The Basic Ping Pong Rules That Every Player Should Know

Ping pong is an official sport. Hence, it comes with a myriad of rules and regulations.

If you are interested in playing this game, you ought to know each of these rules. After all, you can’t win a match if your serves are always called illegal or if you hit the ball into the net.

Let’s explore some of these rules here.

Basic Ping Pong Rules

Even if you just play table tennis at home, you should always abide by the following rules. Of course, they are just a summarized version of the extensive guidelines that the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has made.

Service Rules

1. You should always start your service while holding the ball in your open palm. Doing this will prevent the ball from spinning while you throw it on the air.

2. Throw the ball as vertically as possible with the height of at least 16 cm. It will stop you from hitting the ball just above your hands, which can surprise your opponent.

3. Hold the ball behind and above the table each time you serve. It gives your opponent an equal chance to return the ball you hit.

4. After the ball was thrown, you should keep your hands away from the direction of the ball. In this way, the receiver will be able to see the ball.

Doubles Rules

1. The angle of the service should be diagonal. Specifically, it should come from the right-hand side of the server and go to the right-hand side of the receiver.

2. It is always crucial that the pair should hit the ball alternatingly. Somehow, this rule makes doubles a challenging feat.

3. Once there’s a change in service, the former receiver will be the one who serves the ball. Meanwhile, the pair of the previous server is the one who is going to receive the ball.

General Match Rules

1. Players have two serves before the service is switched to their opponents. It is the same, too; they have to service twice before the turn goes back to their opponents.

2. If the score is 10-10, the match is a deuce. The players will get one serve each, and they have to make two straight points to win.

This is called “sudden death.”

3. If you decided to play a best of 3, best of 5, or best of 7, you and your opponent have to switch ends after every game. In this way, the players will be able to experience the playing conditions on each side.

A “Let” Is Called When…

1. The serve hits any part of the net.

2. The receiving end is not ready yet and did not make an attempt to hit the ball. Practically, this is something that you need not be reminded of.

3. The game is disturbed or disrupted by factors or elements that are beyond the control of the player. In this way, you can get the chance to do a replay when someone distracted you from the sidelines.

A Point Is Lost When…

1. You did not return the serve while it is in your table’s end.

2. You did not hit the ball during your turn to serve.

3. The ball goes directly to the net.

4. The ball bounces off the table, even without landing on the latter.

5. You move the table, touch the net, or touch the table with your free hand while the play is taking place.

Weird Ping Pong Rules

1. A player can “double hit” the ball accidentally. This rule indicates that you lose a point if you hit the ball twice repeatedly and intentionally.

But if you did it by accident, the act is actually considered legal. It is quite a new rule or something that I haven’t heard yet until now.

2. Professional ping pong players should only wear shirts that have a print of a maximum of two sponsor labels on the back.

3. The table board of the ping pong table can be made with any type of material. However, in professional games, it is always encouraged to use wooden tables or similar types.

However, it is necessary for the table to be able to create a bounce of 23 cm when it is dropped from a height of 30 cm.


These are some of the essential rules that you need to be aware of whenever you are playing ping pong. It is best that you can follow them all if you want to maximize your chances of winning!

Of course, getting your body through deep massages and healthy diet can also bolster your performance in the game. Practice should always be done religiously, too.

That’s it for now. If you have questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.