Saturday, 5 November 2016

Basic Rules of Table Tennis and Common Myths

When I'm coaching in the club I get a lot of social players coming up to me to clarify rules on some basic areas of the game. I figured since I'm trying to branch out and make posts which relate to all levels that it was a good idea to make a post on the most common areas of conflict among new and social players. Here are the basic rules and common conflicts:

Be diplomatic, learn the rules of table tennis to save disputes! 
Net Serve Rule: If the ball hits the net on a serve then it is a net serve and the point must be played again. If the ball hits the net any time other than the serve then the point is still in play and play continues.

Parts of the Net: All parts of the net are considered 'the net' this means if the ball hits the clamp which holds the net to the table, it is considered hitting the net. On rare occasions the ball will hit the top of the net and go over and hit the clamp and go off, in this instance the ball has hit the net twice but not the table and will not count. Even the post of the net counts as 'the net'.

The Edge Rule (Guidance in Brackets): A lot of players get confused about when a ball touches the edge. When does it count and when does it not count? It's simple. If the ball hits the top surface of the table (usually signified by a bounce upwards) then the point is awarded. If the ball however hits the side of the table (often deflecting downwards or straight) then this is not counted and the opponent wins the point. These can often be difficult to judge and can sometimes require the judgement of both players and an umpire in international matches.

Official Service Rules: Here are the official table tennis rules for a serve:

- The ball must be tossed from a flat palm, vertically, 16cm minimum
- The ball must be struck behind the white baseline of the table (not over the table)
- No part of the body may obstruct the path or contact of the ball during serve

Hitting Rules: 

- Your hand down to your wrist is considered 'part of your racket' if you return a ball hitting your fingers, hand or upper wrist by accident then the shot is legal.
- Accidental double hitting was made legal by the ITTF a few years ago, this means if the ball somehow double hits your racket or your hand/finger then racket and goes over then the shot is legal.

Debunking Myths:

- Diagonal service is not required for singles, only doubles.
- Three net serves in a row is not a point for the opposition, there is no net serve limit.
- You can play around the net to win a point, the ball does not have to travel 'over' the net.

Volleying Shots: It is illegal to volley in table tennis. A common conflict is when a players racket contacts the ball even after the ball has gone out. Here is the rule:

If the ball is travelling out but a player contacts the ball on the full in front of the white baseline then they lose the point as this is considered a volley which is illegal. If the ball is travelling out but a player makes contact with the ball after it has passed the white baseline then it is considered a missed shot and the player wins the point.

Table Contact and Movement: You will lose a point in table tennis for contact if:

- Your non-playing hand touches the table during a point.
- You move the table during a point.

Hopefully these will prevent you and your friends from souring a friendly game of table tennis by being up to date on all the stranger rules of table tennis! :)

2 comments:

  1. It’s good for both teams to be clear of the rules before starting the game in order to avoid any possible conflicts. Thanks for putting them up.

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