I curious about what the official rules are for playing doubles in table tennis. It seems like every time I play, someone has a different set of rules from what I've played before.
For instance:

  • Do the partners have to alternate returning the ball?
  • How does serving work?
  • I.e. when do you alternate who serves and whom will receive the serve?

1 Answer 1


Article from allabouttabletennis.com explains it pretty well.

Generally speaking, the main 3 rules that most people playing doubles observe are

  1. the required serve location (to the opposite diagonal section of the table) and
  2. switching sides between service games/servers.
  3. Then of course, you also alternate which player has to hit the ball each time (the sequence of who hits the ball - nobody should hit the ball more than once every 4 hits).

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