View Full Version : Signals for partner in doubles

08-28-2016, 06:54 AM
I watched many doubles games. In most of the games, I saw when a player ready to receive opponent's serve, the other player give him a signal. What type of signal these are ? Make short or long receive ?

08-28-2016, 08:49 AM
We dont know for sure as every doubles partner has their own code. But if they are receiving the ball, the signals could be anything from long to short, direction (left or right) or if they are pushing/ attacking. My double partners only signals the direction when receiving which gives me a clue on where the ball will most likely go to so i can attack on the 4th ball.

08-28-2016, 03:22 PM
Thanks Mate

08-28-2016, 04:22 PM
At my level I don't pay much attention when my partner signals what spin he is serving , I watch his racket, but I do want to know if he is serving fast or slow. For my partner receiving a serve it is helpful if I know what he is doing,left,right, slow, fast, as for spin I can read, hope that makes sense. I play double's mostly with different partners and try to adjust, but I am not at a high level, seniors (lol).

08-28-2016, 07:37 PM
If you don't play with your partner often or you have some low level players in the mix, I tend to not worry about any signals. I'll watch my partners serve and then be ready for their return accordingly.

But when I play with my actual partner and we have narrowed down serves he's uncomfortable with coming back to him, we have just a select few serves that he'll prefer. So we have signals to know what we should serve, like what he wants at that moment etc. I also point on my paddle where I'm placing the ball. If we're doing a fast long serve and I point to the left side of my paddle, it's going wide. Right side means I'm trying to be close to the line.

If I curl my index finger that means short. If I make a fist that means dead ball. The rest is mostly me pointing the direction I'm spinning it.

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08-28-2016, 07:43 PM
A friend (Sam) was training for doubles with a lefty partner (Rob). Against Sam's dad (chewy) and some other random at the club (random). They were all around 2000 except the random who's probably like 1200 (when ratings are below 1500 I can't judge so this is a pretty random number)

Now I play doubles at a higher level than I play singles. So I say after this match can I be on chewy's team so they can get practice against different types of doubles partners? And chewy has 2 signs. One is pinky out, other is thumb out. Long and short. He's one hell of a third ball player so that's all he cares about is if it's long or short. So every doubles teams signs are different.

Let the non-server make the call since they know what kind of balls they want at the time

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09-06-2016, 05:47 PM
Ages ago, when i play with a frequent partner, we generally don't signal, unless when i serve and partner decides to change it up.

As server I signal to infrequent partner what I'm serving.

Generally when i receive serve, i don't signal because I generally have the idea of returning the ball where the server is. Sometimes though, I misread serve and lose point, but when I read serve correctly, my general strategy is to put ball into server and have partner run into him and get out of the way of my partner so s/he can get a good 'look' at the 4th ball.

With some of these ideas in mind, when you watch a doubles match next time, you should be able to figure out their signals.

09-06-2016, 07:25 PM
I like this subject. I am so clueless with doubles that this actually is useful information.

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09-06-2016, 07:41 PM
We usually show backspin/sidespin (one and two finger), short serve (finger bent) and sometimes direction and length of the receive (showed on the rubber, just like the rubber would be the table). But this is only with my father and my ex-teammate, I didn't used it in my new club (since a half year, what a shame for me).

09-06-2016, 08:06 PM
I like the bent finger to indicate short serve, we used to point the thumb backwards ... if index finger or thumb pointed forward, it was fast nospin serve

we used the thumb and index in L configuration to indicate sidedown or sidetop, depending on if thumb pointed up (side top) or index finger pointed down (side down) as we were generally righties and with left hand it was easy to do those

we generally don't show placement as it's a given to try to place ball right back at server to jam their partner ... once in a while receiver will try to return at server's partner to mix it up, depending on serve

back in da day, my frequent partner was a tall lanky traditional penholder, he was the better looper, i was the better smasher ... we would serve to set up our partner's strength

09-07-2016, 04:55 AM
Years ago I played doubles with a young Swedish junior who when our team was receiving serve and he was not the returner, he would look under the table at the server's signals and let me know what was coming. Apparently there is nothing in the rules against this. In fun matches everyone laughed. Never seen it in serious competition.

09-07-2016, 05:12 AM
First hand signal: long or short
Second hand signal: direction of spin

But for casual matches, I only use second hand signal

09-07-2016, 05:26 AM
Here are the signals we use :
1. Closed Fist --> No Spin short
2. Pinky put --> Underspin short
3. Thumb out --> Top Spin / Side Spin depending on the direction of the thumb
4. Index out pointing forward -> Short Half Long , light under spin
5. Thumb and index at right angle --> depending on direction side / top or side under
6. Length of serve using thumb and index , short will be slightly open than a pinch , half long would be like two inches apart and full stretch would be long ...

P.S. some other partners have ways of telling the degree of spin, essentially pinky would standard under, pinking and ring finger will be more etc. ..
Hope I have covered all the options :)

09-07-2016, 08:50 PM
I usually signal with direction of spin and length.

As for those opponents who decide to look under the table for the signals, simply whispering to your partner is fine.

It's best for the signaler to be the player who gets third or fourth ball.

When it comes for receiving a serve, I usually request my partner to return the serve in a certain direction. It's better for the teamwork of the doubles pair.

09-08-2016, 05:05 AM
As for those opponents who decide to look under the table for the signals, simply whispering to your partner is fine.

I always kinda wondered about that. In doubles in table tennis you are close enough to whisper. Saying something like "short side top" avoids all the need for signals. You could even use your paddle to hide your whisper. In other sports (tennis, badminton, baseball) the players are probably too far part to hear a whisper and may need signals.

09-09-2016, 07:36 AM
Some people cant whisper :D
Like my partner.. and I tryed to teach him some signals so I know what he is serving.. Mostly when he is serving with short pips. Still we get to be the best doubles in our league ;)