Table tennis is a popular sport in Asia with budget-friendly options and has been part of the Olympics since 1988. The sport played in ping pong tables, which started in England in the latter part of the 19th century, is known worldwide. It was first called “ping pong,” which is how the ball sounds on early bats. Eventually, some countries have acquired the trademark for the name, so it was given its common name, which is table tennis.
In a nutshell, ping pong is played with the following rules – except for the first serve, the ball being played needs to bounce once at the receiving player’s end; the player must return and hit the ball until it bounces at least one time at the opponent’s side of the table. When a player fails to return the ball, the opponent automatically gets the score.
This sport requires quick reactions as it is played fast. A hitter who can make the ball spin in the ping pong tables has an advantage since it limits the options of their opponent.
The game’s previous goal was to score 21 points, but as of 2001, it has become 11. You get the point by outmaneuvering your opponent. This can be done by:
- Missing the ball completely
- Hitting the ball off the table
- Hitting the ball into the net
- The matches in this sport are typically played as best of 5, 7, or 9 games, with the first player to get 11 points in a 3, 4, or 9-game match wins.
Players and Equipment
The game is either one-on-one or doubles game, meaning two players against two. The sport doesn’t have strict rules when played informally, such as a family gathering or a fun match between friends.
Here are the official materials needed to play the sport:
- Ping pong tables – a green or blue table (9ft long, 5ft wide, and 30 inches high) with a 6-inch net across its width
- Rackets (also called paddles in the US and bats in the UK) – one side has a black color, and the other side is red
- Table tennis ball (white or orange) – weighs 2.7g and with a size of 40mm diameter
How to Score
Here are the vital things you need to know to score in table tennis:
When the ball hit the lines at the edges of the table, it means that it is in, but it is out when it hits the side.
Your opponent gets the point when you fail to make a good serve.
- You get the point when a shot is played, which your opponent failed to hit.
- You get the point when your opponent hits the ball into the net or long or wide of the table.
- The first player to get 11 points wins the game unless the score becomes tied at 10-10. In the latter’s case, the first player to lead by two points wins the game.
Other Rules of the Game
Here are the other rules of ping pong you need to know:
- The player who will perform the first serve is determined through draw lots or toss coin.
- The number of games is pre-agreed before the match starts, and the first to get 11 points wins each game.
- The players swap positions and take turns in serving after each game.
- Serves are done from an open palm, and every player serves two times in a turn.