the official laws of table tennis

of 20 /20
The Ofcial Laws o Table Tennis 2.01 THE TABLE 2.01.01 The upper surface of the table, known as the playing surface, shall be rectangular, 2.74m long and 1.525m wide, and shall lie in a horiontal plane 7!cm abo"e the #oor. 2.01.02 The playing surface shall not include the "ertical sides of the tabletop. 2.01.0$ The playing surface may be of any material and shall yield a uniform bounce of about 2$cm when a standard ball is dropped on to it from a height of $0cm. 2.01.04 The playing surface shall be uniformly dark coloured and matt, but with a white side line, 2cm wide, along each 2.74m edge and a white end line, 2cm wide, along each 1.525m edge. 2.01.05 The playing surface shall be di"ided into 2 e%ual courts by a "ertical net running parallel with the end lines, and shall be continuous o"er the whole area of each court. 2.01.0! &or doubles, each court shall be di"ided into 2 e%ual half'courts by a white centre line, $mm wide, running parallel with the side lines( the centre line shall be regarded as part of each right half'court. 2.02 THE NET ASSEMBLY 2.02.01 The net assembly shall consist of the net, its suspension and the supporting posts, including the clamps attaching them to the table. 2.02.02 The net shall be suspended by a cord attached at each end to an upright post 15.25cm high, the outside limits of the post being 15.25cm outside the side line. 2.02.0$ The top of the net, along its whole length, shall be 15.25cm abo"e the playing surface. 2.02.04 The bottom of the net, along its whole length, shall be as close as possible to the playing surface and the ends of the net shall be as close as possible to the supporting posts. 2.03 THE BALL

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Rules required to play tennis properly

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The Official Laws of Table Tennis

2.01THE TABLE

2.01.01The upper surface of the table, known as the playing surface, shall be rectangular, 2.74m long and 1.525m wide, and shall lie in a horizontal plane 76cm above the floor.

2.01.02The playing surface shall not include the vertical sides of the tabletop.

2.01.03The playing surface may be of any material and shall yield a uniform bounce of about 23cm when a standard ball is dropped on to it from a height of 30cm.

2.01.04The playing surface shall be uniformly dark coloured and matt, but with a white side line, 2cm wide, along each 2.74m edge and a white end line, 2cm wide, along each 1.525m edge.

2.01.05The playing surface shall be divided into 2 equal courts by a vertical net running parallel with the end lines, and shall be continuous over the whole area of each court.

2.01.06For doubles, each court shall be divided into 2 equal half-courts by a white centre line, 3mm wide, running parallel with the side lines; the centre line shall be regarded as part of each right half-court.

2.02THE NET ASSEMBLY

2.02.01The net assembly shall consist of the net, its suspension and the supporting posts, including the clamps attaching them to the table.

2.02.02The net shall be suspended by a cord attached at each end to an upright post 15.25cm high, the outside limits of the post being 15.25cm outside the side line.

2.02.03The top of the net, along its whole length, shall be 15.25cm above the playing surface.

2.02.04The bottom of the net, along its whole length, shall be as close as possible to the playing surface and the ends of the net shall be as close as possible to the supporting posts.

2.03THE BALL

2.03.01The ball shall be spherical, with a diameter of 40mm.

2.03.02The ball shall weigh 2.7g.

2.03.03The ball shall be made of celluloid or similar plastics material and shall be white or orange, and matt.

2.04THE RACKET

2.04.01The racket may be of any size, shape or weight but the blade shall be flat and rigid.

2.04.02At least 85% of the blade by thickness shall be of natural wood; an adhesive layer within the blade may be reinforced with fibrous material such as carbon fibre, glass fibre or compressed paper, but shall not be thicker than 7.5% of the total thickness or 0.35mm, whichever is the smaller.

2.04.03A side of the blade used for striking the ball shall be covered with either ordinary pimpled rubber, with pimples outwards having a total thickness including adhesive of not more than 2.0mm, or sandwich rubber, with pimples inwards or outwards, having a total thickness including adhesive of not more than 4.0mm.

2.04.03.01Ordinary pimpled rubber is a single layer of non-cellular rubber, natural or synthetic, with pimples evenly distributed over its surface at a density of not less than 10 per cm2 and not more than 30 per cm2.

