: The introduction of sponge paddles played a crucial role in enhancing speed and spin, propelling table tennis into an era of proactive attacking play.

Revival of European Table Tennis and the Eurasian Confrontation(1971~1979)

As table tennis continued to evolve and spread, European players emerged from their slump, engaging in fierce competitions against their Asian counterparts.

This period witnessed intense battles between European and Asian players, with both sides significantly elevating their technical and tactical prowess. While male players saw a balanced competition between Europe and Asia, Asian female players remained dominant.

Essential Techniques: European players innovatively combined the rapid attacking style of Chinese players with the looping shots of Japanese players, creating two new styles: loop-drive combination and drive-loop combination.

Mutual Prosperity Era(1979~Present)

Over the past four decades, as the International Table Tennis Federation underwent reforms, the focus shifted from specialized skills to versatile techniques, utilizing strengths and unique advantages to minimize errors and enhance scoring opportunities.

Moreover, changes in rules and equipment have led to a shift in mainstream tactics, with increased emphasis on aggressive play during serve-and-receive exchanges. This period has witnessed a dynamic evolution in table tennis techniques, reflecting the sport's global appeal and the constant quest for innovation and excellence.