Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 14 years ago

Jonn Jonn

Jonn Jonn Asked 14 years ago

I have a question regarding the official tabletennis rules. This week i was playing with some friends of mine, and they thought the game was played different.

I have always thought that you volley for serve, (and the ball has to go over 3 times for it to be classified as a volley) and then who wins the volley they serve for 5 times. Once they served 5 times the oppenet with then serve for 5 times and then keep switching after 5 times.

-now my friend thought the game was more on the line of volley ball rules, where the only way you can score a point is it you are serving it. and you can serve as long as you want, untill the opponent beats you.

*For example* we volleyed and i won so its my serve, i served it 3 times in a row and scored, but on my 4th serve it missed the table, so now it is the opponets serve yet the score is still only 3 - 0 due to the opponet didnt score.

-So over all im curious on the real rules on how many times you are supposed to serve and then switch, and also with the volleying, before the serve, if it has to go over 3 times or what..

Thanks for your guys help.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 14 years ago

Hi Jonn,

To decide who serves first you can toss a coin. That is the most commonly used method. Of course there are other versions like the one you mentioned. You can have a rally to decide who serves first but this is never used in official competition.

In a game you can score a point whether you are serving or receiving.

You have two serves and then your opponent has two serves no matter whether you win them or lose them.

You can have a look at our modified version of the Rules of Table Tennis where you can download a copy as a brochure or as a poster for your table tennis room.

Happy playing. Hope this sorts out some of those arguments.


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Jonn Jonn

Jonn Jonn Posted 14 years ago

ok so then you switch after 2 points instead of 5? i just looked at a pamflit that came with my ping pong table, and it said for international rules, its 5 serves and then switch.

 but im not so sure how much i should trust this due to mis spelling error etc. lol

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 14 years ago

The rule is definitely to change after 2 serves.  It could be an old brochure.  This was the old rule when games were played up to 21 points.

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