Table tennis: receiver isn't ready for the serve - what are the rules?

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Post Options Thanks(0) Quote Reply Topic: Illegal serves in club play
Posted: 09/25/2015 at 11:42pm

There are so many illegal serves in my club. Some serve when you are not really ready. Many serve without tossing the ball at all. They keep doing this even after you kindly ask them not to. What would you do? To win or lose is not a matter to me. The problem is that my game pace is totally broken. Many times, when I am not really ready, my opponent served to me and I had to return the serves in very awkward ways. Another thing is that you can really avoid to play with this kind of opponents in a club.


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Did You Know?There is an 'Expedite System' rule in the game of table tennis, which comes into play for games that take too long to complete. Details explained in the course of this article...

Table tennis is a very popular game that is played on a table, with a racket and a ball. It can be played between two players (singles) or even between 2 teams of two players each (doubles). The game originated in Great Britain in the 1800s, and is now a popular sport all around the globe. It is governed by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) that was founded in 1926, which is also responsible for all aspects regarding international rules. The game was included in the Olympics in the year 1988, with the dominant forces being countries like China, South Korea, Japan, and Sweden. Here, we will talk about the important rules of table tennis, and how the game should actually be played.


The game commences with a toss, and the winner gets to decided whether he would like...

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Jeff: Welcome to the PingPod, the Ping Pong podcast by PingSkills. I'm Jeff Plumb and with me is Alois Rosario.

Alois: How are you Jeff?

Jeff: I'm good thank you. Today Alois, we're going to talk about the service rule.

Alois: Ohh no, the service rule.

Jeff: Yes the service rule. It's very controversial, it's hard for the umpires to police, we need to do something about it don't we?

Alois: It's really difficult. You know it's hard for the umpires to police but you know where I reckon it's the hardest? It's at club level.

Jeff: Really?

Alois: Because at club level your mates are umpiring for you, your team mate, or one of your opponents and it becomes really messy and difficult to call all of these rules with serving.

Jeff: Yeah so I think the main ones that are contentious are hiding the ball and then sometimes even throwing the ball up the sixteen centimetres.

Alois: Yeah it is. So that one is...

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Post 40

In the middle of the game, if the ball hits the top of the net, but bounces off to your opponent's side of the table, do you lose a point, does your opponent have to hit it or do you win a point?

Post 39

In a game, if the ball is hit by the opponent, and strikes the poles which hold the net and are not aligned with the table, but somehow gets to your square, is it their point or out?

Post 38

If your opponent hits the ball over the net and lets go of his paddle in the process does he still get the point?

Post 37

how many balls allowed in one service period in ping pong?

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01. The Table
02. The Net Assembly
03. The Ball
04. The Racket
05. Definitions
06. Service
07. A Good Return
08. The Order Of Play
09. A Let
10. A Point
11. A Game
12. A Match
13. Intervals
14. The Choice of Ends and Serves
15. The Expedite System
16. Equipment
17. Practice
18. Discipline (Advice)
19. Clothing (Dress Code)
20. Disabled Competition
21. Playing Conditions
22. Match Officials
23. Doping

01. The Table

1.1 The table shall be in surface rectangular, 274 cm. (9 ft.) in length, 152.5 cm. (5 ft.) in width. It shall be supported so that its upper surface, termed the playing surface, shall lie in a horizontal plane 76 cm. (2 ft. 6 in.) above the floor.
1.2 It shall be made of any material and shall yield a uniform bounce of about 23 cm. (8 3/4 in.) when a standard ball is dropped from a height of 30 cm. (12 in.) above the surface.
1.3 The...

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Updated August 22, 2016.

In the Laws of Table Tennis, Law 2.6.3 states:

2.6.3 As the ball is falling the server shall strike it so that it touches first his court and then, after passing over or around the net assembly, touches directly the receiver's court; in doubles, the ball shall touch successively the right half court of server and receiver.

The bolded text is the only extra requirement of the service rules for doubles play.

This means that all the other rules for service still apply, with the extra requirement that the ball must touch the right half court of the server, then the right half court of the receiver.

This also means that technically it is legal for the server to serve around the net rather than over it, just as for singles. In practice, it is virtually impossible to achieve this feat, so I doubt there will ever be any cause for argument!

Video - Law 2.6.3 - 8MB, 640x480 pixels
320x240 pixels version -...

