Is hitting the side of the table legal?


I've read in somebody's comment in another question:

USA Table Tennis rules: 2.5.7 A player strikes the ball if s/he touches it in play with his/her racket, held in the hand, or with his/her racket hand below the wrist. 2.5.8 A player obstructs the ball if s/he, or anything s/he wears or carries, touches it in play when it is above or traveling towards the playing surface, not having touched his/her court since last being struck by the opponent.

Does that mean that I can use my hand to hit the ball? But only my racket hand? Does that mean that when you miss the ball with the racket, but actually hits it with a finger or something it's still a valid play? Does that tell me that it's illegal to hit the ball with my free hand?

Please, don't base your answers on the interpretation of that snippet alone, maybe there are varations of this rule on other countries, for...

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The answer to this question states that a ball that hits any part of the top of the table (including the edge) is considered in-bounds.

My question is why is a ball that hits the edge (and bounces off the table in a manner that could be nearly impossible to return) considered in-bounds?

On all of the ping pong tables I've seen in people's homes, the white lines along the edges do not actually touch the edge of the table. There is about 2-3 millimeters of space between the white line and the edge of the table. This means that if a ball hits the edge of the table, it has landed beyond the white line and therefore should be considered out of bounds. If it is still considered in-bounds, then there is no point in having those white lines along the edges.

Do the tables used in ITTF matches have their white lines touching the edge? If so, then it makes sense for edge balls to be considered in-bounds. But if their tables have space between the edge and the white line,...

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Smash balls that your opponent hits high.

Smashing (also called slamming or spiking) the ball entails hitting it with force so that it goes fast enough to, hopefully, be unreturnable. A slam is a powerful weapon, but it can be difficult at first to use it accurately, and you may find that your slams initially go into the net or well off the other side of the table. Don't be afraid to keep trying them, though. You'll eventually get it.

/3/35/Play Ping Pong (Table Tennis) Step 12 Version 2.360p.mp4

This is similar to volleyball. Once you slam, smash, or spike the ball, it's virtually impossible for your opponent to keep the ball in play. This...
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By Greg Letts

Question: Who Gets the Point When the Ball Hits the Edge of the Ping-Pong Table?

In table tennis, who gets the point when the ball doesn't quite land on the top, horizontal playing surface of the table, but instead hits the corner angle where the top surface and the side of the table meet, and flies off in an odd, unpredictable trajectory? The player who made the ball ricochet off of the corner at an odd angle, or the player who is receiving the impossible-to-return shot?

Answer: Assuming that the receiver cannot get the ball back, and that the ball was falling when it hit the edge, who gets the point depends on two things:

Whether the ball bounced upwards from the edge; and Whether the ball was travelling towards or away from the table before hitting the edge.

Here is how I use these two questions to determine who gets the point.

Firstly, if the ball bounces upwards from the edge of the table, it must have hit some portion of...

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This video lesson takes you through the essential Table Tennis rules. Watch the video and become an expert in topics such as how to win points, what score to play up to and how to serve in doubles. There is no need to have arguments over the rules so get all your friends to watch this lesson too!

Table Tennis Rules

Download a printable brochure or A3 version

The Table

The surface of the table, known as the playing surface, is rectangular, 2.74m (9ft) long and 1.525m (5ft) wide, and lies in a horizontal plane 76cm (2ft 6in) from the floor. The playing surface does not include the sides of the tabletop.

The Net Assembly

The top of the net, along its whole length, is 15.25cm (6in) high.

The Ball

The ball is made of celluloid or similar plastics material and can be white or orange. The diameter of the ball is 40mm. This was changed from 38mm in the year 2000.

The Racket

The racket can be any size, shape...

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Table Tennis Rules brought to you by Escalade Sports


The player, or doubles team, who first scores 21 points wins the Table Tennis game. However, you must win by two points so a game could go on to 30-50 points before being decided. A match is usually the best two out of three games, and in international championships, it is best three out of five games. In other words, if you lose the first game it’s not the end of the world; winning the next games can make you the winner.

