Rule Change: Edge Balls out or a let

Table Tennis Discussion

Last updated 7 years ago

Beauford P

Beauford P Asked 7 years ago

Hello.

I'd like to get your opinion about getting the edge ball rule changed. I'd like to hear yours and others' comments/counter arguments on my ideas below.

Here's my thoughts on the edge ball rule. Ultimately I'd like it changed to if the ball hits the edge it's out. Plain and simple.  If it deviates from it's trajectory in any way, because it hit the edge, then it's 'out of bounds'. There is no disputing WHEN a ball has hit the edge. Everyone knows/has experienced when the ball has hit the edge.

Others I've discussed this with have come up with a counter argument of "Well the table has white lines to show the boundaries like Tennis and like in tennis if the ball touches any part of the line while also touching the outside of the court, then it's classed as being in". But I argue that because the surface in Table tennis is 3 or so feet above the ground (not level to the ground as in tennis), then this would comply with being 'out of bounds'. Put another way, when the ball hits the outer edge of the line in Tennis, it's 'bounce or trajectory' is NOT affected, but in TT it IS.

This new ruling of being out would get rid of the apologies needed, or lack of apologies causing players stress, mentioned in other comments I've read here. It would get rid of the taunts mentioned in other comments.  It would get rid of players thinking about the point causing them to play the rest of the game differently etc etc. All the negative comments I've read about it would be moot.

BUT, on the other hand and having said all the above, if calling the edge ball out is too much of a controversy, then how about at least calling it a let and replay the point?

According to rule 2.09.02.04, I argue that an edge ball could, at the very least, come under this ruling.

taken from http://www.ittf.com/ittf_handbook/ittf_hb.html

2.09  A LET 
2.09.01  The rally shall be a let 
2.09.01.01  if in service the ball touches the net assembly, provided the service is otherwise correct or the ball is obstructed by the receiver or his or her partner; 
2.09.01.02  if the service is delivered when the receiving player or pair is not ready, provided that neither the receiver nor his or her partner attempts to strike the ball; 
2.09.01.03  if failure to make a service or a return or otherwise to comply with the Laws is due to a disturbance outside the control of the player; 
2.09.01.04  if play is interrupted by the umpire or assistant umpire; 
2.09.01.05  if the receiver is in wheelchair owing to a physical disability and in service the ball, provided that the service is otherwise correct, 
2.09.01.05.01  after touching the receiver's court returns in the direction of the net; 
2.09.01.05.02  comes to rest on the receiver's court; 
2.09.01.05.03  in singles leaves the receiver’s court after touching it by either of its sidelines. 
2.09.02  Play may be interrupted 
2.09.02.01  to correct an error in the order of serving, receiving or ends; 
2.09.02.02  to introduce the expedite system; 
2.09.02.03  to warn or penalise a player or adviser; 
2.09.02.04  because the conditions of play are disturbed in a way which could affect the outcome of the rally. 

What are your thoughts?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 years ago

Hi Beauford,

Interesting thoughts.

Personally I think the edge ball is difficult to judge each time.  I have often seen players complain that the other person has got an edge but in fact the ball was just close to the edge.  If the ball bounces a little strangely close to the edge of the table then players again would be frustrated if the umpire didn’t call a let or out.  It puts more onus on the umpire and especially at club level this is another area that would cause controversy.

At the moment, it is easy to tell if the ball is in or out by whether it touches the table or not.

I would be really interested in others opinions.

Good area for discussion.


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Thoughts on this question

Thomas Kunzfeld

Thomas Kunzfeld Posted 7 years ago

I don´t see any problems with edge balls and no reason why the rules should be changed. They´re just part of the game. Edge balls happen to everybody the same - so nobody has an advantage or disadvantage by them (and nobody can really do them on purpose). So first a change of the rules wouldn´t change the score and second it would only lead to complications like Alois described.

And also I don´t see a need for apologies. As a beginner I am even surprised at these apologies. I apologize because it seems to be a kind of a habit for table tennis players.


utkarsh agarwal

utkarsh agarwal Posted 7 years ago

Apologizing for net or edge ball is a kind of sportsmanship. So i dont think that you should not apologize for a net or edge ball


Beauford P

Beauford P Posted 7 years ago

Thanks Alois and others for your comments.

First to Alois, I'm not talking about edge balls the way you described, I'm talking about the obvious ones that nobody disputes. The ones where you're into a rally and both are trying their hardest and one person accidently overplays it and hits the edge causing both players to gasp. I have NEVER seen anybody dispute an OBVIOUS edge ball. The ones you're talking about seem to be already causing controversy so maybe playing the let would stop this??

Thomas, the issue I have with "it's part of the game" is that it's not really part of the game. It happens during a game, yes, just like a ball coming from another table happens in a game. Why don't we keep playing those points instead of calling a let?? It's an unecessary part of the game. I see it as a "conditions of play are disturbed in a way which could affect the outcome of the rally".  I don't see people training to try and hit egdes or anyone training to get back accidental edge shots so why is this 'part of the game'? Your comment of "(and nobody can really do them on purpose)" sort of emphasises this point, doesn't it? Which then brings me to why I always apologise - because I didn't mean it.  Don't you feel bad when you win a point by accident??? Or do you feel good that you got lucky, ie you trained so hard to get a lucky shot?

