Ping Pong Serving Rules Detailed Guide: Things to Know

Ping pong table tennis is a well-known sport nowadays and attracts many players from the young to the old. To play it you have to prepare the equipment for playing such as ball, paddle, tennis table, then you have to study ping pong table tennis rules to play it in the right way and follow the regulations.

The first step to begin the game is to make a serve, which starts any game. With the beginners or the ones who haven’t played ping pong table tennis before, they don’t know how important the service is, and how to make the right serve.

Very simple!

Let’s go through the entirety of my website and you can find more information about the ping pong table tennis rules and tips.

A lot of beginners consider reading ping pong serving rules prior to matches as a non-important process. But the truth is quite the opposite! Each rule is a base for the way players apply it into practice. If a player does not respect the rules, they can play however he or she wants. It will be difficult for them to achieve good promotion in their table tennis career and it will be difficult to become the professional they have always wanted.

To start playing, you have to know about the rules of making serve in ping pong table tennis. This post will give you more details about this step.


How To Serve In Table Tennis – The Best Guide For You

How to Choose Ping Pong Racket For Beginner For Player

Ping Pong Serving Rules

Basic Rules For Win Table Tennis

In general, a player or a team wins the game when they can get a score of 11 with a gap of 2 points with the opponent. Meanwhile, both teams get a score of 10:10, they will play until the gap reaches 2 points.

If you want to be a winner, you must follow the rules in advance. There are some basic regulations to make a good serve as follows:

  • The referee flips the coin in order to decide who is served first.
  • The person performing the first serve has to throw the ball into the air, and then blast the ball with a plunge.
  • The ball should hit the server’s court before crossing over the net and hitting the side of the receivers’ court correctly.
  • Only after the ball has hit the receiver’s court, the player can be considered to take a serve successfully.
  • The referee and the opponent need to observe carefully because any error in making a serve can give the opponent an additional point or a warning to that player.
  • Once the server has delivered a perfect serve, the receiver is required to hit the ball back to return the ball.

Serve Rules

There are basic rules for making a serve. Moreover, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) defines 6 regulations about how to make a good serve and the professional players need to follow their guide.

2.06.02 – Do not throw less than 6.3 inches horizontally

If a player starts his or her strike space between them and their palm should be not fewer than 6-inches or 16. centimeters.

If not, that throw will become illegal. It’s illegal to throw the ball off sideways and result in throws that are shorter than 16 cm.

Therefore, when you launch the ball to the side, you must make sure the trajectory of its flight from your hand must be at least 6 inches or 16 centimeters.

10.03.01– The server needs to throw the ball upwards near vertically and at least 16 cm Vertically Upwards. That means the ball must rise at a few degrees of vertical which stated, also have to be far enough so that the referee can recognize you are doing the right serve.

2.06.03 – After throwing the ball up to the air at least 16cm horizontally, the server should strike the ball when the ball falls to assure it touches the server’s court firstly, then pass over the net and land the receiver’s court.

Passing over the net is not easy to perform, the server just releases the ball out 6 inches. If the server can curve around the net and follow other requirements stated in this low, the serve will be considered valid and in play.

Palm Correctly Opened

It is recommended that you open your palm correctly before throwing the ball into the air.

According to server rule 2.06.01, The ball should be clearly visible on the open palm. This means that you shouldn’t try to hide it using your fingers.

When you have done this then your opponent will be able to observe the ball without difficulty.

2.06.04 – To make the serve, the ball should be above the playing surface and behind the end line, and it shall not be hidden from the receiver by any part of the body or clothing of the player who makes server or his team member. Once the ball has been released, the other free hand of the server should be removed from the space between the net and the body.

Don’t cover the Serve!

Most likely, you’ve heard of hidden servers in ping-pong however, based on the rules for serving that govern the game it is not legal.

A lot of servers utilize their arm or head to conceal their serve. However, we advise that you avoid hiding your serve during the game. This regulation is to ensure the ball be visible to the receiver all the time from the start of serve till it touches his court of return.

If the ball does end to land on an opponent’s net within the game, you’re qualified to take a reserve. However, your service must be in effect from the start as an additional requirement.

Make sure to keep the ball and throw it over the ping pong table

You might have heard about the typical scenario of hiding the ball with fingers so that opponents cannot determine its location.

