What happens when your paddle hits the table on serves or returns.

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 4 months ago

Mohammed Unknown

Mohammed Unknown Asked 14 years ago

Hi Everybody!!!

my question is that, when you either serve or return, and your paddle either slips or hits the table what does it count against you or do you continue playing if it goes over.

when you serve and it hits the net and goes over, you said to redo it. is there a limt to it.

do you have to toss the ball on your serves, or can u just hold it and hit it. couple of my friends also said thet it has to be 6 inches over the table.

Thanks guys loved your vids and everything you guys are doing for us.

thanks man.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 14 years ago

Hi Mohammed,

When you return or serve and your bat hits the table, you continue playing. You are not allowed to touch the table with your non-playing hand but you are allowed to touch it with your bat. You are not allowed to move the table though or you lose the point.

When you serve a let in Table Tennis, you replay the point. You continue doing this until you either serve a valid serve or you serve a fault. There is no limit on the number of lets you can serve. Our lesson on the rules of Table Tennis talks about these points in more detail.

When serving in Table Tennis, the ball must be thrown clear of your hand by at least 6 inches, You cannot serve it straight out of your hand. This can take some time to get used to. Take a look at our lesson "How To Serve" and you will soon get the idea.

Good luck with your Table Tennis!


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Thoughts on this question

Terry Jeske

Terry Jeske Posted 5 months ago

You did not answer the question about when the paddle hits the table during a serve. A friend told me that since the serve action must take place in front of the table, that hitting the table with your paddle was illegal and loss of point. Sounds reasonable, but I could see a slice serve where the follow through hits the table after the ball was contacted.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 5 months ago

Hi Terry,

 Your Bar is allowed to touch the table on the serve and return. In the serve the bat can hit the table in the follow through after you got the ball behind the end line. 


Tono Bungay

Tono Bungay Posted 4 months ago

Hello, Alois Rosario.  I'm a brand-new member of PingSkills and fairly new to table tennis altogether.  Your answer leaves me wanting to push the question a bit further.  Suppose the server puts the ball in play normally and fairly but follows through deliberately into the table in order to make a big disturbing noise.  I can imagine that that would disconcert his opponent.  i'd consider it horribly bad sportsmanship, but would it be legal?


D K

D K Posted 4 months ago

You mean if the server hits the table purposefully after using a successful serve?
Then he would be most probably an idiot,because he would probably not have enough time to react to the next ball...I would give a yellow card to him...but let's wait for Alois' opinion


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 4 months ago

Hi Tono,

Hitting the table deliberately is an offence and would gain you a Yellow card as well.



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