Articles, Blog

Fault Serve is Umpire Subjective!

November 10, 2019

Welcome back to PingSunday, the best place
to learn table tennis. Let’s talk about a “Fault” (not Faut) serve
or Good Serve? What is the legal serve? And some ridiculous umpire decision? How to communicate with the umpire? Understand their gestures. In general, the ITTF umpires don’t talk much,
or they don’t know how to talk, to explain to the players. Or maybe they don’t like speaking, I think. So you need to learn the umpire signal, the
code. It’s not difficult. It’s easy! You need to learn just 8 simple signals. But firstly, let’s see some showcase. The viewers are angry. Players seem to be disturbed. The umpire is isolated. No one is happy in this situation. And the communication between the umpire and
the players is minimized. You can see that the match is destroyed! And the show is destroyed by a simple stupid
serve rule. Before analyzing this example, I want to say. I’m also a table tennis umpire in France. I’m not a random guy, and I understand well
the table tennis rules. It’s not too complicated to become an umpire
in table tennis. Here is my material case. A net height check ruler, and also a rubber
thickness checker. A yellow card. I’m a member of UNATT (National Union of Table
Tennis Referee). A red card. And a white card. A coin. Another gauge. And a “muchoir” to clean the table. Let’s see who is right. The umpire said “Let”, and explained by his
gesture. OK, so what does this mean? In general, there are about 8 gestures of
the umpire that you should know. I’ve explained all of this on pingsunday,
just search “table tennis serving rule pingsunday” to find it. Here you are, the 8 simples gestures of
an umpire: So what does this umpire wants to say. He means “Fault number 7. Please throw the ball near vertical”. Are you kidding me? Mr. Umpire? The serve of Liángjìngkūn is completely
clean. He threw the ball near vertical, high enough,
outside the table, and no hidden serve. So what is the problem here? This one is the same. No problem with this serve. Very clear and clean. You need to check your eye Mr. umpire. Liángjìngkūn performed the pendulum serve
near the middle of the table. This serving style is very similar to Timo
Boll. And both Timo Boll, and Liángjìngkūn have
one of the cleanest serves on the international circuit. So in my opinion, there are 2 big problems
for the current ITTF umpire. 1) The role of an umpire or a referee is to
maintain the match in the fluid order. So that the players can play without disruption
and the viewers could enjoy the match. This the main role of an umpire: Is to keep
the match in a normal way. But their role is not to teach the player
“how to serve”. You know, the rule, the theory is always something
I say “grey”. Something like “near vertical”, “high enough”,
so it’s all estimation. It’s very subjective. So it depends on the umpire. We don’t have an exact measurement. So the umpire should be flexible. For example, this case, look at this serve
of Ovtcharov. Is it near vertical? I’m not sure, it’s on the borderline. But why we should interrupt this point. Because even he threw the ball not very vertical,
it does not disturb the opponent. If the opponent doesn’t complain, they can
read very well the serve. Then the umpire should not interrupt the game. It’s disgusting for the viewers. 2) the quality of the umpire is very low. They are mostly old, and mostly the “amateur”
players. They know the rule of the serve, but they
don’t know how to serve. So how can they be a referee to catch the
pro’s serving fault? I’m sure! Give them a racket, and a ball. Like this case, you will see. Disclaimer: I respect every table tennis umpire. But I just want to say the current state of
the umpire. There is still something to improve. I hope we can do better, for the image of
table tennis.


  • Reply Azibalua Abadi November 1, 2019 at 7:50 pm


  • Reply Hamza Javeed November 1, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Chen Weixing is a good player, he should be respected and I faced the same problem while playing in the nationals for the first time, a long time ago.

  • Reply Shoba Sathyanand November 1, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Emratthich
    Just like to thank you for all these videos
    It has really upped my game and made me a formiddable force so thank you🙏

  • Reply Adams Steve November 1, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Mr EmRatThich NONE of these services are a vertical throw, for example on 3rd fault is the worst, in fact sooo bad that the hand is positioned at the table center line but the ball has such a non-vertical arch that the contact is finally made almost to the corner of the table. these are illegal serves. Period.

  • Reply unDeD November 1, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Could you make a video for the correct technique for chopping and how to add maximum backspin in your hits 👍

  • Reply okeyboy99 November 1, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    What was the umpire faulting Chen Weixing for ?

  • Reply Tyler Russin November 1, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Nice to see you are making some vids again

  • Reply Hamid Hamdane November 1, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    I want ask to ask you a question coach please , is it illegal that the ball is served out of the side line of the table?

  • Reply Looi Sun November 1, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    The umpire is a joke

  • Reply Canice Tang November 1, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    It is borderline. Coach. But as an Umpire, Liang's serve would be a fault not for the toss, but the paddle struck the ball well inside the table. So the fault was given correctly, but just the wrong signal that's all.