The 2.06.04 table tennis rule stipulates that the ball should always be in the vicinity of the surface of ping pong to ensure that your opponent is able to see its movements and has enough time to plan their game.

Assure to Keep and Throw The Ball Above The Table surface

Read more: How to choose a ping pong table for Garage

Serve in the middle of the line

The umpire will consider your play as an illegal one if you strike the ball from the opposite side of the ping-pong.

When playing the ball must not stray too far from the white line on your table tennis.

Make sure your ball is above the playing surface and Behind The End Line or the white line.

2.06.05 – the Player has the responsibility to make the right serve so that the referee or his assistant can see if the player complies with all requirements.

Frankly, it’s difficult for the referee to see if the player follows all these regulations. For example, determining if the ball is already on the way down after being released upwards before the player strikes is not easy. – if the referee is in doubt about the legality of a serve, he can speak out a let and warn the server. – If there is continuous doubtful legality about that serve will result in a point for the receiver. After the referee warns first time, the player performs a second doubtful action, then the receiver will automatically get a point. Please note that when playing a double, the let will be applied once per team. – whenever there is a clear fault that the player doesn’t comply with the regulations of good serve, a point will be given to the opponent without any warning.

2.06.06 – There is an exception, in some cases the referee ignores the requirement if the player has a physical disability.

Ping pong serving rules

Ping Pong Serving Rules and Doubles

When Player A and B, C and D are playing, that’s a doubles tennis game. Player A is required to sit on the right side and serve the ball to his counterpart on the other side. Both players move forward and sit on the left side of their respective partners.

If any of these players don’t follow the rules of serving above, the opponent team will receive one point.

A team is awarded one point in the event that the opposing team is in violation of the rules of each rally.

Usually, servers will aim the ball in a way that it first touches his/her court, before, once it has crossed the net, it will directly touch the court of the receiver. But, in a doubles game, it is important that the ball reaches on the court that is a right half-court of both the sever and receiver in a sequence.

Read more: Everything you should learn about ping pong doubles rules

Common Illegal Serve in Ping Pong

At the Table Serve

The common illegal serve is the ball inside the table service area you need to note when playing.

This technique is commonly used to help players develop super shot serves. This means that they earn points quicker and with less effort. However, this is illegal and unconstitutional.

If your opponent is serving on the table are, you can end the game and request the referee to check this situation. You can ask the player to move the ball off the table.

Read more: Top 7 Table Tennis Conversion Top – Buying Guide For Player

Time to Serve

It is normal to be impatient when your opponent is apathetic and bides their time and does not serve until the game starts.

If you are not patient, this could let your emotions get over and cause you to lose your point easily.

A few players try to expand the pace of the game by continually changing their positions, or picking the ball up slowly, or holding the ball for too long.

If you’ve been in this position, attempt to keep a standstill, and then consult the referee.

Like this, your opponent will realize that can’t do that tricks anymore and stop performing the illegal tricks.

Quick Serve

While playing it is possible that you will be confronted with the “quick-serve” at minimum one or two times.

Fast serve means that you’ve not prepared for the challenge.

However, your opponent will deliver the ball right away in return, you will face the risk of inability to catch the ball.

If you suspect that your opponent is using this trick, don’t accept that serve, then request them to reserve.

Serve Low and Throw into Serve

Perhaps you have been with players who aren’t throwing the ball high enough. Instead, they direct it towards their blade.

This brings unfair advantages to the server since the opponent will be unable in defending against the attack.

If you find yourself in this position, you must inform the umpire, or ask him to stop the match when your opponent continues to send the ball straight at your blade repeatedly.

Hidden Serve

The most frequently used illegal serve rule in ping pong is the hidden serve, which occurs when players use their free arm or any other part of their body to conceal the point of contact on the ball.

The receiver cannot figure out if that was a backspin serving or a float serve that was not spin or a topspin serving.

If you’re in this situation, ask your opponent to stop creating hidden serve or request the referee to investigate the server.

Referee Hand Signals

The speed of playing is very high, the referee will have to use the hand signals to guide the players so that they will know what to do next.

  Next server: The referee will use the open front facing palm to the player or team of the next server. Usually, they will speak out the surname of the player together with the current score. Regarding international matches, the referee will announce the server by the country name that they are representing.

  Let: The referee raise an open front facing palm overhead. This signal also expresses to stop the game to verify the validity of a serve.

