Ping pong is played at uniquely fast speeds. The sport boasts of having over 300 million players across the globe primarily because the sport is not only easy to play but also has simple rules that are easy to understand. Before you start playing a game of ping pong, it is necessary to ensure that you have the right equipment and items of play required when playing the sport. The 40mm diameter ball used in ping pong measures approximately 2.7 grams thus making it relatively light weight.

There is no set size of the rackets provided that the racket’s blade is flat and composed of at least 85% wood. The table should measure 2.74m (L) by 1.52m (W) by 76cm (H). There is a 15.75cm high net that splits the table in the middle. In addition to this, there are also white boundary lines on the table. These lines enclose the area of play. Before playing ping pong, there are several rules and guidelines that you should be aware of. These rules are such as:

Coin toss

According to the official ping pong rules, a coin should be tossed before beginning the game. The player that wins the coin toss gets to choose whether to serve first or choose the side of the net he/she wants to play on. However, you can only make one of the two choices at a time. For example, if you win a coin toss and opt to serve first, the opponent decides the side of the net to play on.


After the ball has been served, the players take turns in hitting the ball in a back and forth manner. After every serve, one of the players earns one point on the basis of the player who maintained the ping pong ball in play for the longest time. When one player fails to serve properly or fails to hit the ball onto the other side of the net or touches the ball with any part of the body or anything else except the racket, the opponent earns a point.


The total score in a ping pong game is 11 points. The player who scores 11 points first wins the game. However, if both players tie at 10 points, the game must continue until one of the player leads with two points. An occurrence where two players tie at 10 points is referred to as a deuce. A full game of ping pong is played for approximately 30 minutes but this time may be shorter or longer depending on how soon either of the players scores 11 points.

Playing in doubles


You can enjoy great fun and excitement by playing ping pong in doubles instead of singles. When playing in doubles, there are four players with two playing on each side. When playing in doubles, serving is altered such that each member of a team serves once and your opponents take turns in serving. The players alternate in this way throughout the game. However, when playing doubles, the ball has to be directed to a specific side when served or the opponent earns a point. Serving has to be done from the right side of the table and directed towards the right side of the opponent’s table. The players must take turns in when returning the ball. If any of the doubles fails to alternate, then the opponents score a point.

Game flow

The players determine the pace at which their game flows. Depending on expertise, skill, and understanding of the game, players can decide to play at fast speeds or opt for slow speeds if they are new to the game. The sport is, however, more enjoyable and exciting when played at fast speeds.


Players switch side at the end of each game. Side-switching is put in place for fairness so that neither of the players is favored by one side thus providing an added advantage over the other player. It is only in the fifth game that players switch side after either of the players scores 5 points.

Serving rules


Before serving, the ball should rest on an open palm. This ensures that you do not spin the ball when tossing it in the air. Before serving, it should then be tossed up for at least 6 inches and then struck in a way that the first it makes is on the server’s side and the next bounce on the side of the opponent. If the ball fails to make either of these two bounces when served, then the opponent scores a point.

Serving position

When serving, you must ensure that the ball is behind the table and in an elevated position throughout the serve. This ensures that the server does not strike the ball at an angle that is confusing to the opponent. In addition to this, the set serving position gives the opponent a fair chance of striking the ball after it is served. After making a serve, the server should get the free arm out of the way to allow the opponent see the ball clearly.

Let serve

A let serve is allowed in several situations including when the play is disrupted by any disturbance and hindrance beyond the control of the player, if a perfect serve strikes the net, or if the opponent is not ready to return the serve. However, the last instance is avoidable as no serve should be made unless the opponent is ready and prepared to return it.

Losing a point

In a game of ping pong, playing does not only involve scoring a point as you can lose a point too. Circumstances that provide for losing a point in ping pong include if the player touches the net, moves the table, or touches the table using the free hand while playing. In addition to this, a point may also be lost if a shot does not touch the court and goes off the playing area (table).


There are also other special rules that apply when playing a game of ping pong. For example, if a wheelchair-bound player is playing with an able-bodied person, the able-bodied player must adhere to wheelchair rules. Ideally, the rules put in place in ping pong ensure that there is fairness and equality for both players when playing.

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