  • Reply Carlos Aravena November 1, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Hi EmRatTich, I saw that match between LJK and FZD and was really bad the umpire's attitude even I could tell you that was decisive to make LJK lost the concentration and the match …but I saw this kind of umpires actions since China Open when the referees started to push the player to play fast and many times the players took only a few seconds to define which strategie would make in the next point…I know that the rules are the rules and the player should follow them but the rules have a "spirit" of justice and if the player is not taking adventage and is not going against them deliverately the Umpire should be like a ghost…and nobody realize that is there….the referee cannot be more important than the players..

  • Reply konlexis November 1, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Appreciate your efforts 👍

  • Reply phaniraj patel November 1, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    IMO – its sad to see only some umpires strictly follow this rule and call out accordingly. I've not seen an umpire calling out faulty serves by Par gerell or Maharu Yoshimura or Marcos Freitas and many other players young/experienced. Its surprising to to see the umpire faulted Liang Jingkun although he is not hiding. Either ITTF need to enforce this rule globally and make it a standard or dismiss it completely so the audience can watch an uninterrupted game-play.

  • Reply Joaco Bellomi November 1, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    i think the backhand serve of Chen Weixing it´s more "illegal" than the forehand serve. The toss of the serve it´s very nice and he dont hide the ball.

  • Reply Edward Lee November 1, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    The only thing professional about these umpires are their dressing code. The problem lies with ITTF. The umpires do not get paid. They only get hotel accommodations, not even plane tickets. Just like the NFL referees in years past, the quality remain poor until they get better paid and work full time. Make the umpires full time with a salary and let them do the important matches.

  • Reply Brice Carpentier November 1, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    Thank you en rat thick. As a matter of fact I actually searched the umpire’s hand gesture today!

  • Reply AhSya Arif November 1, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    9:30 🤣

  • Reply JohnS20 November 1, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    Sadly most umpires are attention whores and that's the verdict…

  • Reply kurikong pingpong November 2, 2019 at 12:17 am

    Ilove that "redicioulus ampire!" hahahaha

  • Reply Qomar Qomarudin November 2, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Thank you coach .. feel sorry to Liang Jingkun .. although both players played well

  • Reply CWY JAL November 2, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Ohhh I didn't knew there was a white card in table tennis, when do you use it?

  • Reply sandra ahmad November 2, 2019 at 1:08 am

    5:00 still have wrong serve, coz liang serve very close with body make to hidden ball , compare timo boll , zhendong n ma long no hidden n close body serve , n ball fall very near close with body liang

  • Reply sandra ahmad November 2, 2019 at 1:17 am

    Every national country have a own rules, so please make sure before play know rules in the game,

  • Reply Rathan Pv November 2, 2019 at 1:45 am

    Hi EmRatThich Coach, I think Chen Weixing serve is perfectly clean and clear. These kind of umpires ruin the games lot of times. Even Liang Jingkun serve is clean. Dimitrij serve is little controversial as he throws really high, it goes more sideways.

  • Reply Paul Ispaul November 2, 2019 at 2:18 am

    These umpires (besides being dinosaurs) are a shame for the sport. With their last rales of life they try to reach more notoriety than the players. They are abject and pusillanimous and – personally – in those specific cases I would file a criminal complaint against them and force them to pay compensation.

  • Reply VeteranWS November 2, 2019 at 3:49 am

    umpire is moron,

  • Reply Hajji Oumaima November 2, 2019 at 4:46 am

    I want you to talk about doing a good service please I always miss the ball after tossing the ball this is my main problem in serving plus lack of spin when serving?????

  • Reply М.М KARAKAYA November 2, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Chen Weixing is very angry ,as always 😀

  • Reply Sam November 2, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Hi Emrattich, can you make how to beat anti rubber, thank you.

  • Reply BU WA November 2, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Hi EmRatThich! I'd like to know is Revolution 3 glue legal by ITTF. And does it give more speed and spin? Should I use that glue (with Tenergy)?

  • Reply Miguel Garzón November 2, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Nothing justifies that a player becomes an impertinent scumbag in the middle of a tournament against a referee, people are understood as speaking, and how intelligent it is to control their impulses enervated by adrenaline …
    By the way, I'm a table tennis player at 57, and I was also a referee in the 80's

  • Reply Miguel Garzón November 2, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Nada justifica que un jugador se vuelva un impertinente patán en pleno torneo contra un árbitro, hablando se entiende la gente, y de inteligentes es controlar sus impulsos enervados por la adrenalina…
    Por cierto, yo soy jugador de tenis de mesa a mis 57 años, y también fuí árbitro en los 80's

  • Reply Miguel Garzón November 2, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    沒有人能證明一名球員在與裁判的比賽中變得無禮,人們被理解,控制腎上腺素使他們緊張的衝動是多麼聰明…順便說一句,我是57歲的乒乓球運動員 年,我也是80年代的裁判

  • Reply Edward Lee November 2, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    In particular the US umpires were noticeably bad in years past. Many years ago I flew to Atlanta to watch a World Team Cup tournament, which drew all the top players from different countries. Afterwards I bumped into an umpire from Hong Kong, the place where I grew up. We started talking and she told me she heard a US umpire snickering about giving Deng Yaping a yellow card, seemingly bragging about drawing the attention. According to her, it was not uncommon at all.

