touching the table in table tennis

Why do Table Tennis Players Touch the Table?

Why do Table Tennis Players Touch the Table?

Ping pong, or table tennis, is a sport that has been around for over a century. The exact origin of the game is unknown, but it is believed to have started as an indoor version of lawn tennis. The first world championship for table tennis was held in 1926 and the game was introduced to the Olympic Games in 1988.

The trend of wiping hands on the table comes from sweaty hands. When our hands sweat, it makes it difficult to grip the paddle or racquet. Table tennis players wipe their hands on the table to improve grip and make it easier to hit the plastic ball. Wiping hands on the table is a habit that is more common than you may think. Many people do it without even realizing it!

What happens if you touch the table in table tennis?

If you touch the table with your free hand, the rally ends and your opponent is given the point. However, if you touch anything else (like your racket or clothes), the rally can continue.

Legally Touching The Table

In table tennis, players are allowed to legally touch the table with their non-racquet hand once the point is won or lost. This means that they can touch the table with any part of their body, including their dominant hand holding a paddle. Players are also allowed to reach for a ball during play with their dominant hand holding a paddle.

table tennis player serving front of table

Touching the Table with the Playing Hand

There is no penalty for touching the ping pong with the hand keeping the racket as long as your impacts do not move the table surface.

Touching the Table with the Free Hand

In table tennis, free hand is not allowed to touch the playing surface. This means that players are not allowed to use their hands to adjust the position of the ball on the table. Doing so can result in a penalty.

Why do ping-pong players touch the table?

Wiping the Sweat off the Hands

Table tennis players, like many other athletes, sweat a lot during competition. However, unlike tennis players who are allowed to use a towel after every point to wipe the sweat from their hands, table tennis players have to find another way to dry their hands off. One way they do this is by wiping their hands on the table. This is because sweating from the hands makes gripping the paddle harder, so wiping it off helps make it easier to play.

Take a Breather

Ping pong is a physical and fast-paced sport that can be adrenaline-pumping and pulse-racing. After accumulating many rallies, players need to get the heart rate back in order for fans and players alike. When serving, the player receiving first gets first service in the next game of the match so they can have a few seconds of breathing space.


Gamesmanship is a term used in sport to describe any tactic that alters the competitive environment in order to gain an advantage. This can include anything from distracting or upsetting your opponent, to playing slowly or unfairly.

Psyching the Opponent

Table tennis is a sport where psychology can be used to gain an advantage over the opponent. Some players do anything in their power to psyche their opponents, including stomping feet, making faces and screaming after points.


Superstitions in sports have been around for as long as competitive sports themselves. Many athletes swear by their rituals and habits, which they believe help them focus and play at their best. For example, some tennis players avoid stepping on the lines on the court, while others carry a red handkerchief with them to games. If they miss out on doing their ritual or superstition, it can sometimes throw them off their game.

Why Do Table Tennis Players Wipe Their Hands Close to the Net?

When playing table tennis, if a player’s hands become sweaty, the ball will start to bounce oddly and may even go out of bounds. To combat this, many players will wipe their hands on the edge of the table near the net. This is because they are not allowed to use towels between points (they can only use them once every six points), so wiping their hands close to the net allows them to clean them.

In order to prevent the transfer of sweat from their hands to the table and then the ball, table tennis players wipe their palms close to the net. This is why ping pong players usually wipe their palms off close to the table tennis net – so that they can have an advantage over their opponent.

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