How To Play Ping Pong

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Ping pong: a recreational activity to play with friends and a competitive sport that has been around since the late 1800s. The chances are that you have either heard of or played it at least once in your life, but the question is, have you been playing it the correct way? Well, you are about to find out.

This may come as surprising, but there are many rules when it comes to playing ping pong. However, before we get into those, here are the basics. Ping pong can be played with 2 people (a singles match) or with 4 people (a doubles match). In this article, I am going to be focusing on the main rules relating to a singles match. In this game, you hit a small ping pong ball back and forth with each other until someone makes a mistake. Whether they hit it into the net, off of the table, or not at all, the point would go to the other person. The first player to get to 11 points wins unless it’s a deuce, which I will talk about later.

Now to dive into the more complicated side of ping pong… Before you and the other person get into the rally I mentioned earlier, one person has to serve. You and the other player will switch serving every two points. Now, each serve has some requirements: 1. It must be thrown at least six inches in the air from your hand. 2. The ball must be visible to your opponent at all times (no hiding the ball or bringing it below the table). 3. The ball has to bounce on your side first, then your opponents in order for it to count (this only applies to serves). 4. If the ball touches the net, but still goes over to the other side, then it is called a “let” or a redo (this only applies to serving, if this happens in a rally, there are no consequences, you keep playing). 5. If the ball hits the net and does NOT make it over, then the point goes to the other person. Serves can be a very complicated thing, but once you do them a lot, they become much easier!

After the serve, you and your opponent get into a rally, and it looks like this: one person hits it to your side, then you hit it back to their side of the table. What you should not do is hit it on your side first, then to their side, or else the point goes to the other person (unless you are serving, when you are supposed to do this). If the ball were to bounce twice on your side before you hit it, then it would be the other person’s point, and vice-versa.

The last thing I am going to mention is what happens when the score is tied 10-10. This score is what you would call a “deuce,” and when this happens, either player must win by two. For example, let’s say you and your opponent are playing, and the score is 10-10. You hit the ball and your opponent misses, so you get the point. The score would now be 11-10, and although the first person to 11 points wins, you only are one point ahead of the other person, meaning you need 12 to win. The same thing would apply if the score was 11-11, in which you would need 13 points to win, or any other time the score is tied by 10 points or above, in which case, you ALWAYS have to win by a minimum of two points.

There you have it: a rundown of how to play ping pong the correct way. So now that you are an expert, find a table, grab two paddles, a ping pong ball, and a friend, and start playing!