  Illegal Server: There are many ways to use hand signals to identify the illegal serves.

  Ball not resting on palm: the referee will give out an upwards facing palm while the other hand point to the area of the fingers.

  Palm not flat and open: one hand open with bend fingers and pointing upwards

  Ball in front of end line: One hand open with palm facing down, and the other hand on the back of the wrist.

  A ball is thrown less than 16cm: One hand with palm open up, and the other hand points a short height.

  Ball not thrown vertically upwards: One hand with palm open up, and the other hand point and move horizontally to show the downward curve.

  The ball is hidden: the hand is flat against the chest.

Read more: How To Play Ping Pong (Table Tennis) For Beginner & Professional

Table Tennis Rules FAQs:

What is a legal serve in the game of ping-pong?

Following the regulation about good serve mentioned in the ITTF Rulebooks, you must allow the ball to settle in your palm before throwing it upwards at a minimum of 6 inches.

If your service touches the net, we will call it”net serve.” If it does, we call it “let serve” and not “net serve”. Although this is a legal service you won’t receive the advantage in “let serve” and must re-do the service.

What is the best way to serve the game of ping pong?

The ball should be placed in your palm, and always behind the edge of the table. Toss the ball straight upwards 16 centimeters from your palm and then strike it down.

The ball should be able to hit the side of the server first and then move to the opposite side of the table.

Remember that when the ball is placed on the hand of the server it is a sign that both sides are involved. So, if one of the players is unable to hit the ball or misses it the receiver is awarded one point.

Do you need to serve across during the game of ping pong?

In Single ping pong, it is your choice to select the position in which you wish to serve. Single match rules oblige the server to play the ball at the tables at the end of the table and above the table’s level.

In addition, the server should not make use of his body to keep the ball invisible to the receiver.

In a Doubles ping pong table tennis match, players are required to perform the serve across the entire court. This means that the service must start from the server’s left half side and ends on the right edge of the table.

If the server is traversing the net and lands in the middle of Ping Pong, the server gets one less point.

How many serves can you get from ping pong?

Every player gets two serves in succession, and they play until they reach 11 points.

Sometimes, players receive an ace, as the score is the score at 10:10. For the game to conclude, each player plays only one time and swaps until one player has an advantage of two points, which means that they have won the match, for instance, 14:12.

Could you hit the net while playing Ping Pong?

The net can be hit in ping pong only if the ball is in contact with the net’s top and falls as a legal strike in the rally. You cannot hit the net when playing.

If a ball that is served hits the net, and then it is legally bounced within the play, referred to as “let serve” “let serve” There is no limit to how many times a serve can be repeated.

What number of “let serve” are permitted on table tennis?

It all depends on the strategy you choose to use against your opponent. As per the official rules, there’s no limit to the number of “let serve” you can play in the game of ping pong.

In addition, you cannot get a loss form the basis of a “let serve” but you’ll be if your effort is not successful.

Do the balls have the ability to bounce when playing table tennis?

The ball should bounce at least once during ping-pong, primarily on the side of the player after the opponent has thrown it over the net.

If the ball bounces up more than twice after hitting your table Your opponent earns one point.

Read more: How to choose ping pong balls for players.

How do you score on the game of ping pong?

The player is awarded one point when:

Immediately after the opponent is hit by the ball with their foot, the ball goes over the line of end without ever reaching the court. Then the player blocks the ball.

If the opponent fails to provide a proper serve or an acceptable return.

The opponent is using an unjustified piece of the racket of table tennis that is made of rubber to hit the ball.

The player takes only one hit, which means double hits result in points to be added to the opponent.

The hands of the player reach the table.

The player moves the table or hits the net.

The player gets another caution from the office within the same game.

Do you have the ability to hit a ping Pong ball before it bounces?

The answer is yes when it’s the case for regular tennis where you can hit the ball with a volley, which means hitting a ping-pong ball prior to it bouncing.

However, you can give your opponent one point if you succeed when playing table tennis.

Final Words

We hope that our article provided you with an understanding of the Ping Pong Serving Rules of the ball in ping pong table tennis. Making a serve well is a way to start a game perfectly, you should follow correctly to avoid any loss in point.

In case you’ve got any concerns regarding the game of ping pong, you can contact us.

With any questions, you all can find the answer on our page.