Hitting the ball when serving

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 5 years ago

Stelian Siarov

Stelian Siarov Asked 8 years ago

Hi! What happens when you miss the ball by serving? And if you hit it, but it goes under the table? Can I repeat the serve?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Stellan,

As soon as you throw the ball up it is in play, so if you miss it you lose the point.  Even if you hit it and it goes under the table you lose the point and can't repeat the serve.

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Thoughts on this question


Manfred Posted 5 years ago

Is it realy important to throw the ball up. I heard: the start of the service is to have the Ball in the flat hand and want's going to start. So what happens if i do so, stop my aktion, catch the ball, go in another position and start new "with the ball in the flat hand"? 

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

Hi Manfred,

In theory that would be a fault.  I don't think it ever gets called though.

The rule says:


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. 

Arjan van Luttikhuizen

Arjan van Luttikhuizen Posted 5 years ago

Manfred, the ball is not in play while it is laying still in your flat hand. The ball is in play once you have started to move your hand to throw the ball. Like Alois said, if you stop your throwing action it should technically be a fault, even if the ball didn't leave your hand yet.

I would suggest you never stop your throwing action just because you feel like it or because you decided to serve from a different position. The only time when it's excusable to throw and catch the ball without swinging is if there was a clear distraction

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