What Are The Rules Of Ping Pong

What Are The Rules Of Ping Pong

Last modified: September 25, 2023

Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a popular sport that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels. The rules of ping pong are relatively simple, making it a fun and fast-paced game. In this article, we will explore the basic rules of ping pong.


Ping pong is a game that involves two or four players, who stand on opposite ends of a table. The objective of the game is to hit a lightweight ball over the net and onto the opponent’s half of the table, without allowing them to return it successfully. Players use small paddles, also known as rackets, to hit the ball back and forth.

Let’s dive deeper into the rules of ping pong:

1. Serving:
– The game begins with a serve. The player serving stands behind their end of the table and tosses the ball upward.
– The serve must be diagonal, crossing over the net and landing on the opponent’s side of the table.
– The serve must first touch the server’s side of the table before crossing the net.
– If the serve hits the net and successfully lands on the opponent’s side, it is called a “let serve,” and the server gets another chance.

2. Returning:
– The receiver must let the ball bounce on their side before returning it.
– The ball must cross over the net and land on the opponent’s side.
– The receiver can either hit the ball as a volley (before it bounces) or as a groundstroke (after it bounces).
– Players must alternate hitting the ball back and forth until one player fails to return it successfully.

3. Point Scoring:
– A point is awarded to the player who successfully hits the ball in a way that the opponent fails to return it or hits it into the net or off the table.
– A game is usually played to 11 points, and the player who reaches 11 points first (with a lead of at least two points) wins the game.
– In professional matches, a game is played to 21 points.

4. Switching Sides:
– Players switch sides of the table after every odd-numbered game (e.g., after the first, third, fifth game, etc.).
– This ensures that neither player has an advantage due to variations in lighting or air conditions.

5. Let:
– If the ball hits the net during a rally but successfully lands on the opponent’s side, it is called a “let.”
– A let does not result in a point and the server gets another chance to serve.
– Let serves are common and often happen during a match.

6. Doubles Play:
– In doubles play, where two players are on each team, the serving team alternates the serve between the players after each two points are scored.
– The receiving team also alternates the receiver between the players after each two points.


Ping pong is a thrilling and fast-paced game that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels. By following the basic rules of serving, returning, point scoring, and switching sides, you can enjoy the exciting world of table tennis. So grab your paddle, find a table, and start playing ping pong today!

Ping Pong Resources:

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