Why Do Ping Pong Players Touch The Table

Why Do Ping Pong Players Touch The Table

Last modified: September 27, 2023

Why do ping pong players touch the table?

Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a fast-paced and intense sport that requires quick reflexes, agility, and precision. If you’ve watched professional table tennis matches, you may have noticed that players often touch the table with their hand or paddle between points. While it may appear like a superstitious habit or a random action, there are actually valid reasons behind this seemingly peculiar behavior. Let’s explore why ping pong players touch the table.

1. To regain focus and reset

In a competitive ping pong match, players are constantly engaged both mentally and physically. The intense rallies and fast-paced nature of the game can cause stress, nervousness, and distract the players. Touching the table between points serves as a ritual or a physical cue to help players regain their focus and reset their mindset.

By placing their hand or paddle on the table, players can momentarily disconnect from the previous point and clear their mind. It allows them to let go of any frustrations, mistakes, or distractions from the previous point and concentrate on the upcoming one.

2. Tactical advantage and strategy

Touching the table can also serve as a tactical advantage and a strategy employed by players. By touching the table, players can gauge the level of friction and determine the condition of the playing surface.

The tables used in professional table tennis tournaments are made of different materials, such as wood or synthetic laminate, and can vary in speed and grip. By feeling the table’s surface, players can assess its condition, which can affect their shot selection, spin, and speed of their strokes. This allows them to adjust their game plan accordingly and exploit any advantages or weaknesses.

3. Rituals and superstitious beliefs

Like many sports, ping pong has its fair share of rituals and superstitions. Some players have personal rituals or habits that they believe bring them luck or enhance their performance. Touching the table may be a part of these superstitions.

For some players, touching the table can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort. It can serve as a reminder of their training or previous successes, boosting their confidence and belief in their abilities. While these superstitions may not have any scientific basis, they can have a psychological impact on the players and contribute to their overall performance.


While it may seem strange to see ping pong players touching the table between points, there are logical reasons behind this behavior. It helps players regain focus, assess the table’s condition, and may even have psychological benefits. Whether it’s a tactical advantage or a personal superstition, touching the table has become a common practice in the world of table tennis.

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