Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ping Pong Rules | Beginners Guide

If you want to play Ping Pong Table but you are a complete beginner, it is very important for you to learn the "Basics" and the "Official Ping Pong Rules" that you need to follow. You have to know that nobody wants to play against a player who doesn't know how to follow the rules of the game.

Rules for the Amateurs

There are actually two types of Ping Pong or Table Tennis player in which they are classified as "Amateur" and "Professional". Both players though follows the same basic rules, however, professionals have other several additional rules to follow. But on this topic, let's focus on our discussion regarding about the basic rules on how to play Ping Pong with your friends.

21 Points Scoring System

It was on 2001 when ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) had officially recognized the 21 Points Scoring System. This means that the game of table tennis is now played for up to 21 total score points.

If it happens that the player or pair (of players) had scored a total of 21 points ahead of their opponents, it means that they had clearly won the match. But, there are some instances when both competing players had scored 20 points. This kind of situation is called "Deuce" where the winner will be decided by the first player or pair who is able to gain a 2 point score lead.

When it comes to serving the ball, each player or team had a total of 5 consecutive serves each. But when both player or team ended up with a deuce, both sides will alternately serve the ball until one of them gains the 2 point score lead.

Starting the Game

In order for you to start a game with your friends, you need to decide to yourselves on who will first serve the ball. The common method used by amateur players is "toss-the-coin". You will need a coin for this method to work. Assuming that you have a coin, ask your opponent to choose any from the two sides of the coin. That could either be a "Head" or a "Tail".

Coin Head

Let's say that he had chosen the tail-side which means that yours is the head or the face-side of the coin. Now, toss the coin up and let it land on the floor. Wait for it to get stable and check which side is facing up. If it happens that the tail-side is facing up, your opponent takes the credit of serving the ball. But if the head is facing up, you won the tossing game where you get to serve the ball.

Toss-the-Coin is only applicable on the first match. Thus, on the second match, the winner of the first match can dictate on who will first serve the ball.

Here are the following choices on how the previous winner of the match can choose to dictate how the ball should be served:

1. The winner of the first match can elect himself or his team to serve the ball first.

2. The winner can choose his opponent or opposing team to first serve the ball.

3. The winner can decide which end or side of the table that he or his team will be on but with the following set of conditions:
a. If the winner chooses the end of the table, the choice on who will decide to take the first-serve goes to his opponent. In most cases, his opponent takes the first-serve.

b. If the winner wants to take the first-serve, his opponent is given the choice to choose his side (or his team) of the table.

The Basics of Serving the Ball

As a casual table tennis player, the rules of the game remains very simple which is very easy to follow.

To serve the ball, the ball must be above the table surface which is clearly visible from your opponent. Other than this, the ball must be behind the server's "End-Line" (an imaginary extension of the table). Thus, the player who is going to serve the ball must stand behind the end of the table.

The ball must be held by your free-hand resting on your palm. Then when you are set, toss the ball up and as it fall down, you must hit it with your paddle. It is important that the ball must bounce just once on your table-corner before going over the net towards your opponent's table-corner. The ball must also bounce on his table at least once.

When playing "Doubles", each of the player has two chances of serving the ball. Let's say that you and your team had made your first two serves which gained you two points. This time, your opposing team will also take their chances in serving the ball. In addition, the player who previously receives the ball becomes the server while his partner becomes the receiver.

Playing doubles is basically the same as in singles, but there's one major difference between them. This is about the bouncing of the ball. It is actually important that the ball must bounce only at the "right-half portion of the table" for both the server and the receiver.


Here are the following penalties on how players can lose a score-point:

1. If you managed to serve the ball successfully over your opponent's table-corner but he allowed it to bounce more than once, he loses the score-point.

2. There are some instances that when you had served the ball, it touches the top portion of the net but still manages to bounce on your opponent's corner. If this is the case, the service must be repeated. But, if the ball touches the net but it didn't bounced on your opponent's table-corner then you lose the point.

3. The moment that you tossed the ball up, it signifies that the ball is at play. Thus, failure to hit the ball after tossing it up get's you penalized.

4. If you failed or missed to hit the ball after it bounces once on your table-corner, you lose the point.

5. Hitting the ball which goes off or out of the table makes you lose the point.

6. You will lose the point when you hit the ball before it can make a bounce on your table-corner.

7. Touching the surface of the table or moving the table is considered a penalty.

Countering or Returning the Ball

Assuming that your opponent had made a successful serve with the ball, your main objective is to counter-hit or return the ball right into the server's side. You have to do it in a way that you have to hit the ball with the aim to return it at the server's table-corner and most importantly, it should bounce at least once.

Take note, if you failed to the hit the ball after bouncing on your table-corner once, sad to say that you lose the point.

With regards about the net, if it happens that you countered the ball and it went through the net, the ball should make it into your opponent's half portion of his table-corner. If it does not, then you lost the point. Otherwise, the game still continues.

Aside from aiming to counter or return the ball, you can also set your position at any side of your table-corner.

Playing Ping Pong

Moreover, they say that strictly following the rules of ping pong especially for the beginners can help get rid of the bad habits. Such bad habit that is commonly observe from the beginners is that, they tend to touch or rest their free-hand on the table while at play. But through strict implementation of the rules, this habit can be corrected.

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