Rubber placement legality

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 4 years ago

Thomas James

Thomas James Asked 4 years ago

Hello Pingskills,

I did send this to ITTF but never got a response (as yet)

I have been playing for only 2.5 years, but I am definitely addicted, and I love working on my penholder style, Your videos helped me when starting as I was told early on by a coach that his experience is in shake hand and that I might want to change style. Viewing online videos have been my main resource in learning and am now a competent penholder.
Anyway, I was a little taken back at my local club when I was told my penholder racket wasn’t legal if in a national, international competition. I am not at that level......yet :) but I take rules very seriously, and I don’t want to ignore the rules just due to the level I play.
I know that my actual rubbers are legal, but this has to do with my forehand rubbers placement not touching the handle. There is a 14mm above due to where my fingers rest? I thought this was a normal preferance allowed, not only for penholders but for any player. 
Normally, banter i get off other club  players i don’t take seriously. But it was seemingly backed up by the TT coach who also said that in a professional competition my bat would be classed illegal.
Is there new rules coming in for the new tabletennis season? I have read through the ITTF guides and can't actually find anything really.
I have attached link of photos of my racket, I hope you can clear this up for me? the back rubber I do have up to the handle. Xu Xin style
Kindest Regards,

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 4 years ago

Hi Thomas,

That is legal.  You have no problems.  A lot of players do this to make the grip more comfortable.

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Thoughts on this question

Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 4 years ago

This probably comes from the rule that says "The covering should extend to the limits of, but not beyond, the blade, but some tolerance may be allowed. The referee must decide what is acceptable and advise his or her umpires accordingly but, as a guide, 2mm would be an acceptable margin to most referees.". So strickly speaking, raising the rubber more than 2mm over the handle should be illegal. In reality, no sensible referee will ever refuse your bat for this, because there's no way you could get any advantage with that. You will never hit the ball with this uneven area of your racket. I know some people who glue their rubbers like this even with a regular shakehand grip, just to make their bat a little lighter.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 4 years ago

Hi Thomas,

I have received some advice form Graeme Ireland our Ref extraordinaire that helps us out with tricky questions.

Hi Alois,


I was just looking at the recent questions and saw the one about the rubber placement legality. You are correct of course, and for future reference the relevant rule is:


2.4.4 The covering material shall extend up to but not beyond the limits of the blade, except that the part nearest the handle and gripped by the fingers may be left uncovered or covered with any material.


Thanks Graeme.

Rohan Keogh

Rohan Keogh Posted 4 years ago

Thanks Graeme. Like most of the rules in TT though this one is somewhat imprecise and therefore open to interpretation. "... the part nearest the handle and gripped by the fingers ..." can mean literally anything from 0 mm above the upper most edge of the handle to 30-40 mm above it, or more, depending on how each individual player grips the bat. Given some handles 'protrude' into the playing surface more than others, the rule could allow for almost 1/3 of the playing surface to be uncovered.

Interpretation and application of the rule is then left to the individual officials at any given competition and will therefore be subjective and inconsistent.  Have there been any instances of disputes and/or a ruling on this rule in international competition, of which you are aware?  Just curious ...

Cheers, Rohan

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