Whether you are just playing for fun or in a tournament, it is important to learn the simple table tennis rules. Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a simple game anyone can play. It can be played with two players or two teams of two players. Table tennis doesn’t require a lot of physical strength. In fact, the opposite is true of table tennis because learning to hit the ball lightly and accurately is an art form.
- Table Size. A regulations table tennis table is 30 inches high, nine feet long (108 inches), and five feet (60 inches) wide.
- Official Ball. The official table tennis ball is made of celluloid or plastic and has a 40 millimeter diameter and weighs 2.7 grams.
- The Racket or Paddle. There are no restrictions on the shape, size, or weight restrictions on a racket or paddle. The thickness of the blade of the paddle must be 85% natural wood. There must be two colors of rubber covering on each side of the blade of the paddle, one red side, and one black side. The thickness of the rubber sheets on the blade can be a maximum of two millimeters per rubber sheet and the pips (pimpled side of the rubber sheet) can be glued on either face up or face down on the paddle. This is to keep any player from having an unfair advantage over another.
- Serving in Table Tennis. Each player is allowed to serve two successive serves. When a game is tied at ten points, when playing eleven point game matches, a player is allowed only one serve each, then the next player serves, and serves continues to be alternated between the two players until the game is won.
- Return and Volley. When a player returns a serve by hitting the ball over or around the net and it lands on the opposite of the table inbounds, it is a legal return. A volley happens when the ball is served, a legal return is made, that return is returned, and the volley continues.
- Scoring. Flip a coin or spin a paddle to decide who will play first. When the game begins, the score is at 0 to 0. When a player serves and it is not returned, the serving player receives a point. The game is won by the first player to make it to eleven points or to take a two point lead. At the end of each game the player changes sides and moves to the opposite side of the table. A match goes to the player who wins four out of seven games, or best five out of nine games.