How to Play Ping Pong [Table Tennis] – Rules, Tips & Techniques

The ping pong game, commonly known as Table Tennis, is an enthralling sport that is played between pairs. The game involves either two or four players. However, the recreational players in the ping pong game can become proficient quickly as compared to those who practice for championships.

How to Play Ping Pong

Table tennis has been a part of the Olympics since 1988, which is significantly popular all across Asia. Although this sport is pretty famous worldwide, it was introduced by England in the late 19th century. When this game was introduced, it was related to the upper-class games only. When the ball hits the paddles, it produces a ping pong sound while hitting and bouncing. Thus, table tennis was also commonly known as ping pong and became the trademarked term in numerous countries.

Whether you call it table tennis or ping pong, it doesn’t matter because both of them are played the same way. Hence, if you are a beginner, who wants to learn the rules for playing ping pong, you are in the right place. Besides, if this sport is new to you, you must be wondering how to play table tennis? But, I am here to guide you on everything about ping pong along with its rules. 

Know Your Playing Style

Before practicing the table tennis game, you must ask yourself, how do you play ping pong, and what is your playing style? Since every style needs practicing so that you become proficient in one specific style. You must know whether you are a defensive, aggressive, or control type.

For instance, Joo Se-Hyuk is known best as a defensive table tennis player. He is one of the top-ranked ping pong players who has repeatedly hit the ball with heavy backspin on both wings. 

Knowing about a particular playing style is also crucial so that you could pick the most suitable equipment for you. Now let’s move towards the gadgets you require to play table tennis.

What Equipment is Required?

Just like every sport, the first thing you acquire is the tools that are essential for the game. Well, ping pong is a pretty affordable game as compared to golf and other expensive sports. This is because each piece of equipment can be purchased cheaply. Notwithstanding, you require three things to play ping pong.

Ping Pong Table

Ping pong table is the most expensive piece of equipment amongst all, and you must spend substantial time picking the best table for you. Since you have to pay hundreds of dollars for this thing, you should choose the one that delivers perfect performance.

If you want to buy a table tennis table, check out our detailed review on the best indoor ping pong tables. You can also glimpse the best outdoor ping pong table if you want to play outside. 

In short, you should get the ping pong table that is manufactured exceptionally and comprises the best tabletop for great serving. Moreover, its size should be enough that it consumes less space.

Ping Pong Ball

ping pong ball

You must know, table tennis involves hitting the ball, and it is the central part of the game. Ping pong is like a lot of other sports that require a ball. Yet, the table tennis ball should be precisely round and made of plastic material. However, the average size of a ping pong ball is 40mm and generally comes in two standard shades; orange and white.

The quality of the ping pong ball is denoted with the stars that go from the 1-star to 3-star ping pong balls. Recreational players usually use the one-star ball, and the three-star balls are used by professional players in official tournaments.

To get the best ping pong balls, you can also check out our detailed reviews. 

Ping Pong Paddle

Ping Pong Paddle

Of course, you need something to strike the ball with, and this tool is known as a ping pong paddle. A ping pong paddle further comprises four parts: 

  • The Blade is the main body of the ping pong paddle that is built with several layers of wood or sometimes carbon.
  • The Handle is the part that you hold. It comes in various sizes, shapes, and designs. However, different styles impact the gameplay as per the playing style of the player.
  • Then the Sponge Layer is the one that lies on the top of the blade. The thickness of this layer should be between 1.2-2.5mm. You should adopt a paddle with a thin layer if you are a beginner to get more control over the ball.
  • Then comes the Rubber, which lies on the top of the sponge layer. This part of the paddle basically hits the ball. Different playing styles require various paddle rubbers.

You can also find the best ping pong paddles for a spin and for beginners from our reviews. 

How to Grip the Ping Pong Paddle?

The first thing that should be learned is how you should hold the paddle. Make sure you have picked the right paddle that meets your playing style. The table tennis paddle comes with two grip types; penhold and shakehand grip. The shakehand grip is usually used in table tennis for beginners.

Learn Basic Rules to Play Ping Pong

The ping pong tennis game is straightforward and is played with some simple rules. Although there are numerous rules and principles, you don’t need to learn all of them. First of all, you should identify some very fundamental ones so that you could at least start playing.

Below are some ping pong instructions to learn the game.

  • When you play a single match with another player, the first 11 points wins by the two points.
  • Each table tennis player serves twice in turn, and the serving should be made from an open palm. The ball will be thrown 6 inches beyond and struck so that it could bounce on the service side, pass the net, and bounce back to the opponent’s side.
  • In the table tennis game, if you and your competitor reach 10 points, it is known as Deuce. It is the only exception to this rule. In this situation, when you hit the last service, you would either win or lose the game. Once you have served the ball to your opponent, he will be left with one service only.
  • After every game, the players rotate each end of the table from where they were playing previously. Moreover, the table is rotated from the player’s side, who serves and gets the ball first.

How to Serve the Ball?

Other than the entire table tennis rules, you should know the ping pong strategy about serving the ball to the opponent. Notwithstanding, the ITTF official rules and techniques to serve the ball are given below:

  • The ball must be tossed with at least 6 inches of gap into the air in order to prevent the player from rapidly serving or hiding the ball to trick the opponent.
  • Once the ball is hit, it should bounce across the net and again bounce to the competitor’s side. You cannot hit the ball straight across the net without bouncing.
  • The ball serving should start with the ball in an open palm. It is vital to avoid the player from a spinning throw.
  • The ball must be tossed behind the end line of the table to prevent both players from getting close to the net.

Other Rules to Play Ping Pong

There are numerous other ping pong tips and tricks that you should understand to learn the game. I have brought __ tips for you to execute best in the game.

  • Make sure to rotate your shoulders and hips backward during backward and forward into the ball when you toss the ball with your forehand. This movement is connected with the transfer of your body weight from the front and back of your foot. Thus, the harder you hit, the more impactful your weight will be transferred.
  • It is more significant to use your own paddle than to borrow it from anyone. Because if you have been practicing with your racket, you have developed a feel and playing habit with your own racket. Changing the racket may impact your overall performance.
  • If you use an inverted sponge rubber paddle, wash it with soap and water to keep your racket clean. You can also use any racket cleaner.
  • Typically, when you shoot the ball from the lower side of the net, the opponent won’t be able to hit it back with much power. However, if you use tosses, you would want to place the ball high over the net.

Conclusion: Start Playing Ping Pong

So, these were some more fundamental rules to play table tennis. Now that you have got to know what equipment you should pick, start playing table tennis now. Getting started is an effortless step to take. To master the game, it is essential to find your opponent with the same playing level and practice with them. Besides, you should occasionally evaluate yourself and analyze which level you stand.

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