Clearly, this is not the ping pong you used to play in your friends basement. This, is table tennis. It’s played on the biggest stages, and here are five things you need to know before watching any tournament. Let’s start with the basics. The goal of both singles and doubles is to score points by hitting the ball over the net, onto your opponents side in such a way that your opponent can’t return it. Now that sounds simple enough, but it’s tough to do when the ball travels upwards of a hundred kilometres an hour, or with spin. Changing direction or speed on the fly. Your ball must hit your opponents side of the table, and when you serve, it has to hit both sides. Number 2; the gear. Let’s start with the table. 2.74 metres long. 1.52 metres wide. The net is 15.25 centimetres high. That centre line is used only in doubles. The racquet, or paddle as it’s commonly called, can be any size, shape, or weight that the player wishes. The blade is made mostly of natural wood covered in rubber on both sides. The ball weighs just 2.7 grams, or about the same weight of a dime. Number 3; scoring. A match is broken up into games. Each game goes to 11 points. A player must win by two points. Whoever wins best of seven games, wins the match. The players take turns serving. Two serves at a time. Until they’re at deuce. That’s a tie of 10-10 or higher. At deuce, players alternate serves until one of them wins by two points. Number 4; China. China’s good at table tennis. Like, really good. The men have won gold, silver, and bronze at the last five world championships. And they are the weak link of the team. The women have swept the podium at 11 straight worlds. Of the 32 gold medals given out since the sports Olympic debut in 1988, 28 went to China. And finally, number 5 may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Keep your eye on the ball.