#1
Old 04-08-2007, 04:54 PM
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Posts: 7,205
The rules of ping-pong

Okay, I have been playing ping-pong for years, but recently something came up that caused me to google the official rules, and boy was I surprised. (Partly because I'm pretty sure I had official rules that came with my net or my paddle and they were different.)

Eleven points? Eleven?

Service change every two points?

In my experience these 11-pointers were played either as tie-breakers or when you just didn't have enough time. What, was playing to 21 too arduous?

Bur if you're only playing to 11 then yeah, I guess it makes sense to switch every two points.

But, sheesh! I have this long history of knowing it's time to switch service if the score is, for instance, 14-11, or 7-8.

Now, the question that caused me to go to the official rules: It's been the tradition, everywhere I've played (student unions, the Y, my basement, a friend's basement) that when one player hit game point the other player automatically served, i.e., one did not serve for the game. The problem brought up was let's say the score was 16-19, and the player with 19 points got the serve, served, and won the point. The serve would then revert to the other player, who would call out the score as "16-point" and who, if he then muffed the serve, would lose. Another informal player pointed out that this was unfair, as it would not normally be that player's turn to serve and he shouldn't lose, on serve, until it did become his turn to serve. So for instance if he won the next four points...

And now I see I've been doing it all wrong. I do know that something changed, at some point, because the ball got bigger.

What the hell. Bigger balls, an 11-point match, what else have I missed?

Oh yeah. We also used to play, informally, that if one player got ahead 7-0, that player was considered to have "skunked" the opposing player, and if said player got ahead 11-1, it was considered a "whitewash," game over. The whitewash was considerably harder to attain but did not convey anything other than a win.

Therefore I am bitterly disappoitned to realize that 11-anything now constitutes a win. Harumph, get off my lawn, etc.

Will someone please tell me that I woke up in an alternate universe and it's still 21 points? Please?

Last edited by Hilarity N. Suze; 04-08-2007 at 04:54 PM.
#2
Old 04-08-2007, 05:10 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze
Okay, I have been playing ping-pong for years, but recently something came up that caused me to google the official rules, and boy was I surprised. (Partly because I'm pretty sure I had official rules that came with my net or my paddle and they were different.).....

Will someone please tell me that I woke up in an alternate universe and it's still 21 points? Please?
Interesting. I recently heard from a source that games were played to 11 points and I too was surprised. 11 points seems like a very short game, and leaves much more up to chance. Hit a few off, and before you're warmed up, the game could be over. I wonder if this was a change designed to make games in the olympics more acceptable to those with short attention spans?
#3
Old 04-08-2007, 05:16 PM
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Same thing in Racquetball. Game went from 21 to 15 to 11. Must win by 2 though. It changes the rhythm.
#4
Old 04-08-2007, 06:02 PM
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They also made changes to the rules for volleyball in about 1998-2000.

Old Rules:
  • Points could be scored only when a team had the serve (side-out scoring).
  • All sets went up to only 15 points.

New Rules:
  • Points are scored no matter which team had the serve (rally point scoring)
  • Sets go to 25 points (must win by at least 2 points).
  • Matches are best-of-five sets and the fifth set (if necessary) is usually played to 15 points.
  • There is a new, defensive-only, position - the libero.
  • Introduction of the let serve which allows play to continue even if a served ball touches the net as long as it continues into the opponents' court.
  • The service area was expanded to allow players to serve from anywhere behind the end line but still within the theoretical extension of the sidelines.
  • Other changes were made to lighten up calls on faults for carries and double-touches, such as allowing multiple contacts by a single player ("double-hits") on a team's first contact.

Last edited by Waenara; 04-08-2007 at 06:03 PM.
#5
Old 04-08-2007, 11:53 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waenara
They also made changes to the rules for volleyball in about 1998-2000.

Old Rules:
  • Points could be scored only when a team had the serve (side-out scoring).
  • All sets went up to only 15 points.

