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It’s not Ping-Pong, it’s 2Pong: father and son reinvent traditional table tennis

It’s not Ping-Pong, it’s 2Pong: father and son reinvent traditional table tennis


Father and son Darrick and Ben Battaglia have a fresh take on ping pong; and they hope their hands-on invention, 2Pong, will appeal to eventable tennis traditionalists.

2Pong started as a way to pass the time during the pandemic, but has now grown into a family business. The Battaglia’s shared love of racquet sports inspired the pair to take their idea to the next level.

“My dad and my family were always involved in so many different kinds of sports, from volleyball to ice hockey to dancing and that expanded into racquet sports and paddle sports,” Ben told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.

“We had a ping pong table in the basement for years and it wasn’t until the first COVID lockdown in Ontario that we started putting our table to good use.”

From then on, family table tennis matches started to take place every night, Ben explained, and that’s when the idea came to experiment with different items, instead of using the paddle.

“We have focus gloves in our karate basement, we had dumbbells… balance boards,” Darrick said.

A close-up of two paddle-like gloves lying face down on a table as a player holds a ping pong ball.
These are the gloves 2Pong players would wear instead of using a paddle. The gloves also have ball chambers for quick access to players during a match. (Carmen Groleau/CBC)

They eventually landed on two paddle-like gloves. Instead of grabbing a paddle with one hand, 2Pong players hit the ball with both hands.

“We differentiate ourselves from the standard ping pong paddle, instead of rubber on the front of the striking surface we use a synthetic vinyl,” said Ben.

“It’s more of a punch, more of a pushing motion than cutting and you use two hands. It’s almost like boxing with a ping pong,” Darrick added.

The gloves also have ball chambers to allow players to quickly reach a ball during a match. The rules are also a bit different, Ben said.

“A special rule we added to differentiate ourselves and get that second serve more involved is that each player gets two serves. The first serve must come from whichever hand they prefer, but their second serve must come from the other come hand,” he said.

Players also have more flexibility and the ability to stretch their arms further in, Darrick said, and when the ball hits the net, “you get to bounce twice to play it back,” he said.

A man with paddles for gloves hitting a ping pong table.
Darrick Battaglia says in 2Pong, players push and “box” with the ping pong ball. Players also have more flexibility to reach the net. (Carmen Groleau/CBC)

‘It’s quite special to me’

It was special for Ben and Darrick to work on the company together.

“My father worked as a businessman for over 20 years and the experience I was able to gain from him under his care, just listening and learning from him, is invaluable,” he said. “It’s kind of special to me.”

What he learned at school also helped him build the business from the ground up, Ben adds.

“It’s pretty neat that I can link what I learned in school in my recreation and sports business program at the University of Waterloo to what we do here,” he said.

Ben’s siblings also help with the marketing and social media side of the business.

Darrick said they are currently looking at getting an international patent for their idea.

They are also exploring ways to make 2Pong an accessible sport by partnering with Easter Seals Ontario, an organization that advocates for and empowers children and youth with disabilities.

“We try to make the game as accessible as possible so anyone can play it, so we’re proud to be partnering with Easter Seals,” said Ben.

A man extends his arm to hit an incoming ping pong from his opponent.
Ben Battaglia (left) and his father Darrick (right) came to the CBC KW office to play a game. (Carmen Groleau/CBC)




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