What Are The Basic Rules Of Table Tennis? – Text Rules and Video

Aside from being one of the popular indoor sports played across the country, table tennis has multiple benefits. Table tennis can improve health conditions if proper time is dedicated to light sports played regularly. It includes hand-eye movement, stimulates mind-body coordination, improves footwork, and delivers benefits similar to aerobics exercise. Like most sports, it is a great way to enhance team-building and social interaction and burns significant calories. It is ideal for the elderly who has encountered knee surgery or joint pain. We can also attain balance and equilibrium with table tennis; the more you play, the more a sense of credit can be achieved, allowing you to enhance reflex, which is essential in daily life. Gross and fine muscles are activated and improved, significantly facilitating quality of life. So if you are looking to improve strength, agility, and overall fitness but avoiding too much exertion, then table tennis is the right kind of fun sport.

Table Tennis equipment

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, involves two or four players who strike a lightweight plastic ball back and forth across the table using a small net and rubber plastered rackets. Aside from the first serve, the rules of table tennis involve a single bounce on each side of the player at least once. The player must return the bounced ball to the opponent in the same way with a bounce. A point is obtained if the player fails to return the ball according to the rules. The game involves quick footwork, and instant shots need to be played to secure a winning position. If one of the players is well acquainted with spinning the ball, then the entire game trajectory can be changed and limit opponent options and angles to gain a point. Most countries have shown enthusiasm for this game and organized competitive sports, mainly in Europe and Asia, particularly China and Japan.

What Are The Basic Rules Of Table Tennis?

The basic rules of table tennis include:

  • The game is played to eleven points and must be won by two points. The best three of five games are called a match.
  • The ball is not restricted to landing at the player or the opponent’s side of the table. The serve is permitted to land anywhere.
  • In the game, double serves have to go proper court to correct court; i.e., the serve has to bounce in the player’s appropriate court and the receiver’s correct court and not at the center.
  • Once the serve touches the net on the way over, it is called “Let.”
  • Double partners have to alternate hitting balls in a rally, irrespective of where the ball lands on the table.
  • A player cannot hit the ball before it bounces. This is referred to as “volleying the ball.”
  • When serving, the ball should be tossed six inches straight up and stroked on its way down.
  • A player is awarded a point in the event where the player’s hit bounces back and touches the net by itself.
  • Players can touch the ball with their paddle hand but may not be allowed to touch it with a non-paddle hand.

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How Many Faults Are There In Tennis?

The number of faults in a tennis game is three: The normal, the foot, and the double.

  • The usual fault is when an invalid service occurs because of a server or receiver’s violation during a serve.
  • A double fault happens when a second fault occurs on the same service attempt, and a point is awarded to the receiver.
  • A foot fault is when the foot of the server touches the baseline or inside the baseline during a service attempt.

What Is An Illegal Service In Ping Pong?

Five primary illegal services in ping pong are:

  • Thrown in and no toss serve: Not all players (especially amateur players) throw the ball high enough, but throw to the blade. This is considered illegal.
  • Time abused serve The time a player takes before serving.
  • Having the ball inside the table is an illegal trick that makes the ball a short service in the table serve.
  • Quick serve: Here, the player serves quickly without the opponent being ready. Correcting this service can be done by asking the opponent to redo the serve.
  • Hidden serve: This is a more common illegal serve in a tennis game when players use their free hand or body to hide the point of contact. Asking the player or referee to stop hiding the services can be the best way to counter this illegal serve.


To become an ardent table tennis player, it is imperative to be well acquainted with the basic guidelines and regulations followed by well-organized competitions across the world. Based on these fundamental principles, players are expected to compete in fair play and score points justly and without arguments and perplexities. A beginner should ward off fabled, pretended, and unsubstantiated regulations and rules which may hamper their game. As set out by ITTF, you should know the following before entering into a table tennis game.

  • 1. As far as the initial serves are concerned, they must be performed with the ball in an open palm. This will prevent the ball from being thrown with a spin.
  • 2. We must serve the ball in a vertical direction of at least 16 cm. Throwing vertically will mentally prepare the opponent as a vertical serve will prevent surprising the opponent.
  • 3. The ball must be above and behind the table before serving. Otherwise, it will be referred to as a faulty serve and allow you to glide the ball properly, not in a strange direction. This throw will also give the opponent a fair shot of returning the ball.
  • 4. After the service, the server should make sure that their hands are free so that the opponent can see it.

In the case of doubles, the server rules are more or less the same, but the service needs to be performed diagonally, not vertically. This is carried out by the server’s right-hand side so that the ball is also expected on the right-hand side. This is done to maintain balance and equilibrium in the game and avoid any distortion that may lead to an interrupted game. If the service is performed vertically, the team players can bump into each other, leading to unforeseen injuries. Therefore it is essential to keep the players in the same direction apart. The double pairs should take alternate turns for the serve. When the service is changed, the previous receiver becomes the new server, and the partner of the last server becomes the receiver. After eight points, the cycle is repeated.

Players have the chance to have two serves before the opponent’s turn to serve twice. Previously, it was just five serves each. If each team has acquired 10-10, it is called a deuce. In that case, the players get one serve each, and one of the teams has to secure two clear points to win the game. If players play the best of 3, 4, or 7, then change ends after each game. This is done so that both teams can experience each side of the table. Places are also exchanged if the first player reaches five points in the final game of the match.

  • 1. There is another term in table tennis known as to let. When a good serve touches the net and ensures that the opponent will be able to return it, then it is known as a let.
  • 2. The receiver does not seem to be ready to return the ball
  • 3. If the entire game is disrupted by any event which is not in control, then in that situation, we can replay the point.

You can lose points in the following Situations

  • 1. If the service is missed
  • 2. If the service is not played correctly and returned
  • 3. If the ball goes to the net
  • 4. If the ball leaves the table without touching the net
  • 5. If a player touches the net on the table with free hands during the play

The toss winner determines whether the player would prefer to serve or receive the ball and choose the end of the table to play. At deuce, alternate serves each point until one player leads the game by 2 points and wins the rest of the game. The first server of one game becomes the first receiver of the preceding match.

Equipment needed for table tennis

It would help if you had to purchase table tennis rackets, officially approved 40mm+ plastic balls with approved dimensions of 9ft long, 5ft wide, and 2.5 ft. high. The measurements for the height of the table are 6 inches. For a complete guide to the rules, visit ITTf’s handbook.

Igor Bumeral

Igor Bumeral

My name is Igor. I like sports statistics, rules, and strategies. On this website, I will try to cover basic sports game rules. Additionally, I want to present the best athletes from US and Europe.

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