A service dilemma

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 4 years ago

Pieter Holwerda

Pieter Holwerda Asked 4 years ago

When preparing to serve, but before the ball is intentionally projected up, the ball rolls off the palm or is inadvertently knocked off the palm by the serving hand,...….is this a fault?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 4 years ago

Hi Pieter,

Technically this is a fault.  Particularly if you commenced the serving action it would be a fault.  However if you accidentally knock it off before you are even thinking of serving, it may technically be a fault but I wouldn't think it would be called a fault.

Notify me of updates
Add to Favourites
Back to Questions

Thoughts on this question

Pieter Holwerda

Pieter Holwerda Posted 4 years ago

Thank you Alois. This has been an issue at our club at times. It happens when the server is getting ready to serve and as he gets ready to serve, he accidently knocks it off his palm. This has been very contentious and still we don't know an official response. The ball has been presented, but not intentionally thrown up.


Rohan Keogh

Rohan Keogh Posted 4 years ago

2.05.01 A rally is the period during which the ball is in play.

2.05.02 The ball is in play from the last moment at which it is stationary on the palm of the free hand before being intentionally projected in service until the rally is decided as a let or a point.

2.05.04 A point is a rally of which the result is scored.

Hey Alois.  Read together, the 3 definitions above imply that a point would NOT be awarded where the ball unintentionally leaves the palm of the hand since it has NOT been intentionally projected.  Since the rally has not technically started it cannot be scored and a point cannot be awarded.  In that case, the scenario described by Pieter would not be a fault. 

We've always played such an occurrence as a 'non event'.  It isn't even a 'let' because a let requires that a rally has commenced. Is this not correct?



Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 4 years ago

Thanks Rohan.  I have checked in with Graeme Ireland (Ref extraordinaire) as well... He has confirmed that 'intentionally' is the operative word.  So if the ball is not intentionally thrown up it is not a fault and you just start again.  I stand corrected... again...

So Pieter, this is not a fault... just start again.  I hope this clears it up for you once and for all.

Rohan Keogh

Rohan Keogh Posted 4 years ago

It must be my legal training - I have an uncontrollable urge to interpret (and often reinterpret) rules LOL :)

Become a free member to post a comment about this question.