Big Serve Rule Change

Table Tennis Discussion

Last updated 4 years ago

Peter  Luxton

Peter Luxton Asked 4 years ago

Hi guys,

I have devised an alternative set of service rules as a fun game for entertainment value. But I was also wondering if it could be used as a serious contest in an exhibition-type setting to promote the sport of table tennis generally. Of course that would presuppose that the rallies would be worth watching. But I am not sure.

Could you give it a road test to help me find out?

Here are the basic rules:

1.      Firstly you will need about 6 inches (15cm) of gaffer tape (or similar) to use as your ‘service-mark’. Fix it to the floor 2.5m (8ft+) behind the table, and line it up lengthways as if it were an extension of the table centreline.

2.      The server then places his front foot on the ‘service-mark’ so that the front part of the mark is still visible. Until the ball is struck, the front foot maintains contact with the ‘service-mark’ and the rear foot remains farther from the table.

3.      The ball must be tossed lower than the server’s chin, and contact is made to the right side of the right front foot or to the left side of the left front foot. This means you are hitting the ball off the ‘wrong’ foot. (Ahem! Perhaps not a good coaching tool, but an acquired skill nevertheless)

4.      The ball is struck so that it travels directly onto the receivers half of the table. There is no restriction of where the receiver may stand to receive. All returns are then as per conventional table tennis rules.

These are a few of my own observations so far:

A common service tactic can be to loop the ball (off the ‘wrong’ foot), but chops and any other spins are also achievable. See if you can ‘ace’ your opponent by swinging the ball out wide, or maybe try to ‘jam’ it into his body. But watch out! If he manages to get it back, you may be in for some long protracted loop-to-loop rallies.

This model also works well with restricted equipment (i.e. hard bats) where the goal becomes trying to work your way to the table position so that you can finish off the point. In this case you could also adopt an alternative serving order: i.e. ‘winner of the point becomes the server’.

What was your assessment? Were you serving winners or ‘aces’ continuously? If so, is it just a matter of getting used to the different delivery, or would the bats have to be slowed down in some way to make the play viable? Where is the best place to stand to receive serve? Do you get longer or shorter rallies? Does it make the play more athletic?

I would love to get some feedback to find out what works and what doesn't work, or to see some results on youtube especially with accomplished players.

Thanks for your help! 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 4 years ago

Hi Peter,

Thanks for sending this idea through.

It would be good if anyone can trial this and let us know how it works.  Let's open up the discussion.


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