3 Rules of Serving in Table Tennis

Learn about 3 rules for serving in table tennis: throwing vertically at least 16 cm, serving twice in a row and receiving a point if ball hits net.

3 Rules of Serving in Table Tennis

Table tennis is one of the most exciting sports spectacles, and it requires intense speed and astonishing precision. According to the table tennis laws, a player can win a game by scoring 11 points, with one point awarded for each violation. The first to reach 11 points will be declared the winner. When it comes to serving, there are three main rules to keep in mind.

Firstly, the ball must be thrown vertically at least 16 cm. Secondly, each player can serve twice in a row. Lastly, if the ball hits the net and doesn't reach the other half of the table, the receiver automatically receives a point. In individual competitions, the service rule allows the server to serve anywhere on the table at the opposite end.

However, in doubles, the service has to travel diagonally along the table. An otherwise legal serve or hit may come into contact with the upper edge of the horizontal surface of the table top and be considered valid, even if it bounces sideways. The old rules state that you can leave your arm free in front of you to block the receiver's view so that they couldn't see what service you were doing. You can also touch the ball or the table with the hand of the paddle (after reaching out to return a short serve, for example) or other parts of the body.

If you hit the balls after they've passed the final line of the table, you'll get a point since your opponent couldn't get the ball to hit your side of the table first. If you hit the ball at a rally or on a serve and it bounces off the net after hitting your opponent's side of the table (due to an extreme turn), without your opponent touching it, that's your point.