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View Full Version : Learn the Reverse Pendulum Backspin serve. It has helped me a lot!



anchorschmidt
05-16-2015, 02:19 PM
Here's a video showing you the basic serve motion
(
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3IZq55Matw)

I decided to learn this serve once I saw Timo Boll getting direct service points against Zhang Jike in the 2014 World Cup using this serve. I started learning it the hard way (more on that later) but once I finally managed to learn this serve, it has become a very useful weapon. I can now get 2-5 direct service points per match or set up for an attack against equal or slightly better players.

Though I lost quite easily against a Bizirksklasse 1 player (around 3-4 leagues higher than me), I was amazed the serve worked well enough against him to earn 3 direct points and around 4 high balls.

Why it is effective:

At least where I play, I haven't seen a lot of players doing plain reverse-pendulum backspin serve. Mostly sidespin or side-underspin.

Using the reverse pendulum motion, I am able to do three serves: side-topspin (ca. 30% topspin, 70% sidespin), sidespin (80% sidespin and 20% backspin) and pure backspin (100% backspin). The second and third serves get mixed up a lot as the service motions are very similar and I use the first one as a variation to earn myself a high ball.


Tips on how to use it

Serve 1: side-topspin

Serve 2: sidespin

Serve 3: pure backspin

Serve 2 is my normal serve when I'm serving reverse pendulum. If all goes well, I should be able to start attacking with my forehand. I normally place this serve into the **short and wide forehand side** as players really have to reach for this serve.

Then I might switch to Serve 3 with the same placement. After watching the video below I understood that players have much more trouble accurately pushing back serves from the wide and short forehand side as they have less feeling for the ball from there. It's easier to backhand push a serve from the middle.

(
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D-P4MhAw7o)

Therefore, Serve 3 gets pushed quite often into the net.

I sometimes also use Serve 1 but it isn't placed that short because if a player reads it correctly, it's quite easy for them to flip kill that serve. Serving just a few centimeters longer makes it a bit more difficult.

If a player misreads that serve, you just have to kill the ball using your forehand :)


Placement variations:

Players can get used to the placement to the short and wide FH side. I then either do a longer serve to the wide forehand or a longer serve to the elbow (mostly serve 2). If a player managed to loop the wide FH serve, you can block the ball to their backhand side.

It's not easy to do a fast reverse pendulum serve. Therefore, it's a better idea to place the longer serve to the elbow of the opponent as they would then have to move to loop the serve.

A good service variation is a long and fast pure sidespin serve to the backhand.


Tips on learning the serve

It's a lot easier to not do what I did :) I started out trying to directly learn the backspin serve but I just had no feeling for the serve. It's much easier to learn the Reverse Pendulum sidespin serve first (shown below) and then learn the backspin serve using the video I linked in the beginning.

(
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4eUrbSR4O4)

You can also use your hips to turn into the ball and recover from the service motion. This not only helps with producing spin, you also get ready for the third ball much quicker.


Another tip

In case you are struggling learning the serve. All of the three spin variations can be reproduced with the backhand serve. I use the backhand serve variations against long pips players or players with a weaker backhand as my long backhand serve is much faster than my long reverse pendulum serve.

NextLevel
05-16-2015, 03:46 PM
I learned the Reverse Pendulum Serve from Brett Clarke (ttedge) and this has been my experience as well. The main reason I don't use it more often is that I have very poor movement. But when I need a point, it is my go to serve, as most people at my level don't know how to serve the backspin serve or have never played anyone who uses the backspin serve and therefore, when you first serve it, unless they know your game, they push it into the net.

Here is the last Video that Brett made analyzing my progress. TTEdge has a full series on how to build the serve (Backspin and topspin).



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBlZzeSRabY

anchorschmidt
05-16-2015, 04:45 PM
I learned the Reverse Pendulum Serve from Brett Clarke (ttedge) and this has been my experience as well. The main reason I don't use it more often is that I have very poor movement. But when I need a point, it is my go to serve, as most people at my level don't know how to serve the backspin serve or have never played anyone who uses the backspin serve and therefore, when you first serve it, unless they know your game, they push it into the net.

Here is the last Video that Brett made analyzing my progress. TTEdge has a full series on how to build the serve (Backspin and topspin).



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBlZzeSRabY

Oh, so you're the student in the video :) Yes, Brett Clarke's videos have helped me learn the reverse pendulum motion as well. He does a combination of backspin and sidespin and his contact is so fast, it's difficult to read the spin.

My backspin serve is more similar to Alois Rosario's serve (though I'm bent over more like you and Brett Clarke) and my sidespin-backspin serve has less backspin than Brett Clarke's serve. My reverse backspin serve doesn't really have a sidespin component (perhaps just minimal). I'm not saying that my serve is better. Brett Clarke's serve is probably much better than mine considering he has played at a national level. Just pointing out that it is slightly different.

However, it's good to know that you are also winning points using the same tactics with a similar serve deception :)

Old School
05-16-2015, 05:03 PM
He does a combination of backspin and sidespin and his contact is so fast, it's difficult to read the spin.

Same here, ever since I learned the Brett version everyone in the club say it's really hard to tell what I'm serving.
When I throw in the topspin I almost always get an easy kill or they put it over the table.

