Etiquette let or not a let

Table Tennis Discussion

Last updated 3 years ago

Nigel C

Nigel C Asked 3 years ago

Alois and Jeff,

What are your opinions on points that should or should not be a let?

Sometimes on the serve the ball will catch the top of the net but only one person sees it! This has happened to me twice recently both match points  - one where I was serving for the match and one in a tournament where I was trying to save match point. The first I didn't see, my opponent thought it had caught the net, the umpire didn't see it. The second one where I was receiving I thought it was a let but again no one else thought so. In both cases the point went to the player who hadn't seen a 'let'.

My personal opinion is that I am happy to play a let that I haven't seen. I like to win but I don't like to win at all cost and want to be within the rules and be sporting towards my opponent. I have always been taught though that it is up to the umpire to make a decision. I don't wish to influence his/her judgment one way or another. In fact I have read that there are people who in game where they are points ahead will gladly say "oh that's a let" when they win a point, so that they can convince the umpire that they are honest. If there is a close end later in the same match and there is a contentious call the umpire may believe that the 'honest' player will still be honest and rule in their favor.

In both of the examples of actual points I didn't say anything. Do we (especially at lower levels where umpires sometimes, and I include myself in this, need help) speak up or do we just wait for the 'Official' decision.

I want to be friendly and fair but don't want to have anyone try calling let every time I get to match point.

Have you had points where you are the only one convinced that it was a let serve or even that a ball did or didn't catch an edge. How vocal were you?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 3 years ago

Hi Nigel,

I think the best thing to do is put your hand up while you are playing the point to indicate that you have seen a let.  Then it is up to the umpire to make a decision.

In practice what usually happens is that the other player will make a decision on what they will do.  In most cases the other player will just accept that it is a let and will stop the point.  I think that is probably the way to go in most cases unless the player has 'history'.

It is very much a case by case situation.

It has happened to me a lot when playing.  My protests depended on the 'reputation' of my opponent.

Would like to hear other players' opinions on this one.

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Thoughts on this question

Rohan Keogh

Rohan Keogh Posted 3 years ago

I think it is a common occurrence. It certainly is in my club-level matches.  I like to play 'benefit of the doubt' in favour of the player that saw the let.  It is just good sportsmanship. But if my opponent doesn't feel the same way I just let it go and play their call.  Arguing the point just gets me riled up and I lose focus for the next point.

If an opponent only ever calls a let that I don't see on critical points, in an important match, then I'd probably challenge. 

At club level, if the opponent calls a let, they have probably distracted themselves from the return anyway and in the end, you don't actually loose a point as you would do with an incorrect call on whether the ball hit the edge or side of the table.

felix Oak

felix Oak Posted 3 years ago

its the judge who need to say if they are any let or not let. 


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