2.04.03.02Sandwich rubber is a single layer of cellular rubber covered with a single outer layer of ordinary pimpled rubber, the thickness of the pimpled rubber not being more than 2.0mm.

2.04.04The 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.

2.04.05The blade, any layer within the blade and any layer of covering material or adhesive on a side used for striking the ball shall be continuous and of even thickness.

2.04.06The surface of the covering material on a side of the blade, or of a side of the blade if it is left uncovered, shall be matt, bright red on one side and black on the other.

2.04.07The racket covering shall be used without any physical, chemical or other treatment.

2.04.07.01Slight deviations from continuity of surface or uniformity of colour due to accidental damage or wear may be allowed provided that they do not significantly change the characteristics of the surface.

2.04.08At the start of a match and whenever he changes his racket during a match a player shall show his opponent and the umpire the racket he is about to use and shall allow them to examine it.

2.05DEFINITIONS

2.05.01A rally is the period during which the ball is in play.

2.05.02The 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.

2.05.03A let is a rally of which the result is not scored.

2.05.04A point is a rally of which the result is scored.

2.05.05The racket hand is the hand carrying the racket.

2.05.06The free hand is the hand not carrying the racket; the free arm is the arm of the free hand.

2.05.07A player strikes the ball if he touches it in play with his racket, held in the hand, or with his racket hand below the wrist.

2.05.08A player obstructs the ball if he, or anything he wears or carries, touches it in play when it is above or travelling towards the playing surface, not having touched his court since last being struck by his opponent.

2.05.09The server is the player due to strike the ball first in a rally.

2.05.10The receiver is the player due to strike the ball second in a rally.

2.05.11The umpire is the person appointed to control a match.

2.05.12The assistant umpire is the person appointed to assist the umpire with certain decisions.

2.05.13Anything that a player wears or carries includes anything that he was wearing or carrying, other than the ball, at the start of the rally.

2.05.14The ball shall be regarded as passing over or around the net assembly if it passes anywhere other than between the net and the net post or between the net and the playing surface.

2.05.15The end line shall be regarded as extending indefinitely in both directions.

2.06THE SERVICE

2.06.01Service shall start with the ball resting freely on the open palm of the server's stationary free hand.

2.06.02The server shall then project the ball near vertically upwards, without imparting spin, so that it rises at least 16cm after leaving the palm of the free hand and then falls without touching anything before being struck.

2.06.03As the ball is falling the server shall strike it so that it touches first his court and then, after passing over or around the net assembly, touches directly the receiver's court; in doubles, the ball shall touch successively the right half court of server and receiver.

2.06.04From the start of service until it is struck, the ball shall be above the level of the playing surface and behind the server's end line, and it shall not be hidden from the receiver by the server or his doubles partner or by anything they wear or carry.

2.06.05As soon as the ball has been projected, the servers free arm and hand shall be removed from the space between the ball and the net. The space between the ball and the net is defined by the ball, the net and its indefinite upward extension.

2.06.06It is the responsibility of the player to serve so that the umpire or the assistant umpire can be satisfied that he complies with the requirements of the law, and either may decide that a service is incorrect.

2.06.06.01If either the umpire or the assistant umpire is not sure about the legality of a service he may, on the first occasion in a match, interrupt play and warn the server; but any subsequent service by that player or his doubles partner which is not clearly legal shall be considered incorrect.

2.06.07Exceptionally, the umpire may relax the requirements for a correct service where he is satisfied that compliance is prevented by physical disability.

2.07THE RETURN

2.07.01The ball, having been served or returned, shall be struck so that it passes over or around the net assembly and touches the opponent's court, either directly or after touching the net assembly.

2.08THE ORDER OF PLAY

2.08.01In singles, the server shall first make a service, the receiver shall then make a return and thereafter server and receiver alternately shall each make a return.

2.08.02In doubles, the server shall first make a service, the receiver shall then make a return, the partner of the server shall then make a return, the partner of the receiver shall then make a return and thereafter each player in turn in that sequence shall make a return.

