The rulebook explicitly states that a player's point is lost if they touch the ball with any part of their body, clothing, or anything they carry while the ball is in play. This includes but is not limited to the hands, arms, legs, feet, and even the player's shirt or shorts.
However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule:
If the ball bounces back and hits a player or an object that they are carrying (e.g., a towel, water bottle), the point is awarded to the opponent.
If the ball hits any part of a player's body, the point goes to the opponent, even if it was unintentional or accidental.
Using body parts other than the racket to hit the ball is not only against the rules but also considered poor sportsmanship. Players must rely on their racket skills, footwork, and hand-eye coordination to play the game effectively.
It's important to note that some recreational or casual players might play with more relaxed rules and allow for occasional body shots, especially in friendly matches. However, in official competitions, tournaments, and matches adhering to ITTF rules, using body parts to hit the ball is strictly forbidden.
The rule is in place to ensure fair play and maintain the integrity of the sport. By enforcing this rule, the ITTF ensures that table tennis remains a game of skill, technique, and strategy, where players must rely on their paddle and sportsmanship to achieve success on the table.