About the Ping Pong ETC team

Ping Pong Etc. is a completely independent digital magazine committed to dropping pure, unadulterated knowledge about the best products, trends, and opportunities available for lovers of the greatest game in the whole world—ping pong (or “table tennis,” if that’s how you roll …)

The creators of this site are life-long ping pong enthusiasts. We are a husband-and-wife team that fell in love with the game in our respective childhoods (what luck!) and then bonded over our selective mad skills.

In every house we have shared together, one whole bedroom is devoted to ping pong. We’ve even put the bed in a guest room because the master has more ping pong space.

If the bedrooms are too small, one car has had to live on the driveway to make room for a permanent ping-pong table. He wins sometimes. She lets him win. You know what they say—the family that blades together stays together.

Ping Pong Etc. is our contribution to the ping pong conversation—unfiltered, no-nonsense product reviews, buyer’s guides, and hand-picked recommendations curated with love.

Some consumer magazines and digital magazines accept thousands of dollars in “contributions” for the privilege of a glowing review.

We don’t do that. The value we offer is our independence. We give you the unvarnished truth about the gear we use and the gear we have tried. If you need an unbiased opinion about the best ping pong products from people who actually play, you have come to the right place.

We deliver individual product profiles, “best-of” lists, and trend reports in easy-to-digest formats, with a minimalist web design and retina-quality images that puts the focus where it belongs—on the ping pong gear you care about.

We have an insatiable appetite for top-of-the-line ping pong products. We’re always trying out new gear—meaning you get the most up-to-date recommendations the hobby has to offer. We try out all the gear, so you don’t have to (but hey, if you just want to, we’re here for you as well!)

 

Alex

  • Day Job: Web developer, digital entrepreneur.
  • Playing Style: Classic defender, with blocks for days.
  • Grip Type: Shakehand counter-driver
  • Favorite Player: Xu Xin

 

Alex first picked up a paddle at the ripe old age of 4, and was nationally ranked by the age of five.

Just kidding. Like every beginner and most four-year-olds, he sucked, but he played every weekend with his family. His father taught him to block, chop, and lob. Ping pong was a key way in which he and his dad bonded, so he always had fond memories of the game.

In his teenage and college years he took up outdoor and extreme sports like skateboarding and dirt biking, but he never gave up ping pong entirely. He joined his college ping pong team … not just for the girls, but for love of the game.

He and his roommates got a house in junior year and turned the basement into a ping pong room. They held underground matches, like Fight Club but for ping pong. The first rule about Pong Club was that you do not talk about Pong Club.

This was all highly illegal, of course … not for the brutal gameplay so much as the underage drinking. Although the gameplay was brutal.

The cops showed up several times because for playing “The Final Countdown” They considered arresting Alex and his friends … but instead, they just asked them to keep it down. Like the punk-rock thugs that they were, Alex and his friends agreed to keep it down.

Alex graduated college with a degree in Computer Science and went to work for a galaxy-devouring tech company you have probably heard of.

Aware that this was a chance to make his mark, Alex set about doing what really mattered in crafting a meaningful career—lobbying for a ping pong table in the break room.

It wasn’t easy. You may not have been aware of this, but one of the largest tech giants in the world actually used to have a fairly intractable foosball culture. In a word, it was gross.

But Alex found a devoted band of pure souls, loyal to the one true Table Game, and rallied them in a crusade of merit. Their banner cry: in a $10 billion company, surely they could afford to spend at least $1 billion on a ping pong table for the break room … and in doing so, win the undying loyalty of their workforce.

Alex and his Fellowship of the Ping won a great victory. After months of steadfastly being annoying, the company sprung for … well, not a $1 billion table, but at least a $900 one. Alex and his pals enjoyed it for a good three months before Alex left the company for a title bump and a pay raise.

Alex’s next job was as an in-house developer for a community college. He found himself with another college ping pong club to haunt … this time as a creepy old dude.

Fortunately, there was one other faculty member who also liked to creep an undergrad ping pong club—Alex’s future wife Kate, who was also there for love of the game and definitely not to hit on undergrads.

Alex’s and Kate’s love affair with the game blossomed into a real love affair. They married after three blissful ping-pongey years together. There was a tournament at their wedding. They honeymooned in Zhengzhou.

Six years later, Alex left the education industry to become a senior developer at a boutique development firm, a job that allowed Alex much more freedom to work on his slice. He also began founding hobby websites in his spare time.

In 2020, he partnered with his wife to launch Ping Pong Etc., a labor of love borne from decades of happy paddling.

Kate

  • Day Job: Writer, college teacher
  • Playing Style: Two-wing looper—fast and furious, shock and awe.
  • Grip Type: Shakehand looper
  • Favorite Player: Timo Boll

 

From her early childhood, ping pong for Kate was not so much a hobby as a survival skill. She was the youngest of five children … with four older brothers.

The family had a ping pong table in the garage—one of several tactics her parents had deployed to enjoy the occasional moment’s peace. Her brothers were brutal on the table. When they grabbed the paddles, the garage became Lord of the Flies.

Kate enjoyed writing poetry, but her brothers were strangely disinterested in her poetry. If she didn’t want to spend school nights isolated in her room with her journals … if she wanted to cultivate her brothers’ respect … she had to learn how to push.

So she set out to become the best pusher in the family. With four brothers and one little sister, at the start whoever won the match had to sub one player for Kate in the next room.

By the time she was eight, however, she was beating her brothers. Strangely, the boys started to lose interest in ping pong around that time.

With less demand for the table, Kate began inviting friends over for ping pong tournaments. Most of her girlfriends were more interested in shopping, so she cultivated several little boyfriends. Brothers reappeared to chaperone the playdates for some reason.

Kate continued to practice her loop throughout high school, although more of her attention was taken up by editing the school literary magazine. When she graduated, she decided to pursue a degree in creative writing.

Her parents and brothers did not approve, preferring that she study a “practical” skill. But she already knew how to play ping pong. What other skills did she need?

Kate ended up pursuing creative writing all the way to the MFA level and began selling poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction to literary journals. She won a fellowship from a small university and began teaching there, while continuing to develop her creative writing career. Contrary to the predictions of her family, she was able to pay the rent by writing.

One day a strange but cute web developer joined the IT team of her workplace. They bonded playing ping pong at the school club. Alex took Kate to a ping pong club for their first date. “Like” quickly turned to “Like-like” and then to “Love.”

When Alex began designing web magazines in his spare time, Kate suggested that they dedicate an online magazine to their shared passion for ping pong. They ended up partnering on the product. Alex and Kate both test the products that end up featured at Ping Pong Etc.

Kate’s lifelong goal is to attend the World Championship of Ping Pong at Alexandra Palace in London. She also dreams of starting a nonprofit foundation that sponsored ping pong tournaments with proceeds that go to charity.

She continues to teach and to publish. Campus rumors state that if you can beat Kate at ping pong, you get an automatic “A.” Those are just rumors, though. Kate’s creative writing courses are “Pass/Fail.”