Table tennis glossary


Table tennis glossary



There are a lot of terms in table tennis that I don’t have a good idea of.

It seems that there are quite a lot of people who watch Olympic table tennis matches and don’t understand the rules or terminology.


However, the table tennis boom was in full swing!

Table tennis, which can be enjoyed by men and women of all ages, is a popular sport at both the Olympics and as a sport for people with disabilities.


Here is a list of terms commonly used in table tennis.

We also list the names of techniques used in table tennis, so those who want to start playing table tennis, those who are new to table tennis, and those who want to enjoy watching table tennis.

Please refer to it.


What is out?

In table tennis, an out is when the shot ball goes out without bouncing.


What is up-down service (up-down serve)?

A service technique that makes it difficult to tell which rotation is occurring by switching between an upserve swing and a backspin swing before and after the impact of the service.


What is an advisor?

A person who can give advice to competitors during a match. When forming an international doubles pair, each competitor is allowed one advisor (two advisors in total).


What is anti-spin rubber (anti)?

The smooth soft rubber on the back allows for attacks that take advantage of the opponent’s rotation, and is generally used in defensive table tennis.


What is a yellow card?

A card that the referee holds up when issuing a warning or penalty for bad behavior or illegal advice by a player, manager, coach, or advisor.

The first time, a yellow card will be given and a warning will be given. If you continue to display bad manners, you will be given a yellow card and a red card together and 1 point will be awarded to your opponent.


What is foreignness?

A racket that has high-grain rubber or anti-spin rubber on one side of the racket.

Words used for different types of warfare


What is one-ball practice?

In table tennis, practicing with one ball is called one-ball practice, as opposed to multi-ball practice.


What is a single piece of rubber?

Rubber that uses only rubber sheets with grains facing outward.

Features low repulsive force and low rotation amount


What is ipponsaki?

A type of grip on a short-handed racket, the grip with the index finger pointing towards the center of the racket is called ipponsaki.


What is irregular bound?

A ball bouncing on the table that bounces in a direction that the player did not expect (irregular)

Bounce in a direction that is normally unthinkable

Words used not only in table tennis, but in all ball games where the ball bounces.


What is impact?

The moment when the racket and ball collide

Words used not only in table tennis, but in all sports that involve hitting a ball.


What is in-play?

The time between when a player begins his serve and when a rally results in a let or point


What is Winner?

Winner, synonymous with English Winner


What is upper rotation?

Rotation in the forward direction

Also called drive rotation or topspin


What is the back soft rubber?

This is the most commonly used rubber, and is a sandwich rubber consisting of a rubber sheet with the grains facing inward and a sponge.

Characteristically, it has excellent frictional force and repulsive force.


What is back hitting method?

A kind of backhand of a pen holder


What is edge?

corner of table tennis table


What is edge ball?

Score points by hitting the edge (corner) of the table.


What is an end?

edge of table


What is end line?

The back line of the table tennis table


What is Oji Serve?

A type of crouching serve invented by Rokuro Sakuma of the Oji Table Tennis Center in Oji-cho, Osaka.


What is an order?

Competition order of athletes participating in team competitions


What is order exchange?

The coach must write and submit orders for his team before the start of the competition.


What is open hand service?

A service performed after opening the palm and holding the ball stationary above it.


What is an all-round player?

A player who masters various techniques


What is obstruction?

Returning the ball without a bounce


What is table soft rubber?

Rubber with grains on the surface


What is curve long?

A type of drive (lateral rotation) used for defense, a batting method mainly used by cutmen


What is curve drive?

A type of drive, a drive that turns to the left (if you are left-handed, a drive that turns to the right)


What is a counter?

A technique for hitting the ball back strongly near the net. A counterattack that takes advantage of the momentum of the opponent’s ball.


What is a counter?

Display that shows the scores of both players during play


What is a count?

counting points


What is a cut?

To hit the ball in a cutting motion and apply backspin to the ball.

Cutman’s main technique that invites mistakes from the opponent


What is cutting?

Techniques for hitting back from an opponent’s cut


What is cut block?

A block that applies backspin rotation to the ball with a swing that cuts from above immediately after the bounce of the drive rotation ball released by the opponent.


What is Cutman?

A tactic that repeatedly uses cuts to induce the opponent to make mistakes (used regardless of gender)


What is reverse Chiquita?

An attack that pretends to play Chiquita and hits the opposite side.


What is reverse motion?

About feint

Hitting with a backhand while pretending to hit forehand, or vice versa, pretending to hit with a stop, etc.


What is reverse horizontal rotation?

A ball that rotates counterclockwise when viewed from above for a right-handed player (for a left-handed player, the ball rotates clockwise)


What is bang?

A general term for balls that are hit hard. Examples include smash and drive.


What does cutting mean?

Applying strong spin to the ball. Often used to apply backspin


What is a cross?

hitting the ball diagonally


What is a grip?