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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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Hi I'm Judy Hoarfrost, I am from Paddle Palace Table Tennis Company, and our topic is what are the rules of table tennis. You know not a week goes by that we don't have someone call us up at Paddle Palace, and ask us to solve a dispute of the rules. Well here you go. Here is a summary of the official rules of table tennis according to the ITTF, International Table Tennis Federation. First of all a game goes up to eleven points, and you must win by two. So if you get up to ten to ten it is called a deuce game, and then you have to keep going until somebody gets ahead. It might go up to one thousand to nine hundred and ninety-eight before someone gets ahead by two, but that is what you do. With the serving the server serves two, and then the receiver is now the server serves two, and then you alternate two serves each until you get to ten to ten. If you do get to deuce game then you take turns every one serve. A match is best three games out of five or four games out of seven...

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Under rule 9 of the source at

A rally is a let:


9.2 If the service is delivered when the receiving player or pair is not ready, provided that neither the receiver nor his partner attempts to strike the ball.

This rule is self-explanatory: the rally is not scored. As no point has been awarded, service will not change, so the serving player must serve again.

In the case of a consistent pattern of such actions, the same source further gives this rule 18:

18.2.1 Players and coaches shall refrain from conduct that may unfairly affect an opponent, offend spectators or bring the game into disrepute.

An umpire who deems the actions to breach the above rule, in particular that repeatedly serving early is "conduct that may unfairly affect an opponent" has a number of sanctions available, which are listed in the remainder of rule 18.

They include sequentially: a warning, the award of a point, the award of two...

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Wow,so many clarifications needed…As far as I know the rule for double-hitting the ball on accident is allowed since a few years ago already. But then again...

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Scoring A match is played best 3 of 5 games (or 4/7 or 5/9). For each game, the first player to reach 11 points wins that game, however a game must be won by at least a two point margin. A point is scored after each ball is put into play (not just when the server wins the point as in volleyball).

The edges of the table are part of the legal table surface, but not the sides.

Flow of the Match Each player serves two points in a row and then switch server. However, if a score of 10-10 is reached in any game, then each server serves only one point and then the server is switched. After each game, the players switch side of the table. In the final game (ie 5th game), the players switch side again after either player reaches 5 points. Legal Service The ball must rest on an open hand palm. Then it must be tossed up at least 6 inches and struck so the ball first bounces on the server's side and then the opponent's side. If the serve is legal...

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What do the official table tennis rules say about a good serve?
Why do the service rules keep changing? Find out here...

^ Top of page ^

A brief history

by courtesy of the ITTF

In the early days of table tennis, the service was used simply as a way of putting the ball into play. But as the game evolved it started to become more and more important ... and soon it became just another opportunity to score a point.

Service techniques became more and more elaborate as players tried to gain an advantage over their opponent ... so much so that during the 1980s and 1990s, the top players were using service techniques which completely obscured their opponent's view of the ball during their service action.

They would either serve with their back to their opponent and use their upper body to obscure the ball, or stand sideways and use their free arm to obscure the ball.

But why did that matter?

Well, if your opponent was...

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Table tennis serving rules have changed over the years. Under the current ITTF rules, the player to serve first is chosen at random, with the winner of the random draw able to choose to serve first or receive first. Sometimes in casual games, the first serve is chosen by volley, where a "practice" rally is played to determine who serves first.

The player who is serving changes after a certain number of points are scored. Under the current ITTF rules, in an 11 point game, the service changes every 2 points. In the past, when games were played up to 21 points, the service changed every 5 points.

Here is an example of how this works.

Player A serves first to Player B. They each get one point, and the score is 1-1. The total score is now 2, so it is Player B's turn to serve. Player B gets the next 2 points, and the score is 1-3. The total score is now 4, and the serve switches back to Player A. Player A continues serving until the total score is 6.

In an 11 point...

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File Photo Credit: John Yeong/SSC

By Averlynn Lim

The ease and relative affordability of table tennis has made it one of the most popular sports in the world today in participation. Not only is the game easy to learn, but it is also extremely fun and requires little financial investment or space.

All you need is a table, a net, a ball and a racket to get started. You can play anywhere, at any anytime and just a couple of hours a week hitting that little white ball around can do wonders for your fitness.

Like all sports, there are of course some rules to follow, whether you’re playing a friendly match at the HDB void deck or participating in a tournament. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is the sport’s main regulatory body and sets the rules for the game.

Your Equipment

While there are fewer restrictions in a friendly match, the ITTF carefully regulates the equipment used during a tournament.

The table, or playing...

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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 paddle. 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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