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As long as you know the rules, table tennis is one of the fascinating indoor games.

However, if you have never tried playing before, there is a lot you need to learn.

This comprehensive post will discuss scoring in table tennis and many other things worth knowing about this exciting game.

How to score in table tennis


Players can only win points if their opponents cannot hit the ball over the net to the other side of the table using their bats.

You can only win the entire game if you become the first to accumulate eleven points and at least two points ahead of your opponent.

For instance, if both players are at ten points, the first to get two points ahead wins the game.

Most of the time, a single match comprises of five sets.

How do you score in a table tennis match?

Before anyone earns a point, the match begins at 0-0, and the server will be the first to hit the ball to commence the game. In singles, each player will serve for two points in a row.

The person serving must ensure that the ball touches his side of the net before bouncing to the opponent’s side.

If you serve the ball, and it touches the net assembly (the net, net clamps, and net posts) on its way to the other side but still hits your side first, then that is known as a let serve.

This type of service has to be replayed and does not affect the score.

Thankfully, there is no cap on the maximum number of let serves one can serve in a row.

On the other hand, the receiver will hit the ball, ensuring that it first bounces on the server’s end of the table.

Unless he can do that, the server earns a point. But if he manages to do that, the server must receive the ball by hitting it back and ensuring that it bounces on the receiver’s end of the table first.

If the server fails to do that, the receiver wins a point.

Each time a player wins a point, they add one to their score. Once a score of ten has been attained, each player will only be allowed to serve once until one of them wins the match.

The score will be called out by mentioning the server’s score first.

In the final round of the match, also known as the determinant, if the first player or doubles team attains five points, the players must shift ends.

The service rules

In a table tennis match, each player must be given a fair chance to win the game.

Thus, the service rules are put in place to ensure that the receiver can see the ball at all times. This makes it easier for them to gauge the spin that the server puts on the ball.

Now, let us get familiar with the table tennis service rules.

The first rule is that each time the server has the ball, they must keep it visible to the receiver.

Also, during the service, the ball must be maintained behind the table’s line and right above the recommended level of the playing surface.

When serving the ball, it is must be tossed vertically at least around the height of the net, and you must hit it on its way down and not the way up.

The umpire has to warn the server if they feel they did not follow the service rules.

If the player continues to make mistakes, the referee will award the receiver the point and fault the server.

Obstructing the ball

Obstruction happens when a player accidentally or intentionally touches the ball with their hands, bats, or anything else that they are wearing when it is still above the playing surface, moving toward the playing surface, and has not gotten into contact with their side of the court.

Note, as long as the ball has gone over the net, moving away from the table, it is not obstruction.

It is possible that the ball can hit you in front of the table’s end and still not obstruct it as long as it is off the playing surface and is traveling away from the table.

Hitting the ball

It is against the rule to use your fingers or hand holding the racket to hit the ball.

Also, double hits are illegal, so it is impossible to hit the ball with parts of your body and then hit it again with the racket.

Though it is hard to find a player that can do it, switching the bat between the hands during the point is illegal.

Players must never throw the racket at the ball to hit it during the game.

If you accidentally drop the bat, you must pick it up to hit the ball.

You can also hit the ball using the racket held in your racket hand; thus, if you happen to drop the racket, you will not have a racket hand.

How can you improve your serve?

Up to this level, you are already aware of the importance of a good serve.

This section will look at some theories based on how you can serve better to win more points.

Before you begin playing, you must be familiar with the game rules and be willing to adhere to them all the time.

You don’t have to struggle to deliver a killer serve when the umpire will only fault them.

Therefore, ask for the rules, go through them carefully, and have them at your fingertips.

Remember, if you keep making mistakes after a few warnings, you will automatically start losing points to your opponent.

Table tennis might not have the second-service rule, so you always want to give it your best.

If possible, ahead of the match, take your time and practice to improve your service.

Deception is an essential skill for you, especially when you are a beginner.

It is easy, and you can practice by varying the amount of spin you place on the ball.

With this skill, your opponent will have to observe keenly to gauge the amount of spin you put in the ball, thereby increasing the chances of winning.

Every time you serve, be sure to vary between no spin, heavy, and light spins to keep the opponent guessing.

At some point, you need to employ sidespin, which will also give your opponent a hard time returning your balls.

However, when you are just getting started, be careful not to use too much spin that you can comfortably handle.

Even if you can’t perform any trick, to increase the chances of winning, you must never serve the ball your opponent can easily see.

In the early stages of the game, you should try to find out what he can return and what he can’t.

Control your serve’s bouncing

One of the most common mistakes made by beginners is letting their balls bounce too high.

This makes it easier for their opponents to see and receive the ball. Some of them also tend serving too low so that the ball doesn’t clear the net.

Suppose you are struggling with the problem of letting your ball bounce too high.

Here are some of the things you should try doing. While it will be hard to do them at first, they get more comfortable with consistent practice.

You want to throw your ball just a little lower. Don’t through the ball too high because it will descend at high speed, making it bounce even higher.

Try as hard as you can to hit the ball when it is at a height closer to the net.

Also, in this case, if you make contact with the ball when it is high above the nest, it will bounce even higher, and your opponent will destroy you.

Hitting the ball a little horizontally is not an easy thing to do, but you should.

If you hit the ball up, it is evident that it will rise above the air.

If you hit the ball down, it will get propelled into the table at high speed, making it bounce higher.

Thus, try to hit your ball horizontally so that it lands on the table with reduced vertical speed so that it doesn’t jump too high.

Final thoughts

We are confident that from this post, you have learned how to score in table tennis.

Always make sure to go through the rules and have them in mind throughout the game.

Also, if you are a beginner, take your time and master the four basic serves.

Change your serves time and again to keep your opponent confused and guess what you will do next.

Note that even if you have a good service, your opponents might also have them, so it is vital that you also learn how to receive and return serves in the game of table tennis.

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