How To Keep Score In Ping Pong

How To Keep Score In Ping Pong

Last modified: September 26, 2023

How to Keep Score in Ping Pong

Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is an exciting and fast-paced sport that requires accuracy, agility, and quick reflexes. Whether you’re playing for fun with friends or competing in a tournament, keeping score is an essential part of the game. In this post, we’ll guide you on how to keep score in ping pong, using NLP terms throughout the explanation.

Setting up the Game

Before we dive into the scoring system, let’s quickly go over the basics of setting up a ping pong game.

Equipment Needed

To play ping pong, you will need the following equipment:

  • A ping pong table
  • Two paddles (also known as rackets)
  • A ping pong ball

Game Format

Ping pong matches are typically played in a best-of-five or best-of-seven format. The first player or team to reach 11 points (or an agreed-upon number) wins a game. To win the match, a player or team must win the majority of the games (three out of five or four out of seven).

Serve and Return

The serve in ping pong is an important part of the game. It begins with one player serving the ball from their side of the table to the opposite side. The ball must bounce on the server’s side of the table before crossing the net and landing on the receiver’s side. The receiver must then hit the ball back over the net, and the rally continues.

Scoring in Ping Pong

Now that we understand the basics, let’s dive into the scoring system used in ping pong.

Points System

In ping pong, each rally results in a point being awarded. Points are earned by successfully hitting the ball over the net and landing it on the opponent’s side of the table. The following scenario explains how points are counted:

Player A serves the ball to Player B, who returns it successfully. If Player A fails to return the ball, Player B is awarded one point. If Player B returns the ball, and Player A fails to return it, Player B is again awarded one point. In this way, points are accumulated throughout the game.

When to Switch Sides

In a competitive ping pong match, players switch sides after every odd-numbered game (first, third, fifth game, etc.). This is to ensure fairness, as environmental factors, such as lighting and air circulation, can affect the game.

Deuce and Advantage

When both players reach a score of 10 points each, the game enters a “deuce” phase. In the deuce phase, players take turns serving, and each server serves only one point. Once a player has a two-point lead (for example, 12-10 or 13-11), they win the game.


Keeping score in ping pong is straightforward once you understand the rules. Remember to mark down each player’s point after every rally and switch sides after odd-numbered games to ensure fairness. Enjoy the game, have fun, and may the best player win! Now go out there and ace that ping pong match!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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