Hand Signals in Double Games

07 Important Hand Signals You Should Know for Doubles Games

Welcome back to PingSunday, the best place to learn table tennis. Today, let’s discuss the hand signals for doubles in table tennis. Is it the same for everyone? Is there any convention, a universal signal used by the pro players? And which one should you use?

A player from Jakarta, Indonesia:

“Dear coach, I’m new at table tennis. I don’t understand all the hand signals mean. Can you explain it? Thank you”

Why doing signals is important in Doubles?

Communication is very important in doubles. When you serve, the next ball returned to your partner. So your partner should need to know the type of serve (is it a long serve, topspin serve, a backspin serve, etc) to prepare the shot. He will attack or control the next ball, it depends on your communication.

Showing what you are intend to do by the conventional hand signs in table tennis
Showing what you are intending to do by the conventional hand signs in table tennis

 

Just for fun. Both players thumb up. Do it only when you win the match.

Show the thumbs up at the end if you win ^^
Show the thumbs up at the end if you win ^^

 

Communications in table tennis

There are 2 types of communication in table tennis: Talking, and Hand Signals.

1. Talking

For the tactics, the best way is to discuss, to talk with your partner.

Communication with your partner during the table tennis match
Communication with your partner during the table tennis match
Communication with your partner during the table tennis match
Communication with your partner during the table tennis match
Talking is very important in double games
Talking is very important in double games
Talking to discuss about the tactics and the serve with your partner
Talking to discuss the tactics and the service with your partner

2. Doing Hand Signs

For the service, the convenient way is doing the hand signals.

Show the thumb up to say that you are going to serve a topspin serve
Show the thumb up to say that you are going to serve a topspin serve
Show the hand signal to indicate which type of serve that you want
Show the hand signal to indicate which type of services you want

 

Who will give the signals?

Who will give the signals? The player who serve can give the signal, indicating what he intends to do. But in China, it’s different. That’s the partner will do the signals, he will give the sign that what type of serve he wants.

 

 

So if Ma Long wants to Forehand attack the next ball, he will ask Xu Xin to do the short topspin serve, for example.

Understanding which serve your partner going to do is important in double
Understanding which serve your partner going to do is important in double

In most cases, the server will indicate the serve and the partner will change it if they don’t like the serve.

So finally, your partner decides the type of service, not you. 🙂

In France, when coaching, I see mostly that the server gives the signal.

For me, the partner should give the signal but not the server. It’s better! Because he will attack the next ball!

Show the hand signal to indicate which type of serve that you want
You are going to serve. That’s your partner who decides which type of serve that he/she wants. (not you!)

Convention Hand Signals in Double

Are there any convention signals in table tennis? In general, each pair will develop its own set of signals. And the hand signals could be different!

In the US, in France, in Indonesia, in Germany, in India, in Vietnam, China, etc, there are some small variations.

But I would say, there are universal hand signals!

Universal hand signal exists in table tennis community.

Show the thumb up to say that you are going to serve a topspin serve
Show the thumb up to say that you are going to serve a topspin serve

This server gives the signal to his partner: I will do a topspin serve. Prepare yourself to attack the next ball. The ball returned is long.

Don’t push the ball. OK? 🙂

Basic Hand Signals that you should understand

In double, players often do the short serve near the middle line (the safest way) at the pro level.

And please hide your signal under the table. Don’t show it to the opponent. Basic hand signals that every table tennis player should know.

Hand Signals in Double Guide
Hand Signals in Double Guide
  1. The fist means no spin server
  2. Little finger means short backspin server
  3. Index Down for Backspin Serve (Pro level)
  4. Thumb means short topspin serve
  5. Top sidespin to the left
  6. Topsidespin to the right
  7. Pointer finger means long backspin serve
  8. Fast, Long serve with topspin

So here you are! The basic hand signals in Double that you should know.

1. The fist means no spin server

For no spin serve, use this hand signal
For no-spin serve, use this hand signal

2. Little finger means short backspin server

3. Index Down for Backspin Serve (Pro level)

Index Down for a control serve (used at pro level)
Index Down for a control serve (used at the pro level)

4. Thumb means short topspin serve

 

5. Top sidespin to the left

6. Topsidespin to the right

7. Pointer finger means long backspin serve

8. Fast, Long serve with topspin

Conclusions

So here are the basic convections hand signal and the meaning of each finger:

  • Index = Long
  • Thumb = Short Topspin
  • Little = Short Underspin
  • Fist = No Spin
Hand Signals in Double Guide
Hand Signals in Double Guide

So that it for today. What is the most common hand signals that you often use in your country? Read the 8 hand signals of the umpire that you should know before doing any serious tournament.

I really want to know. Please comment below. See you, coach EmRatThich.

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