Why are the Chinese so good at table tennis?



Jeremy Easterbrook, Competed at the international level in racket sports.

Originally Answered: Why are Chinese so good at table tennis?

I have been in China and have seen the culture of training there with my own eyes:

1.Kids start really young, under the age of 8 old is normal;

2.Their parents leave them at clubs / national centers and they are isolated to do only that. They are funded well;

3.Training there can be excruciatingly difficult. Eat, train, eat, train, sleep. Repeat;

4.Best pool of players in the World. China Table-Tennis Team D could easily beat most other countries’ A Team. A kids train with older age groups (D or C teams);

5.Coaches: They have either done it, or coached legends. The same way the USA has the best american football & basketball coaches, they have unparalleled coaching techniques;

6.Talent pool: If a young upcoming athlete gets injured or demotivated, ten are there to take his place.

7.Wng an olympic gold medal for your country will make you a hero. It is a way of elevating your social status while not having to really do grinding work. You are family.

8.Fame: Being the best at table tennis will have your face on media billboards, TV talkshows, buses, big events, etc. They can become millionaires.








6.人才库:如果一个年轻的运动员受伤或者状态下滑,有十个人可以立刻 代替他。




Jeff Stevens

Originally Answered: Why are Chinese so dominant in table tennis?

Lots of answers to this one. First, it's their national sport so they have huge resources to put into it and train the heck out of their players from an early age - way more so than most other countries. This has been true for most of the last 50 years.

I have another theory on why their men are dominant now (not the women, as they've always been dominant since the early 60's). I would love a top level player to speak to this one. The Chinese were not dominant at all from the late 80's through most of the 90's. They did win some big ones but the Swedes and a lot of other Euros were at least as good if not better. Even when they developed the RPB, Waldner especially was better than almost all of them until around 2000.

Then, the ITTF made the stupid decision to change things up. Bigger ball, no glue and shorter games. I think the bigger ball is what killed it. The Chinese have much more resources to develop players who adapted to the new game and left the rest of the world behind. Serves with the bigger ball are just not as effective. I could be wrong on this but watch Waldner from years ago and from recently. His serve and tactics were so strong but now it seems like no one good really has trouble with his spin anymore. 

I still enjoy watching the sport but I think it's much more monotonous and boring compared to how it was in the 80's and 90's.

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Nam Nguyen (EmRatThich), Table Tennis Coach in France since 2012

As any sport, there are 2 factors that you can become so good.



1.Coaching system: China has the best training program. Started at the very young age. Very good coach with the step-by-step tutorial. Master the foundation of table tennis, and focus on the speed, power, quality of the shots at the begng.

2.Players: Chinese peoples love this sport. That’s why the government continues to investigate to the system. They devoted their life for this sports. From generation to generation.

3.Note: Some peoples say, “Hey, China so good because they have so many players”. Wrong! That’s the quality of training that decide your level, not the quantity. The number of table tennis players around the world is much more important than the Chinese player. But they are the best, because they sacrifice many things to this sport.

So my answer is simple: It’s due to the “Training Quality” in China.






Rahul Verma, table tennis fanatic!

Originally Answered: Why are Chinese so dominant in table tennis?

I have seen a full documentary of chinese training and what i have come to know is the dedication with which they practice ... even top ranked players like ma long , wang hao , xu xn , zhang jike including some legends like ma lin and wang liqin have to face each other to get into the final team which represents the chinese table tennis team .. players are selected by a competition held within them .. so no politics involved ...the coaches are like a hard nut to crack .. they keep pushing the players to improve their game until it becomes flawless...their gaming style is completely different from the rest of the world which is to attack and once on attack never go back to defence , convert defence into attack ( take example of ma long )... also huge amounts of funding goes into their department ... so this makes chinese dominant in the world of table tennis ... last but not the least ITS IN THEIR GENES !!!




Johnny Chao, Always looking for similar patterns

It’s not so much about many advantages vs the lack of disadvantages. Chinese people are on avg shorter and less built than Caucasians and Africans.

But in this game too much strength is useless, it’s about precision, focus, reaction time, hand eye coordination, flexbility of upper limbs/torso, those areas there doesn’t seem to be any significant differences at all.

Also I would say height/size is a disadvantage given how small the ball is and how low the table is. now the rest of the answers are absolutely correct that table tennis is a very popular sport people in china played from a very young age, so it’s easy to find out who the prodigies are. The hard work obviously is a big factor as well.






Because hundreds of millions of Chinese truly like the game.

These two are good representatives of Chinese players. They both migrated to western countries. They have conformable lives. They still play in their 50s and they went to Olympic 2012. They didn’t do it for money or fame, they do it because this is what they do.





There is no scientific evidence that I am aware of that this has anything at all to do with genes.

I would say that it is much more likely that because it is a ubiquitous sport in China, many people experience and practise it from an early age. Children play it all the time, develop their reflexes for it, and most importantly, face informal competition among friends which drives them to improve their skills. So those that choose to take it on as a professional sport have a huge headstart from childhood.

It's not unlike the childhood pastimes of Europeans and football ("soccer"), or Americans and basketball, or Indians and cricket.





Jeffrey Moche, Comedy magician. Self-taught in economics, & politics

Simple. Size of population plus interest.

It is the national sport in a country of over 1.3 billion people, supported intensely by the government, played by most from very young as a sport that relies on fundamental technique.

In America, we barely care about it, and it’s typically played as basement fun, with no technical formal training. Tournaments winners receive pathetic award money that doesn’t even pay for travel. If you’re the best, no one outside of the sport cares.

