Because table tennis is not widely broadcast in the United States, some fans might be left scratching their heads when the sport is shown during the Olympic Games.
Here's a quick and easy guide to help you figure out some of the lingo during Olympic table tennis play:
Blade: A table tennis racket is sometimes referred to as a blade. Usually, when someone says blade, they are referring to a racket that is not covered in rubber.
Chop Block: A chop block is a defensive move in which a player slices the racket down when contact is made. The movement helps to create backspin on the ball.
Down-the-Line: Down-the-line means exactly what it sounds like. When the ball is hit along the side of the table, or down the sideline, this is the terminology used.
Drop Shot: A drop shot is a short shot on the table. Usually, the opponent has to reach to return the ball, and a drop shot is usually made when the opponent is standing further back from the table.
Hard Rubber: Hard rubber refers to a racket without sponging beneath the rubber. A hard rubber racket is probably the most recognizable type of racket for most people, though new advances have made them less common in elite competition.
ITTF: ITTF Stands for International Table Tennis Federation. The organization is the international governing body for table tennis, which means that the ITTF creates and enforces rule and regulations related to the sport.
Let: A let happens when play is interrupted. If a let is called, the rally is played again and the points do not count.
Loop: A loop is a shot with a a lot of top spin. It's often considered the most important shot in the game, according to USA Table Tennis, and most players either specialize in performing the loop or defending the loop.
Penhold: Penhold describes a grip where the racket is held in the same way a pen is held. The grip allows for great forehand returns but awkward backhand returns.
Pips: Pips are the small rubber bumps on the surface, or blade, of the table tennis rackets.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46.
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