How Do You Score Points In Ping Pong

How Do You Score Points In Ping Pong

Last modified: October 2, 2023

How Do You Score Points in Ping Pong?

Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a fast-paced and competitive game that requires skill, strategy, and quick reflexes. While the objective of ping pong is simple – to outscore your opponent – understanding the scoring system is essential to becoming a proficient player. In this article, we will explore how points are scored in ping pong and some key rules to keep in mind while playing.

1. Understanding the Basics

Ping pong is typically played in a best-of-five or best-of-seven format. Each game consists of 11 points, with players taking turns serving every two points. To win a game, a player must score 11 points and have a lead of at least two points over their opponent. In case of a 10-10 tie, known as a deuce, the game continues until one player gains a two-point lead.

2. Scoring Points

Points in ping pong are scored when a player fails to legally return the ball to their opponent’s side of the table. Here are a few ways to score points:

  • Opponent’s Failure to Return: If your opponent is unable to return the ball and it hits their side of the table before touching the net, you are awarded a point.
  • Net Serve: If the ball hits the net but still lands on the opponent’s side of the table, you can play the ball and the serve is considered good. You will score a point if your opponent fails to return the ball.
  • Out-of-Bounds: If your opponent hits the ball in a way that it misses the entire table, either by hitting outside the sidelines or the end lines, you gain a point.
  • Double Bounce: During a rally, the ball must bounce once on each player’s side of the table. If your opponent fails to return the ball after two bounces, you win the point.
  • Illegal Serve: If your opponent fails to execute a legal serve, such as not throwing the ball vertically upwards or failing to make it bounce on their side of the table first, you earn a point.

3. Keeping Track of the Score

To keep track of the score in ping pong, a scorecard or an electronic scoring system is typically used. The scorecard consists of two columns, one for each player, with boxes to mark the points won. The players, or an umpire, update the score after each rally. It is important to pay attention to the score and ensure accuracy to avoid any discrepancies during the game.


Scoring points in ping pong revolves around players’ ability to make legal shots and force their opponents into making mistakes. By understanding the basics of scoring, such as recognizing when your opponent fails to return the ball, hitting an out-of-bounds shot, or executing a good net serve, you can gain an edge over your opponent. Remember to stay focused, practice your techniques, and have fun while playing ping pong!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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