Time for the receiver to be ready between points

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 6 years ago

Phillip Simmons

Phillip Simmons Asked 6 years ago

How much time is normally allowed for a receiver to be ready for the serve to start?  A lot of people I have played with in tournaments and social games serve as soon as they are ready and don't give the receiver time to be set and ready to receive.  

Even in tournaments I have players serve to me as they are walking up to the table.  Which is illegal, They don't present the ball or come to a standstill. They have also served when I wasn't at the table as I was retrieving a stay ball from another court. They didn't look to see if I was there.

Do I need to hold my hand or racket up each time to make them wait? This would seem rude, but what other choice is there?  The tournament matches have no officials regulating the games.

I could not find a rule covering this, but there should be one.

I think the receiver should have 5-10 seconds after he/she is at the table to get ready. I also think the rule should state the server cannot serve until the receiver is ready. (given a reasonable time to be ready)

I think the server should look at the receiver, check that they are ready, announce the score and then serve. To me this is what should be done.

I must also say that the top players seem to do this.  It happens most at the lower levels.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 6 years ago

Hi Phillip,

There is no time limits between points.  The rules just states that play should be continuous.  

The hand has to be stationary before they start the serve.  Therefore, they need to be stopped before they serve.  They can’t walk in and be on the move and serve. 

You are right, at the top levels the players are quite good about waiting.  In fact it is usually a case of trying to speed players up rather than slow them down.


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