What Is A Mercy Rule In Ping Pong

Just like the name Ping Pong which is colorful nonetheless, there is a rule called “Skunk Rule” or sometimes referred to as the “Mercy Rule” though this is not an official regulation rule at all.

What is Mercy Rule?

During my research, officially there is no clear history as to how the Skunk Rule came about, though the word “skunking” usually refers to humiliating opponents by scoring as much point as possible.

This gesture has been present in almost any sports, if the opponents bury you in as much points as possible that your home crowd starts to boo you.

I happens.

In table tennis the mercy rule applies in amateur play based on scoring, the governing body of table tennis also published the so called “basement rules” for home play, and this includes the skunk rule.

Skunk Rule is defined by scores like this 7-0, 11-1, 15-2 and 21-3, this is called game winning skunks, there are also additional punishment depending on how you arrange your basement game, from push ups or drinking 2 straight beers according to my research.

Like previously stated these are not official tournament rules but it is prevalent in amateur leagues or school intramurals.

Blowout Game

In sports a blowout game is a one sided victory, it occurs when a team outscores an opponent by a very large margin or in such a fashion that the opponent team has little or no chance at all to recover and win.

This is so satisfying to a fan and not to the opposing team, for example in Basketball during the 2017 Playoffs The Cleveland Cavaliers Scored 130-86 over the Boston Celtics.

In Tennis in the 1974 US Open, Jimmy Connors outclassed Ken Rosewall 6–1, 6–0, 6–1.

Another famous blowout game was Team USA Hoops one sided victory over Panama scoring 118-26.

Though basketball has no “no mercy rule” in both amateur and professional level, the only thing the losing team can do it specially in the NBA is to get the starting five out of the floor and let the reserves playout the remainder of the game.

This is often called as garbage time, the losing team will most likely empty their bench and hope that the next game would be totally different.

The Mercy Rule in Other Sport

Table Tennis is not the only sport that uses mercy rule, some famous sports apply this rule to, in order to save further humiliation from opponents or to save players from getting injured since the game is already decided.

Official Rules (Handbook)

If you are curious about the actual rules of table tennis then I have linked below the official handbook made by the official governing body ITTF, this is being updated regularly, it has 222 pages detailing the first edition way back in 1927 to the latest 47th edition in 2019.

The book details the constitution, laws, regulations and surprisingly an Anti Doping Section.

2019 ITTF Handbook – PDF version

What do you think? Did the post answer some of your questions?