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Table Tennis Rules – Learn How To Play Table Tennis

Table Tennis Rules

Table tennis is a sport in which every person is holding their breath in anticipation, whether they are a player or a spectator. The constant striking of the ball back and forth builds a bubble of suspense, which bursts when one player misses the ball and loses a point. However, when the ball is served again, the suspense and thrill start building again. Even if you have never played a game of table tennis in your life, you can easily become a pro player. All you need is knowledge about the table tennis rules and long practice sessions. This article contains every bit of information that there is to know about a game of table tennis.


How To Play Table Tennis

Playing a game of table tennis is quite similar to playing tennis, apart from the obvious difference that it is played on a table instead of a large court. A game of table tennis starts with a toss, and whichever player wins the toss gets to decide if they want to serve the ball or receive it. Moreover, the winner of the toss also gets to pick which side of the table they want to play on. Once the ball is served, it is struck back and forth till one player scores the point.


The first requirement of a game of table tennis is 2 players for a single match and 4 players for a double’s match or a team match. Each player needs to have their own paddles. Table tennis paddles have a solid, flat surface for striking the ball with a handle at the end.

One side of the paddle must be black; the other side can be of any color. The average size of a paddle is 17cm in length and 15 cm in width. Moreover, the players need a small table tennis ball. Unlike tennis, table tennis needs to be played on a table with a net in the center, parting the two sides of the table.


The major goal of table tennis is to win as many points as possible to win the game and hence; win the match. Moreover, both players try to hit the ball towards the opposite side of the table. Furthermore, each player hits the ball in a way to make their opponent miss it, which will earn the first player a point.

Table Tennis Scoring

Table tennis is played in matches with one match comprising 3 to 5 games. A game of table tennis has a total of 11 points. To win a game, a player or team must win 11 points with a margin of 2 points. The first player to reach 11 points takes the game. However, if the score gets tied on 10-10, then the game goes on for longer till a player manages to score 2 points more than their opponent. Moreover, a player does not need to be the one making a serve to win the point.

How To Win a Table Tennis Game

To win a game of table tennis, a player needs to make 11 points before their opponent with an advantage of 2 points. A 2 points margin is necessary for a player to win the game. As a match consists of 3 to 5 games; hence once a player wins a game, the second game starts. The first player to win 3 games in 5 games match wins the match. In 3 games, a player needs to win 2. The maximum number of games in a match can exceed 5, but the players should decide beforehand.


Rules Of Table Tennis

Here is the list of main table tennis rules:
▹ In order to make a serve, the player must hold the ball in their palm and then shoot it upwards a maximum of 6 inches.
▹ The player should hit the ball towards the other end of the table. Before the ball crosses the net, it needs to make a single bounce on the server’s side of the table.
▹ Every player must serve twice in a row before the serving duty is passed on to the second player.
▹ If the player serves the ball and it touches the net, the serve is replayed.
▹ A crucial table tennis rule is that the player’s hand can come in contact with the table under no circumstances.
▹ If a player’s hand touches the table while they are hitting the ball, they lose a point.
▹ Once the ball has entered the receiver’s side of the table, it needs to make a bounce first before the player can strike it.
▹ Striking the ball before it bounces on a player’s side of the table is a foul.
▹ It is not an out if the ball bounces more than once on the opponent’s side of the table. However, if it does bounce more than one, then the other player wins a point.
▹ In table tennis, the player who wins the toss gets to serve the ball and decide which side of the net they want to play on.
▹ In a singles match, the server has the freedom to strike the ball either towards the left or right side of the opponent’s area.
▹ In a doubles match, the server can only strike the ball towards the opponent diagonally. For instance, if the player is making a serve from the right, they must hit the ball towards the left side of the opponent’s side of the net.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who serves first in table tennis?
A toss before the game decides which player will serve first. The winner of the toss serves first for two points. After the two points, the second player serves for the next two points; then, it is the turn of the first player. This goes on for the whole game.

How many games are in a table tennis set?
A set of table tennis has 3 or 5 games. The number of total games can exceed 5; however, that needs to be decided before the game begins. Each game has 11 points, so the first player to score 11 points wins the game. However, they need to win by a 2 points advantage.