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Why Table Tennis Players Touch the Table

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Have you ever wondered why do ping pong players touch the table?

If you’ve ever watched a professional table tennis game or even played the sport yourself, you may have noticed this curious habit.

In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind why table tennis players touch the table and explore its significance in the game.

On this amazing match between ZHOU Qihao and Felix LEBRUN, you can see the ritual taking place many times.

Getting a Grip on Table Tennis

Before we dive into the reasons for this peculiar behavior, let’s get a better understanding of table tennis and its players.

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a thrilling racket sport enjoyed by millions worldwide.

It involves two or four players, who use small paddles, commonly referred to as rackets, to hit a lightweight ball back and forth over a table divided by a net.

The Importance of Touching the Table

1. Strengthening Focus and Concentration

In the heat of a table tennis match, every point counts.

By touching the table between points, players reinforce their connection with the game.

It serves as a ritual that helps them center their focus and concentrate on the task at hand – winning the rally.

2. Regaining Composure

Table tennis players are not immune to nerves and pressure, especially during crucial moments in a match.

When the stakes are high, players might feel the sweat on their palms, which can affect their grip on the racket.

By touching the table, they take a moment to regain composure, wipe sweat off their hands, and ensure a steady hold on their racket.

3. A Symbol of Sportsmanship

In the spirit of fair play, table tennis players touch the table as a gesture of respect towards their opponents.

It symbolizes a sense of camaraderie and mutual acknowledgment of each other’s skills.

This simple act reflects the true essence of sportsmanship in table tennis.

4. Resetting for the Next Point

Every point in table tennis is a new opportunity.

By touching the table, players mentally reset themselves, leaving behind any disappointments from the previous point.

It helps them approach each point with renewed enthusiasm and determination.

The Science Behind the Ritual

The act of touching the table might seem like a mere superstition to some, but there is a scientific reason behind it.

As players touch the table, the sensory receptors in their fingers send signals to the brain, promoting a calming effect.

This quick moment of physical contact aids in reducing stress and anxiety, resulting in enhanced focus and performance.

young start up business man and woman playing table tennis close up

The Professional Table Tennis Players’ Perspective

To gain further insight into this practice, we reached out to professional table tennis players.

They unanimously supported the significance of touching the table and shed light on its role in their games.

One player stated, “Touching the table is like a quick meditation during a match.

It helps me zone in and block out any distractions, allowing me to concentrate on my strategy.”

Another player revealed, “I always wipe my hands on the table to ensure a strong grip. The last thing I want is for my racket to slip during an intense rally!”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To address common questions about this intriguing topic, let’s explore some FAQs:

Q: Is touching the table allowed in table tennis?

A: Yes, touching the table between points is perfectly legal in table tennis and is widely practiced by players. However, during gameplay, it is illegal to touch the table with your hands or any other body part.

Want to know all the Ping Pong rules? We’ve got you covered!

Q: What is the purpose of rubbing hands on the table?

A: Rubbing hands on the table helps players absorb excess moisture and ensures a firm grip on the racket.

Q: Why do table tennis players touch the table after a point?

A: Players touch the table after a point to regroup, maintain focus, and prepare for the next point.

Be sure to watch this fantastic video from Pingskills, where he expertly explains the situations when it’s permissible to touch the table.


Next time you watch a table tennis match, pay close attention to the players’ interaction with the table.

What might have seemed like a simple ritual before will now hold deeper meaning for you.

Touching the table is not just a habit; it’s a valuable practice that contributes to players’ mental and physical well-being during the game.

So, the next time you find yourself on a table tennis court, take a moment to touch the table, and you’ll experience the significance of this remarkable ritual firsthand.

Happy playing!

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