10 Basic Rules of Table Tennis – A Complete Guide on Table Tennis Rules


You must understand the basic rules of table tennis if you want to be a good player. Most people find the rules simple to understand because they are similar to other racket sports. We will go over the basic rules of table tennis so that everyone understands them.

Basic rules of table tennis 

To help you settle disputes at work or in your garage, we’ve compiled the most essential table tennis rules from USA Table Tennis. Although this list isn’t exhaustive, we found these common points of contention for many players. These official rules for table tennis will help you stay on the right track, regardless of whether you call it Ping pong, table tennis, or whiff.

Don’t miss it: Benefits of table tennis

The table

The playing surface (or the top surface of the table) shall be rectangular in shape, 1.525m wide and 2.74m long, and should lie horizontally at 76cm above the ground. Don’t include the vertical sides of the tabletop in the playing surface. Use any kind of material, and the playing surface must bounce at least 23 cm when a standard-sized ball drops from 30cm above it. The playing surface must be uniformly dark-color and matte with a 2cm white sideline along each 2.74m edge and a 2cm white end line along each 1.525m border. The playing surface shall be divided by a vertical net that runs parallel to the ends lines. It shall continue over the entire court. Doubles shall be separated by a 3mm thick center line that runs similar to the sidelines. Each court shall be considered a part of the right half-court. Read more to know how to make a ping pong table

The net assembly 

The net assembly will include the net, the suspension, and supporting posts. Clamps must attach to them to the table. Suspend the net from an upright position 15cm in height at each end. The outside limits of the post must be 15.25cm beyond the sideline. The net’s top must be at least 15.25 cm above the playing surface along its entire length. Along its full length, the net’s bottom must be as close to the playing surface as possible. Attach the net ends from the top to the bottom to the supporting posts.

The service 

Place the ball on the open palm of the server’s free hand to begin service. The server will then move the ball vertically upwards without imparting any spin to rise at least 16 cm from the freehand. After this, the ball will fall without touching anything. The server must strike the ball to feel the receiver’s side court first, then the receiver’s. In doubles, the ball should touch the proper court of the receiver and server.

The ball must be at the top of the playing surface, behind the server’s line, and visible to the receiver. Once the ball is projected, the free arm and hand of the server must be removed from the area between the ball & the net. The player must serve so that the umpire and assistant umpire can verify that they are following the Laws.

If neither of these happens, either one may declare that the service was incorrect. The assistant umpire may ask the player to stop play and notify the server if they are unsure about the legality. Any subsequent service that does not legally permit will deem incorrect, whether by the player or their doubles. The umpire can, in exceptional cases, relax the requirements of good service if they feel that physical disability is preventing compliance.

Alternate serves 

Each side serves two points at once. EXCEPTION: Service will alternate at each end of the score is tied at 10-10 (“deuce”). Is it possible to lose in ping-pong? Yes. Game Point is served in the same way as any other game point.

Serve the ball at 15mm

You may not know that the ball must be at least 15 millimeters high while you are serving. This is a good practice. It means that the ball must be thrown at least 15 millimeters from your flat palm before it is hit. It is also forbidden to toss the ball in any manner that adds spin.

Serve again

Sometimes the ball hits the net when you are playing table tennis. It can either fall on your side or on the others. If this happens, you should be aware that the rule is to reserve the serve and replay it. There is no limit on how many nets a player can use on their first serve, the government keeps it to three.

Toss the ball right up 

How do you serve the ball to ping pong? Hold the ball in your open hand, just behind you at the other end of the table. Toss the ball at least 6 inches straight up, and then strike it down. The ball must land on your side of the table and then the opposite side. NOTE: If the ball leaves the hand of the server, it is considered in play.

Hold the ball in a flat palm

You must hold the ball flat in your palm and over the table when you prepare to serve. This allows the umpire and opponent to clearly see the ball and the direction it is being thrown. The serve must bounce in both the server’s and receiver’s courts (NOTE: landing on the centerline is fair). After each team serves twice, doubles partners swap places.

Rubber colors 

The rule of rubber and its various colors are last but not most minor. You probably know that the rubber on the table tennis paddle has two sides. One has a black rubber, and the other has a red rubber. This is to ensure that the opposing player understands what to expect when they serve, with either the red or black rubber.

Volleys do not allow 

Is it possible to hit the ball in ping-pong before it bounces? No. No. This is a table tennis point. It is your point if your opponent hits a ball over your table and hits your paddle or you.

Basic table tennis rules for beginners

  • If you are serving Doubles, it is best to help diagonally. However, in Singles, this is not necessary. If you’re playing singles, service is valid if the ball lands on the table. If you are playing doubles, however, serve the service diagonally. The ball should land on the sloping side of the opposing team.
  • It is considered a foul if the opponent touches the table/net or any other object that comes into contact with the table/net.
  • This will result in the opponent losing his point and you getting the additional energy. You also get the end of your opponent hits the ball twice.
  • According to the official rules and guidelines of Table Tennis, the racket may be any size or weight. It made of 85% natural wood and should be rigid and flat. Before the game begins, the umpire should approve the racket.

Learn more: How to practice ping pong by yourself

Table tennis shots

Players can increase their shot variety and range by changing the angle and pace of their shots. This can significantly improve the game.

Check out: How to play defensively in table tennis


This is one of the most common attacking shots in the game. The player uses the paddle’s bottom side to glide over the ball to push the ball forward. After the ball bounces, it spins, making it difficult for an opponent to return the ball promptly.


This is the first shot a table tennis player learns when they want to play the game. The player stands squarely at the table and holds the paddle in his hands. They return the ball to the table using the paddle side facing him.


Players use this defensive shot when trying to negotiate spin. Push the paddle downwards by the player at a 45-degree angle. You can play a chop with either forehand or backhand, depending on the ball’s position.


If you want to be a pro player in table tennis, you need to know all the basic rules of table tennis. Above, we have discussed basic rules of table tennis, equipment, and different types of table tennis shots. Hopefully, our guide will help you to be a pro player in table tennis.

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