Choice of Ends and Service

Who starts serving and which player gets to stand at which end? You can flip a coin... if you win the flip you can choose to SERVE or RECEIVE from the end you like. After each game you will alternate the ends. Should there be a tie, for instance, one game to one game, the players will change ends after the first player reaches 10 points in the final game.

The Serve

Stand behind...

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Game play

[edit] Starting a game

In top-flight competition, service is decided by a coin toss. At lower levels it is common for one player (or the umpire/scorer) to hide the ball in one or the other hand (usually hidden under the table), allowing the other player to guess which hand the ball is in. The correct or incorrect guess gives the "winner" the option to choose to serve, or to choose which side of the table to use. In recreational games, the players may have a rally for a minimum set number of hits, after which the rally is played out, with either the winner choosing to serve or the tableside. Others use the "P-I-N-G" method rallying back and forth spelling a letter of P-I-N-G after every hit. After P-I-N-G is spelled the person to win the rally also wins the serve.

With the introduction of the 11-point game, the serve has become more critical, and the choice to serve first is the most popular decision. Depending on...

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One table tennis rule refers to volleying the ball. So is volleying the ball allowed?
No ... and Yes. Let me explain...

by courtesy of the ITTF

One of the table tennis rules which you'll need to be familiar with is the rule which deals with volleying the ball.

Volleying means intentionally or unintentionally hitting or touching the ball before it bounces on the table or goes out of play.

Previously, if a player volleyed the ball at any time he lost the point, but the rules were subtly changed in the 1990s, so now it depends on the circumstances.

Volleying the ball is covered by the "obstruction" rule, so we'll examine what the rule says and it's purpose.

So let's take a look at this rule and discover what is allowed and what's not allowed.

^ Top of page ^

So what does the current rule say?

The obstruction rule

Rule 2.05.08 states...

"A player obstructs the ball if he or she, or anything...

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Lines, net and edges ... in or out?

What do the table tennis rules say about the ball hitting the lines, net or edges of the table?
Is the ball in or out? Find out here...

How well do you know your table tennis rules?

If the ball hits the white lines or the edge of the table, or the side of the table, is it in or out?

What if the ball hits the net?

What do the rules say?

Well it's all fairly straightforward.

The playing surface

The answers to these questions can be found within rule 2.01 which defines the size of the table and the playing surface.

So let's first take a look at what that rules says.

It states that a table tennis table must be...

2.74m (9 feet) long,
1.525m (5 feet) wide and
76cm (2 feet 6 inches) high

Additionally, it must have...

a white side line, 2cm wide, along each 2.74m edge and a white end line, 2cm wide, along each 1.525m edge

And for...

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Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight ball back and forth across a table using a small bat. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net. Except for the initial serve, the rules are generally as follows: players must allow a ball played toward them to bounce one time on their side of the table, and must return it so that it bounces on the opposite side at least once. A point is scored when a player fails to return the ball within the rules. Play is fast and demands quick reactions. Spinning the ball alters its trajectory and limits an opponent's options, giving the hitter a great advantage.

Table tennis is governed by the worldwide organization International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926. ITTF currently includes 220 member associations.[1] The table tennis official rules are specified in the ITTF handbook.[2] Table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988,[3] with several event...

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USA Table Tennis - UnOfficial Basement Rules of the Game Note: If you have been playing by any of the rules on this list, then you haven't been playing by the real table tennis rules. Got more of these basement rules to add to the list? Send 'em to the Basement Ump Quick Reference


1.1 The left side of the table is for ping pong. The right side is for model making, homework, sandwiches, beer, changing diapers, etc.

1.2 The table can be of any size as long as the dimensions of the right side are large enough to to make the table suitable for the activities listed in 1.1.


2.1 In the event there is no net available for the table, one may be constructed out of close by miscellaneous items such as beer cans, books, or paper towels strung together by rubber bands.


3.1 Thirty year old one star balls are the best, especially after all brand name printing on the ball surface has...

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