2.08.03When two players who are in wheelchairs due to a physical disability are a pair playing doubles, the server shall first make a service, the receiver shall then make a return but thereafter either player of the disabled pair may make returns. However, no part of a players wheelchair shall protrude beyond the imaginary extension of the centre line of the table. If it does, the umpire shall award the point to the opposing pair.

2.09A LET

2.09.01The rally shall be a let

2.09.01.01if in service the ball, in passing over or around the net assembly, touches it, provided the service is otherwise correct or the ball is obstructed by the receiver or his partner;

2.09.01.02if the service is delivered when the receiving player or pair is not ready, provided that neither the receiver nor his partner attempts to strike the ball;

2.09.01.03if 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;

2.09.01.04if play is interrupted by the umpire or assistant umpire;

2.09.01.05if the receiver is in wheelchair due to a physical disability and in service the ball, provided that the service is otherwise correct,

2.09.01.05.01after touching the receivers court returns in the direction of the net;

2.09.01.05.02comes to rest on the receiver's court;

2.09.01.05.03in singles leaves the receivers court after touching it by either of its sidelines.

2.09.02Play may be interrupted

2.09.02.01to correct an error in the order of serving, receiving or ends;

2.09.02.02to introduce the expedite system;

2.09.02.03to warn or penalise a player or adviser;

2.09.02.04because the conditions of play are disturbed in a way which could affect the outcome of the rally.

2.10A POINT

2.10.01Unless the rally is a let, a player shall score a point

2.10.01.01if an opponent fails to make a correct service;

2.10.01.02if an opponent fails to make a correct return;

2.10.01.03if, after he has made a service or a return, the ball touches anything other than the net assembly before being struck by an opponent;

2.10.01.04if the ball passes over his court or beyond his end line without touching his court, after being struck by an opponent;

2.10.01.05if an opponent obstructs the ball;

2.10.01.06if an opponent deliberately strikes the ball twice in succession;

2.10.01.07if an opponent strikes the ball with a side of the racket blade whose surface does not comply with the requirements of 2.4.3, 2.4.4 and 2.4.5;

2.10.01.08if an opponent, or anything an opponent wears or carries, moves the playing surface;

2.10.01.09if an opponent, or anything an opponent wears or carries, touches the net assembly;

2.10.01.10if an opponent's free hand touches the playing surface;

2.10.01.11if a doubles opponent strikes the ball out of the sequence established by the first server and first receiver;

2.10.01.12as provided under the expedite system (2.15.2).

2.10.01.13if both players or pairs are in a wheelchair due to a physical disability and

2.10.01.13.01his opponent does not maintain a minimum contact with the seat or cushion(s), with the back of the thigh, when the ball is struck;

2.10.01.13.02his opponent touches the table with either hand before striking the ball;

2.10.01.13.03his opponents footrest or foot touches the floor during play.

2.10.01.14as provided under the order of play (2.8.3).

2.11A GAME

2.11.01A game shall be won by the player or pair first scoring 11 points unless both players or pairs score 10 points, when the game shall be won by the first player or pair subsequently gaining a lead of 2 points.

2.12A MATCH

2.12.01A match shall consist of the best of any odd number of games.

2.13THE ORDER OF SERVING, RECEIVING AND ENDS

2.13.01The right to choose the initial order of serving, receiving and ends shall be decided by lot and the winner may choose to serve or to receive first or to start at a particular end.

2.13.02When one player or pair has chosen to serve or to receive first or to start at a particular end, the other player or pair shall have the other choice.

2.13.03After each 2 points have been scored the receiving player or pair shall become the serving player or pair and so on until the end of the game, unless both players or pairs score 10 points or the expedite system is in operation, when the sequences of serving and receiving shall be the same but each player shall serve for only 1 point in turn.

2.13.04In each game of a doubles match, the pair having the right to serve first shall choose which of them will do so and in the first game of a match the receiving pair shall decide which of them will receive first; in subsequent games of the match, the first server having been chosen, the first receiver shall be the player who served to him in the preceding game.

2.13.05In doubles, at each change of service the previous receiver shall become the server and the partner of the previous server shall become the receiver.

2.13.06The player or pair serving first in a game shall receive first in the next game of the match and in the last possible game of a doubles match the pair due to receive next shall change their order of receiving when first one pair scores 5 points.

