Table Tennis Rules

How To Play Table Tennis | Table Tennis Rules Explained

Table tennis is an indoor game with the status of an Olympic sport. With over 300 million players, it is one of the most popular sports in the World. Initially, it was known as the game of lords.

Table tennis roots can be traced back to the 19th-century Victorian era. Even though with the label a rich sport, originally, it was invented by a common English man David Foster.

Across the Globe, it has many alternative names. It is commonly known as the ping pong game in China. While in Eastern Asia, it is also known as whiff whaff. 

The rules are very simple yet technical. In 2001, the International Table Tennis Federation modified some rules. Due to technical terms and modifications, it can be confusing for some to understand the game rules more easily.

Well, this is where we came in! Our editors have collaborated with professional players to get insights. So, keep on reading for updated and accurate information.

Table Tennis Rules And Regulations

The scoring rule was changed in 2001. Now the players have to win 11 points rather than 21 to win the game. The other rules and regulations are as follows:

Table Tennis Serve Rule

The rule of thumb is each player will get two consecutive serves in a row, then the opponent serves. While serving, the only requirement is that the ball has to touch your table side before bouncing over to the opponent’s side. 

  • While serving, the ball must be visible to the umpire and other players.
  • The server can only hit the ball in a “down way” rather than hitting up.
  • If the service is illegal, a point is awarded to the opponent.

Keep in mind that double hits are not allowed. The only exception is that you can hit the ball with the fingers of the hand that is holding the racket.

Table Tennis Scoring Rules

Table tennis is played in the best of 5 games. The player gets the point every time their opponent fails to return the ball. The player who achieves 11 points first wins the game. 

If during the serve, the ball touches the net and then bounces the opponent’s side, it is called a “let serve.” It does not affect the scoring. If the score is a tie at 10 points, both players keep on playing until any player gets a two-point lead.

Table Tennis Doubles Rules

The double match is more exciting yet technical. In doubles, each team has two players, i.e. one server and one receiver. Like singles, each player will get two serves, but the order changes.

Suppose team Alpha has players A and B. While the team Beta has players X and Y. If A serves, then X will receive the ball and bounce it back to B. Then, B will play the shot and return it back to Y. 

  • The team will lose a point if they fail to return the ball legally.
  • A point will be awarded to the opposing team if you don’t follow the server and receiver pattern.
  • The rule of thumb is that the receiver becomes the server, and then he/she must bounce the ball to the other player rather than the first server.

The most common mistake in table tennis doubles matches is that the alternate player fails to return the ball. 

How many sets are in table tennis?

A table tennis match is usually played in the best of 3 or 5 games. In order to win a match, you must have a 2-point lead. If the match is tied, then the player who gets the two points first wins the match.

Is table tennis the same as ping pong?

Even though table tennis is often called ping pong, both are two different sports with vast similarities and minimal differences. 

The major difference is that in ping pong, the ball has to bounce on each side of the table for every shot. While in table tennis, only the server has to bounce on both sides. 

Apart from it, there are no significant disparities between both. Usually, ping pong is often regarded as a hobby, while table tennis is a full-fledged sport that requires practice and a lot of effort.

How table tennis is played?

Table tennis can be played with two players (singles) or four players (doubles). The aim of the game is to hit the ball in such a way that it bounces on the opponent’s side in a difficult way that your opponent fails to return it

Usually, it is played indoors between two players. The essential required equipment is a ball, paddles, and a table with a net.

Table Tennis Equipment

In professional matches, the equipment should be as per the federation rules and regulations. The required essentials are:

Table Tennis Ball

The size of the ball should be between 38mm to 40mm. The weight cannot exceed 2.7g. Mostly, the color is white, but in some association matches, an orange ball is used.

Table Tennis Racket

Another major requirement is table tennis paddles. They are made of laminated wood with rubber covered on one side. The paddles are 6.7 inches (17 cm) long and 5.9 inches (15 cm) wide.

Table Tennis Table

The table is made of high-density fiber wood that is 0.75 inches to 1 inch thick. Its playing surface is 2.74 m in length and 1.52 m wide (274 x 152 cm). There is a 6 inches (15.25 cm) high net exactly in between. The table is 30 inches (76 cm) high above the ground.

Table Tennis Rules FAQs

Table tennis is a sport that is played on the ping pong table. You win a point every time your opponent fails to return the ball. A toss decides which player will serve first. Usually, both players serve for two points.

The ball must bounce on your side before it passes over the net while serving. The player who scores the 11 points first wins the match. Mostly, the games are played in the best of 3 or 5 matches.

A table tennis table is 8.98 ft (2.74 m) long and 5 ft (1.525 m) wide. It is 76 cm (2.49 m) above the ground. Usually, the play area has either green or blue-colored plywood.

Yes, it is an Olympic sport that was first played during the Seoul 1988 summer Olympics. Both singles and doubles matches are played in this competition.

Wrapping It Up!

Table tennis is a famous sport with over 300 million players all around the World. The matches are played in both singles and doubles. In order to win the game, players need to win the 11 points first with 2 points ahead.

Both players get two point serve, and while serving, it is a legal requirement that the ball must bounce on your side of the play area before it passes over the net. 

You can hit the ball with your fingers or below the wrist, but you cannot hit the ball twice. Also, you must hit the ball in a downward direction rather than hitting it in an upward direction. 

If players fail to serve or play the ball legally, a point is awarded to the opponent. Keep in mind that you cannot aim for the opponent’s face intentionally while playing. Any misconduct act results in a point loss or termination, depending on the severity of the act.

We hope that this article helps you to understand table tennis rules more accurately and swiftly. No matter what you prefer to call it, just keep on bouncing the ball and enjoy the game.

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