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Hitting the Ball Over the Net - Law 2.6.3


Diagram of Hitting the Ball Over the Net

Hitting the Ball Over the Net

© 2007 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
In the Laws of Table Tennis, Law 2.6.3 states:

2.6.3 As 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.

The diagram illustrates the case of serving in singles. The server must hit the ball so that it hits his own court first (the table on his side of the net), and then the ball can go over or around the net before hitting the table on his opponent's side of the net.

This means that it is technically legal for a server to serve around the side of the net assembly, provided he can curve the ball enough to bring it back on to his opponent's court. This is by no means an easy serve to perform - since the net post is supposed to project 15.25cm outside the side line! (According to Law 2.2.2)

Note that there is no requirement that the serve must bounce only once on the opponent's side of the table - it may in fact bounce once or many times. The server may only bounce the ball once on his own side of the table though.

Video - Law 2.6.3 - 8MB, 640x480 pixels
320x240 pixels version - 3.4MB

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