Things to Know Before Using Your Ping Pong Paddle: The Ping Pong Basics

Ping pong, better known as table tennis, is a fun game. All you need is your ping pong paddle, a small celluloid ball, a net, and, of course, a table. All these pieces of equipment have their official specifications, but can sometimes be overlooked when you are up for a friendly match. 

One thing that should not be overlooked is the basics. Like every other game, table tennis has its own set of rules. These rules are what makes a game competitive and fun. This article aims to tell you all about the basics of table tennis so you can start right away.

Equipment for the game: The Right Ping Pong Paddle

As we mentioned before there are some specific rules when it comes to the equipment being used. 

The ball is generally orange or white in color and the ping pong paddle comes in black or red color. The best ping pong paddle is made to control the overall speed and control of the ball. 

The length of the table has to be 274 cm and the width has to be 152.5 cm. The height of the net has to be 15.25 cm. There is a center line that divides the table. This line is used in games while played by doubles only. 

The Point System

First, let’s get familiar with the point system of the game. The winner is the one who gets 11 points first. 

However, in order to win the game you need to have a 2 point lead. For example, if you reach a deuce, meaning both the players have 10 points then the game goes to extra. The game continues until one player can get that 2 point lead. If there is already a 2 point difference then the first to reach the 11 point mark wins. You will gain a point when your opponent fails to return the ball successfully. 

The number of matches has to be odd for every game. It can be 3, 5 or 7. This depends on the number of games the players have decided to play but it has to be odd. The one who gets the best 2 out of 3, 3 out of 5, or 5 out of 7 wins. 

Serve away! 

Before swinging your ping pong paddle, you must know how to serve properly. The right serve can make or break a match. There are a few things to consider while serving. First, the ball must be resting freely on the palm of your hand. The ball must be above and behind the table and when serving, it should be tossed vertically and then struck by the paddle. Serve the ball with your bat (also known as a paddle) over the net and on to your opponent’s side of the table. The ball must hit your side of the table before crossing the net. 

When the opponent returns, he/she also has to make sure that the ball first hits their side and then comes to you, meaning the ball must bounce on each side for the serve to be considered as legal. 

Single serves 

Table tennis can be played in singles or doubles. While playing singles, a player gets two serves and after that, the ball switches to the opponent, and then he/she gets two serves. Meaning both players get two serves before switching. 

This changes, however, when the game goes to extra play. Then each player will get only one serve before switching. While playing singles, the serves have to be in straight lines. 

Double serves 

The serves have to be diagonal when playing in doubles. The table will have a white marker line that makes a left court and a right court. The serve must be from your right court to your opponents’ right court. It should never start with the left court. 

Like the singles, you also get two serves each while playing doubles, but there is a slight change. 

Suppose you are A1 and your partner is A2. Your opponent is B1 and B2. Let’s say B1 is your diagonal opponent. So now you serve 2 times to B1. Then you swap your position with your partner A2. Now, B1 serves two times to A2. After that, they swap their position and now A2 serves two times to B2, then B2 serves two times to A1. 

To put it simply after two serves you swap positions with your partner. 

Rotate and sync 

While playing in doubles, the players must swap their positions and hit alternatively. For example, let’s say A1 is the first to serve. A1 serves to B1. When B1 returns the ball, A2 has to hit back, then B2 returns. This is how by alternative rallying you have to hit the ball. 

Things you should not do 

It might seem easy to gain a point just by making your opponent miss but there are plenty of ways you can also lose your points. 

Here are the things that you can not do in tennis:
  • You can not hit the ball twice in succession. 
  • You can not allow the ball to bounce more than once on your side of the table. 
  • You can not hit the ball before it has bounced on your side of the table. (Even if the ball hits the edge of the table it will count) 
  • You can not hit the ball into the net and allow it to land on your half of the table.
  • You can not touch the ball with any part of your body except the paddle      
  • In doubles, you can not hit the ball out of turn 
  • You can not put your non-playing hand on the table or the net 
If you commit any of the above error,s your opponent will be awarded with a point. 

Final Thoughts 

As you can tell, table tennis is an extremely fast sport and you will need good reflexes to play it properly. The rules might seem a bit confusing at first, but over time the rules get easier to follow and it becomes a really fun sport to play.
Next Post »