This week, we want to put a little bounce in your step and give the tools for the 2-person game of table tennis. We went back and forth on including doubles table tennis too, and decided it deserves its own post. So check back next week.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 paddles
  • 1 ball
  • Table tennis table
  • 2 players
  • 1 coin
  • Readiness for fun

The game starts with a coin toss to decide who gets to serve first. If you win the toss, you get to choose to either serve or receive as well as what side of the table you’d like to start on.

Next up is the serve. Technically, the ball must be tossed into the air and then hit with the paddle to count as a legitimate serve, but beginners may need to work up to this kind of serve. The receiver then has to return the ball (hit it) before it bounces on their side for a second time. On the return, the ball is allowed to hit the net with no foul as long as it lands in the server’s court. Ideally, a rally will then ensue until someone scores a point.

Players alternate who serves at every two points.

How points are scored

You receive points for the following:

  • If your opponent serves incorrectly or doesn’t return the ball
  • If your opponent’s hit passes over the court/beyond the end line (the white line at the ends of the table) without first touching the table
  • If your opponent hits the ball twice in a row
  • If your opponent hits the ball with the side of her/his paddle
  • If your opponent ‘s free hand touches the table or the net

There are a few instances when NO points are scored by either player, these are called lets and occur when:

  • The ball touches the net on  a serve
  • The receiver is unready for the serve (no sneaking serves!)
  • An outside distraction  prevents a return

The first player to score 11 points wins the game. At the end of every game, players switch sides for the next game.

Now get out there and play! Maybe even take on a robot and show him who’s boss!