What Is The Order Of Playing Doubles In Table Tennis?

Table tennis is an entertaining game to play and watch. Most people know the rules of playing singles table tennis. However, are the rules for playing doubles the same? When we think of doubles table tennis, one question comes to mind. What is the order of playing doubles?

When playing doubles in table tennis, you must follow a specific order. First, the person serving must serve on the right side of the table. The receiver of the serve must then serve across the table to the server’s teammate, who will then serve to the receiver’s teammate.

Although the order for playing doubles may sound confusing, it’s actually relatively straightforward once practiced. Playing doubles table tennis is a fun alternative and can be a competitive sport. However, to succeed in doubles table tennis, you must know the rules for playing. Therefore, we will discuss the order of playing doubles in table tennis and any other changes and rules you must be aware of.

What Is The Order Of Playing Doubles In Table Tennis?

When you first start to play doubles in table tennis, you’ll notice that the game is quite different from playing singles. While the rules are mostly the same, the order of play is different, and you must stick to the correct order if you want to win the match.

Most singles table tennis players know some rules of playing doubles. However, practicing for doubles is crucial if you want to succeed and win. A team that often practices playing doubles in table tennis can often overcome better opponents who don’t have practice playing together.

When playing doubles in table tennis, there are four players. To help you understand the order better, we will number these players. For example, players 1 and 2 are in team A, while players 3 and 4 are in team B. Each player stands at one corner of the table. A table when playing doubles has a line down the middle that divides the table into four quarters. Your objective is to play in your quarter.

There are a few key differences between playing singles and doubles table tennis. One difference comes when serving the ball and the order in which you play. Understanding these differences and the rules of playing doubles table tennis is crucial if you want to succeed. So, what is the order of serving when playing doubles?

Order For Serving In Doubles

When playing singles table tennis, you can serve anywhere you like on the table. However, playing doubles requires a specific order and place to serve. For the sake of this demonstration, players 1 and 2 will serve the ball, while players 3 and 4 are receiving.

Let’s say player 1 is serving. The other team can then choose who will receive the ball first. In this case, player 3 receives the ball first. Therefore, players 1 and 3 (the server and receiver) must stand on the right corners of the table.

 Player 1 will serve the ball diagonally to player 3. You must always serve from the righthand side of the table when playing doubles. Player 1 gets two turns to serve. He will serve from the right each time and must serve diagonally to the player on the other team’s right. Player 1 gets two turns to serve before the serving switches to the other team.

Order For Receiving In Doubles

When player 1 serves the ball, team B decides who will receive the ball, and that player (in this case, player 3) stands on the righthand side of the table. When player 3 receives the ball, he must return the ball to player 2, who then returns the ball to player 4.

Because you must play diagonally, you move away after your turn to allow your teammate to receive the ball. Therefore, practicing your footwork and switching is crucial when playing doubles.

This order continues until one team gets the point. Player 1 gets two turns to serve the ball to player 3. Then, players 1 and 2 switch sides, and player 3 will now serve the ball to player 2. After their two turns, team B switches sides, and player 2 will now serve player 4. After player 2’s two serves, team A switches sides again, and it is now player 4’s turn to serve to player 1.

This order of serving continues for the entire game. Watch this video for a clear visual demonstration of how serving and receiving work in doubles table tennis. The general rule for serving and receiving in doubles table tennis is that you switch sides after two serves if it is your team’s turn to serve. However, you don’t switch sides if your team receives the ball. Instead, it is now your turn to serve.

Effects Of Playing Out Of Order

Now, there’s always a chance that the ball might not land in the corner you are supposed to place it. It’s also possible that the wrong member returns the ball when it is not placed in their corner. If this happens, the person playing out of order forfeits the point. However, if you place the ball into the wrong corner when serving, you will lose a point.

When serving, you may serve on the middle line, and it still counts as being in the righthand block. The same applies when playing the game. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow the playing order as mentioned above. For example, in the first round, the order is 1 -> 3; 3 -> 2, 2 -> 4; and 4 -> 1. Practicing the order for playing doubles is crucial, as it can become confusing if you don’t.

However, with enough practice, the order of playing doubles will become natural and straightforward. You can then work on outsmarting your opponents and winning the match.   

Other Rules Of Playing Doubles Table Tennis

Apart from playing in the correct order and serving to the right side of the table, the rules for playing singles and doubles table tennis are mostly the same. Once you master the serving order for doubles, you must work on your footwork and communication skills. Furthermore, knowing your teammate’s strengths and weaknesses is critical as it will allow you to send the ball so they receive it on their strong side.


When playing doubles in table tennis, following the correct playing order is crucial. Failing to do so may cause your team to lose points. Therefore, you must always serve from the righthand side of the table diagonally to the other side. Once your two serves are over, you switch sides with your teammate, and they will receive the ball.

Practicing the correct order for playing doubles is critical if you want to avoid losing points. A well-trained doubles team can beat two superior individual players if they aren’t used to playing doubles. Practicing your footwork and communication is also essential when playing doubles.


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