Video:How to Score a Table Tennis Matchwith Will Shortz
The modern table tennis game has different scoring regulations than you may be accustomed to. Watch this how-to video from About.com to learn more about the nuances, rules, and regulations on how to score a table tennis match.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Score a Table Tennis Match
Hi, I'm Will Shortz with the Westchester Table Tennis Center. Today I'm here for About.com and I'm going to show you how to score a table tennis match.
Scoring in a Modern Table Tennis Match
Many people think the scoring in table tennis goes to twenty one points. That's actually the old rule. In the modern game of table tennis games are played to eleven points. In the old days you exchanged serves after every five points. In the modern game you exchange serves after every two points.
Rules for Serving in Table Tennis
A proper serve in table tennis consists of putting the ball in the palm of the hand, not being held, not among the fingers, but in the palm of the hand. The ball has to start above the surface of the table and the serve has to begin behind the back line of the table. The ball must be thrown up at least six inches and it has to be in full view of the other player at all times. A serve consists of hitting the ball once on this side of the table and so it goes over on the other side. After the serve or during a rally the other player must always returns the shot after one hit on the other side of the table. If the ball isn't returned this way, then it's a point for the first player. If a serve hits the top of the net and goes over to the other side of the table, that's considered a let and the ball must be served over.
Rules for Rallies in Table Tennis
If during a rally the ball hits the top of the net and goes over to the other side of the table, that is a good shot the ball is still in play and the other player must return it in order to win the point and keep the rally going. If a player serves into the net and the ball bounces back or if at any time during a rally the ball hits the net and comes back, that is a fault or a bad shot and the other player scores the point.
There is no rule in Table Tennis that the ball has to go over the net. A correct play can be the ball goes around the side of the net. For example, if a shot comes wide and a player is able to hit the ball so it goes around the net, but still goes on the table on the other side, that's considered a good point. Here's another fine point in Table Tennis, if the ball hits the top of the net and comes over and hits part of the net assembly, that play is still good. The ball is still in play. Any part of the net assembly is considered part of the table and the point is still good.
Table Tennis Fouls
Here are some things that are illegal to do in Table Tennis. Number one, to put your non-playing hand on the table. Not allowed. The other player scores the point if you do that. Number two, you're not allowed to move the table during play and you're not allowed to shout or purposefully distract your player. All those things are grounds for automatically losing the point. Something that is allowed in Table Tennis, if you are hitting the ball and the ball misses the paddle and hits your playing hand instead, if the ball goes on the other side the ball is still in play.
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