2.13.07The player or pair starting at one end in a game shall start at the other end in the next game of the match and in the last possible game of a match the players or pairs shall change ends when first one player or pair scores 5 points.

2.14OUT OF ORDER OF SERVING, RECEIVING OR ENDS

2.14.01If a player serves or receives out of turn, play shall be interrupted by the umpire as soon as the error is discovered and shall resume with those players serving and receiving who should be server and receiver respectively at the score that has been reached, according to the sequence established at the beginning of the match and, in doubles, to the order of serving chosen by the pair having the right to serve first in the game during which the error is discovered.

2.14.02If the players have not changed ends when they should have done so, play shall be interrupted by the umpire as soon as the error is discovered and shall resume with the players at the ends at which they should be at the score that has been reached, according to the sequence established at the beginning of the match.

2.14.03In any circumstances, all points scored before the discovery of an error shall be reckoned.

2.15THE EXPEDITE SYSTEM

2.15.01Except as provided in 2.15.2, the expedite system shall come into operation after 10 minutes play in a game or at any time when requested by both players or pairs.

2.15.02The expedite system shall not be introduced in a game if 18 points have been scored.

2.15.03If the ball is in play when the time limit is reached, play shall be interrupted by the umpire and shall resume with service by the player who served in the rally that was interrupted; if the ball is not in play when the expedite system comes into operation, play shall resume with service by the player who received in the immediately preceding rally.

2.15.04Thereafter, each player shall serve for 1 point in turn until the end of the game, and if the receiving player or pair makes 13 returns in a rally the receiver shall score a point.

2.15.05Introduction of the expedite system shall not alter the order of serving and receiving in the match, as defined in 2.13.6

2.15.06Once introduced, the expedite system shall remain in operation until the end of the match.

EquipmentBallThe international rules specify that the game is played with a light 2.7 gram, 40mm diameter ball.[16] The rules say that the ball shall bounce up 2426cm when dropped from a height of 30.5cm on to a standard steel block thereby having a coefficient of restitution of 0.89 to 0.92. The 40mm ball was introduced after the 2000 Olympic Games.[15] However, this created some controversy as the Chinese National Team argued that this was merely to give non-Chinese players a better chance of winning since the new type of balls has a slower speed, while at that time most Chinese players were playing with fast attack and smashes. A 40mm table tennis ball is slower and spins less than the original 38mm (1.5inch) one. The ball is made of a high-bouncing air-filled celluloid or similar plastics material, colored white or orange, with a matte finish. The choice of ball color is made according to the table color and its surroundings. For example, a white ball is easier to see on a green or blue table than it is on a gray table. Stars on the ball indicate the quality of the ball. Three stars indicate that it is of the highest quality, and is used in official competition.Table

