Ping pong is by no means a simple game. If you’re looking to play by the official ping pong rules (known as the Laws of Table Tennis
) set by the ITTF
, you’ll have a fair amount of reading to do as there’s a long list. But we’re going to get to the bare bones of it today for those looking for a brief digest. However, ping pong still remains a relatively easy game to pick up even with a ton of rules to remember. Although don’t be deceived, it’s also a difficult sport to master. Regardless of whether you play for fun or professionally, you’ll find the basic ping pong rules here. Let’s continue!
Ping Pong Rules
The official ping pong rules state that the first one to 11 points wins a game (but you can play to 21 for a challenge). Win the majority of an odd number of games, either 3, 5, or 7 games and you are the ultimate victor.
- First, flip a coin to see who serves first. Winner either chooses who serves first or what side of the table to play on. The other person makes the choice that is left.
- An official serve is thrown upwards at least 16cm and then hit with the paddle. The ball must bounce once on your side of the table before traveling over the net . The serve must be replayed if it hits the net and goes over to your opponent’s side. Your opponent gets the point if your serve hits the net and remains on your side. Each player has two serves, alternating in-between.
- Rally continues as long as the ball is hit over the net into the opposing side’s area of the table. The ball must bounce once on your side of the table before you can hit it. Rally continues if balls hit the net and still go over.
- If 10 points (or 20 if you’re playing that way) is reached, this becomes deuce. Service alternates after each point until one player gains a two point lead.
- After a game is won, players switch sides and begins with the player who served second last.
You lose a point if you:
- Fail to serve correctly
- Hit the ball before it has bounced
- Don’t hit the ball when it’s on your side
- Hit the ball more than once consecutively
- Don’t hit the ball onto your opponent’s side
- Hit the ball with the side of your paddle blade
- Put your hand on the table/net or move the table
- Let the ball bounce more than once when on your side of the table
Ping Pong Rules on Equipment
Official ping pong rules state that equipment must meet the following requirements:
- 2.74m long, 1.525 m wide, 76cm above the floor
- Table material allows a standard ball to bounce 23cm when dropped at a height of 30cm
- Dark colored and matte with accurate table markings
- Top of the net must be 15.25 cm above the table
- Both sides of the net must hang 15.25 cm off the table
- Net assembly must have the net, its suspension, and the supporting posts, including clamps
- The racket can be any size, shape, or weight
- The racket’s blade must be flat and rigid
- At least 85% of blade must be natural wood
- Surface covering material must be bright red on one side and black on the other
- The ball must have a diameter of 40mm
- Weight of 2.7g
- Material must be celluloid or similar plastics
- Either white or orange, and a matte finish