Basic Rules In Table Tennis

In table tennis, the most important rules are serving rules, and playing rules. All of the rallies start with a serve, so knowing a legal serve is crucial. Understanding some example of illegal serves will also help.

Beside the official table tennis rules, new players should learn the “etiquette rule” in table tennis. Etiquette rules are the unofficial rules that guide you to behave correctly in this sport.

Table tennis serving rules

Table tennis serve (or service) is very important. Based on Liu Guoliang’s advice, it takes more than 50% of exchange rallies in table tennis. Liu Guoliang once said that “Serving is the most important stroke in table tennis”.

Serve is easy to make but difficult to master. That’s the reason that you should always improve your from the fundamental skills to the advanced level.

Many amateur players ask “what is the serving rules in ping pong?”. Well, the rule is very simple. First, you must do a legal serve. Based on the rule of ITTF, a legal service has these criteria:

  • Toss the ball at least 16cm.
  • Don’t throw the ball back, but vertically upward
  • Don’t hide the ball. The opponent must see the contact point.
  • Hit the ball at the falling phase. Don’t throw the ball into your racket. Don’t hit the ball when the ball is on the rise.

Second, after each point, we must change the server. You serve the first 2 points, and then your opponent serves the next two points. At 10-10, each player serves only 1 point.

Table tennis score rules

Why we use 21 points and 11 points in a ping pong match?

  1. Like any sport, you can’t finish the set with the even score like 10 or 20. You need an odd score. Because the even score means “equal”.
  2. Of course, you can finish the set in ping pong in 13, 15, 17, 21. But in the beginning, to simplify, people just choose 20+1=21 points. (Old system).
  3. Today, there are in general 10+1=11 points in a table tennis match.


[caption id="attachment_1310" align="aligncenter" width="435"]Score in a ping pong match: 21 (Old system) and 11 (Nowadays) Score in a ping pong match: 21 (Old system) and 11 (Nowadays)[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1650" align="aligncenter" width="608"]In the history, table tennis set ends with 21 points. Today table tennis score is 11 points system. In history, table tennis set ends with 21 points. Today table tennis score is 11 points system.[/caption]


Xu Chenhao illegal serve study case

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