Table Tennis Rules For the Beginner Player

When table tennis became an official Olympic Sport in 1988, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) detailed general and specific rules for the game. If your goal is to play competitively, it is extremely wise to familiarize yourself with the most basic rules of table tennis and then move on to learning the more complex rules. Here are some basic table tennis rules to help you get started.


• The color of the paddle rubber must be red on one side and black on the other, the rubbers must be ITTF approved, and the ITTF logo visible immediately above the handle of the racket.

• You may play with a paddle with slight damage, but the umpire and/or the referee will need to approve your racket and deem the paddle “legal”.

• Unless your racket suffers serious damage and is deemed unusable, you may not change your racket during a game.

• The ping-pong ball should be white or orange and weigh exactly 40mm.

• The tennis table should be 5 meters high, 7 meters wide and 14 meters long

• The playing net must be 15.25cm above the tennis table.


• When the ping-pong ball is in play, you may not touch the top of the ping-pong tennis table, but you may touch the sides of the table.

• You may never move the table and it is highly recommended that you make sure the table is locked and stable before beginning the game.

Basic Match Rules

• A match consists of five games, with the winner of the match winning the majority of those games.

• The first player to reach 11 points wins a game. tennis rules explained

• Players switch sides after each game.

• Every time you legally put the ball into play, you receive one point.

• Players serve twice in a row and then switch table sides.

• Should the score be tied at 10-10, each player serves only once and then the server switches.

• A toss-up begins each game.

• Should you win the toss, you choose one option (to serve the ball, to receive the ball, or to start on a particular end of the table). Based on your choice, the loser of the toss can then choose one of the available choices that are left.

• During each match, you may call one time out (make the “T” sign with your hand) and each time out lasts one minute.

• Players are granted two minutes of practice time before the start of each match.

• Every six points in a match, players are permitted to towel off themselves and their paddles.

• You may request permission to towel off your paddle during the game.

• The clothing allowable depends on the referee so it is advisable you check the individual match rules before you enter into a match. Tracksuits are normally not permitted.


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