Official Table Tennis Rules
Believe it or not, there are official table tennis rules. Table Tennis, sometimes known as ping-pong, has basic and official rules depending on the formality of the match. If the match is simply between friends, then typically one would play best out of three or best out of five, similar to friends playing regular tennis. The Rules set forth by the International Table Tennis Federation include regulations for the table, net assembly, the type of ball, the racket, and so forth, but for simplification the following will focus on the rules of the match specifically.
- A table tennis match will consist of any number of games, as long as the number is odd to prevent a tie. Whether playing best two out of three, or best three out of five, or even best six out of eleven games, there will be potential for a tie if the number of games in the match are not odd.
- If the table tennis match is between two single players, then they alternate once the ball has been served, each providing a good return until the point is won. If the table tennis match consists of more than two players, then the members of each team will alternate with the return shots. For example, Team A Player 1 serves, Team B Player 1 returns, Team A Player 2 returns, Team B Player 2 returns, and so forth.
- A typical table tennis match is won when a single player or a team scores eleven points. The exception is when both players or teams have scored ten points, then the win is decided by the first to gain a two-point lead over the other.
- A "let" in table tennis is when the ball has been in play (a "rally") but no point was scored. The rally is considered a let if the ball touches the net assembly, assuming the serve was good, or if the ball is obstructed in some way by the receiver or receiving team. Additionally, the rally is considered a let if the ball is served when the receiving team or player is not ready, as long as the receiving team or play do not attempt to return the serve. If something outside of the players' control affects the ball, then the rally is also considered a let.
- In table tennis, players score a point when the opponent makes a bad serve, the opponent doesn't provide a good return, if the ball touches anything other than the net assembly before being returned by the opponent, if the ball goes past the player's end line without touching the table/court, if the opponent obstructs the ball or hits the ball twice in one return action, if the opponent hits the ball with the side of the racket, if the opponent (or anything on the opponent) moves the playing surface, or if the opponent touches the playing surface. In a doubles or team table tennis match, a point is also scored if the opposing team plays out of sequence.