The part that grips the racket (handle part)


What is grip end?

A word referring to the tip of the grip


What is Game All?

A situation where both players have won the same number of games.


What is service?

The first shot of the rally. Also called serve


What is Service Ace?

Points scored by service


What is a server?

A player who serves


What is the third pitch attack?

A tactic in which you hit a serve and then attack the ball that is returned to you.

This means attacking the third ball when the serve is counted as the first ball and the reception is counted as the second ball.


What is a side?

side of table tennis table

In table tennis, a ball that touches the side is not considered a return, and the player who hit it loses a point.


What is sideline?

2cm wide horizontal line drawn along the edge of the table tennis table


What is support?

A support that fixes the net to the table tennis table (together with the net, it is called a net assembly)


What is shakehand racket?

A racket that is shaped like a handshake


What is downward rotation?

Reverse rotation. Also called cut or backspin, the ball falls downward when it hits the racket.


What is crouching serve?

A serve where you rotate while crouching down when hitting the serve.


What is shadow play?

Training that uses footwork while imagining practice without using a ball.

The same training method used for shadowing in boxing


What is normal horizontal rotation?

When a right-handed player looks at the ball from above, the ball rotates clockwise.

(For left-handed players, the ball is spinning counterclockwise)


What is juice (deuce)?

Refers to a situation where the score is tied at 10-10 or higher in a game of 11 points.

If it’s juice, one side can win the game if they get a two-point lead.


What is shoot drive?

A drive that turns to the right side if you are right-handed (to the left if you are left-handed)


What is short?

Technique for hitting the ball by holding it close to the table and catching the ball as it bounces and rises.

A defensive technique of hitting and returning the ball with a type of penholder backhand.


What is short serve?

A short serve that bounces two or more times in the opponent’s court.

Short serves are difficult to hit hard, so many competitors build their serves around short serves.


What is singles?

one-on-one match


What is the sweet spot?

The center part of the racket, when hit, the ball travels well


What is stance?

The stance of the foot when hitting the ball


What is a stop?

Defensive way of hitting the ball so that it bounces at least 2 times in the opponent’s court

If you are stopped, it will be difficult for your opponent to hit hard.


What is straight?

Ball hitting course parallel to the sideline

(used in contrast to cross)


What is spin?

about the rotation of the ball

(There are different names depending on the direction of rotation, such as topspin, backspin, sidespin, knuckle, etc.)


What is practice swing?

Practice swinging a racket without actually hitting the ball

A practice method to improve your form, similar to practice swings for baseball or tennis.


What is Smash?

An offensive technique that mainly hits the ball floating high without applying much rotation.

Because of its speedy hitting style, it tends to be the deciding hit in table tennis matches.


What is the front quick attack type?

A style of rallying at a fast tempo


What is center line?

A 3mm wide white line that crosses the center of the table from your own court to your opponent’s court.



What is timeout?

1 minute interruption time that can be taken once in a game


What is the hitting point?

The position where the ball is hit once it has bounced into its own court.


What is multi-ball practice?

A practice method in which the player throws many balls in succession and hits them continuously.


What is doubles?

A match played 2 on 2

There are three events: men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.


What is double stop?

Hitting a stop on two pitches in a row


What is double bounce?

The ball bounces twice in the same court


What is a change end?

To change the playing end at the end of one game.

In the case of the final game, the change ends when either side reaches 5 points.


What is change service?

service replacement


What is Chiquita?

A backhand shot that is hit back with forward rotation.


What is Tsutsuki?

A shot that applies backspin to a ball with backspin (downward rotation).


What is T League?

Japan’s top table tennis league started in October 2018


What is takeback?

Action of pulling the racket when hitting the ball


What is handmade?

Hitting the ball by swinging the racket using just the power of your hands, without using any rotation of your body or shifting your weight.


What is deuce?

synonymous with juice

Refers to a situation where the score is tied at 10-10 or higher in a game of 11 points.


What is topspin?

Upward rotation (forward rotation) and drive rotation

Refers to rotation in which the front side of the ball moves downward and the back side of the ball moves upward relative to the direction of travel.

A rotation in which the ball falls downward, and when it hits the racket, the ball tends to fly upwards.


What is a drive?

A term referring to topspin (upper rotation) technology.


What is the drive-based type?

A fighting style that primarily uses drive.


What is Driveman?

A term used to refer to players who primarily drive. A drive man makes plays by using a lot of drives.

(Like Cutman, it can be used regardless of gender)


What is nagashi (nagashiuchi)?

A technique where you hit the racket by sliding it sideways, applying horizontal rotation to the ball and hitting it to the left and right.


What is a throw up serve?

A serve that increases the power by raising the toss of the serve and taking advantage of the speed of the falling ball.


What is knuckle?

A ball with almost no rotation (non-rotating ball)


What is the net?

A net with a height of 15.25cm stretched over the center of a table tennis table.