Diagram of a table tennis table showing the unofficial dimensionsThe table is 2.74m (9ft) long, 1.52m (5ft) wide, and 76cm (30inch) high with a Masonite (a type of hardboard) or similarly manufactured timber, layered with a smooth, low-friction coating.[17] The table or playing surface is divided into two halves by a 15.25cm (6inch) high net. An ITTF approved table surface must be in a green or blue color. Concrete tables with a steel net are sometimes available in public parks.[18]RacketMain article: Table tennis racketPlayers are equipped with a laminated wooden racket covered with rubber on one or two sides depending on the grip of the player. The official ITTF term is "racket", though "bat" is common in Britain, and "paddle" in the U.S.The wooden portion of the racket, often referred to as the "blade", commonly features anywhere between one and seven plies of wood, though cork, glass fiber, carbon fiber, aluminum fiber, and Kevlar are sometimes used. According to the ITTF regulations, at least 85% of the blade by thickness shall be of natural wood.[19] Common wood types include Balsa, Limba, and Cypress or "Hinoki," which is popular in Japan. The average size of the blade is about 6.5inches (16.5cm) long and 6inches (15cm) wide. Although the official restrictions only focus on the flatness and rigidness of the blade itself, these dimensions are optimal for most play styles.Table tennis regulations allow different surfaces on each side of the racket.[20] Various types of surfaces provide various levels of spin or speed, and in some cases they nullify spin. For example, a player may have a rubber that provides much spin on one side of his racket, and one that provides no spin on the other. By flipping the racket in play, different types of returns are possible. To help a player distinguish between the rubber used by his opposing player, international rules specify that one side must be red while the other side must be black.[19] The player has the right to inspect his opponent's racket before a match to see the type of rubber used and what color it is. Despite high speed play and rapid exchanges, a player can see clearly what side of the racket was used to hit the ball. Current rules state that, unless damaged in play, the racket cannot be exchanged for another racket at any time during a match.[21]GameplayStarting a gameAccording to ITTF rule 2.13.1, the first service is decided by lot,[22] normally a coin toss.[23] It is also common for one player (or the umpire/scorer) to hide the ball in one or the other hand (usually hidden under the table), allowing the other player to guess which hand the ball is in. The correct or incorrect guess gives the "winner" the option to choose to serve, receive, or to choose which side of the table to use. (A common but non-sanctioned method is for the players to play the ball back and forth four times and then play out the point. This is commonly referred to as "play to serve" or "rally to serve".)Service and returnIn game play, the player serving the ball commences a play.[24] The server first stands with the ball held on the open palm of the hand not carrying the racket, called the freehand, and tosses the ball directly upward without spin, at least 16 centimeters (approximately 6inches) high.[25] The server strikes the ball with the racket on the ball's descent so that it touches first his court and then touches directly the receiver's court without touching the net assembly. In casual games, many players do not toss the ball upward; however, this is technically illegal and can give the serving player an unfair advantage.The ball must remain behind the endline and above the upper surface of the table, known as the playing surface, at all times during the service. The server cannot use his body or clothing to obstruct sight of the ball; the opponent and the umpire must have a clear view of the ball at all times. If the umpire is doubtful of the legality of a service they may first interrupt play and give a warning to the server. If the serve is a clear failure or is doubted again by the umpire after the warning, receiver scores a point.If the service is "good", then the receiver must make a "good" return by hitting the ball back before it bounces a second time on receiver's side of the table so that the ball passes the net and touches the opponent's court, either directly or after touching the net assembly.[26] Thereafter, the server and receiver must alternately make a return until the rally is over. Returning the serve is one of the most difficult parts of the game, as the server's first move is often the least predictable and thus most advantageous shot due to the numerous spin and speed choices at his or her disposal.LetA let is a rally of which the result is not scored, and is called in the following circumstances:[27] The ball touches the net in service, provided the service is otherwise correct or the ball is obstructed by the player on the receiving side. Obstruction means a player touches the ball when it is above or traveling towards the playing surface, not having touched the player's court since last being struck by the player. When the player on the receiving side is not ready and the service is delivered. Player's failure to make a service or a return or to comply with the Laws is due to a disturbance outside the control of the player. Play is interrupted by the umpire or assistant umpire.When time is an issue, some competitions only count a let if a player has over 10 points. If they have less, it counts as a fair shot. This can significantly increase the pace of game.ScoringA point is scored by the player for any of several results of the rally:[28] Opponent fails to make a correct service or return. After making a service or a return, the ball touches anything other than the net assembly before being struck by the opponent. The ball passes over the player's court or beyond his end line without touching his court, after being struck by the opponent. The opponent obstructs the ball. The opponent strikes the ball twice successively. Note that the hand that is holding the racket counts as part of the racket and that making a good return off one's hand or fingers is allowed. It is not a fault if the ball accidentally hits one's hand or fingers and then subsequently hits the racket. The opponent strikes the ball with a side of the racket blade whose surface is not covered with rubber. The opponent moves the playing surface or touches the net assembly. The opponent's free hand touches the playing surface. As a receiver under the expedite system, completing 13 returns in a rally.[29] The opponent has been warned by umpire commits a second offense in the same individual match or team match. If the third offence happens, 2 points will be given to the player.[30] If the individual match or the team match has not ended, any unused penalty points can be transferred to the next game of that match.[23]A game shall be won by the player first scoring 11 points unless both players score 10 points, when the game shall be won by the first player subsequently gaining a lead of 2 points. A match shall consist of the best of any odd number of games.[31] In competition play, matches are typically best of five or seven games.Alternation of services and endsService alternates between opponents every two points (regardless of winner of the rally) until the end of the game, unless both players score 10 points or the expedite system is operated, when the sequences of serving and receiving stay the same but each player serves for only 1 point in turn.[32] Player serving first in a game shall receive first in the next game of the match.After each game, players switch sides of the table. In the last possible game of a match, for example the seventh game in a best of seven matches, players change ends when the first player scores 5 points, regardless of whose turn it is to serve. If the sequence of serving and receiving is out of turn or the ends is not changed, points scored in the wrong situation are still calculated and the game shall be resumed with the order at the score that has been reached.Doubles game

