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Table Tennis Rules of Illegal Service

Welcome back to EmRatThich’s PingSunday video. Today, let’s learn the basic table
tennis rules and regulations. I will explain table tennis serving rules
and the umpire hand signals. Some of ITTF umpires are “bad umpires”. Bad call affects not only the players, but
also the viewers. Let’s study and discuss this case, for example! No offense! But some umpires don’t even know to serve
correctly. Give them the racket
and ask them to serve, you will laugh. Because they don’t play table tennis, they
apply the rule in the “harsh” way. The most “annoying” and “illegal” serve is
“hidden serve”. If you play table tennis, you will
understand this. In this case, the umpire made the “fault serve”
of Ma Long, because he didn’t throw high enough, at least 16 cm. Let’s see. You can clearly see that, Ma Long throwed
the ball high enough. I’m sure that this
is higher than 16 cm. Even with the camera angle is put high above,
there is no problem with this serve. It’s definitly a bad call! 🙁 I’m sometimes “angry” with quality of some
ITTF umpire, even the International level umpire. Some umpires even don’t play table tennis,
they just take some formations about the rules, and try to “teach”
the pro players how to serve! I will make a video about 3 types of umpires
in table tennis “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”. But today, I explain the rules of serving
in table tennis. Illegal Serve in Table
Tennis! Study Case 1. Not high enough To do the legal service, you need to throw
the ball near vertically upwards, and at least 16cm after leaving your free arm. This is how the umpire will explain your fault. Her finger represents the ball, she
can also say “Not High Enough”. 2. Palm Not Open You should hold the ball with an open palm. This rule is to avoid impact spin to the
ball with your hand. The ball shall not be hidden by the server
body or by anything they wear or carry. 3. Hidden Serve
By Arm By Shoulder
By Head Hidden serve by head, and shoulder is most
used trick, by top players. ITTF umpires
should focus more on this aspect to keep the game fair. The umpire will fold her arm to her body,
and can say “Hidden serve” by your body. The umpire will use the finger (represent
the ball), her palm open downward represents the table. And this hand signal means “ball below the
table”. 4. Ball
toss from below playing surface In table tennis, you should serve with the
ball above the table surface and behind the server’s end line. The umpire gives the point for your opponent. She uses her finger to show the ball,
her palm open downward to show the table. She could say “inside the end line”. 5. Ball toss from inside playing surface This fault is very common at the amateur level. Many new players throw the ball
with their fingers! It’s not correct. The ball must stay on your palm, not your
finger! 6. Ball resting on fingers
The umpire called a “fault serve”, and showed you that you throw the ball with your
fingers. Her palm is open and upward which represents
your free arm. Her finger shows
the ball (which touches the fingers of your free arm). 7. Not Vertical
This is very subjective! ITTF didn’t cite how many angle (60 degree,
80 degree) which is an accepted angle. So you should throw the ball “near” vertically! Some umpire will say, it’s OK! But another one could say “Fault Serve”. So it depends! Now, you know the principles of the official
table tennis serving rules. If you get the
“fault serve”, you will understand the umpire’s message. And if the umpire is wrong! Please show your opinion! Don’t let the bad umpire ruins your match!

David Frank



  1. Hacking Sensation Posted on May 20, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    I am the first viewer

  2. Hacking Sensation Posted on May 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm


  3. Hacking Sensation Posted on May 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Today was my tt tournament and I came second in u 15

  4. Hacking Sensation Posted on May 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Lost to someone to whom I never lost

  5. Fangda Chen Posted on May 20, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Goood videos brotha! 👌

  6. Paul Ispaul Posted on May 20, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Good information. The correct thing would be that you put in the description the link of the original video since I saw it and it explains in detail the failures at the serve.

  7. Shahzad Hassan Posted on May 20, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    What about the case if someone serves from side of the table?

  8. Muhammad Ikhsan Posted on May 20, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    What if the vertical trajectory when do hightoss is it legal?

  9. meklon5 Posted on May 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Well coach, this ML service is quite borderline. 15,25 cm? Very close! Palm or fingers? Vertical? Don't know what ML tried to do when executing this service. I guess he didn't expect the umpire to go for call, but big surprise! My advice: use services that are far away from beeing suspicious in any way, especially when it's a close situation. The umpire will not change his mind, the point is lost and your pulse is at least 20% higher. And don't test how far you can go in using the "grey area" what the umpire allows.

  10. Juan G Posted on May 20, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Watching slowmotion videos of Ma Long and acording to the rules, a lot of his serves are illigal. Don't you thing? Thanks, great videos!

