Ping Pong Singles Rules
Ping Pong Singles Rules
A point is won by a player when the opponent cannot hit the ball with a racket over the
net and onto the other side of the table.
A game is won by being the first player to win 21 points, and be at least 2 points ahead of
his or her opponent.
If both players have won 20 points, then the first player to get a 2 point lead wins the
A match is the best of 2 out of 3 games in the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles
The score begins at 0-0, and the server will serve first. Each player gets to serve for five
points in a row, and then the other player has to serve.
The server must serve the ball so that it touches his side of the table once, then bounces
over or around the net, and then touches his opponent's side of the table. A serve that
touches the net assembly (the net, net posts, and net clamps) on the way, but still touches
his side first and then the opponent's side on the second bounce, is called a let serve (or
just let) and must be replayed, with no change to the score. There is no limit on how
many lets the server can serve in a row.
The receiver will then attempt to return the ball over or around the net so that it bounces
first on the server's side of the table. If he cannot, the server wins the point. If he does, the
server must hit the ball over or around the net so that it bounces first on his opponent's
side of the table. If the server cannot, the receiver wins the point. Play continues in this
manner until either the server or the receiver cannot return the ball legally, in which case
the other player wins the point.
When a point is won, that player adds one to his score. If a score of 20-all is reached,
both players will only serve 1 serve each until the game is won. The score is called out
with the server's score first.
Service Rules
The intention of the service rules is to give the receiver the ability to see the ball at all
times in order to have a fair chance of reading the spin put on the ball by the server. In
order to make this happen, there are several rules that are enforced during the serve,
o The ball must always be visible to the receiver throughout the serve - it must
never be hidden.
o The ball must be always be behind the endline of the table, and above the level of
the playing surface.
The ball must be throw up near vertically at least 16cm (around the height of the
net), and must be hit on the way down, not the way up.
If the umpire is doubtful whether a serve is legal, he may warn the player. If any
more of the player's serves are of doubtful legality, the umpire will fault the
player and award the point to his opponent.
If a serve is clearly illegal, the umpire will fault the player and give the point to
his opponent.
Obstructing the Ball
An obstruction only occurs if a player touches the ball (wth his or her body or anything
he/she is wearing), when the ball is above the playing surface, or traveling towards the
playing surface, and has not yet touched his side of the court. (Law 2.5.8) It is not an
obstruction if the ball has passed over the endline, has passed over the sideline going
away from the table, or is moving away from the playing surface - Point 9.7 ITTF
Handbook for Match Officals (HMO). So you can be hit by the ball in front of the endline
and still not obstruct the ball, provided the ball is not over the playing surface and it is
moving away from the table.
Hitting the Ball
It is legal to hit the ball with the fingers of your hand that is holding the racket, or even
the racket hand below the wrist, provided that only one contact is made. Double hits are
not allowed, so you may not hit the ball with the fingers of your racket hand, and then hit
the ball with your racket.
It is legal to switch the racket between hands during the point, although it is rare to find a
player that does this.
A player may not throw the racket at the ball in order to hit the ball.
If a player drops his racket, he must pick up the racket in order to hit the ball. The ball
must be hit by a racket held in your racket hand, so if you drop the racket, you no longer
have a racket hand!
The Free Hand
The free hand is the hand not carrying the racket. A player is not allowed to put his free
hand on the playing surface at any time. He can put his racket hand on the playing
surface, sit on the table, or even jump up on the table, provided that he does not touch the
table with his free hand, or move the table in any way!
Reporting Scores
All scores are to be reported to the Intramural office once completed, either via
email or text. Email: or text: 405-250-7828
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