Ping Pong Doubles Rules-Strategies To Play Table Tennis Doubles

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Singles is often the ping pong game of choice for many, and we rarely depart from it. However, table tennis doubles give a fantastic option and add a delightful element of cooperation that is not typically associated with ping pong.

However, in order to be effective in ping pong doubles games, you must not simply throw yourself into the deep end during matches. You must successfully train for it in the same way as you would for singles. More significantly, you must understand the official doubles ping pong rules.

Ping Pong Doubles Rules

Because most players prefer singles, it is typical for them to be familiar with some, but not all, of the regulations governing ping pong doubles. The basic doubles ping pong rules are fundamentally harsher than singles rules.


Unlike singles games, where you may serve anywhere on the table, ping pong doubles rules limit where the ball can bounce. Most table tennis tables include a line along the centre that divides the table into quarters.

You must serve on the right side of each half of the table for doubles, with the ball bouncing once on each side. Just as in singles games, each player has two services before swapping.

Did You Know?

Peter and Daniel Ives, a father-son team, hold the world record for the longest table tennis rally, with 32,000 total hits in 8 hours and 40 minutes.

Order of Play

Casual players may just allow whoever is closest to the ball to play the shot; however, this violates the rules for doubles order of play. To correctly follow the ping pong doubles rules, players must take turns playing their shots and alternate between one another.

Consider two teams with players A and B and X and Y to better comprehend the sequence.

  • Player A serves to player X, who returns. Player B must then strike the ball, followed by Player Y.
  • The identical sequence of A, X, B, and Y is repeated until a winner is determined.

If a team violates the sequence, they lose the point.

Ping Pong Doubles Serving And Receiving Rules

When a team is chosen to serve first, that team selects which player will begin and serve. The opponent then has the option of choosing one of them to receive. And the above-mentioned play sequence resumes.

In the next game, the original receiving team selects who would serve first. The opposing team, however, cannot pick who will receive this time. Instead, the receiver is the player that the server did not serve in the previous game.

So, if player A serves to player X in the first game, and player X decides to serve first in the second game, player A is the receiver.

This structure is followed by each subsequent game. The service swaps teams, the receiving team chooses who serves, and the receiver is the player who served to them in the previous game.

Swapping Ends in the Final Game

If the games are tied going into the decisive game, the teams switch ends and receivers at 5 points for fairness and presumably to liven things up a bit.

When the first team reaches 5 points, the game ends. The receivers then switch to disrupt the game’s sequence. So, instead of serving to player X, player A serves to player Y.

Sequence Mistake: What Happens When There’s A Sequence Mistake?

Because there are so many regulations to follow in addition to the regular singles rules, ping pong doubles errors are fairly prevalent. This is why it is better to have an umpire maintain score.

If you make a mistake about who is serving or receiving, or if you fail to switch ends, all previous points are retained. The sequence is then corrected.

Did You Know?

Jan-Ove-Waldner, the world’s finest ping pong player, has won 16 world championships and two Olympic gold in his 30-year career, giving him the moniker “the Mozart of Table Tennis.”

Doubles Strategies

Having a successful approach is critical in singles, but maybe even more so in doubles.

You must consider not just your own behaviours, but also those of your gaming partner. Ping pong singles games can be adjusted on the fly, while doubles games are considerably more difficult. You and your spouse may be unable to express your thoughts, or they may just disagree with your plan.

Who Should Be Your Ping Pong Doubles Partner?

The best way to choose a partner is to judge on the basis of your convenience during playing with someone. The player whose game sits perfectly to your tune must be your ping pong doubles partner.

Know Your Opponent

Due to the nature of competition in doubles matches, you will frequently have prior experience playing against your opponents.

This provides you with vital information that you may apply in doubles. If you don’t get to play beforehand, the knock-up will function as your information-gathering phase.

As always, collaborate with your teammate to devise a strategy that takes advantage of your opponents’ vulnerabilities. You can almost always find something to exploit, and a smart game strategy may mean the difference between a victory and a defeat.

As an aside, attempt to take advantage of the serving process in any way you can. If you win the coin toss and one of you has a very deadly serve, make sure the winning server serves first. Alternatively, if you lose the toss and your opponent serves a dangerous serve, have the superior receiver receive first.

In ping pong doubles, you’ll frequently discover a beneficial sequence for your side, which you want to obtain for the first game. If both teams are evenly matched, it may provide a much-needed morale lift heading into the championship game.

Use Hand Signals

Hand signals are an excellent technique to communicate with your partner while preventing your opponent from deciphering your message. Hand singles are commonly used by players to tell their partners of the style of serve they will be executing.

Assign gestures to different sorts of serves when you initially begin training with your doubles partner. You then repeat these movements beneath the table before serving, so that only your partner can see them.

For example, pointing towards the ground may indicate a backspin, while making a fist may indicate a float serve.

Serving Short

As previously stated, ping pong (table tennis) doubles rules require players to serve to their opponent’s forehand side. This makes devastating forehand openings simpler to perform than ever before.

This is not like singles games, where you may serve wherever. Your opponent is aware that you must serve on the forehand side. This implies that if the ball drifts long on the table, they don’t require outstanding footwork to perform a forehand opening.

As a result, in ping pong doubles, short serves are crucial.

Did You Know?

E.C. Goode invented the modern pimpled-rubber paddle in 1901.

Make Your Opponents Work

Just because you’re sitting across from excellent table tennis players doesn’t guarantee they’re also terrific doubles players. Use the official doubles ping pong rules to your advantage.

It’s conceivable that players who haven’t practised for doubles will suffer as a result. You want to make them work for their shots, and one of the best ways to do it is to push them to get in each other’s way.

This is very effective against slower players. They can’t move quickly enough to play their shots, and they can’t get out of the way quickly enough for their teammates to play theirs.

Give Your Partner Some Space

Getting out of your partner’s path can be tough to master in doubles. You must be conscious of this during serving as well as during open play.

When you serve, fade to the right to give your partner enough room.

Final Words

Learning the ping pong doubles game is no rocket science, but mastering it is as difficult as that. You need to be aware of the official doubles ping pong rules, as well as well equipped with strategies to win. We hope that our guide answers your questions regarding the same.

If you are new, check out the basic ping pong rules here.


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