Serving round the net

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 3 years ago

Peter Crown

Peter Crown Asked 3 years ago

The serving rule says the ball must bounce on both sides of the table and go over or round the net assembly without touching it.   Is it possible to do a legal serve around the net?!  Can Jeff or Alois do a demo?!!  There's a challenge!  



Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 3 years ago

Hi Peter,

Yes very, very difficult to do... Maybe that is a challenge for everyone.  Film it just for evidence...

I guess the rule makers have to cover themselves.

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Peter Crown

Peter Crown Posted 3 years ago

Thanks Alois - I look forward to seeing someone do it! 

Who is going to be first? 

Keith Lantz

Keith Lantz Posted 3 years ago

Without adding " the ball going around the assembly", the ball would only be legal strictly above the net. A tomahawk serve that travels off the table and comes back to the table would be illegal without that addition.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 3 years ago

Here is a reply from our rules expert Graeme Ireland.

...about the ball going “over or around” the net. This rule no longer exists as it was a bit confusing as people tended to take it literally rather than knowing that it was defined elsewhere:

2.5.14 The ball shall be regarded as passing over or around the net assembly if it passes anywhere other than between the net and the net post or between the net and the playing surface.

This definition has now been deleted and the new rule for service is:

2.6.3 As the ball is falling the server shall strike it so that it touches first his or her court and then touches directly the receiver's court;

And for the return:

2.7.1 The ball, having been served or returned, shall be struck so that it touches the opponent's court, either directly or after touching the net assembly.


This allows for the ball to go over, under, around, or not over at all if it bounces back over the net and is then struck before hitting the table. This was always the intention and interpretation of the old rule but for many people it was misunderstood.

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