How Do You Score In Ping Pong

How Do You Score In Ping Pong

Last modified: September 26, 2023

Scoring in Ping Pong

Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a fast-paced and exciting sport that requires quick reflexes, strategy, and precision. To fully enjoy the game, it’s essential to understand how scoring works. In this article, we’ll dive into the rules and regulations of scoring in ping pong.

The Basics of Ping Pong Scoring

In ping pong, each game is played until one player or team reaches a predetermined number of points. The standard format is usually played to 11 points, but it can be varied to 21 points for more competitive matches. The player or team that reaches the designated number of points first wins the game.

Rally Scoring System

Ping pong employs what is known as a rally scoring system. This means that every rally, regardless of who serves, can result in a point being awarded to either player or team. In the past, only the serving player or team had a chance to score points, but the rally scoring system has made the game more dynamic and engaging.

The Serve and the First Volley

To start a game, a player must serve the ball. The serve is done by tossing the ball in the air and striking it with the racket so that it bounces on their side of the table first and clears the net. The ball must then cross over to the opponent’s side of the table without touching the net.

Once the serve is made, the receiver must return the ball back to the server. This back-and-forth exchange of shots is known as the first volley. During this phase, players must ensure that the ball bounces once on their side of the table and clears the net, landing on the opponent’s side.

Scoring Points

To score a point in ping pong, a player must make a shot that the opponent fails to return successfully. If the ball touches the net but still lands on the opponent’s side, it is considered a let, and the server gets another chance to serve. However, if the ball doesn’t clear the net or bounces twice on the same side before the opponent can return it, the server loses the point.

Points are awarded to either player or team when the ball:

  • Doesn’t bounce on the opponent’s side of the table
  • Bounces twice on the same side
  • Goes out of bounds without bouncing on the opponent’s side
  • Touches the net or the net post

Tactics and Strategies in Scoring Points

Now that we understand the basic scoring rules, it’s time to explore some effective tactics and strategies to maximize your chances of winning points in ping pong.

Placement and Spin

One way to score points is by using strategic ball placement and adding spin to your shots. By placing the ball in hard-to-reach areas of the table, you can force your opponent into difficult positions or even force them to make an error. Additionally, incorporating spin in your shots can make it challenging for your opponent to return the ball accurately, increasing your scoring opportunities.

Varying Shot Speed and Pace

Another effective tactic is to vary the speed and pace of your shots. By mixing up your shots, alternating between fast and slow, you can catch your opponent off guard and disrupt their rhythm. Changing the pace will force them to adjust their positioning, making it more difficult for them to return the ball effectively.

Reading Your Opponent

To score points consistently, it’s crucial to observe and analyze your opponent’s playing style and patterns. Pay attention to their strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. By identifying their patterns of play, you can anticipate their shots and position yourself for a successful return. This proactive approach will allow you to take control of the game and increase your chances of scoring points.


Scoring in ping pong adds an exciting element to the game, making each rally and point crucial. Understanding the rules and strategies involved in scoring will not only enhance your gameplay but also ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for both players. So, the next time you step onto a ping pong table, remember to keep these scoring principles in mind and have a great time playing this fantastic sport!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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