What Are The Basic Rules Of Table Tennis? Official Rules & Guide

What Are The Basic Rules Of Table Tennis

When we talk about ping pong then our mind goes to the rules. However, when someone starts the game then they might ask “what are the basic rules of table tennis”? For this, the ITTF has made some of the rules for playing.

What Are The Basic Rules Of Table Tennis

If you want to play at home with family then you don’t need to follow all of the rules. However, you just need to follow some of the basic rules for table tennis. When you face some kind of problem then you need to solve it according to the rules.

However, the guide is a set of instructions that you need to follow if you want to play. Rules have been made by the ITTF and every year they reviewed these rules and made changes if needed. Moreover, if you are a beginner then you need to follow these rules. So let’s take a look at”what are basic rules of table tennis”.

Let’s take a start with a common question that has been asked frequently.

Are There Different Rules For Amateur And Professional?

IF I talked honestly then I will say that the rules for the beginners and professionals are the same, but there are additional rules for those who played tournaments. However, as I have mentioned above that if you are a beginner and wanted to start your game with your friends and family then you can simply follow the basic rules.

So, should we talk about the basic rules of table tennis? What are the basic rules of table tennis? Let’s take a look at them.

Is A Game Up to 11 Points or 21 Points?

Back in 2001 and before the game was played up to 21 points, as time has been passed ITTF changed their rules. The game has become up to 11 points. This change has built the interest of the players and the audience in the game.

However, as I have mentioned, after 2001 the game was played for 11 points and still, it is played for 11 points.
Whenever the player of the game scores 11 points or it might possible that both players of the team (which is called deuce) made 11 scores first that team or player will be the winner of the game.

The second thing is how do you?

Starts A Game?

Before starting the game you should take a look at who will serve the ball first and how. However, if you are playing with your family or your friends then you just need to flip a coin or whatever method you would love to choose then it might help you decide who will serve first.

Moreover, according to ITTF, there are two methods to select. One is to flip a coin or the second is to toss a disc that should have two distinct sides. On the lower level of the players, people used to hide the ball in their hand then hide their both hands under the table, and then asked the other player or opponent in which hand they have a ball. This method specifically used for single players.

Once you have attempted this method the winner who has won the toss will serve first, and he has three choices.

These choices can be:

  • The winner elects to serve first
  •  Or the winner can give the service to the opponent
  •  Or the winner can decide which end he wants to play first

However, there are two different things one is that the winner decides to choose which end of the table the player wants to play first then the other choice for the opponent will have the choice to serve first or make his opponent serve first.

Moreover, if the winner of the toss has decided to serve first then the opponent of the game can choose which side of the table the opponent wants to play.
However, the next step is to what do you know about the

Basic Table Tennis Serves:

Moreover, as I have mentioned there are many rules and one of them is to serve the ball. However, the ball should have above the tabletop and behind the player’s end side of the table. The first basic thing is that the player should have the ball in the other hand which he will not use for holding the handle, and throw it with the paddle towards the opponent.

At the first serve, the ball should hit the table once at your side and once as well at the opponent’s side. On the other hand, if the opponent lets the ball bounce more than once on its own side then you will get one point on your side.
Once you know about the service then the next step will be how many serves can a player make?

How Many Servers?

As we have talked above about the rules in 2001 these were rules of scores 21 lead for a player. If they play multiplayer then there will be 20-20 strikes of the scores.

However, each player will get 5 serves consecutively. Moreover, after 2001 the rules have been changed. Now, each player gets 2 consecutive serves and this will continue until one of the players make 11 points.

As we are taking look at table tennis official rules and quick guide, so let’s move forward on what are basic rules of table tennis will be

Returning The Serve:

Once you hit the ball, the ball should bounce on your side and the opposite side once. If the ball hits more than once on the opponent’s side then you will be rewarded a point as well. However, there is a possibility, you are returning the serve and it hits the net and does not bounce on the opponent side. Then your opponent will get the point.

Above all, the most important thing is you can play on which position or style you want to. You need to remember one thing that you can not touch the table. You can not touch with your free hand or even not move the table slightly.
Now the next basic rule you need to know is

During a Rally:

During the rally or you can say that the point of the process decided. As I have mentioned, players can play whatever style or position. You need to take care of the bounce. The receiver should hit the ball before it bounces on the other side of the table.

However, the receiver should hit the ball before it bounces again on the other side of the table. if it bounces the receiver will lose the point. But what about the doubles in that case?


When each team has two of the players then each team will get two serves consecutively. However, these two shots were taken by one team, and each player will play one shot. when the two shots end the receiver will be the server and the server will be the receiver on the next point.


Can You Only Score on Your Services in Table Tennis?

According to the rules, the servers can win the score receiver does not matter. You can get a point if the receiver misses the hit.

How Many Sets Are There in Table Tennis?

It depends on the match and the match has usually the winner of 3 out of 5 sets.

How Many Serves Are Allowed in Table Tennis?

In 2001, there were 5 serves for each player but after that 2 serves are approved by the ITTF. One player can have only 2 serves only.

Who Serves First in Table Tennis?

The server will serve first and scores start with 0-0. However, it depends on toss who will serve first.

What is not allowed in table tennis?

You are not allowed to touch the table with a racket or your free hand, and you can not move the table as well.


In conclusion, we will simply wrap things up. You can follow these basic rules to play with your friend or family. These rules are for both beginners and professionals.

These rules are approved by ITTF, and you have to follow these for playing ping pong or table tennis. I hope this article might be helpful to you. Enjoy your game!

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