How To Count Score In Ping Pong

How To Count Score In Ping Pong

Last modified: October 6, 2023

How to Count Score in Ping Pong

Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a fast-paced and exciting sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, understanding how to count the score is essential to keep the game fair and competitive. In this article, we’ll walk you through the basic rules and techniques of keeping score in ping pong.

1. Traditional Scoring System

The traditional scoring system in ping pong follows a simple format of 11 points. The first player to reach 11 points with a difference of at least two points wins the game. Here’s how it works:

  • Each player starts with 0 points.
  • Serve alternates between players every two points.
  • A point is awarded to a player when the opponent fails to return the ball successfully within the boundaries of the opposing player’s side of the table.
  • When the server wins a rally, they earn one point and continue serving.
  • When the receiver wins a rally, they earn one point and become the server for the next rally.
  • If the score reaches 10-10, the game enters a deuce stage.
  • During the deuce stage, players serve one point at a time until one player gains a two-point advantage to win the game.

2. Alternative Scoring Systems

While the traditional scoring system is widely used, some recreational players prefer alternative methods for counting points. Here are a couple of variations you might encounter:

a. 21-Point System

In the 21-point system, the first player to reach 21 points with a two-point lead wins the game. This scoring system is commonly used in casual games and allows for a longer gameplay.

b. 5-Point System

The 5-point system is a simplified version of the traditional scoring system, commonly used when time is limited or for friendly matches. In this system, players compete to reach 5 points first, with serve alternating after every point.

3. Keeping Track of the Score

To keep track of the score in ping pong, you can use a variety of methods:

  • Verbal Communication: In casual games, players can simply shout out the score after each rally.
  • Paper and Pen: You can use a small whiteboard or a sheet of paper to write down the score as the game progresses.
  • Scoreboard: For competitive play, a scoreboard with numbered tiles can be used to easily update the score.
  • Electronic Scorekeeping Devices: In professional tournaments, electronic scorekeeping devices are often employed to ensure accuracy and efficiency.


Counting the score correctly is an essential part of playing ping pong. Whether using the traditional 11-point system or opting for alternative methods, understanding the rules and techniques of scoring adds to the enjoyment and fairness of the game. So grab your paddles, set up the table, and get ready to have a blast while keeping score like a pro!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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