If you have ever watched table tennis on tv or even live, you might have noticed that the players often touch the table between points. Or maybe you are a player yourself and are wondering why others might do it.
Be that as it may, I will reveal all 4 reasons one might touch the ping pong table because there is more than one reason.
Table tennis players touch the table to wipe off the sweat from palm or lean on it to catch a breath. Another reason one might touch the table is to regain a sense of position because you might lose direction in a heated contest. Also, it’s a matter of habit and even superstition for luck.
Each ping pong player has a different reason to do so, but I have noticed doing it myself from time to time. Personally, I do it to regain a sense of position to be ready for the next point and sometimes wipe off the sweat if the game gets really competitive,
Anyways, if you want to fully understand the reasons why table tennis players touch the table, stick with me, and I’ll explain all 4 reasons to you more in-depth.
Why do table tennis players touch on the table?
I have placed these 4 reasons in order of which is the most likely reason for a player to touch the table.
1. Remove sweat from hand
The most likely reason for one to touch the table is to wipe sweat from hand. As all table tennis players know, when your hand gets sweaty, the grip on your racket will become less secure, and a part of your focus will move from the ball to the grip that isn’t right.
Most players use a shakehand grip on the racket to grip the racket partly from the rubber. It is a great condition for sweat to appear between the area of your warm hand and clammy rubber.
Don’t get me wrong, players wipe the sweat on their shirts and shorts all the time, but a table is a convenient place to do so as well.
2. Regain a sense of position
Another major reason to touch the table is to place yourself in the right position. Have you ever watched a football or ice hockey match? The goalkeepers touch the posts all the time to understand where the goal is to be in the optimal position to play.
It’s the same in table tennis. Players touch the edges and ends of their side of the table to understand where they should optimally serve or receive the ball. This minimizes the risk of failure for a stupid reason, like misplacing yourself in the wrong position.
3. Catch a breath
Table tennis is a funny sport because you can play it so relaxed that it’s less exhausting than walking, or it can get so fast and exhausting that you can’t do it for a long time.
You might not need to catch a breath when you are playing with your little cousins for a second until they run off to the other shiny object, but in competitive tournaments, the athletes will get exhausted.
This is why some players might lean or take support from the table to catch a breath and rest for a while until the next point starts, which is presently knowing the sport of table tennis.
4. Superstition and luck
Finally, touching the table tennis table can be a matter of superstition. Much like statue rubbing that is supposed to bring good luck, touching the table tennis table for luck is a practice that many people do whether they really believe it or not.
I have personally touched the table when a game is 10-9 in my favor to give me some luck and thought ”come one let it be a good point”, not that I really believe rubbing a piece of wood gives you luck. It’s a habit, I guess.
Anyways, when you see a table tennis player touching the table, think about whether the game is really competitive and in a tie. If it is, it’s a good chance the touching is for luck.
What happens if you touch the table in table tennis?
There are moments when you really shouldn’t touch the table tennis table and moments when you can without further thought.
If you touch the table tennis table when a rally is going on with your free hand, your opponent will gain a point. You may touch the table without moving it with your racket hand or any other part of the body without penalty. Also, you can touch the table with your free hand as well between points.
Many beginners in table tennis will get to learn that first hand, but it’s not a big deal unless you lose a point in a competitive match over something so silly.
My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here you can find my preferred table tennis equipment that I believe you could benefit too!
- Racket: My favorite racket choice is the beautiful Killerspin Jet800 because it fits my offensive and speed-focused playstyle. The two carbon layers, 2.1mm sponge, and 190g weight makes this racket powerful.
- Ping Pong Balls: New technology and design have made the JOOLA Flash Seamless 3-Star Balls stand out from the other balls. These balls are seamless, meaning they are more durable than any ball with a seam! Even when these balls come at a higher price, they will pay themselves quickly. As a bonus, the design makes me excited!
- Table Tennis shoes: The famous Butterfly Lezoline Rifones is my choice as it is for many others because they are designed specifically for table tennis standards. I like the excellent support, comfortable cushioning, and lightweight sole with great traction, which gets you exploding fast to whatever direction you need to.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.