Faults in table tennis

Updated: 9/28/2023
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13y ago

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How to Recognize a Service Fault in Table Tennis


Realize that in a proper serve, the ball must be struck behind the baseline of the table and in front of the server. It must also be struck above the table, and must bounce on the server's side before crossing the net2

Call a fault if the server's ball hand or paddle is beneath the table during the serve.


Call a fault if the ball is struck either behind the server or over the table on the serve.


Call a fault if the server spins the ball on the toss - spin may come only from the paddle.


Call a fault is the server hits the toss while it is still rising.


Call a fault against anyone who touches the table or hits the ball before it reaches his or her side of the table.


Call a fault against the receiver if he or she attempts to distract the server by stamping his feet, talking or otherwise obviously attempting to disturb play.


Call faults on double hits or hits with anything other than the paddle.

Tips & Warnings
  • Overhead obstructions, such a lamp or a low ceiling, are considered part of the playing field and should be played as is.

  • If a serve hits the net and goes over, it is a "let," and must be served again.

  • Although the ball may legally travel around the net, it may not go through holes or between the post and the net.

  • Fault rules are meant as generalities and should not be overscrutinized in friendly play.

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