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How To Play Table Tennis

How To Play Table Tennis

British and Irish Champion Jason Sugrue shows how to play table tennis. Simple rules and regulations about scoring, serving, and rallies are excellently explained in this video on how to play table tennis.

Step 1: How many points?

Although games used to be played to 21 points, the rules have changed for professional competitions in order to ensure there are more 'critical' points in the game. So now whoever gets to 11 first wins that game. If a game gets to 10 all, the winner has to win by two clear points.

Step 2: How many games?

It's the best of five, so whoever wins 3 games outright wins the match. International games tend to be the best of 7.

Step 3: How to score a point

The game is played until a point is given. A point is given if:

- your opponent fails to make a good service
- your opponent fails to make a good return
- if the ball passes beyond his end line without touching his court, after being struck by your opponent
- if your opponent obstructs the ball
- if your opponent strikes the ball twice in a row
- if your opponent tampers with the net or playing surface
- if your opponent touches the playing surface with his free hand.

Step 4: Who serves?

Each player gets 2 consecutive serves and then hands the service over to the opposition. If the score gets to 10 all, then service becomes alternate until somebody has one by two clear points. The first service of the game is decided by tossing a coin.

Step 5: How to serve

To begin with, the ball should be resting feely on the palm of the server's stationary hand. Then the server should throw the ball upwards as vertically as possible, without spinning it, so that it rises at least 16 cm or 6 inches. As the ball is falling, the server hits it so that it bounces first on his side of the court and then on his opponent's side. Until the serve is struck the ball must be above the level of the playing surface and behind the end line so that the receiver is able to see it clearly. The ball must also be served from inside the lines of the court, so the sever cannot stand here to serve.

Step 6: Let

A let is given If during the service, the ball touches the net on the way over, if play is interrupted, or if the ball is played when the receiver isn't ready. When a let is given, the server is allowed to serve again and no points are given.

Step 7: How to return a serve

A good service return sees the ball struck so that it bounces on the server's side of the court. It is allowed to touch the net on the way over.