A guide to the official rules and regulations of table tennis with scoring and service rules. Check out the player tactics and equipment list used in the fast and furious game of UK Ping Pong Rules.
BASIC PING PONG RULES: Table Tennis was in fact born in England. It first originated at the end of the 19th century as a Victorian after-dinner parlour game.
Even so, it has been an Olympic sport since 1988 and made its official debut in the Commonwealth Games of 2002.
The game of 'Ping Pong' (aptly named because of the sound of the ball on early bats) gets played internationally all around the world.
Without doubt, the popularization of table tennis occurs most throughout Asia. In particular, it is a very popular game played in China.
The rules of table tennis witness 70mph breathtaking smashes and awe-inspiring heavy top-spin lobs. There is no disputing that the Chinese players are a dominant force in table tennis championship tournaments.
The principle aim or objective of the game is to outmaneuver your opponent. Tactical goals include making them hit the ping pong ball into the net, off the table, or miss it completely.
The rectangular table used in ping pong rules is usually blue or green with marked edges (lines). A 15.25cm (6 inch) net gets stretched across its width in the center bisecting the table into two halves.
As a rule, a table tennis table should measure 2.74 meters long (9 feet) by 76cm (30 inches) high and 1.52 meters (5 feet) wide.
Table tennis used to be an improvised game on a basic table using books for both the net and the bats. Hence, there is very little equipment needed to play the game.
Of course, players will play according to the official ITTF Table Tennis Rules Book. That means they use a 40mm diameter white or orange table tennis ball which weighs 2.7g.
The rackets, red on one side and black on the other, are also called bats in the United Kingdom or 'paddles' in the USA.
Singles rules play is a game of one player against one other. Whereas two players compete against two more in the table tennis doubles rules version. An informal version often pits two against one - mostly played in family holiday games.
Scoring points is usually achieved by forcing your opponent into making mistakes. That means hitting the ball long or wide of the table or into the net. It can also include you playing a shot which they are unable to return at all.
When you are serving the ball, your opponent wins the point if you fail to make a legal serve. That happens if it does not bounce on your side of the table first before clearing the net.
A 'let' gets played if it hits the net followed by a bounce on their side (player reserves the ball). You are not allowed to volley or obstruct the ball in table tennis.
Any double hit results in the point getting awarded to your opponent. The basic rules of table tennis UK and official regulations are clear on this ruling. They state that the edges of the table (lines) are 'in play' but the flat part at the side is not.
There should be an umpire appointed to control a match with one assistant umpire. His or her appointment is to assist the officiating of certain decisions in the game.
Winning a table tennis match means you are the first player to reach the allotted number of games. In most rules of ping pong that means the best of three, four, or five games in total (sometimes 7 or 9).
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ITTF Table Tennis Official Rule Book: [PDF Download Option]
Rules and Regulations of Table Tennis: National Ping Pong Rules Played in the United Kingdom