New Rules:
  • Points are scored no matter which team had the serve (rally point scoring)
  • Sets go to 25 points (must win by at least 2 points).
  • Matches are best-of-five sets and the fifth set (if necessary) is usually played to 15 points.
  • There is a new, defensive-only, position - the libero.
  • Introduction of the let serve which allows play to continue even if a served ball touches the net as long as it continues into the opponents' court.
  • The service area was expanded to allow players to serve from anywhere behind the end line but still within the theoretical extension of the sidelines.
  • Other changes were made to lighten up calls on faults for carries and double-touches, such as allowing multiple contacts by a single player ("double-hits") on a team's first contact.
The new volleyball rules ruined the game. Volleyball in the mid 90's was a sport on the move. The new rules were stupid and made no sense. Imagine being able to intentionally kick the ball!?
I was a basketball ref for years. Every year they changed the rules. Like the game sucked and they needed to make it better. Too many changes are bad.
#6
Old 04-09-2007, 12:59 AM
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Okay. In my basement, it's still going to be 21 points, and that's just how it is.

Informally, has anyone else ever heard of the skunk and whitewash rules, or were these just terms invented by my cousins to make me look like an idiot whenever I played ping-pong for the rest of my life?
#7
Old 04-09-2007, 01:09 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Centreville, VA
Posts: 6,127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze
Okay. In my basement, it's still going to be 21 points, and that's just how it is.

Informally, has anyone else ever heard of the skunk and whitewash rules, or were these just terms invented by my cousins to make me look like an idiot whenever I played ping-pong for the rest of my life?
I haven't played ping pong in years, but FWIW, I was aware of the 11-point rule, and had heard of the "7-0" score thing, but I don't remember what it was called.
#8
Old 04-09-2007, 01:16 AM
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Location: University of Florida
Posts: 902
I always think of "skunking" as winning by Any Margin - 0, (or a "six-pack" playing anything in the fraternity house, referring to the fact that the shut out loser owed the winner or winning team a six-pack of beer).

I've never heard of a whitewash though.
#9
Old 04-10-2007, 10:29 AM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 6,300
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze
Okay. In my basement, it's still going to be 21 points, and that's just how it is.

Informally, has anyone else ever heard of the skunk and whitewash rules, or were these just terms invented by my cousins to make me look like an idiot whenever I played ping-pong for the rest of my life?
*** OK, I wrote this yesterday, but today when I came in to work, it was still on my screen, so I guess I never pressed "Submit Reply". Anyway...***

Since my youth, we've always played to both 11 or 21. 7-0, and 11-1 were considered skunks. I'm not usually a rules nazi, but the one rule that I wish people would follow is to serve out of an open palm (up) hand. So many people seem to think that they have a great serve, but it takes a little more skill to put a good spin on the ball when you're serving out of an open hand.
#10
Old 04-10-2007, 10:59 AM
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Location: England, Britain, UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enright3
*** OK, I wrote this yesterday, but today when I came in to work, it was still on my screen, so I guess I never pressed "Submit Reply". Anyway...***

Since my youth, we've always played to both 11 or 21. 7-0, and 11-1 were considered skunks. I'm not usually a rules nazi, but the one rule that I wish people would follow is to serve out of an open palm (up) hand. So many people seem to think that they have a great serve, but it takes a little more skill to put a good spin on the ball when you're serving out of an open hand.
Ditto that on the serve. There's this old git I play with regularly who cannot get hold of the idea that the ball must go eight inches into the air before you hit it. I usually beat him anyway, but it's annoying, and neither explanation nor mockery seems to get the point across.

11 points (two-up) it is these days, and you can win on your own serve - always could AFAIK. But in serious competition you'd play more games, tho' we're usually ready for a change after best-of-three. And yes, the balls have got bigger. I didn't know all this until we started up regualr sessions in our village hall a year ago, but the internet soon mended my ignorance.
#11
Old 04-10-2007, 12:07 PM
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Location: Indian Land, S Carolina
Posts: 12,500
It's 16 centimeters (6 inches), not 8 inches, I believe.
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