Newcomers to the sport of table tennis will likely be confused by the sight of yellow and red cards during matches. Although they aren’t technically new to the sport, their meaning can be somewhat difficult to understand, especially for beginners. This creates a troubling scenarios for players trying to abide by the rules and play a “legal” game of table tennis. If you are interested in learning more, keep reading and we’ll breakdown the card system in table tennis and reveal what exactly the red and yellow cards mean.
Have you ever seen a soccer match where the umpire or referee threw a yellow card down on the ground to signal a player penalty? Well, the yellow cards in table tennis are pretty much the same. If a player or their coach breaks a rule during an official match, the referee or umpire has the right to throw down a yellow card. The recipient of the card, whether it’s an individual player or team, will then be penalized with a point against them. For instance, instead of starting the next match at 0-0, it would be 0-1 in the opponent’s favor.
So, just what types of things can you receive a yellow card for? Once of the most common reasons these cards are handed out is for coaches providing guidance to their players during an active match. There’s nothing wrong with a coach offering tips and guidance to his or her players, but it must be done in between matches and not while they are currently playing. If a referee or umpire notices this, they will usually throw out a yellow card without hesitation; thus, giving up a point to the recipient.
Of course, yellow cards can be given for a number of other reasons as well. Some players may receive them for swearing in anger, while others may receive them for not tucking in their shirt. If you talk with some professional table tennis players, chances are you’ll hear some unusual stories about when and how they were given a yellow card. For instance, there’s one player that was given a yellow card for raising his paddle up in the air.
As you may have guessed, red cards are given out to players after repeated offenses continue. Typically, if a player breaks the rules three times, the referee or umpire will give them a red card; thus, disqualifying them from the match. Red cards are rarely given out, but it’s still something that every table tennis player needs to be aware of.