What Are The Ping Pong Rules

What Are The Ping Pong Rules

Last modified: September 26, 2023


Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a popular indoor sport that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels. It is a fast-paced game that requires agility, speed, and precision. In order to play ping pong effectively, it is important to understand and follow the rules of the game. In this article, we will explore the basic rules of ping pong and their significance in maintaining fair play and competition.

The Serve

1. Service Rules

The serve is where every point starts in ping pong. The server must stand behind the end of the table, holding the ball in the palm of their hand. The ball must be tossed vertically at least 6 inches and struck with the racket as it is descending. The serve must cross over the net and bounce once on the opponent’s side without touching the net. It is essential to keep the serve legal, as a fault can result in a point for the opposing player.

2. Serve Rotation

In a competitive match, both players take turns serving. At the start of the game, the server serves only once. After that, both players take turns serving every two points until the end of the game.

3. Receiver’s Position

The receiver must stand behind the end of the table and wait for the serve to be struck. It is important to be ready and anticipate the direction and spin of the ball. Failing to return a legal serve from the opponent will result in a point for the server.


1. Point System

In ping pong, points are awarded to the player who successfully hits the ball over the net and onto the opponent’s side of the table. Each game is played up to 11 points, and the first player to reach 11 points with a clear 2-point lead wins that game. If the score reaches 10-10, the game goes into “deuce” and the player must win by a 2-point margin to win the game.

2. Match Format

A match in ping pong is usually played as a best-of-five or best-of-seven games. The player who wins the majority of the games is declared the winner of the match.

3. Let Calls

During a point, if the ball hits the net but still goes over to the opponent’s side, it is called a “let.” A let does not count as a point, and the point is replayed.


1. Ball in Play

Once the serve is made, the ball remains in play until a point is scored. Both players must hit the ball back and forth over the net, ensuring that it bounces once on their opponent’s side. The ball must be struck with the racket, and players are not allowed to touch the ball with any other body part or object.

2. The Double Bounce Rule

In ping pong, it is important to ensure that the ball bounces once on each side of the net during a point. This is known as the “double bounce rule.” For example, if a player fails to return the ball after the first bounce on their side, their opponent will be awarded a point.

3. Let Serve

If the ball touches the net during a serve but still crosses over and lands in the correct service area, it is called a “let serve.” The serve is replayed, and no points are awarded.


In conclusion, understanding and following the rules of ping pong is crucial for a fair and enjoyable game. From the serve to scoring and gameplay, each rule serves a purpose in maintaining fairness and competitiveness. So the next time you step up to the ping pong table, remember to play by the rules and have a great time!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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