  11. Antonio Posted on May 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    It was not 16 cm.

  12. Mr.Moody Posted on May 20, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    The case of Ma Long that you presented, the umpire call was correct and it is a fault serve, the ball did not leave his palm for 16 cm. However, I really wish you showcased the more recent calls the were specifically geared towards the Chinese team in the World Team Cup 2018 and the WTTTC 2018, the umpires deliberately would call faults on the Chinese players, while other players like Ovtcharov and Boll would get away with it! I also saw one of the Hong Kong's team players argue with the umpire over a fault service call when the player was facing the other way of the umpire and he still called a fault, the players argument was, "how can you tell its a fault when you cannot see?" and the unpire answered "well I can tell", I cannot remember which tournament this happened! it could be the german or the qatar open this year

  13. Victor Johansson Posted on May 20, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Can you do a video about stiffness on blades?

  14. Ryan Hong Posted on May 20, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    Hahaha give the umpire the racket and ask them to demonstrate

  15. Neil Carlson Posted on May 20, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    Make sure you pronounce the r sound in umpire. Great video!

  16. richardsimons1234 Posted on May 20, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Part of the problem is inconsistent calls by umpires. Few are strict, following the rule book.. But the large majority don't, and let marginally illegal serves slide. The problem is that this conditions players to think that their illegal serves are legal. And when they encounter a strict (but correct) umpire, they will be very bewildered that their serve which they've done 100s of times without any call, is now being called illegal. It also makes it difficult to tell if this umpire is being legit or not.

    Additionally, from the POV of the umpire, it can be very difficult to tell. If the hand is flat during the toss, but immediately after the fingers curl, it covers the ball from the POV of the umpire, and he/she won't be able to tell if its illegal or not.

    IMO, players should really make sure that their service is completely visible to umpires. Otherwise, its just tempting a strict umpire to make life difficult for them.

  17. Spyalg Gyaltsen Posted on May 21, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Its umpiRe..rrr.r..r… not umpie

  18. Jayson Lui Posted on May 21, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    It's easier to violate throwing height rule during backhand serve among amateur player. and yes, standard of umpire for ITTF are getting worse as there is no pre-requisite that umpire need to be a former player, which, they should be.

  19. Null DemokratieZwei Posted on May 21, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Calderano always hides the ball with his head. When he gets a warning, he starts to argue and then does the same serve again. If the umpire is weak, he will not give a penalty and so Calderano will keep on serving illegally during the whole match.

  20. Magnus Johansson Posted on May 21, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Here is a link to a sound file with "umpire":

  21. Sandip Ghosh Posted on May 21, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Excellent shown sir,we can learn lots about services, many times many players do illegal serve and umpire knows nothing about this and many times umpire wrong players correct, but in India 70% of players playing by illegal service, umpires here are not strict.

  22. KangenAlec Posted on May 21, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    There should one rule, the ball must be in front of the body at all times. That will make the game more interesting

  23. Salvador Miralla Posted on May 22, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    What happens if the ball cracks during a rally? Ive heard soany differents opinions how to act in a situation like that.

  24. Vincent Tafeltennis Posted on May 23, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Coach, What rank do you play in Vietnam?

  25. TheNyulszeru Posted on May 23, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    Well,I think it was high enough,but if ML dont move his body backward,he trow the ball behind his back for sure. /like so many other player…/

  26. Dũng Nguyễn Posted on May 26, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Well, Samsonov would never have any problem with that 🙂

  27. Convergency Posted on May 28, 2018 at 1:09 am

    Is Ding Ning 2012 legal?

  28. luckyfarru Posted on June 11, 2018 at 12:52 am

    empire was right…. the serve was bad .. on camera you can do all such measurements, but in realtime you got to make a call in a moment….

  29. Gino Moujik Posted on June 12, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Ma Long's hand keep moving upwards after he throws the ball, so there is less separation between the hand and the ball. Had he stopped his hand motion right after the throw, you could clearly see that the ball travelled enough. But it shouldn't matter! And that's where the lack of playing experience of the umpire tells. Or the lack of understanding of optics, which is crucial for an umpire.

  30. Charley Aebersold Posted on June 15, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    One point: "near" vertical could mean that vertical is illegal, because it is saying to throw the ball at an angle that is anything other than vertical. This is just simple logic. If this was law, it would allow you to throw the ball subjectively because no definition of angle is in the law.

  31. andrtux Posted on June 22, 2018 at 9:14 pm this serv is legal? what do you thinking about that amateour match?

  32. Sofia Navarro Posted on July 6, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    No la lanza hacia arriba, la arrastra. Al final la suelta pero es tarde. He didnt throw the ball, he drag the ball. At the last time he release the ball but its late. Fault. Saludos de Bolivia

  33. Marcus Shipley Posted on March 3, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    I agree that the call of fault service for Ma Longs serve in the case study is incorrect but believe it was still a foul serve for the ball moving backwards towards the body. ' not even near straight'?!

  34. Fuad Rahman Posted on April 6, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    For a foul serve is it a redo or a point