What are the Official Ping Pong Rules

Last modified: July 21, 2021

If you’re looking to get into ping pong, you will need to know the rules to play by. Here are the official ping pong rules for you.

The 12 Official Ping Pong Rules

These are the 12 official ping pong rules that you need to know.

1. Points

Games are played to 11 or 21 points and all games must be won by a margin of two points. A match is generally the contest of five games with the player with the most won games declared the winner.

2. Serves

The serving player must switch every two points. This is unless there is a tie of 10-10 (or 20-20) where players will switch service on alternative points.

3. Toss the Ball

When serving, you need to toss the ball straight up by at least 6 inches. You can then strike the ball when it is on its way down. The ball must hit your side of the table and then the other player’s side.

4. Ball Landing on Serve

When playing singles, there are no restrictions on the location of where the ping pong ball lands. In doubles, the ball must bounce on the server’s right court and on the receiver’s right court. Landing on the center line in doubles is counted as fair.

5. Let

When a ball is served and it touches the top of the net, it is counted as a let and the serve must be done again. Any other time that the ball touches the net in a rally is allowed.

6. Double Rallies

During doubles, partners must take alternate turns at hitting the ball. It doesn’t matter where the ball lands on the table tennis table.

7. Volleys

Valleys are not allowed in ping pong, the ball must hit the table on your side before you can return the ball. If you hit a volley, the opponent wins a point.

8. Bounce Back

If your hit bounces back over the net to your side after hitting the opponents side of the table without them hitting the ball, you win a point.

9. Paddle Handling

Sometimes during a game, the hand that is holding the paddle will accidentally touch the ball while in play. This is a legal hit. Though it might affect the path of the ball and be less predictable.

You cannot use your non-paddle hand to interfere with the ball at all.

10. Table Touching

You may touch the ball or the table with your paddle hand. But you cannot touch the table or ball with your non-paddle hand. If the table moves due to you touching the table, your opponent will win a point.

11. Edge Ball

The vertical sides of the table are not considered part of the legal playing surface and if they hit this area, the point is won by the opponent player (i.e. the one who did not hit the ball). If the ball hits the corner of the edge, it is a legal hit, even if the ball bounces sideways.

12. Honor System

If no referee is mediating, then the honor system is applied. This means that all agreements should be discussed to find an agreement or the point is replayed.

Final Word: What are the Official Ping Pong Rules

Above are the official ping pong rules for players. If you’re not familiar with them, be sure that you read them carefully. There are some which might catch our new players.

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