Service Rule and Ball coming back

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 8 years ago

Steve Vaugier

Steve Vaugier Asked 8 years ago

Coach, down playing at the club today and 2 different topics came up.

1) as I  started to serve during the match my toss was erratic and I did not swing at it. I maintain that this is a do-over since I did not swing. My opponent said it should be his point.

2) During a volley I returned a shot with a lot of backsin, so much so that he did not return the ball until it was on my side of the net, thus, his hand was on my side when contact was made. I maintain that his return was illegal and should be my point.

Please advise on both questions and if you can, refer to a number in the official rules. Thanks for your great site, Steve


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Steve,

On the first question your friend is right.  As soon as the ball leaves your hand it is in play.  So even if you don't swing it is still your opponent's point.

Take a look at the service rule which states that the serve starts when the ball is stationary in the palm of your hand.

2.06  THE SERVICE 
2.06.01 Service shall start with the ball resting freely on the open palm of the server's stationary free hand. 
2.06.02 The server shall then project the ball near vertically upwards, without imparting spin, so that it rises at least 16cm after leaving the palm of the free hand and then falls without touching anything before being struck. 
2.06.03 As the ball is falling the server shall strike it so that it touches first his or her 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. 
2.06.04 From the start of service until it is struck, the ball shall be above the level of the playing surface and behind the server's end line, and it shall not be hidden from the receiver by the server or his or her doubles partner or by anything they wear or carry. 
2.06.05 As soon as the ball has been projected, the server’s free arm and hand shall be removed from the space between the ball and the net. 
The space between the ball and the net is defined by the ball, the net and its indefinite upward extension. 
2.06.06 It is the responsibility of the player to serve so that the umpire or the assistant umpire can be satisfied that he or she complies with the requirements of the Laws, and either may decide that a service is incorrect. 

On the second point it would be your opponents point as well.  He is allowed to come over onto your side of the table to hit the ball.

He isn't allowed to touch the net though.  THere is no specific rule that says they are allowed onto your side but there is nothing excluding it.

Sorry, I hope you didn't lose too much on this.  Glad you enjoy the site.  Hope you still do after this response!


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Steve Vaugier

Steve Vaugier Posted 8 years ago

Coach, Your answers are not the ones I wanted to hear. I think I am now entering a great state of depression (ha). Thanks again for the help, Steve


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 8 years ago

No problems.  I didn't think that is what you were after :)



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