In table tennis, on the rare occasion when the ball makes it over the net but hits the side of the table rather than on top (which is pretty hard to counter), Is this a valid point?

  • 2
    How can the ball go over the net and then come down and hit the side of the table but not the top?
    – Ben Miller
    Jan 9, 2014 at 15:11
  • @BenMiller, When enough players know how to put spin on the ball, easily.
    – Iancovici
    Jan 9, 2014 at 15:52
  • 1
    Ultimately -- no matter how it happens -- a ball that hits the side of the table, is out.
    – Nick
    Jan 9, 2014 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rules in regards to the table go to 2.01 ("The Table"), or playing surface are fairly straightforward and short. A ball is in play if it touches any part of the top of the table.

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

Therefore, anything not considered the "top" surface of the table would be out and the point would then end. So in your case, I assume someone went to the side of the table to return a hit, and it struck the side of the opponent's table (or as the ITTF refers to it "the vertical sides of the tabletop"). This hit would be out.

ITTF Table Rules

(Bigger Image)

  • 1
    @echad - Play daily at work, so we're constantly verifying rules after we play to prove one another wrong :-)
    – Nick
    Jan 9, 2014 at 14:16

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