Ping pong is a fun sport that can be easily played recreationally or taken extremely seriously where a lot of skill is required. That being said, this kind of sport is filled with many rules. Probably the most common question is related to whether a ping pong ball needs to bounce?
In ping pong, the ball needs to bounce on your and the opponent’s side of the table when serving. However, every time afterward during a rally, the ball needs and must bounce only on the opponent’s side of the table.
When I first started playing table tennis, I didn’t have any idea and played with our own rules for a while there. However, as we became more interested in the sport, we learned the ins and outs, which made a difference in our improvement and the game’s flow.
Imagine if the ball would need to bounce on both sides of the time every single time during a heated rally. That wouldn’t make it very easy, nor couldn’t take it to the level you would want.
For example, smashing would be nearly impossible without an extreme topspin and so on. So remember, the ball needs to bounce on both times when serving and only one time during a rally.
You can learn more about all the table tennis rules from the official rules of table tennis.
Can You Hit a Ping Pong Ball Without It Bouncing?
What about hitting a ping pong ball without it bouncing? In badminton, you must hit the shuttlecock without it hitting the ground. In tennis, such an act is called a volley. Can you volley in table tennis?
You can’t hit a ball without it bouncing in ping pong because it needs to hit the table before striking. Hitting the ball without a bounce is called a volley, which is allowed in tennis, however, not in ping pong.
I have an in-depth article about volleys and table tennis, and why they aren’t allowed. I highly recommend that you check it out!
Can a Hand Hit Table Tennis Ball?
Speaking of table tennis rules and bounces, what about hitting the ball with your hand? Even in soccer, there’s the hand of God made by the legendary Maradona. What if the ball hits your hand in table tennis?
Striking a ping pong ball with your hand is foul play in table tennis. You can’t hit the ball with your non-racket hand as it will reward a point to the opponent. However, if the ball hits your racket hand accidentally, you won’t lose any points over it.
So basically, don’t use your hand as a racket, and you will be fine. Instead, use the ping pong paddle that is made for striking the ball, and you won’t only perform better but won’t lose any points over anything.
To learn the ins and outs of using your hand to strike the ball in table tennis, you should check my comprehensive article about it.
How High Do Ping Pong Balls Bounce?
Ping pong balls are used in beer pong and, well… in table tennis. The construction of a ping pong ball is fascinating as it bounces very nicely, in addition to the iconic sound it lets out when hitting the table. This makes you wonder, how high does ping pong balls bounce?
Generally, ping pong balls’ bounce height on a parquet floor is 13cm when dropped from 25cm, 26cm when dropped from 50cm, and 52cm when dropped from 1 meter. The drop height and the material the ball is dropped on will drastically vary the bouncing height.
I made a little home test and dropped a regulation ping pong ball from different heights on different surfaces to give you an even better idea. Check out the table below and see which material bounces the ball best.
|Drop Surface:||Drop Height:||Bounce Height:|
I dropped the ping pong ball on the parquet floor, hard mat, glass table, and ceramic tile. As you can see, the bounce was highest on a glass table, whereas the worst was a hard mat. Anything that was remotely soft, the ball didn’t bounce at all.
Why Do Ping Pong Balls Bounce?
One of the best things about table tennis, by far, in my opinion, is the satisfying sound the ball makes when you’re in the middle of a heated contest. But what makes the ball bounce in that manner in the first place?
A ping pong ball bounces because of its elastic, hollow, thin, and lightweight construction. As the ball makes contact with the surface, it will stretch and compress its shape. When the ball returns to its original shape, the effect makes it bounce.
The physical reason the ping pong ball bounces is the opposite force. When the ping pong ball drops down, and it’s the surface, an equal opposite force bounces it back up. However, the bounce isn’t as powerful this time because some of the energy needs to regain the original shape.
It’s quite fascinating when you dive deeper into physics, even when I’m no Albert Einstein.
If you’re fascinated about why ping pong balls bounce and want some more information, read my fun article about it!