What Are The Rules For Ping Pong

What Are The Rules For Ping Pong

Last modified: September 26, 2023


Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a popular sport played by millions of people around the world. It is a fast-paced game that requires quick reflexes, precision, and strategy. In order to fully enjoy and compete in ping pong, it is important to understand the rules that govern the game. In this article, we will explore the fundamental rules of ping pong that every player should know.

Basic Rules


The game begins with a serve. The server must toss the ball into the air and strike it with their paddle so that it bounces on their side of the table first, then clears the net and lands on the opponent’s side. The serve must be diagonal, from the right side of the server’s court to the opponent’s right court, and vice versa after every two points.


Points are awarded to the player or team that successfully hits the ball over the net and onto the opponent’s side, without the opponent returning the ball. A point is also awarded if the opponent fails to serve the ball correctly. A player or team must score 11 points to win a game, but they must win by a margin of two points. In the case of a 10-10 tie, play continues until one player or team achieves a two-point lead.

Ball in Play

During a rally, each player or team must hit the ball back and forth over the net using their paddle. The ball must bounce once on each side of the table before being hit, except during the serve. If the ball hits the net during a rally, but still lands on the opponent’s side, play continues. If the ball doesn’t make it over the net or lands out of bounds, the opponent is awarded a point.

Advanced Rules


If the ball hits the net during a serve and still lands on the opponent’s side, it is called a “let” and a do-over is granted. Similarly, if the ball hits the net during a rally and lands on the opponent’s side, a let can also be called. However, continuous lets are discouraged and can result in the loss of a point.

Doubles Rules

In doubles ping pong, teams of two players compete against each other. The serving team must alternate players for each serve and each player must serve for an entire sequence of two points before switching to their partner. The receiving team must also alternate who receives the serve. The ball must be served diagonally, just like in singles play.


In official matches, players are entitled to timeouts, during which they can consult with their coach or take a break. Each player is allowed one timeout per match, and it usually lasts for one minute. The timeout must be called during a break in play and the player or team must inform the referee or umpire.


Understanding the rules of ping pong is essential for any player who wants to enjoy the game and compete at a high level. From serving to scoring, to the intricacies of doubles play, these rules provide the framework for fair and exciting matches. So grab a paddle, find a partner or opponent, and get ready to have a blast playing ping pong!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
Table Tennis Girl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program that helps website admins earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. We only earn a commission if you purchase an item from amazon.com. The prices on Amazon do not change (either way) if you reach them via our links.