Service zone in doubles gameIn addition to games between individual players, pairs may also play table tennis. In doubles, all the rules of single play are applied except for the following.1. A line painted along the long axis of the table to create doubles courts bisects the table. This line's only purpose is to facilitate the doubles service rule, which is that service, must originate from the right hand "box" in such a way that the first bounce of the serve bounces once in said right hand box and then must bounce at least once in the opponent side's right hand box (far left box for server), or the receiving pair score a point.[25]2. Players must alternate hitting the ball. For example, if A is paired with B, X is paired with Y, A is the server and X is the receiver. The order of play shall be A X B Y. The rally proceeds this way until one side fails to make a legal return and the other side scores.[33]3. At each change of service, the previous receiver shall become the server and the partner of the previous server shall become the receiver. For example, if the previous order of play is A X B Y, the order becomes X B Y A after the change of service.[32]4. In each game of a doubles match, the pair having the right to serve first shall choose which of them will do so. The receiving pair, however, can only choose in the first game of the match. When the first server is chosen in the second or the latter games of the match, the first receiver of the game is the player who served to the first server of the game in the preceding game. For example, if the order of play is A X B Y at beginning of the first game, the order begins with X A Y B or Y B X A in the second game depending on either X or Y being chosen as the first server of the game.5. When a pair reaches 5 points in the final game, the pairs must switch ends of the table and the team that receives the service must switch receiver. For example, when the last order of play before a pair score 5 points in the final game is A X B Y, the order after change shall be A Y B X if A still has the second serve. Otherwise, X is the next server and the order becomes X A Y B.Singles and doubles are both played in international competition, including the Olympic Games since 1988 and the Commonwealth Games since 2002.[34] In 2005, the ITTF announced that doubles table tennis only was featured as a part of team events in the 2008 Olympics.Expedite systemIf a game is unfinished after 10 minutes' play and fewer than 18 points have been scored, the expedite system is initiated.[29] The umpire interrupts the game, and the game resumes with players serving for 1 point in turn. If the expedite system is introduced while the ball is not in play, the previous receiver shall serve first. Under the expedite system, the server must win the point before the opponent makes 13 consecutive returns or the point goes to the opponent. The system can also be initiated at any time at the request of both players or pairs. Once introduced, the expedite system remains in force until the end of the match. A rule to shorten the time of a match, it is mainly seen in defensive players' games.GripsThough table tennis players grip their rackets in various ways, their grips can be classified into two major families of styles, penhold and shakehand.[35] The Laws of Table Tennis do not prescribe the manner in which one must grip the racket, and numerous grips are employed.PenholdThe penhold grip is so-named because one grips the racket similarly to the way one holds a writing instrument.[36] The style of play among penhold players can vary greatly from player to player. The most popular style, usually referred to as the Chinese penhold style, involves curling the middle, ring, and fourth finger on the back of the blade with the three fingers always touching one another.[36] Chinese penholders favor a round racket head, for a more over-the-table style of play. In contrast, another style, sometimes referred to as the Korean penhold grip, involves splaying those three fingers out across the back of the racket, usually with all three fingers touching the back of the racket, rather than stacked upon one another.[36] Sometimes a combination of the two styles occurs, wherein the middle, ring and fourth fingers are straight, but still stacked, or where all fingers may be touching the back of the racket, but are also in contact with one another. Korean penholders will often use a square-headed racket for an away-from-the-table style of play. Traditionally these square-headed rackets feature a block of cork on top of the handle, as well as a thin layer of cork on the back of the racket, for increased grip and comfort. Penhold styles are popular among players originating from East Asian regions such as China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.Traditionally, penhold players use only one side of the racket to hit the ball during normal play, and the side which is in contact with the last three fingers is generally not used. This configuration is sometimes referred to as "traditional penhold" and is more commonly found in square-headed racket styles. However, the Chinese developed a technique in the 1990s in which a penholder uses both sides of the racket to hit the ball, where the player produces a backhand stroke (most often topspin) by turning the traditional side of the racket to face one's self, and striking the ball with the opposite side of the racket. This stroke has greatly improved and strengthened the penhold style both physically and psychologically, as it eliminates the strategic weakness of the traditional penhold backhand.

