Illegal serves with no official umpires present

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 5 months ago

Jasper Low

Jasper Low Asked 5 months ago

Hi pingskills. I noticed that in my country, official tournaments organised by the national table tennis association usually does not have umpires up until quarterfinals onwards. Before that ,theres only players to substitute the umpire's position. Pretty much all players only do scorekeeping and nothing else as umpires. So how would you settle illegal serve problems in that situation?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 5 months ago

Hi Jasper,

Dealing with illegal serves in the absence of official umpires can indeed be challenging in tournament play, especially when it's just the players upholding the rules. Here are some steps you can take to address such situations:

Familiarize Yourself with the Rules: Make sure you have a solid understanding of what constitutes a legal vs. an illegal serve in table tennis. By knowing the rules, you will be better equipped to discern if there's an issue with an opponent's serve.

Dialogue Beforehand: It can be effective to bring up the topic of serving rules during the pre-match warm-up or before play commences. Mention to your opponent that you are both responsible for ensuring a fair game by following the rules, including that of service. This can sometimes prevent illegal serves before they happen.

Friendly Reminder: If you notice an opponent consistently making illegal serves, you might first remind them courteously of the specific rule they're violating. For example, "I think your serve might not be legal because the ball isn't being tossed high enough. Would you mind paying extra attention to that?"

Escalation: If the opponent persists with the illegal serve despite the friendly reminders, you can suggest that you both ask a bystander to watch and help enforce the rules. If no one is available or willing to help, you might consider settling the issue with the tournament organizers or finding a coach or experienced player to intervene.

There should be a Referee for the tournament that you can consult on the rules and ask for specific advice.

Focus on Your Game: As frustrating as it might be to play against someone with illegal serves, sometimes the best approach is to focus on your own game and adapt as best as you can. If you're clearly the better player, your skills may still carry you through the match.

Post-Match Reporting: After the match, report the issue to the tournament officials so they are aware of the problem. This might not change the outcome of your game, but it could help encourage the presence of official umpires in future matches or earlier stages of the tournament. Remember, playing without an umpire requires a level of sportsmanship and self-regulation from both players. Upholding the spirit of the game and maintaining a friendly but firm approach can often help to keep the match fair and enjoyable.


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Jasper Low

Jasper Low Posted 5 months ago

Thanks,love the structure of the response:)



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