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Beginner’s Guide: How To Play Table Tennis

Beginner’s Guide: How to Play Table Tennis

Table tennis is a fun sport you can easily pick up and play with friends. It’s a great hobby that has the twin advantages of increasing your fitness and allowing you to get to know new people who also share an interest in the game. To first start playing, start by getting a list of the equipment you need, knowing the rules of the game and how to play. This is the first step to dipping your toes into the world of table tennis and the start of what could be a lifelong passion for this beautifully complex game. 

In this blog we provide a comprehensive guide to the game of table tennis all beginners should know before playing. 

The basic components of the game

1. Equipment you need

The very first thing you would need when playing table tennis, is getting the right set of equipment. That includes: 

  • Table tennis ball: spherical, with a diameter of 40+mm, weigh 3g, made of celluloid-free, ABS or similar plastics material and should be white or orange, and matt.
  • Table tennis blade: Choose between all-wood rackets or carbon composites and determine between “Chinese Penhold Style” or “Handshake Style”. Pair with the right rubber pips.
  • Table tennis net: The net should be 15.2cm.
  • Table tennis table: Choose between portable tables or ones that are permanent fixtures.

2. Understanding the scoring system

All games are played to 11 points and a single match is won if one wins three out of five games. You have to win by a lead of at least two points. If both players reach 10 points, it’s considered a “deuce” game. This is where the serve alternates after each point and a player wins if they gain a two-point lead. During normal play, each player alternates serving first every two points. 

3. Serving at table tennis

When deciding who serves first, you can toss a coin or play a short rally – the person who wins can start first. To serve a ball in ping pong, first hold the ball in your open palm and throw it up into the air (at a height of at least 16cm). Strike it down on your side of the table once, allow it to bounce over to your opponent’s and then hit their side of the table once. 

4. Winning points

After your serve, the ball can land anywhere on the table (even on the edge). If your opponent successfully hits the ball back to you after it bounces once on his end, he has returned the serve and the ball is back in your court – and so the rally continues. If however, the ball bounces more than once, and they fail to return the ball, you’re awarded a point. 

What happens when the ball touches the net? As long as it makes it to the other side of the table and bounces, it’s considered a hit still. However, if this happens during a serve, it’s known as a ‘let’ in the rules of table tennis – no penalties are incurred on either side and the player simply serves again. 

You might also have played regular tennis and so are familiar with a ‘volley’ – hitting the ball before it bounces on your side of the table. While this is allowed in tennis, it’s not in table tennis. If this happens, a point goes to your opponent.

5. Getting the basics right

It’s simply impossible to become an expert table tennis player overnight by just reading the rules online. If you wish to become really skilled, practising consistently and playing regularly is key. First, master the right way to hold your racket. It can take some practice – but once you get a handle over it, you can truly elevate your game. 

Also, developing a strong backhand and forehand is another important skill pivotal to playing a good table tennis game. This involves knowing how to hit balls that come to both sides of your body. Switching the paddle between your hands during the game is not practical and can hinder your game. 

Browse Sin Ten’s range of table tennis equipment

So, what are you waiting for? Buy your table tennis bat, start playing and getting your heart pumping. Start by shopping for all the items you need from Sin Ten Sports Trading. We offer table tennis or ping pong blades, balls and tables and we’re conveniently located at Block 109, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore – near Braddell MRT. Contact us if you have queries. 

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