What is NetIn?

The ball must enter the opponent’s court after it touches the net.

In the case of a service, the ball will be reshot, but in the case of a rally, it will continue as is.

*If you score at the net, it is customary to apologize to your opponent by raising your hand.


What is Net Touch?

Official name is “Touchtonet”

A foul in which a player’s body or clothing touches the net during a match.


What is adhesive rubber?

Rubber that has an adhesive surface


What is a half volley?

Technique for returning the ball from the front of the body with a quick backhand motion


What is half-long?

A service that is served on the edge of the opponent’s court, making two bounces or not.


What is a back serve?

A serve issued from the back side of the body


What is a backhand?

A general term for hitting techniques that are played from the front of the body to the opposite side of the racket hand (back side of the racket)

If you are right-handed, hit the backhand with the left side of your right elbow (if you are left-handed, the opposite is true).


What is power drive?

A very fast drive ball that can easily lead to a decisive hit.


What is an inquiry?

A rally in which players hit drives at a distance from the table tennis table.

One of the highlights of table tennis


What is Fish?

A defensive technique in which the ball is rotated upward from a distance from the table tennis table and returned low into the opponent’s court, inviting the opponent to make a mistake.


What is fake motion?

About feint. In order to prevent the opponent from reading the course you are hitting, use the direction of your hands, body, and face to make it look like you are hitting a different course.

Pretending to return using a different technique


What is a fault?

A failure of a serve. becomes the opponent’s point


What is Foreserve?

A serve hit with the forehand (dominant hand)


What is a forehand?

Hit with your dominant hand. Basic table tennis batting techniques


What is follow through?

The swing of the ball after impact


What is footwork?

How to move and carry your feet

In table tennis, where players often move quickly back and forth and left and right, good footwork is the deciding factor for victory.


What is push?

A type of penholder backhand (short hitting method)


What is free arm (free hand)?

The arm that is not holding the racket


What is flick?

An offensive technique that sweeps the ball away.


What is a blade?

The wooden part of the racket body


What is a block?

A defensive technique that captures the rising period of the ball’s bounce to stop the opponent’s strong hits.


What is a penholder racket?

A racket that you grip with your thumb and forefinger as if you were holding a pen.


What is a white card?

Card to hold up when timeout is requested



What is a curling serve?

A type of forehand service, it is a depressed serve where the wrist is curled inward and side spin is applied.


What is a match?

words referring to the match


What is match point?

A word that refers to a situation where you can win the game if you score just one more point.


What is wraparound foredrive?

To go around and hit the ball back with a forehand.


What is meat beating?

A technique of hitting the ball back at the same angle as the opponent’s ball. Also called angle hitting


What is right lateral rotation?

Rotation clockwise when viewed from above the ball


What is mix?

About mixed doubles


What is middle?

A ball that hits near the center of the body.

It is difficult to hit back a ball that hits the middle.


What is return?

Returning to the basic position after hitting the ball



What is lateral upward rotation?

A combination of horizontal and upward rotation on the ball.


What is horizontal rotation?

Sidespin (lateral rotation)


What is horizontal downward rotation?

A combination of horizontal and downward rotation on the ball.


What is the 4th pitch attack?

To attack on the fourth ball of a rally, counting from the serve.


What is a racket?

A device used to hit a table tennis ball


What is a racket hand?

The part of the hand that holds the racket beyond the wrist


What is rubber?

The rubber part attached to the racket


What is love?

A state where the score is 0 points. Terms used in tennis


What is Larry?

Both players hitting the ball consecutively


What is loop drive?

A technique that uses more drive rotation than a normal drive to return the ball in a heap.


What is receive?

Receive the opponent’s serve

The player who receives the ball is called the receiver.


What is a receive error?

A mistake made when receiving a ball that fails to return a serve.


What is Rhett?

A rally where the result is not a point.

A let occurs when the opponent serves before he or she is ready, when the serve hits the net, or when the referee interrupts play due to irregularities in the playing conditions, etc.


What is a red card?

When referees penalize athletes for serious misconduct or breach of etiquette, they display a red card and disqualify the athlete from participating in the event.

Penalty worse than yellow card


What is roving?

A defensive technique in which the ball is raised high and returned from a distance from the table.


What is long serve?

A serve in which the ball leaves the table after bouncing on the opponent’s court.

It is easy to aim for points with the serve because of the speed.







How was that?

Many of the table tennis terms are quite difficult, so it may have been difficult to imagine them.

If you looked at the name and explanation of the term, you might have understood, “That’s what it means!”


Table tennis is a sport that will continue to grow in popularity.

It is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and genders.

Those who want to start playing table tennis can also feel free to try it!


Also, if you know table tennis terminology, you will have more fun watching table tennis on TV.


When a table tennis match is being broadcast

Please visit this page again and read the explanation of table tennis terms.

Enjoy watching table tennis!


Let’s enjoy! Table tennis love!


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