When all this conspires together, each generation stands on the shoulders of the previous and exceeds their accomplishments.






Kar Chun, Born Hong Kong, Living London, Uni Student

China dominates table tennis (TT) for a couple of reasons.

1.Huge population pool- What I mean by this is China is a country of 1.3 billion and therefore there is always huge number of potential players that can dominate the game. Not only this but the huge population means that competition is fierce, players are more competitive in this environment as they have to compete with so many other players in order to make it into their provincial teams, let alone the national team.

2.Their Coaches- The general trend is good players end up as good coaches and since China has dominated TT for a good number of decades now, the players get taught from the very best.

3.Incredible facilities- TT is China’s national sport and therefore they get great facilities often funded by the government in order to produce the best players in the world. They have a huge amount of resources and they often study and analyse their opponents so much that they even find Chinese players that play in a similar style so that their top players can practice. This is along with their closed training before major competitions like the WTTC or Olympics.

I could probably go on, there are many more reasons but in general it’s due to the dedication and resources they have.







Sudeep Sahni

Practice and hard practice that chines so dominant in table tennis and other game



Phani, lives in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

People always say Chinese are good at reflexes

Table Tennis is one of the games that need strong reflexes and may be naturally makes the Chinese strong in that.




Tina Müller, interested in a lot since 1991

Originally Answered: Why are Chinese so dominant in table tennis?

Table tennis is a huge thing in China. One can compare its role with the role football plays in european countries. Since a large percentage of a large population plays table tennis, stakes are high, that they find most of the talented ones. Those follow the path to become a professional athlete since it is highly rewarded. Hence, there are many world class chinese table tennis players.




Mahmoud Asfour, physicist at Alfa Scan (2008-present)

Progressing To Higher Levels, Learn From China



Aspiring players in abundance in China, there is an embarrassment of riches; at the other side of the world, in recent years talented young players a have emerged in the United States.

However, do the American players have shortcomings? How can they improve their technical abilities in order to first reach the international level and then progress to what might be termed world level?

  1. Comparison of the table tennis systems

The difference between the United States and China is one of systems and organizations.

China’s sports system is primarily government led with a focus on directing human, material and financial resources towards achieving results in international competitions. From local level organizations to city training schools, provincial teams, and the national team, a pyramid-shaped system is designed to produce players who can excel at the high level.

Established daily training schedules, strict supervision and enforcement added to strategic training methods require not only the effort of players but also motivated coaches and knowledge; this is why in the modern era the results of the Chinese national team have been so consistently high.

In contrast, the United States model is very different. It does not have government support; it is self-funded and is very fragmented across the country. The control from the National Olympic Committee and from the national association is limited. Athletes pay for all training and competition; they practice in private clubs and can practice anywhere they wish.

Training for players in the United States is flexble since there is no set training schedule and no national or even state level supervision. The number of days one practice in a week is determined individually. United States players spend much of their time on academics and other extracurricular activities or hobbies.



  1. 乒乓球系统的比较






  1. National policies for table tennis in the United States and China

Among table tennis players in the United States, children and parents emphasize academics values. During high school, table tennis is merely a secondary supplement for college applications.

There is no recruitment or examination exempting policy. Colleges favor sports like basketball, athletics and swimming over table tennis.

In China, table tennis is a highly valued national sport. Athletes in China can enjoy many benefits. If a person excels at table tennis, from elementary school through college, there will be many “bonuses” offered; for example, if an athlete has sound technique, good results in competitions, a high national ranking, colleges, and universities will recruit without requiring a high school examination. In fact, in addition, some prestigious colleges provide free tuition and scholarship opportunities.

Conversely, in the United States, companies often focus more on the comprehensive abilities of an individual, the level of education and internship experience. United States college graduates must pass through detailed selection procedures before they can successfully be hired; no preference is given towards table tennis expertise.

In China, the level of play in table tennis and a national athletic certificate are both highly beneficial for finding a job. In some work departments, those with table tennis expertise receive priority. Sometimes, companies specifically seek national level table tennis players. Many table tennis players rely on their athletic skill to enter universities and companies.

  1. 美国和中国乒乓球的国家政策







Jamy Storm, table tennis advocate and coach

Table tennis, just like basketball or football, is a competitive sport, and the Chinese have gotten very good at it. And games are more interesting to watch at the highest level, so more people enjoy watching it because they have such high level players. It turns into a positive feedback loops that keeps interest. This has made the game gain a lot of popularity and it has stayed popular. It has become China’s baseball.



If you yourself start to watch table tennis, you can see it’s a very fast paced game which requires top performing athletes at the professional level. Table tennis requires some of the fastest reactions out of the sports because the ball is travelling so fast over such a short distance. In addition, the rubber has a remarkable ability to make the ball spin, so that adds another layer of depth, especially when it comes to serves, serve return, and defensive style play.



Tony Dusk, Heroic Spirit at Chaldea Security Organization

It’s not table tennis, it’s actually . It’s popular cause it requires extremely fast reaction and reflexes to be good at it. It’s very exciting when you are playing. Have you ever seen an extremely intense Volley Ball game? With impossible countless saves after saves, each time you think it’d be over the other team manages to save it, even if it’s a spike, and the other team does the same, is like that but at a closer range and every moment is like that.



Patrick Mccoy, Love table tennis and racket sports

As table tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world (it is typically said to be number 2, behind soccer), a more appropriate question might be, “Why is table tennis not very popular in North America?”

I should add that I doubt that more people in the world play soccer than table tennis, though more may watch soccer.

Check below for some highlights from the career of one of the greatest players of all time. Check it out and you might see why many like table tennis.




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