The Basic Rules of Ping Pong
Below are some basic rules to play a friendly game of ping pong. If you’re looking for more official rules, consult the International Table Tennis Federation Handbook.
During a singles match, the center lines on the table serve no purpose, so you can ignore them. The edges of the table are considered part of the table surface, but not the sides.
A match is played best 3 of 5 games (or 4/7, 5/9, etc). For each game, the first player to reach 11 points wins that game, however a game must be won by at least a two point margin. A point is scored after each ball is put into play (not just when the server wins the point as in volleyball).
Flow of the Match
Each player serves two points in a row and then switches. However, if a score of 10-10 is reached in any game, each server then serves only one point before the server is switched. After each game, the players switch sides of the table. In the final game (5th game), the players switch sides after either player reaches 5 points.
The ball must rest on an open hand palm. Then it must be tossed up at least 6 inches and struck so the ball first bounces on the server's side and then the opponent's side. If the serve is legal except that it touches the net, it is called a let serve. Let serves are not scored and are reserved.
The ping pong ball should be either orange or white and 40mm in size. The table should be 2.74 meters long, 1.525 m wide, and 0.76 m high. * Tiger Ping Pong equipment meets these guidelines.
Now that you’re all set to play, remember the most important rule in ping pong is to have fun!