Table Tennis Scoring 101

Last modified: July 21, 2021

Are you confused by table tennis scoring? Here are the rules for table tennis scoring that allow you to have fun playing the game while knowing how to score.


The scoring system is based on points that increase by one at a time. A player will win a point within a game when their opponent cannot use their bat to return the ball over the net with the ball hitting the table on the opponent’s side.

The game is played until one player has at least 11 or 21 points (depending on preference) and there is a lead of at least two points. If players are tied on 10-10 or 20-20 (depending on the game), then the game continues until one of the players achieves a two-point lead.

A match is the result of three or five games with the player with the most games the winner. If a player has the majority of games (i.e. 2 or 3 depending on the number of games in the match) then the final game or two does not need to be played. For instance, in a five-game match, if one player takes a 3-0 lead, then the final two games do not need to be played.

Calling out the Scores

When you’re calling out scores within a table tennis match, the server’s score is called out first, regardless of who is winning. The player who is serving changes every two serves (in an 11-point game) or every five points (in a 21-point game).

If the game comes to a 10-10 or 20-20 draw, then the players need to swap service every point that is won.


The player who serves must bounce the ball on his side once and then get the ball over the net and then bounce on the side of the opponent. The opponent must then return the ball across the net without it hitting their side a second time.

An opponent cannot return a ball that has not bounced on their side (otherwise known as a volley). If a player’s bat accidentally hits their bat before the ball has hit the table, but the path of the ball would not allow it to hit the table, the player gets the point.


There are times in games when there might be disputes between players. If no one is adjudicating the game, then the players may discuss the point and come to a reasonable decision over the result of the play. If there is no agreement, then players may agree to replay the point.

In this context, the players will play as if the previous point had not been played so there is no change in serve.

Final Word: Table Tennis Scoring 101

Above are the basics for Table Tennis scoring. These are simple rules that will allow you to have a fun and exciting game.

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