ShakehandThe shakehand (or shakehands) grip is so-named because the racket is grasped as if one is performing a handshake.[37] Though it is sometimes referred to as the "tennis" or "Western" grip, it bears no relation to the Western tennis grip. (Popularized on the West Coast of the United States in which the racket is rotated 90, and played with the wrist turned so that on impact the knuckles face the target.) In table tennis, Western refers to Western nations, for this is the grip that players native to Europe and the Americas have almost exclusively employed.The shakehand grips simplicity and versatility, coupled with the acceptance among top-level Chinese trainers that the European style of play should be emulated and trained against, has established it as a common grip even in China.[38] Many world-class Asian players currently use the shakehand grip, and it is generally accepted that shakehands is easier to learn than penholder, allowing a broader range of playing styles both offensive and defensive.[39]Types of strokesTable tennis strokes generally break down into offensive and defensive categories.Offensive strokesSpeed driveA direct hit on the ball propelling it forward back to the opponent. This stroke differs from speed drives in other racket sports like tennis because the racket is primarily perpendicular to the direction of the stroke and most of the energy applied to the ball results in speed rather than spin impart no-spin or sidespin variations of the chop.BlockThe block is a simple shot, but nonetheless can be devastating against an attacking opponent. A block is executed by simply placing the racket in front of the ball right after the ball bounces; thus, the ball rebounds back toward the opponent with nearly as much energy as it came in with. This is not as easy as it sounds, because the ball's spin, speed, and location all influence the correct angle of a block. It is very possible for an opponent to execute a perfect loop, drive, or smash, only to have the blocked shot come back at him just as fast. Due to the power involved in offensive strokes, often an opponent simply cannot recover quickly enough, and will be unable to return the blocked shot. Blocks almost always produce the same spin as was received, usually topspin.LobThe defensive lob is possibly the most impressive shot, since it propels the ball about five meters in height, only to land on the opponent's side of the table with great amounts of spin.[41] To execute, a defensive player first backs-off the table 46 meters; then, the stroke itself consists of lifting the ball to an enormous height before it falls back to the opponent's side of the table. A lob is inherently a creative shot, and can have nearly any kind of spin. Top-quality players use this to their advantage in order to control the spin of the ball. For instance, though the opponent may smash the ball hard and fast, a good defensive lob could be more difficult to return due to the unpredictability and heavy amounts of the spin on the ball.[41] Thus, though backed off the table by tens of feet and running to reach the ball, a good defensive player can still win the point using good lobs. However, at the professional level, lobbers will lose the point most of the time, so the lob is not used unless it is really necessary.[41]Effects of spinAdding spin onto the ball causes major changes in table tennis gameplay. Although nearly every stroke or serve creates some kind of spin, understanding the individual types of spin allows players to defend against and use different spins effectively.[42]

4 phases in a backspin curveBackspinBackspin is where the bottom half of the ball is rotating away from the player, and is imparted by striking the base of the ball with a downward movement.[42] At the professional level, backspin is usually used defensively in order to keep the ball low.[43] Backspin is commonly employed in service because it is harder to produce an offensive return, especially on a short serve. Due to the initial lift of the ball, there is a limit on how much speed with which one can hit the ball without missing the opponent's side of the table. However, backspin also makes it harder for the opponent to return the ball with great speed because of the required angular precision of the return. Alterations are frequently made to regulations regarding equipment in an effort to maintain a balance between defensive and offensive spin choices.[citation needed] It is actually possible to smash with backspin offensively, but only on high balls that are close to the net.

