Table Tennis is such a commonplace sport that sometimes we forget that some people who are starting out don’t really know how to play the game.
Here is a great video that explains the details of how to get the most enjoyment out of your table tennis racket and equipment.
The paddle that you use need to be red on one side and black on the other side. It cannot be red or black in both sides. You cannot simply use any rubber as you like as the rubber that covers each side of the paddle need to be authorized by the ITTF. If approved by umpire, you are allowed to have a few small chips or tears in the rubber.
You cannot change your racket during a match unless somehow it gets damaged so badly that it becomes unusable. You must get permission to change it if this is the case.
The top of the net must be 15.25cm above the playing surface along its entire length. Just use a ruler to double check the measurement.
You are not allowed to move the table, touch the net, or put your free hand on the table while the ball is in play. You could even take a seat on the ping pong table, if you are not intended to move it! Always check that the brakes are on the table before starting to play, so you don’t accidentally move the table if you bump it.
When serve the ball, you need to ensure that the ball is always visible to your opponent, if you are hiding the ball from your opponent when you serve, it is considered foul. Therefore the server must keep his free arm out of the way between the ball and the net.
When you toss the ball, you need to make sure that the ball is being thrown up vertically without having any spin. For standard rule, the ball needs to be tossed up no less than 16cm. After tossing the ball, you need to hit the ball on its way down, NOT on its way up!
It is legal to hit the ball with your fingers, or your racket hand below the wrist, or even any part of the bat (edge or handle). However, in case you have your paddle dropped, you will not allow to returns the ball by hitting with your hand since it’s not your paddle hand. Also you can’t hit the ball twice (like with your fingers and then your racket). You can’t even throw your bat at the ball, your hand must be touching the bat when it hits the ball.
You are allowed a maximum rest time of one minute between games. You need to leave your paddle on the table tennis table except if the umpire provides you with approval to take the paddle with you. If you need to take a rest, you can call a time out for 1 minute during a match.
Due to the cause that table tennis is a high energy game, a player is simply permitted to towel off every 6 points during a match. The rule is set with the purpose of avoiding interrupting the flow of play. Let the umpire know if sweat gets on your rubber, or on your glasses lenses.
Warm up is no longer than a two minute practice period on the table. You are not allowed to wear a tracksuit during a match except if you are granted permission by the umpire. Nonetheless, you are allowed to wear bike shorts underneath your normal shorts, provided they are the same color.
For more detailed rules and regulations be sure to read through the Laws of Table Tennis for a more complete understanding of this exciting and invigorating sport.
Learn more on ping pong rules: