How To Start Ping Pong

How To Start Ping Pong

Last modified: October 12, 2023


Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a popular recreational sport played by people of all ages. It is not only a fun and entertaining game but also a great way to improve your hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and fitness levels. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to brush up on your skills, this guide will help you get started with ping pong.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Before you can start playing ping pong, you’ll need to invest in the right equipment. Here are the essential items you’ll need:

1. Ping Pong Paddle

The most important piece of equipment in ping pong is the paddle. There are various types of paddles available, ranging from beginner-level to professional. It’s important to choose a paddle that suits your skill level and playing style. Beginners can opt for a pre-made paddle, while more advanced players may prefer to customize their paddle with different rubber types and blade compositions.

2. Ping Pong Balls

Ping pong balls are small and lightweight, typically made of celluloid or plastic material. Make sure to have a few extra balls as they can easily get lost or damaged during play. It’s always a good idea to have spare balls on hand.

3. Ping Pong Table

A regulation ping pong table measures 9 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 2.5 feet high. If you’re serious about playing ping pong, investing in a good-quality table is essential. However, if you’re just starting out, you can also find portable and foldable tables that are convenient for recreational play.

Basic Rules of the Game

Now that you have your equipment ready, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the basic rules of ping pong. Here are some key rules to keep in mind:

1. Serving

The serve is the start of every ping pong rally. The server must toss the ball upwards at least 6 inches and strike it so that it bounces on their side of the table first, then over the net, and lands on the opponent’s side. The serve must be diagonal, crossing from right to left or left to right.

2. Rallying

Once the serve is successful, players take turns hitting the ball back and forth over the net. The ball must bounce on each side of the table at least once before being returned. Players need to ensure the ball doesn’t hit the net or go off the table during the rally.

3. Scoring

Scoring in ping pong can be a bit tricky. Traditionally, the game is played to 11 points, with a player needing to win by a margin of two points. However, in recent years, a new scoring system called “rally scoring” has been introduced, where each rally results in a point, and the game is played to a specified number of points, typically 21 or 25. The scoring system may vary depending on the level of play or tournament rules.

Basic Techniques

Now that you’re familiar with the rules, let’s explore some basic techniques to improve your ping pong skills:

1. Grip

The way you hold the paddle is crucial for control and precision. There are various grips used in ping pong, but the most common are the shakehand grip and the penhold grip. Experiment with different grips and find one that feels comfortable and allows you to execute different strokes effectively.

2. Strokes

There are four primary strokes in ping pong: forehand drive, backhand drive, forehand push, and backhand push. Each stroke requires specific techniques and footwork. Practice these strokes individually, focusing on proper form and consistency.

3. Footwork

Footwork is essential in ping pong as it helps you move quickly and position yourself to hit the ball effectively. Practice moving side to side, forward, and backward while maintaining balance and quick reactions.


Starting your ping pong journey is an exciting adventure filled with fun and opportunities for improvement. Remember to choose the right equipment, learn and follow the basic rules, and practice the fundamental techniques. With time and dedication, you’ll become a skilled ping pong player, ready to engage in thrilling matches with friends and competitors alike. Now, grab your paddle, step up to the table, and let the games begin!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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