Counting Points

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 8 years ago

Marcin Lonak

Marcin Lonak Asked 8 years ago

Hi Alois, Hi Jeff

I have a problem with playing matches. I actually quite like to play matches. Sometimes I'm not in the mood for a match. I start then to practice a bit without to worry about the outcome. But I have a real problem with counting points. We have here a rule that the side who has the first serve in the game is responsible for counting points. I hate counting points. First I play a lot worse when I have to do it. Second, I tend to loose track and don't know anymore the score. Partly because I kind of concentrate on each point separately and can recognize if I made or lost some points in a row. I like it very much that Way. If i have to count the score, i play with a good deal less joy. I'm also really slow in counting, cause I'm very often forgetting the score and have to remember it. My opponents don't wait for me ant then I also loose track.

any help?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Marcin,

I used to find that after a while you almost do it subconsciously.  It may take a while though.

Anyone else have ideas?

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Marcin Lonak

Marcin Lonak Posted 8 years ago

Yes, it feels as if all the others do it subconsciously, cause they very often shout out the score before I even start to think. And also my first thought is not what score it is, but rather what  did I wrong? If I'm loosing a point. or why I got That point now? If I'm winning a point.

Mark Jung

Mark Jung Posted 8 years ago

If you're playing to 21 with service change every 5 (tons of office games still end up like this), it's almost mandatory to keep track of whose serve it is. I always call out the score before I serve, as do most people I know, and it just makes sense that way. It ensures both players are paying attention to the score, lets the other player know you are preparing to serve, and prevents arguments (e.g. "that ball 3 serves ago skimmed the table I thought" ... "I thought it missed, wait which one was that again" ... "uhhh").

Carl Hughes

Carl Hughes Posted 8 years ago


I find it rather funny that you guys assign to each other to count the score. I assume you should both be counting in order to avoid any potential mistakes while counting. That way at least you'd relieve some of that pressure since it's affecting your game.

Also, the thing we do at our club to ease the counting is simply to remember the point-difference. For example, if you are 8-6 down, just remember that you are 2 points behind. Knowing this, and knowing who the serve is, you'll most likely be able to easily remember the score in case you even totally forgot it (keeping in mind who the first server in the game was).

And, in the worst case scenario, if you always get totally lost, and/or you and your opponent start to argue, just kindly ask another person (a spectator, someone's parent, the coach/trainer) to count for you guys.

Hope this helped,


Carl H.


River Walker

River Walker Posted 8 years ago


There is an easy solution. Insist the other player serve first. Then he is responsible for scoring.  Will that work for you?


Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 8 years ago

I also prefer it very much when there's an umpire using a scoring board. That way everybody know what's what all the time and you don't have anything to remember. Here could be an option for you by the way: if you have access to scoring boards and it's your turn to count, use one and operate it yourself! It will be a bit tedious, but it may help you getting used to it and maybe after a while you won't need it anymore.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 8 years ago

There are also some good free scoreboard apps that you can put on your phone our ipad.

Marcin Lonak

Marcin Lonak Posted 8 years ago

Hi Pingskillers and Coaches, 

thank you for your advices. I think im able to define more specificly my problem now and also already found some cure for this. I noticed, that it's a lot easier for me to concentrate on the score if I play a weaker opponent. It is due to, I always tend to forget to count when I lost a point. The usual thing at that moment is- my concentration occupies me with "why my action went unexpected wrong" and "how to do it better next time". Those are the spots where I forget to count the score completely. 

the best cure for now is an older guy I met, who has the patience and Waits always for me till I call loud the score. If I don't do it and go on with the game he calls a let. This works for now best.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 8 years ago

This seems like a good solution for now.

Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 8 years ago

When it's your turn to count, it's not optional to say the score out loud to your opponent between each point, regardless of your capability to remember the score accurately without doing it. I force my opponent to do it too if he doesn't, or I will correct him if he tells the score the wrong way around (server's score first), or else I have to count in my head myself, and when all or a sudden a score gets announced again, and it doesn't match, all sorts of useless arguments can start. If my opponent really insists on counting wrong or only every now and then, I will just take over and count out loud myself, although, as anybody else, I don't like to do it. Because I like arguing even less.

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