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The top 10 most basic rule in table tennis

Let us help you resolve those garage or workplace conflicts by using the Official Table Tennis Rules. Coach EmRatThich resumes the most basic rules in table tennis with the official ITTF regulations. This list is not comprehensive, but these are frequent areas of disagreement among players. These official table tennis regulations can help you keep track of what you’re doing not only in a friendly match but also in an official competition.

Here are the top 10 most basic official rules in table tennis.

01 The game ends at 11 points

A game is 11 points. A two-point win is required. A game can have 3 to 7 matches.

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.

02 Two-point alternate serves

Each side of the table serves two points alternately. EXCEPT: After 10-10 (“deuce”), service alternates. Can you lose table tennis serve? Yes! Serving on Game Point has no special rules.

03 Serve the ball straight up

In table tennis, how do you serve? Hold the ball behind the table with your open hand. Toss at least 6” (or 16 cm) straight up and down. It must bounce on both sides of the table. NOTE: If the server misses or mishits the ball, it counts as the receiver’s point.

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04 The serve can land anywhere

The ball may fall anywhere on your or your opponent’s side of the table. In such a case, you win the point. It may also bounce twice on your opponent’s side, or even strike the edge.

05 A serve that touches the net is replayed

Can a ball strike the net? It is legal to strike the top of the net during a rally if it hits the net legitimately. A serve that strikes the net on the way over is a “let” serve. If the serve is “let”, then it needs to be replayed, the point is not counted. This may happen indefinitely.

06 No volleys in table tennis

You can’t hit the ball before it bounces. No. You can “volley” the ball in tennis (hitting the ball before it bounces on your side of the net). In table tennis, this costs you a point.

NOTE: A ball that flies beyond your end of the table and strikes you or your paddle is still a point.

You can not volley in table tennis. You need to hit after the ball bounces on your side
You can not volley in table tennis. You need to hit after the ball bounces on your side

07. A ball that bounces back over the net is a point

With a heavy underspin, a rally or serve ball that hits your opponent’s side of the table, but bounces back over the net, is a point for the server. This is called “come back serve“, or sometimes “ghost serve”.

08. It’s is allowed that the ball to touch the finger

What happens if a ping pong ball strikes your finger or hand? If the ball hits your PADDLE hand and is otherwise legal, there is no rule violation and play continues. Incorporating entire fingers and hand region below the wrist is not allowed.

But what if the ball hits another player during a ping pong rally? Your non-paddle hand may not contact the ball for any reason. It earns your opponent a point. But if your opponent’s strike flies over your side of the table and hits you or your paddle, you still win the point.

09. The non-paddle hand is forbidden to touch the table

Your paddle hand (after reaching in to return a short serve, for example) or other body parts may contact the ball or table. But the non-paddle hand (freehand) is not allowed to touch the table’s surface. This is your opponent’s point if the table shifts from your touch during a rally.

10. Bouncing off at the edge

A legitimate serve or hit may touch the top edge of the horizontal table top surface, even if it bounces sideways. The table’s vertical sides are not part of the playing surface. If the ball bounces up, then the server wins the point. If the ball touches the edge but drops down, then the server loses the point.

Edge ball is confimed by TTR Hawk Eye - Succesful
Edge ball is confirmed by TTR Hawk Eye – Succesful

There are the basic rules for table tennis. If there is any dispute, and there is not the umpire, then the players should use the “honor system”.

“Honor system” for disagreements

If there is no referee present and the players dispute on a call, the “honor system” (or unwritten rules) applies and they must agree or play the point over. A tough but fair game of ping pong. Keep it that way!

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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

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