By and large, the ping pong serve rules have changed over periods of times. Although there are a lot of changes that have happened over the years, these are only some basic alterations. While considered as basic and minor, these rules must be well and strictly observed since it could largely affect the course of the game in general.
If you are intending to learn more about the technicalities, this quick and thorough guide is very much helpful in assisting you to understand better the serve rules of the said game. Moreover, you must very well regard these things since they are pretty much seen as a very complex aspect of every ping pong game.
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Now, the ITTF or the International Table Tennis Federation Handbook is basically your must-read book if you are pursuing ping pong as a career. All of the things including the rules and regulations of the said game in totality are listed here. As for the ping pong serve rules, you will find all what you need in section 2.13.
If you want a clear and visual tool for further analysis and understanding of the rules, you may access this video:
Nevertheless, these are the most essential and crucial things you need to regard every now and then:
Ping Pong Serve Rules
1. The First Server
You may find it really difficult to notice who will be the first server if you are just watching a few games every now and then. But, if you are to play the game, it is important for you to know that the first server is usually taken by random.
Whoever wins the random draw is entitled to choose whether to receive first or to serve primarily. Although this is pretty much under the ITTF Handbook, there are certain games that are played wherein the first server is chosen by volley. According to sports stackexchange, a practice rally is played in the very beginning to determine whether who will serve initially.
2. 2-point Serves
Certainly, you would ask who would serve the next round, right? Well, as per the official rules of the game, the server will change every 2 points. You must take into consideration that this is very much applicable for an 11 point game.
For instance, you got the first serve which then makes your opponent the first receiver. Once the overall score of both players reached the sum up of 2, either by 1-1 or 2-0 then your opponent will serve the next round. Consequently, the 2-point rule follows until the end.
If in case that you both reach a match point of 10-10 for an 11 point game, the serve will switch to a point to point basis until you win the game.
3. Serves in a Doubles Match
As for a doubles match, there are actually a few additional rules to serves. The first pair to serve in the game will have the authority to choose who will serve first between the two. The same principle applies to the receiver.
The receiving pair will actually decide who to receive first from the first server. At the time being, you have to take note that if you choose to be the receiver to a certain server – you will serve to and receive from the same person all throughout the game.
In addition, in every 2 point change of serve in a doubles match, you will be the server if you are the receiver of the prior round. Consequently on the next 2 point serve, your partner or pair will be the receiver.
4. Open Palm Serves
The specific type of serve to be done in ping pong is very well noted in the laws of the game. According to ThoughCo which explicitly states that from the Law 2.6.1, the serve must start with the ball freely resting on the open palm of your hand.
It is a big no-no when the ball is resting on your fingers or even subtly held by your fingers. You have to understand that doing these things during your serve period is very much illegal.
Another thing you have to make sure when you are to serve is that your hand must be stationary. You have to pause and make the umpire see that your hand is in a stationary position with the ball freely resting on your open palm before serving.
In actuality, there is a specific intention to this serve rule. The open palm serve rule in ping pong largely ensures that the ball is thrown and served into the air without spinning. You won’t be able to spin apparently the ball since you are not allowed to take a grip on the ball before and during serve.
5. Throw and Strike
According this article which explained the Laws 2.6.2 and 2.6.3, the ball must be thrown upward at approximately 6 inches from the initial position of your palm. Subsequently, you have to strike the ball once it starts free falling without touching any surface.
When you are to strike the ball, you have to make sure that it touches and bounces first on your court and consequently touches on to your opponent’s court before he strikes it back to you.
In a doubles match, make sure you strike the ball and should touch respectively you and your opponent’s right hand court. Basically, you will be serving diagonally and make sure the ball touches only the appropriate part of the court.
Ping Pong Serve Rules of Today
In totality, the rules of serve in Ping Pong are undeniable and undoubtedly complex. Aside from the fact that these are always constant to change, the IFFT is just ensuring the most appropriate and efficient ways to serve the ball. Hence, it is very much essential and important to always take note of these things especially when you are playing a serious kind of game.
If you have any question or reaction regarding the said list of important rules, you may actually comment and share your insights and thoughts! Or, you may also share this to your friends and loved ones who would largely benefit from this.