What Are The Rules For Serving In Ping Pong

What Are The Rules For Serving In Ping Pong

Last modified: October 14, 2023

Understanding the rules for serving in ping pong might seem like a challenge, especially for those first starting out. But no worries! Once you break it down, it becomes much less intimidating. In this post, we’ll go through the important aspects of a legal serve in ping pong, including the rules as well as some tips on serving to keep your opponents guessing.

The Basic Rules of Ping Pong Serving

In this section, we’ll cover the most basic rules of the serve in ping pong. These are the absolute must-knows to make sure your game play remains within the legal boundaries of the sport.

Rule One – The Toss

The serve begins with the toss. You must throw the ball at least 16cm into the air from an open palm. This means you can’t spin or twist it on its way up. It’s important to ensure a fair and unpredictable serve.

Rule Two – The Hit

After the toss, you must hit the ball such that it first bounces on your side and then the opponent’s side of the table. If it doesn’t bounce on both sides, it’s considered a fault and your opponent earns a point.

Rule Three – Keeping The Ball Visible

It’s important to keep the ball visible to the opponent at all times during the serve. Hidden serves, where you use your body or arm to shield the ball, are considered illegal in ping pong.

The Advanced Rules of Ping Pong Serving

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to step up your game. Let’s delve into some of the advanced rules that can help you serve like a pro.

The Double Bounce Rule

For an even stronger serve, strive for a double bounce serve. If executed correctly, the ball will bounce twice on the opponent’s side, making it significantly harder for them to return effectively.

The No-Volley Zone

The area directly behind the net, often referred to as the ‘No-Volley Zone’, is a crucial area to keep in mind when serving. Aiming for this area can put your opponent in a tricky position and give you the upper hand.

Switching Service Every Two Points

In ping pong, players switch the service every two points. This keeps the game fair and unpredictable, giving both players a chance to take full advantage of their serving turns.

Different Serving Styles

Different serving styles can completely change the dynamic of a ping pong match. Experimenting with these styles can not only boost your skills but also make the game much more exciting.

The High Toss Serve

The high toss serve allows for an aggressive topspin or backspin serve which can really catch your opponent off guard.

The Backspin Serve

The backspin serve, if executed right, can make the ball come to a sudden halt after hitting the opponent’s side of the table, making it difficult to return.

The Side Spin Serve

The side spin serve can add a curve to the ball’s trajectory, deceiving the opponent and causing them to misplay their shot.


Serving in ping pong isn’t just about meeting the basic rules. It’s an art that takes practice and precision. Understanding and mastering the fundamentals are the first steps to becoming a formidable opponent at the table. So grab your paddle, experiment with different serving styles, and remember to keep it fair and fun!

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.