Playing table tennis with both hands – Good or Bad?

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Can we play table tennis with both hands?

A player asked me,

“Dear coach, can we play table tennis with both hands? Is it legal to use both free arm and racket arm to hit the ball ?”

Answer:

Yes. You can hold the paddle with both hands while in play in an ITTF sanctioned tournament because it’s allowed. But you can use both hands only during the rally (not for the serve).

You cannot use both hands for the service, because you need to have a free hand and a racket hand at the same time.

There are the free arm and the playing arm in table tennis
There are the free arm and the playing arm in table tennis

There is a video that Ma Long used his left hand pushing at the paddle when he played backhand.

You can use two-handed backhands exactly the same way a tennis player playing. Hugo Calderano used both hands to do a Backhand attack far from the table. The umpire did not call on it. So using two hands in table tennis is legal.

 

By ITTF regulation, it is legal to hold a paddle with two hands.

On one serve, someone managed to return by using his normal hand with the addition of his other to stabilize the paddle better. It is legal.

DOUBLE-HANDED BACKHAND Hugo Calderano
DOUBLE-HANDED BACKHAND Hugo Calderano
two handed backhand by Timo Boll
two-handed backhand by Timo Boll

 

In ITTF guidelines it says

2.5.5 The racket hand is the hand carrying the racket.

2.5.6 The freehand is the hand not carrying the racket; the free arm is the arm of the freehand.

2.5.7 A player strikes the ball if he or she touches it in play with his or her racket held in the hand, or with his or her racket hand below the wrist.

Yes, it is legal to hold the racket with two hands. 

Is it legal to serve in table tennis with both hands?

No. It’s not legal.

During a serve, you need to hold the racket with one hand, because you need to hold the ball with your free hand.

You cannot do a table tennis serve with both hands
You cannot do a table tennis serve with both hands

From the ITTF Handbook, 2.06 (The Service):

2.06.01 Service shall start with the ball resting freely on the open palm of the server’s stationary free hand.

After the service, you do not need a free hand. There is no rule prohibiting holding the racket with two hands.

Is it legal to switch hand in table tennis?

The ITTF table tennis rules make it clear that it is permissible to switch hands during a rally:

9.3 For the same reason he or she cannot make a good return by throwing his or her racket at the ball, because the racket does not “strike” the ball if it is not held in the racket hand at the moment of impact. However, a player may transfer his or her racket from one hand to the other during play and strike the ball with the racket held alternately in either hand, because the hand holding the racket is automatically the “racket hand”.

Let’s look at Timo Boll switch hand in table tennis.

 

 

 

Is it legal to playing table tennis while throwing the racket?

No, it’s not legal. If the racket is leaving your hand, you lose the point.

9.3 For the same reason he or she cannot make a good return by throwing his or her racket at the ball, because the racket does not “strike” the ball if it is not held in the racket hand at the moment of impact.

Returns struck by hand with no racket or racket not in a hand are lost points. 

Racket Throw is not legal in table tennis
Racket Throw is not legal in table tennis

You cannot throw a table tennis paddle.

Strike – 2.5.7 – A player strikes the ball if he touches it in play with his racket, held in the hand, or with his racket hand below the wrist.

Should I train both hands playing in table tennis?

It’s a new technique, especially the new backhand skills. Let’s try. If this technique gives you additional force, so why not.

Let’s see how the pro training by playing with both hands in table tennis.

 

Double-hand shots are used to add more power on the backhand when you are far from the table.

 

So in conclusion, in table tennis, you can play double hands like in tennis. It’s is legal.

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