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Ping Pong Basics – The Basic Rules!

Ping Pong Basics – The Basic Rules!

The origins of ping pong can be traced back to 19th century England, where it was a form of after-dinner entertainment for members of the English upper class. Ping pong is thought to have started out as something that British officers serving in British colonies came up with to pass time when they weren’t campaigning. 

The earliest form of ping pong saw players using a table lined with books over the midline and books used to hit the ball over this makeshift net.

Fortunately, players no longer have to construct makeshift ping pong equipment as manufacturers have been producing everything for the sport since at least 1901, which is a relief to people interested in playing some ping pong. This guide will tell you about the ping pong rules for playing. Learning and following ping pong rules ensures fair play and helps prevent injuries and accidents during matches.


Ping Pong Basics

How to Play? The Ping Pong Basics To Play!

Knowing the ping pong rules is essential for any player looking to compete to play the game. Two teams of either one (singles) or two people (doubles) are needed. Unfortunately, four is the maximum number of people that can play a game of ping pong at one time due to the small size of the table. The official ping pong rules dictate everything from the table size to the type of ball used in competition.

Understanding ping pong basics like the ping pong rules of the game, scoring system, and equipment requirements are essential for anyone looking to play. One can also get some practice by themselves before taking someone on in a real match by pushing one end of the table against the wall and bouncing the ball against it to simulate an opponent. Keep in mind that while this is useful for getting a feel for the basics of the game, it is no comparison to the actual game.

How to Hold the Bat

In casual play, players may bend or break certain ping pong rules, but strict adherence to the rules is required in competitive matches. According to official ping pong rules, properly ensuring you’re holding the paddle is the first step before beginning to play. The International Table Tennis Federation is responsible for setting and enforcing the official ping pong rules used in tournaments around the world.

Shakehand grip and pen hold grip are the two primary methods to hold your bat in table tennis. Although each grip has advantages and disadvantages, most experts concur that the shakehand grip is the best for novices.

  • The person to serve the ball first should be decided by a coin toss or another form of 50/50 chance in order to be fair.
  • Official ping pong rules state that the server must toss the ball up in air while serving but this is not necessary in casual settings.
  • The server must strike the ball so that it lands once on their side of the court before bouncing over the net to land on the other side. If the ball does not hit the side of the server, hits the net, or does not hit the opponent’s side, the server receives a “let”, allowing the server to re-serve. If the server does not successfully serve a second time, the other player receives a point.
  • The person to serve switches with every two points.
  • Once the ball has been served, the other player has to hit it back once it has bounced on their side of the court one time. If the ball bounces more than once, the other player receives a point. If it hits the net or if it lands off of the table on the return, the other player scores a point.
  • Official rules award the victory to whoever reaches 11 points with a 2 point lead, though many players like 15 or even 21 points. If there is no 2 point lead, the person to serve switches with every point for a more intense match.

Ping Pong Serving Rules

The ping pong serving rules are an important game aspect that all players must follow. The player releases the ball behind the table’s edge, strikes it once on his or her side of the table, and then strikes it once more to cause it to bounce once into the opposing team’s court. In doubles play, the ping pong serving rules require the ball to be served diagonally across the table to the opponent’s side. Adherence to the ping pong serving rules can result in a lost point or even a penalty.

A serve that goes into the net without crossing over into the opposing court is a point for the opponent. A serve that touches the net but travels over is deemed a “let” and can be attempted again without incurring any penalties.

Instead of bouncing on the player’s own court by themself, as in the serve, the opponent must return the ball by hitting it directly over the net into the other court before it bounces twice. Once a player makes a mistake, the players alternate between playing the ball and letting it bounce on the other player’s side of the table. To avoid confusion or disputes, it’s important for players to fully understand and abide by the ping pong serving rules before starting a match.

Scoring at Ping Pong Game

No matter who serves the ball, players receive points, and throughout the play, points are given to the opposition for the following:

  • Reaching the ball but not returning it before it bounces twice.
  • Striking the ball and having it bounce on your side.
  • Hitting the table tennis ball twice.
  • You cannot volley the ball like a tennis player.
  • Not correctly putting the service into play.


You can truly play ping pong now that you know the ping pong basics. Whether playing for fun or in a competitive setting, mastering the ping pong basics is the key to becoming a skilled and successful player. Don’t feel like you have to quickly understand everything in this post because there is a lot of information there. Simply check back as necessary, then begin practicing. Some of the information could seem complicated or challenging on paper, but your development should feel much simpler once you start playing.

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