Whether you’re playing table tennis in Malta or anywhere else in the world, the game of table tennis must follow the same set of standard rules. Here is a summary of the official table tennis rules as published by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF):
- Equipment: A table tennis match is played with a table, a net, and two rackets (also known as paddles or bats) and a ball. The table is 2.74 meters long, 1.525 meters wide, and 0.76 meters high. The net is 15.25 centimeters high and stretches across the middle of the table. The rackets needs to be covered with an ITTF approved rubber on both sides.
- Serve: The serve is made by tossing the ball in the air and hitting it with the racket. The server must toss the ball at least 16 centimetres high and strike it so that it bounces once on their side of the table and then over the net and bounces once on their opponent’s side. The opponent must then return the ball over the net and allow it to bounce once on the server’s side.
- Scoring: A game is played to 11 points, and the winner must win by a margin of two points. If the score reaches 10-10, the game continues until one player gains a two-point lead.
- Doubles: In doubles matches, each team has two players who take turns hitting the ball. The service must alternate between the two players on each team, and the ball must be returned in turn by the opposing team.
- Fouls: A player loses a point if they fail to make a legal serve, fail to hit the ball over the net and onto the opponent’s side, touch the table with their free hand, move the table, or obstruct the ball with any part of their body or clothing.
These are the basic rules of table tennis, but there are many other detailed rules and regulations that govern the game, including rules about the height of the net, the size of the ball and racket, the types of glue used to glue the rubbers onto the blades, and the conduct of players and officials.
Checkout the latest rules and regulations published on the ITTF website.