Basic Rules And Regulations Of Table Tennis You Need To Know

Basic Rules and Regulations of Table Tennis You Need To Know

Last Updated on June 29, 2024

Table tennis or ping pong is an entertaining and popular game for children, youth, and adults in many countries. Its rules are based on four specific points: equipment, service or serve, punctuation and invalid movements. If perhaps you are still a beginner in the game here are the basic rules and regulations of table tennis that you must know to become a great player in the sport.

Basic Rules and Regulations of Table Tennis

These are the official table tennis rules and regulations that have been simplified for your convenience.


Ping Pong Table Top

The table must be uniform in color, dark and matte. The four sides are covered with a white band of two centimeters representing the sidebands and bottom lines.

The dimensions of the table are 2.74 m long and 1.525 m wide, and the horizontal plane must be 76 cm from the ground.

Only the flat surface of the table is used, the vertical edges are not taken into account.

The surface is divided in two in width by a net. These two identical table portions are also divided in two to define the service area.

For doubles, each side is divided into two half-camps by a center line, 3 mm wide and parallel to the sidelines.

The Net

The net dividing the table in half must be positioned 15.25 cm high and protrude by the same size on each side of the table.

The height of the net should be uniform, and its base should be as close as possible to the table.

The Ball

The ball should be 4 cm in diameter and weigh 2.7 grams. It must be made of celluloid or an identical synthetic material. Allowed colors are white and orange (matte).


The racket used must be homologated for the practice of ping-pong and respect different principles of making.

The Game

Playing Finals

The game is made of exchanges during which the ball is in play.

The ball is considered in play when one of the two players performs a service with the ball resting in the palm immobile before being thrown to the top.

The end of the exchange is marked by a point (exchange whose result is counted) or a ball to be awarded (when the result is not counted).

For a ball hit to be accepted, it must be performed with the racket held by the hand.

The Service

Before performing the service, the ball must rest in the palm and immobile.

It must be launched vertically and intentionally, and more than 16 cm from the hand.

Between the throwing and the hitting of the racket, she cannot touch any obstacle.

When the server strikes the ball, it must first hit its side by passing over the net and bounce into the opponent’s court, respecting the diagonal and the service area.


The player scores a point at the end of the exchange unless the point is to replay, if the service is not regular or if the referral is not regular.

The point is also awarded to the player whose opponent strikes the ball twice during a dismissal.

A Sleeve

The round is won by the first player who totals 11 points. In the case where the two players reach a tie of 10 everywhere, the round is won by the player who scores two points of difference.


Rules and Regulations of Table Tennis

A ping-pong match is possible when two players or two pairs of players compete. The winner is awarded for the best of 5 or 7 innings or any other odd number.

It is a draw at the beginning of the match which gives the right to choose the camp, the service or the reception.

When 2 points have been scored, the service changes sides. The service will change at each point if the result is 10 everywhere or the acceleration rule is applied.

The number of points goes to 5 when it comes to the last possible run.

In doubles, the team chooses the first server, and then the service will be assigned alternately.

When a player or a pair is used in one round, he automatically becomes a receiver in the next. The player or pair changes sides after each round.

There is also a rule of acceleration of the match when the players or pairs are tied, and the round is not won after 10 minutes of play.

To always be up to date, I would suggest you to check this ITTF handbook page where you can find official ping pong rules and and regulations.


Different people may be used to playing by different rules.

So make sure you agree on the rules before starting an amateur level game, it will save you some disputes.

In spite of appearances, a ping-pong ball can hurt, or even leave traces temporarily.

You want to be careful during rotating ping-pong games or other variations.

And also among the most experienced players, it’s appropriate to use the term table tennis rather than ping-pong if one wants to be taken seriously.

author avatar
Ashton Brown
Ashton Brown spent a lot of time in after school programs as a child. In a local community-run recreation center in Boston, they had a ping pong table, and since then he has always played. He had a ping pong table in his college dorm, and a mini one in his office for giggles. After playing for years, Ashton wants to show you how to get started with ping pong, learn the tricks of the trade, and equip yourself with everything you need to be better at the game.

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