Missing the ball on the serve

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 2 years ago

andrew kantsas

andrew kantsas Asked 9 years ago

When you take your serve and completely miss the ball, what happens to points?

I've always assumed that because you never hit it you can take the serve again.

Is it true that only contact with the bat counts as a serve?

Also to ask another question at the same time, when you serve if it clips the edge of the table is that a legal serve? 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 9 years ago

Hi Andrew,

Unfortunately even if you miss the ball completely you lose the point.  The serve starts when you throw the ball up. So if you miss it after that you lose the point.

If the serve clips the edge of the table it is still a good serve.  Anywhere on the top surface of the table is counted as in.

Take a look at our lesson on the Rules of Table Tennis.  In there you will also find a brochure that you can download with a summary of the Table Tennis Rules


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Thoughts on this question

Viktar Ramanovich

Viktar Ramanovich Posted 2 years ago

Hi there,

I would like to expand the question. When I toss the ball I often miss the ball (or hit the edge of the bat) because I try to move my wrist very fast and get the most spin I can. How can I improve this so I can move my bat quickly and still catch the ball while serving (for good spinny serve it should be fast movement and thin contact)?

Maybe there are some training lessons about this or maybe I just toss the ball incorrectly like out of the proper bat swing? I'm confused.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 2 years ago

Hi Viktar,

I find this is something that happens quite often when you are starting to do a new serve.

I would focus on keeping the same speed on the swing and then alter the movement.  Try moving into the ball more.  Often we miss behind the ball. Swing earlier or push your bat more forward at the point of contact.

It will come with a lot of swinging and frustration...


Viktar Ramanovich

Viktar Ramanovich Posted 2 years ago

It seems that my problem is that I swing just before the ball. So I swing then the ball falls. I'm afraid that I miss the ball and I start to swing earlier than I should. Don't know what to do. Maybe try to toss the ball lower so I have an eye contact all the time....



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