4 phases in a topspin curveTopspinThe harder-to-learn topspin stroke has a smaller influence on the first part of the ball-curve. Like the backspin stroke, however, the axis of spin remains roughly perpendicular to the trajectory of the ball thus allowing for the Magnus effect to dictate the subsequent curvature. After the apex of the curve, the ball dips downwards as it approaches the opposing side, before bouncing. On the bounce, the topspin will accelerate the ball, much in the same way that a wheel which is already spinning would accelerate upon making contact with the ground. Again, the most significant change appears when the opponent attempts to return the ball (with a smooth, pimples inwards rubber). Due to the topspin, the ball jumps upwards and the opponent is forced to compensate for the topspin by adjusting the angle of his or her racket. This is commonly known as "closing the racket". The speed limitation of the topspin stroke is minor compared to the backspin stroke. This stroke is the predominant technique used in professional competition because it gives the opponent less time to respond. In table tennis topspin is regarded as an offensive technique due to increased ball speed, lower bio-mechanical efficiency and the pressure that it puts on the opponent by reducing reaction time. (It is possible to play defensive topspin-lobs from far behind the table, but only highly skilled players use this stroke with any tactical efficiency.) Topspin is the least common type of spin to be found in service at the professional level, simply because it is much easier to attack a top-spun ball that is not moving at high speed.SidespinThis type of spin is predominantly employed during service, wherein the contact angle of the racket can be more easily varied. Unlike the two aforementioned techniques, sidespin causes the ball to spin on an axis which is vertical, rather than horizontal. The axis of rotation is still roughly perpendicular, to the trajectory of the ball. In this circumstance, the Magnus effect will still dictate the curvature of the ball to some degree. Another difference is that unlike backspin and topspin, sidespin will have relatively very little effect on the bounce of the ball, much in the same way that a spinning top would not travel left or right if its axis of rotation were exactly vertical. This makes sidespin a useful weapon in service, because it is less easily recognized when bouncing, and the ball "loses" less spin on the bounce. Sidespin can also be employed in offensive rally strokes, often from a greater distance, as an adjunct to topspin or backspin. This stroke is sometimes referred to as a "hook". The hook can even be used in some extreme cases to circumvent the net when away from the table.CorkspinThis type of spin is almost exclusively employed in service, but it is also used from time to time in the lob at the professional level. Unlike any of the aforementioned techniques, corkspin (sometimes referred to as "drill-spin") features a unique situation in which the axis of spin is more or less parallel to the trajectory of the ball. This means that the Magnus effect will have little to no effect on the trajectory of a cork-spun ball. Upon bouncing, the ball will dart right or left, depending on the direction of the spin, making it very difficult to return. Although in theory this type of spin produces the most obnoxious effects, it is not as strategically practical as sidespin or backspin in terms of the limitations that it imposes upon the opponent during their return. Aside from the initial direction change when bouncing, provided that it does not exceed the reach of the opponent, a cork-spun ball is easily countered with topspin or backspin. Similar to a backspin stroke, the corkspin stroke has a lower maximum velocity, simply due to the contact angle of the racket when producing the stroke. To impart a spin on the ball which is parallel to its trajectory, the racket must be swung more or less perpendicular to the trajectory of the ball. This greatly limits the amount of forward momentum that can be transferred to the ball by the racket. Corkspin is almost always mixed with another variety of spin, as it is less effective and harder to produce on its own.CompetitionCompetitive table tennis is popular in Asia and Europe and has been gaining attention in the United States.[44] The most important international competitions are the World Table Tennis Championships, the Table Tennis World Cup, the Olympics and the ITTF Pro Tour. Continental competitions include the European Championships, Europe Top-12, the Asian Championships and the Asian Games. Chinese players have won the men's World Championships 60% of the time since 1959;[45] in the women's competition, Chinese players have won all but three of the World Championships since 1971.[46] Other strong teams come from East Asia and European countries, including Austria, Belarus, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sweden, and Taiwan.[47]There are also professional competitions at the clubs level. The national league of countries like China (the China Table Tennis Super League), Germany, France, Belgium and Austria are some highest level examples. There are also some important international club teams competitions such as the European Champions League and its former competition, the European Club Cup, where the top club teams from European countries compete.