How to Play Ping Pong (Table Tennis)

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Have you ever wanted to learn how to play ping pong (or table tennis as some call it)? Playing ping pong can be extremely enjoyable, but it’s unfortunate that it’s not a popular sport among many people. While many individuals may have tried playing the game on a table, few actually play it according to its official rules. Despite this, ping pong is a simple and fun sport to play, and all you need to do is follow these basic tips to start playing.

Learn the Importance of

Proper Grip

When people inquire about learning ping pong rules, they often want to play the game.

However, before you should play, there are some basic things you need. One of the important things is the grip. Without the right grip, your game is going to be flawed.

While there are all kinds of grips that you can practice the easiest to master is the pen hold grip.

You hold your bat between the thumb and the index finger, similar to the way you probably hold a pencil. While this grip might feel a little funny at first, it’s an excellent way to master the art of spin.

This grip is an option that will help build hand strength and gain better control over the ball for beginners.

Practice with Someone Who Knows Ping Pong Rules

Once you learn basic skills like how to grip the paddle, a lot of practice is necessary to truly get good at table tennis.

One of the best ways to practice is with someone who really knows the sport. Have this person “feed” you the ball in the right way so that you’ll get familiar with hitting it. Also, learn different positions and controlling the ball.

The more you do this and the more angles your helper as you try, the better you’ll get. Aim to practice thirty minutes or more each day if you are dedicated to mastering the game.

Understand How Scoring of the Game Works

In addition to getting the basics down and practicing regularly, you also have to really understand how scoring works.


 A player scores a point when their opponent fails to hit the ball over the net and onto their side of the table. The first player to reach 11 points and be at least 2 points ahead of their opponent wins the game. If both players have 10 points each, the first to gain a 2-point lead wins. A match consists of the best of 5 games.

Scoring a Match 

The score starts at 0-0, with the server serving first. Each player serves for two points, then the other player serves. The server must serve the ball in such a way that it bounces on their side of the table first, then over the net, and finally on the opponent’s side. If the serve hits the net assembly (net, posts, and clamps), but still touches both sides of the table, it’s called a “let serve” and must be replayed. The receiver then attempts to return the ball over the net so it bounces on the server’s side.

If the server can’t return it, the receiver wins the point. If the server returns it, the receiver must hit it back so it bounces on the server’s side. Play continues in this way until either player fails to return the ball legally, and the other player wins the point. If a player wins a point, they add 1 to their score. In case of a 10-all score, both players will only serve 1 point each until the game is won. The score is announced with the server’s score first. In the final possible game of a match, the players must change ends when the first player reaches 5 points.

ping pong rules

Serving and Hitting


The service rules are designed to ensure that the receiver has a fair chance to see the ball and read the spin put on it by the server. The following rules must be followed during the serve:

  • The ball must always be visible to the receiver. 
  • The ball must always be behind the end line of the table and above the playing surface.
  • The ball must be thrown up vertically at least 16cm and hit on the way down.

Obstructing the Ball Obstruction occurs when a player touches the ball (with their bat, body, or clothing) when the ball is above the playing surface and traveling towards it, and has not yet touched their side of the court. It’s not an obstruction if the ball has passed over the end line, sideline, or moving away from the playing surface.

Hitting the Ball 

It’s legal to hit the ball with the fingers of the hand holding the racket or the wrist, but only one contact is allowed. Double hits are not allowed, so a player may not hit the ball with their fingers and then with their racket. A player may switch their racket between hands during the point, but it’s rare. Throwing the racket at the ball is not allowed. If a player drops their racket, they must pick it up to continue playing. The ball must be hit with a racket held in the player’s racket hand.

Once you understand and can follow scoring, you will find it much easier to play the game correctly.

Try Out Different Serves as

You Play

Different kinds of serves can be used in table tennis. No rule says one type of serve is “better” than the other, so keep that in mind as you play.

Also, try your best to vary your serves to throw your opponent off. And keep him guessing as to which move you are going to use next.

Some good serves to try include medium long serves, short serves, and pure spin serves, to name a few. You will find that if you can master and then mix up your serves, your opponent will have to keep guessing. About how best to match your ball, and you’ll probably have a much better chance at winning.

Switch Up Servers According to the Rules

One final thing to keep in mind as you play is when to switch up your servers.

The basic rule to remember is that each player gets to serve two points consecutively before switching. Keep in mind, though, that if the players ever get tied at ten points, the game will switch to each player serving one point. Then turn again.

Also, players should switch table sides after every game except during the final match. When players switch for each turn after one player has five points.

Following these ping pong rules, as well as the other tips presented here, will help keep your game “legal.” And will ensure that everyone gets a fair shot at winning this great game.

Featured Image via Pixabay