Official Rules of Table Tennis: What Should You Know?

Each sport has its own rules. The rules will ensure fairness for participants. And make that sport more dramatic. Table tennis is a sport with many rules for participants. Coming to ping pong, you must first understand its rules. What are the rules of table tennis? Let’s see with us in this post.


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What is the official rule of table tennis?

There are many rules in table tennis. For a more detailed understanding of these rules, let us go to the analysis in the next paragraphs.

Rules about competition equipment


According to the rules of table tennis, a table tennis table must meet the following conditions:

  • The top of the table must be rectangular. The size is 2.74m long, 1,525m wide and lies in a horizontal plane. Height 0.76m from the ground.
  • The tabletop does not include the side edges of the table top.

Ping Pong Table -

The tabletop must be uniformly dark and translucent

Table tops can be made of any material but must have a uniform bounce. When the standard ball falls from a height of 30cm into that table is about 23 cm

The tabletop must be uniformly dark and translucent. Around the table, there is a white line 2cm wide. Each line along the length of 2.74m of the table is a vertical line. Each line along the width of 1.52m of the table is the horizontal line.

The table top will divide into 2 equal parts by the vertical grid unit.

To play doubles, each part of the table is divided into 2 equal parts. The dividing line is a 3mm wide white midline. This line parallels the vertical borders.


The table tennis net includes the net, the net tensioner, the net posts, and the clamp

The net stretches with a small rope, tied at each end to a net stake of 15.25cm high. The limit distance outside the longitudinal boundary with the grid post is 15.25cm.

The top edge of the net throughout the length must be 15.25cm above the table top.

The bottom edge of the net should be close to the table top. The side edges of the net should also be close to the net post.

Ping Pong Net -

The bottom edge of the net should close to the table top


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Paddles can be of any size, shape, and weight. But it should be flat and hard.

At least 85% of the paddle surface thickness is made from natural wood. An adhesive layer of Bene in the paddle face can enhance with carbon fiber. Or fiberglass, compressed paper but not more than 7.5% of the full thickness of 0.35mm.

The surface of the paddle used for polishing must cover with or with a normal rubber tread. The spines are facing outwards. All thicknesses including the adhesive should not exceed 2mm.


A sucking rubber has upside-down spikes or backside spikes. All thickness including adhesive does not exceed 4mm.

Before the start of a match or when changing racquets during a match. Players will show the racket they use to the opponent and the referee to see and check.

Rules for choosing to serve and standing side

Official Rules of Table Tennis

The winner can choose to serve or receive the ball first, source:

According to the rules of table tennis. The right to choose to serve and the front side of the table will determine withdrawing lots. The winner can choose to serve or receive the ball first. Or choose the side of the standing table at the start of the game.

When one side of the player has chosen to serve/receive first, the opponent will have the right to choose another. The same goes for the position.

Serve Rules

In the rules of ping pong, the rules on how to serve the ball are as follows:

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The ball rises at least 16cm after it leaves the palm of the hand

  • At the start, the ball needs to be resting on a flat open free palm. The location is behind the end line and above the table top.
  • The server tosses the ball vertically upward, not creating a spin ball. The ball rises at least 16cm after it leaves the palm of the hand.
  • When the ball falls, the person making the serve will hit that ball. Let the ball touch your side of the table first and then bounce over the net. The ball must touch the side of the server’s table directly.
  • In doubles, the ball must deliver across the table.
  • Both the ball and the racket must be above the table. From the last point at which it rests before it bounced and hit.
  • When the ball is hit, it must be behind the goal line. But no further than behind the server’s body. Except for the hands, head, or feet which are the furthest from the bottom line of the table.

Rules add 1 point

Your team will gain 1 point when:

  • The opponent makes an illegal serve.
  • The opponent returns the error ball.
  • If the opponent does not touch any team’s table, that team will get 1 point.

The opponent’s hand touches the surface of the table, you add 1 point

  • The opponent touches the ball illegally.
  • The opponent touches the ball twice in a ball situation.
  • The opponent impacts the table to move the table surface during play.
  • When the opponent touches any object or body part into the net.
  • When the opponent’s hand (the hand not holding the racket) touches the surface of the table.
  • The opponent hits the ball in the wrong order (deliverer and receiver).

End of a game and match

A game will end when one team reaches 11 points first. When the score is 10-10, the team that gets 2 points in a row will be the winner

Table tennis that according to the rules will take place in an odd number of games. Usually 5, 7, or 9 games.

Catching errors when serving, wrong order of hitting the ball, standing table position

If a player serves or receives the service out of turn. The referee will immediately stop the game when detecting a violation. And let the match continue with the score reached. The server and receiver must be in the same order as determined at the start.

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In doubles, the pair that has the right to serve first in the foul game will choose the order.

If a player does not switch sides of the standing table, he or she should change. The referee immediately stops the game when he discovers this mistake. And continues the game with the score on the right side of the standing table.

In any case, all points earned prior to the discovery of the error will still count.


Rules for hitting the ball and winning

Table tennis rules stipulate that two teams can use different ping-pong techniques to play. But make sure to follow the laws.

Win the ping pong match

Which team has 11 points first and has 2 more points than the opponent, they are winning

When the ball enters the opponent’s court and the player will earn points when:

  • The opponent can’t catch the ball
  • The ball hits the table once and then bounces out
  • The ball hits the table at least 2 times

To determine the winner and loser, it is based on the score. Which team has 11 points first and has 2 more points than the opponent. They are the winning team!

In case both sides have 10-10 points, continue to play. Play until there is a team with a 2 point difference from the opponent, the game is over.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I choose to hold the paddle left or right?

You can hold the hand racquet you use. Hold the paddle in the most comfortable position. The laws only stipulate standing positions. The paddle handle and standing position are your choices.

2. Do I have to show the paddle to the referee before playing?

Yes, both the referee and the opponent will check your paddle. You will also do the same to your opponent. This ensures fairness in the game.

3. What happens if I hit my balls in the wrong order?

If you hit the ball in the wrong order, your opponent gets one point.

Further Reading:

Basic Rules of Ping Pong – Team USA

Table tennis rules: Everything you need to know – Olympics

To Conclusion

Table tennis is an interesting sport that requires players to have a lot of skills. To play table tennis properly, you need to know the official fundamentals. We have shared with you some of the official rules of ping pong. Hopefully, the above sharing will help you play better football.