  • Reply maracuder November 2, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    Possibly, it's not fault no. 7. But it is not clean, either. The throwing arm is not removed as it should be. Instead, the throwing arm is moved upwards with the ball rather than instantly removed after having thrown the ball. This is a defined rule. There are serving rules, that have to be applied, even if it doesn't disturb the opponent, so this is not a valid criterion. I estimate, that 70 or 80 percent of serves in international competitions are faulty, but "let go" as correct, because there is just no "tradition" to declare them as faulty. So, faulty serves are considered correct in the public opinion and this leads to the problems, we see here. Take the Butterfly Apolonia Serve Tutorial video. It promotes a service, that breaks several serving rules at once. Personally, I'm completely fine with pursuing wrong serves. Hopefully, in the end, players use serves, that are correct, even if it may be a tough lesson to learn and leads to disadvantaging the serving player.

  • Reply Kirill Pupkov November 3, 2019 at 11:49 am

    What do you think will make a video about why we are losing?

  • Reply SCWhiteJazz November 3, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    In germany you have to throw the ball at least 16 cm up into the air – I thought this was international…. 😉

  • Reply Tommy Voet November 4, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Ma Long service at the end is illegal. the ball disappears behind his head 🙂

  • Reply brunospfc November 5, 2019 at 6:32 am

    you are WRONG EmRatThicch, the service rule says: "the player must make his service visible for oponnent, the empire and empire assistent", besides the arc, and besides the fact he uses his fingers to spin the ball before the arc serve, pay attention mr EmRatTich, you're supossed to be an empire right? (im too)….services must be ALWAYS CLEAN, the only way to do it is to punish the supossed "smart players" that break the service rules in may ways and gain a clear illegal advantage

  • Reply da rey November 6, 2019 at 3:20 am

    There are so few rules to follow in TT compared to other sports. To not follow the most important one (serving) is simply cheating. No excuses.

  • Reply GMan November 6, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Two issues. First, LJK's serve is illegal because the ball disappears behind his head. Umpires generally don't call it because from their position, they can see the ball, however, from the opponent's position, the ball disappears momentarily behind the server's head or body. Second, a bigger issue is not that the umpire's call is subjective but that it is not called consistently. I've seen matches where the server makes the same illegal serve throughout the game but is only called for it at seemingly random times.

  • Reply Alonfire 1 November 7, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    The Quality of the umpire in big turnaments is really bad thats true, but that mostly happens due to lack of expierince. In the finals only the good umpires are chosen. If you know the rules -> you know how to serve so your argument is stupid. It is the same though process like you need to be a good/better player to be a good coach. But that is not true at all – because a coach needs many different skillz. Otherwise only retired pro players could fill the role of the umpire – which would result in a huge lack of umpires. The ITTF just doesn t have the money to pay a pro umpire team. What really need to change is a much more stricter enforcment of the service rules. For example in the german open are always much more called services because the education of the umpires is better and they do have the balls to enforce the rules.

  • Reply vintage-strat November 9, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Dear i am also a french player and referee and juge referee, fisrt let s start with a smile, muchoir ( handkerchief) must be written mouchoir in french…..then the fact is that 90 % of the serves are not really legal so 90 % of the referees say nothing, they won't give a warning to the player. So there is 2 possibilities, first if there are some rules, we have to follow them, second, if we don't follow the rules because it is difficult, we have to make them more simple. So about the french fftt rules about the toss: ­ Le serveur lance alors la balle verticalement vers le haut, which means the player who serves tosses the ball vertically, it is not written nearly vertical so you re not right. the problem is that is is not possible to toss the ball 100% vertical, and the referees will accept a toss wich is not perfectly vertical. So about the fist chinese player in black, first it is not vertical, he starts the serve near the middle of the table and hit the ball near his line. second His hand is moving up, then the ball is tossed but really closed to 16 cm, then the ball is hidden by the head most of the time. About otcharov, the serve is 100 % not legal, and the referees say nothing so imagine the referee who will give him a warning one day…….so maybe be we should make rules clearer and easier to follow……….then saying that the referee is not here to teach to the players how to serve…….is there anybody who thinks that a referee will be able to teach to the top players how to serve? that s a joke……..regards

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