Changing bats at the start of a match?

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 1 month ago

Gerard McCarthy

Gerard McCarthy Asked 11 years ago


In your podcast 7 you mention the rules for changing your bat. In relation to this, does the match start as soon as the ends have been chosen, and before the warm up begins? Then, applying this to the rule for changing bats, can a player warm up then change bats before the first game starts? We are excluding damaged bats in this case, but are thinking of a player who uses the excuse that he doesn't want to wear out his good bat in the warm up. Related to this is the inspection of bats that, I presume, would normally happen before any warm up? I have never seen inspection of bats at my club. Is this an unusual thing to do at club level? What are your thoughts on how to go about checking out the other player's rubbers before a match so that you have some idea of their bats characteristics before playing? Is this best approached as part of general social chit chat? And, in the end, do any of these questions really matter? Should we just get on and have a hit and not get caught up with some of these rules?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 11 years ago

Hi Gerard,

The match does start with the warm up.  You are not allowed to go back to talk to your coach after this happens so that is the start of the match.  You would not be able to change your bat after the warm up.  If you go to take off your tracksuit etc after the warm up, you have to leave your bat on the table. 

You can inspect the other players bat at the start of the match when you do the toss for serve. The things to look for are if they are using a pimpled or anti-spin rubber.  In most club level matches you would know the other players.  At international matches, this may be the only time you ever get a chance to see your opponents bat and what they are using.  There isn't much else that is going to make a big difference to the match.

It is good to have information about the other player so that you can understand what is happening during the game, especially if they are using a pimpled rubber.

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Thoughts on this question

Surapun Wongopasi

Surapun Wongopasi Posted 10 years ago


Are you allowed to change bats during the match?  Because as you know, if you change you bat from normal rubbers to another bat with funny rubbers such as pimples or anti-spin, the whole game changes.


Thanks for your explanation.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Hi Surapan,

You are not allowed to change your bat unless you accidentally damage it.  

If you do damage your bat you need to have another bat ready to play with straight away.  that is why it is good to have a spare bat which is exactly the same as your first bat.

Surapun Wongopasi

Surapun Wongopasi Posted 10 years ago


thanks for your prompt reply. 

Surapun W. 

Martin Elliget

Martin Elliget Posted 9 years ago


Your explanation about changing bats is what I've always understood as well, but I can see any reference to this in the ITTF laws. The only reference I can find about changing bats during a match is 2.04.08 but that doesn't mention anything about accidental damage.


"Before the start of a match and whenever he or she changes his or her racket during a match a player shall show his or her opponent and the umpire the racket he or she is about to use and shall allow them to examine it."

With the rigorous testing they do on bats for international events, it would not be right that a player could simply change to a different bat during a match because he/she wanted to. Maybe it's one of the unwritten rules.

Martin Elliget

Martin Elliget Posted 9 years ago

There is this law under section 3, Regluations for International Competitions:

"A racket shall not be replaced during an individual match unless it is accidentally damaged so badly that it cannot be used; if this happens the damaged racket shall be replaced immediately by another which the player has brought with him or her to the playing area or one which is handed to him or her in the playing area."

Does that mean it also applies to domestic/local competitions?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

Hi Martin,

This rule should apply to all competitions as they are part of the rules of Table Tennis.

If a player is forced to change rackets during a match because of accidental damage, the racket can still be racket tested after the match.  If it fails the test then the player would forfeit the match.

rajeev bhalerao

rajeev bhalerao Posted 1 month ago

Dear Alois

Can we change bat in a tournament, but before the match, such as, in a match i play with inverted rubbers, and in another am i allowed to play with funny rubbers or even some different inverted rubbers...

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 1 month ago

Hi Rajeev,

Yes you can change bats between matches in a tournament. 

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