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Basic Rules of Table Tennis – AKA Ping Pong

by Mike Dumler on August 15th, 2017

During recent matches there were some questions about the rules of Table Tennis – and while the official Rules/Laws of Table Tennis are contained in the ITTF Handbook –https://d3mjm6zw6cr45s.cloudfront.net/2016/12/2017_ITTF_Handbook.pdf– You may wish to use the following basic guide to the rules.

Basic Table Tennis Rules

Scoring
A match is played best 3 of 5 games. For each game, the first player to reach 11 points wins that game, however a game must be won by at least a two point margin.
A point is scored after each ball is put into play (not just when the server wins the point as in volleyball).
The edges of the table are part of the legal table surface, but not the sides.

 Flow of the match
Each player serves two points in a row and then switch server. However, if a score of 10-10 is reached in any game, then each server serves only one point and then the server is switched. After each game, the players switch side of the table. In the final game (i.e. 5th game), the players switch side again after either player reaches 5 points.

Legal serve
The ball must rest on an open hand palm. Then it must be tossed up at least 6 inches and struck so the ball first bounces on the server’s side and then the opponent’s side.
If the serve is legal except that it touches the net, it is called a let serve. Let serves are not scored and are replayed.
Equipment
The paddle should have a red and a black side. The ball should be either orange or white and 40 mm in size.

Notes
1) The order of Serve is determine by either hiding the ball or flip of a coin – winner may choose to serve or chose the side of the table they wish to start on.
2) In singles, the center lines serve no purpose, so ignore them.
3) The hand holding the paddle is considered part of the paddle.
4) The net brackets are considered part of the table.
5) If a ball or player from another match comes into the area of play so as to distract or interfere with a player a let may be called and the point is then replayed. Where an official is used for scoring, they and not the players determine if a let should be called.

From → Table Tennis

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