And I don't think "it happens to everybody the same so nobody has an advantage". If your opponent does it 3 times before you do 1, are you not psychologically at a disadvantage? I don't know you personally but I've read other people on here that it affects, when they've done NOTHING wrong.

I just think that edge balls cause more harm psychologically (leading to bad sportsmanship) than at least playing a let would.


Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 7 years ago

Judging edge balls would lead to a lot of disputes I think. It's already hard enough sometimes to decide if a ball is "in" or "out" when it touches the left of right edge of the table while coming from the outside ("did it touch the corner or the side?" I.e. "was the outgoing angle bigger than the incoming angle?") Now imagine applying this to all the edge balls. Lots of them are obvious, but a good amount of them are really not and bounce just a fraction less than they would have normally. Any long ball oddly bouncing could be called "lets" by more or less honest players. I have a player in my club who puts so much spin on his topspins that they have a deadly low rebound. So any time one of these lands on the white line, it looks like an edge ball. So I'd gladly avoid these situations and rather count on the fairness of lady luck to balance things for both players more or less. I think it's very similar to the "ball hits the finger + the racquet" topic: gives an unfair advantage to the author, but so hard to judge that all in all, we're better off accepting them all.


Beauford P

Beauford P Posted 7 years ago

"Judging edge balls would lead to a lot of disputes I think. It's already hard enough sometimes to decide if a ball is "in" or "out" when it touches the left of right edge of the table while coming from the outside ("did it touch the corner or the side?" I.e. "was the outgoing angle bigger than the incoming angle?") Now imagine applying this to all the edge balls. Lots of them are obvious, but a good amount of them are really not and bounce just a fraction less than they would have normally."

 

Jean, I'm confused here. You sound like calling it a let is a bad thing but when making the above statement, it just reinforces the need to call it a let and be done with the disputes and just go on with the game. The first half of your comments sounds like you're agreeing with me then the 2nd half is the opposite.


Beauford P

Beauford P Posted 7 years ago

Does anyone have any comment on my idea that an edge ball c/would fall under the description of Rule 2.09.02.04?


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 7 years ago

Hi Beauford,

I don't think 2.09.02.04 relates to edges. The way I read it is if the court is disturbed then a let can be called. So if something from another court entered your court or if someone ran into the court. I think the ball hitting the edge doesn't disturb the conditions of play.

Personally I'd like to keep it as is. I do think it would complicate things by calling lets on edges. It's an interesting idea though and always good to hear people's thoughts.


Beauford P

Beauford P Posted 7 years ago

Hi Jeff,

I think you misunderstood me. I'm not saying 2.09.02.04 applies to edges. I'm saying edges could come under this rule as a rule change.

I'm finding it hard to comprehend (other) comments on here saying stuff along the lines of "it's too hard to work out edges as they are" so instead of calling a let and getting on with it, lets keep it as it is and keep it consusing and disruptive to the game...


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 7 years ago

I think that the issue is that at the moment it is a little disruptive but it might become more disruptive when players start claiming that any ball near the edge actually hit the edge and should be a let.


Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 7 years ago

Hi Beauford,

I'll try to rephrase: Yes, an edge ball gives you an unmerited advantage, so in the spirit of the rule you referred to, yes we may call them "lets" BUT telling whether a ball landing in the edge area did hit the edge or did not, judging by its bounce, is too difficult in some cases (not all of them are that obvious), THEREFORE calling all of them "in" still is the better option overall.

Calling only the "obvious" ones "lets" is not possible, since nobody will agree on what is "obvious" and what is not. You need a clear definition.

And yes, you're right, sometimes chance leans more towards one of the two players during a single game or even a whole match. Some points are also more important than others, so when you're unlucky on those ones, that can hurt. But overall, let's say over one year, lucky and unlucky days should more or less be balanced.


Beauford P

Beauford P Posted 7 years ago

Hi Jean,

Gotta disagree with you a bit there. I think the obvious ones ARE more common than the 'more difficult' ones, therefore calling a let and getting on with the game, giving nobody an advantage, would be the better way to go.

I'm sure you and others here have been playing a lot longer than me, but in all my time playing (competition), I've not seen anybody claim an edge ball when it's not. I think I must play a different class of player than you guys (as I play in the lower ranks). It must be more serious (and less sportsmanlike) in the upper ranks???

What I do see is somebody getting lucky a few times in a game and you can clearly see the affect it has on the other person and the rest of their game. I'm just arguing that as it's not part of the game (as in I don't train for it), then it's not fair and therefore should be classed at least a let. If it was fair and part of the game then there'd be no need to apologise for getting a lucky shot.

I just like things to be fair for both players. I don't think getting an edge (obvious or not) is fair.


Thomas Kunzfeld

Thomas Kunzfeld Posted 7 years ago

Edge balls are totally unpredictable, uncontrollable and always a surprise - that´s exactly why I like them. To me, that adds spice to the game. After all...it´s PLAYING table tennis - I dont want to get too serious about it.



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