The aim of the game is simple; hit the ball over the net onto your opponent’s side. A point is won by you if your opponent is unable to return the ball to your side of the table (e.g. they miss the ball, they hit the ball but it misses your side of the table, or the ball hits the net), or if they hit the ball before it bounces on their side of the table.
The winner of a game is the first to 11 points. There must be a gap of at least two points between opponents at the end of the game though, so if the score is 10-10, the game goes in to extra play until one of the players has gained a lead of 2 points. The point goes to the player who successfully ends a rally, regardless of who has served.
A match can consist of the number of games you like, just make sure you agree this in advance!
The ball must first bounce on your side and then in your opponents. Your opponent must allow the ball to hit their side of the table before trying to return this.
The ball must pass cleanly over the net – if it ‘clips’ the net and goes over, it is a ‘let’ and the serve is retaken. If it hits the net and doesn’t go over, the point goes to the other player/team. There are no second serves.
How playing table tennis is good for fitness
Playing table tennis can have a number of positive health and fitness benefits including:
- Improves aerobic fitness, with more oxygen circulated around the body to better muscular endurance.
- Burns off calories with energy being supplied to the muscles and not forming fat.
- Boosting flexibility reaction times, due to the fast-paced nature of table tennis, as well as tactical strategy formation.
- Improves hand-eye co-ordination with concentration required for serving and returning shots.
- Develops the strength and power of muscles, notably leg and arm muscles.
- Furthers concentration, awareness and mental strength, with matches often lasting for some time, which helps aid overall brain functioning.
- Improves nimbleness of players, on their feet.
- Improves social skills as it often leads to friendships formed through the love of this growing niche.