Kokain
05-16-2015, 06:33 PM
Video from PingSkills really? That's your tutorial? Have a look at Bret Clarke. He emphasis the best serves are low, short and fast. Also hiding the bat angle is a lot more important than hitting the serve 100% correct which is impossible. Fake serves are also great in a heated battle to make the ball pop up. Anything to confuse your opponent in the name of the game. That's why his serves are very fast contact and compact, plus even worst he shows you how to have 2 serves using the same motion (side spin, backspin). I've been using them recently and having a lot of fun against low tier players who are still struggling with serve returns.

p.s Doing some magic show and releasing your theatrical skills can also manipulate your opponent when the ball is in the air. Keep waving that bat until the point of contact is near and do your normal reverse pendulum serve. Guaranteed it will end up anywhere but the table.

Tinykin
05-16-2015, 06:38 PM
Where's the link to the Brett Clark video?
.
.
Edit: Oops, seen it now. I think it's time to upgrade my laptop.

vvk1
05-16-2015, 08:04 PM
Better question, where is the link to Kokain's video of the reverse pendulum serve? Preferably, a split screen version that includes the Pingskills video - so we all could watch both videos side by side and see the differences ...

Tinykin
05-16-2015, 09:19 PM
OK, I just spent about 30 mins in my garage practising that serve. It is difficult to get over that beginners stage. I get the ball on the table but the spin rate and control of depth is not nearly good enough.
Must try harder

Tinykin
05-17-2015, 10:29 PM
Tried again today. I got better at it but it sure does give your wrist a workout.

anchorschmidt
05-19-2015, 02:08 PM
Tried again today. I got better at it but it sure does give your wrist a workout.

Yes, it's definitely not that easy to learn. It took a 2-3 weeks to learn it and then longer to be confident enough to use it in match situations.

I showed my serves to a high-level coach yesterday and he told me that I still need to work on it a little bit. I contact the ball slightly in front of me but the contact should be right beside me.

aerial
05-21-2015, 05:56 PM
hey OP, it seems Ma Long is taking your advice ;)

http://www.tabletennisdaily.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?10558-Ma-Long-Reverse-Serve-Practice-2015!

Dragan Glas
09-24-2015, 02:05 PM
Greetings,

With all due respect to both Alois and Brett - as coaches - their method of performing the RPBS is neither easy nor disguised. Indeed, one of Alois' serves barely makes it to the net.

The problems are caused by their holding the handle, if only lightly: anyone who does spin serves using wrist-action only, does so by holding the blade itself - as the "Timo Boll" video clearly shows - allowing a free-flowing "frisbee" wrist-action.

If I may, as someone with a arsenal of spin serves inspired by Waldner and others, I'm going to suggest adopting and adapting another service as the basis for the RPBS.

Waldner's "Down The Line" Serve ("DTLS")


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUQxd6Apr0g

It's the "Jan-Ove Waldner Tribute (NEW)" YouTube video, starting at 3:20.

As can be seen, Waldner holds the blade itself, not the handle. His arm action is silken-smooth and one-way: from the side of his body, forward. Also, the bat action is only one-way - forward.

Note that for the DTLS, the bat-handle is in front of/over the wrist.

If you hold the bat like this, all that's required to change it to a RPBS is to "unlock" the wrist - straighten it - and "lock" the wrist again but this time with the bat-handle behind/under the wrist.

You'll notice immediately that this automatically places the bat in the required horizontal position for the RPBS. As you "frisbee" the bat forward, the handle comes free from under your wrist, when you can either leave the wrist straightened or "lock" the wrist in the position at the end of the DTLS - the former is simplest.

A simple training session would be to practice the DTLS until your wrist-, arm- and body-action are smooth, then - when you drop your arm down by your side, where the bat will be hidden from your opponent's view - change the "wrist-lock" to behind/under for the RPBS with the same smooth, forward arm and wrist action.

One could vary this serve further by changing placement (short/long, FH/BH, and/or at the opponent's cross-over point (shoulder/elbow)), stance (left or right side-on or square to the table) and/or position behind the table (corner, between corner and centre-line, at the centre-line - even outside the side of the table).

I trust that this makes sense and is easier for anyone wishing to adopt this serve.

It should also be clear that you should not approach a game with a "whatever" attitude - that spin serves are not something you "make-up-as-you-go-along": you need to think about and practice them before you play a match to find out the most effective combinations of spin, placement, stance, and/or position behind the table.

[Apologies for going into "lecture mode".:eek:]

Kindest regards,

James

alex rogers
09-25-2015, 08:34 AM
There needs to be ma long training videos.

NextLevel
09-25-2015, 09:36 AM
Greetings,

With all due respect to both Alois and Brett - as coaches - their method of performing the RPBS is neither easy nor disguised. Indeed, one of Alois' serves barely makes it to the net.

The problems are caused by their holding the handle, if only lightly: anyone who does spin serves using wrist-action only, does so by holding the blade itself - as the "Timo Boll" video clearly shows - allowing a free-flowing "frisbee" wrist-action.

If I may, as someone with a arsenal of spin serves inspired by Waldner and others, I'm going to suggest adopting and adapting another service as the basis for the RPBS.

Waldner's "Down The Line" Serve ("DTLS")


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUQxd6Apr0g

It's the "Jan-Ove Waldner Tribute (NEW)" YouTube video, starting at 3:20.

As can be seen, Waldner holds the blade itself, not the handle. His arm action is silken-smooth and one-way: from the side of his body, forward. Also, the bat action is only one-way - forward.

Note that for the DTLS, the bat-handle is in front of/over the wrist.

If you hold the bat like this, all that's required to change it to a RPBS is to "unlock" the wrist - straighten it - and "lock" the wrist again but this time with the bat-handle behind/under the wrist.

You'll notice immediately that this automatically places the bat in the required horizontal position for the RPBS. As you "frisbee" the bat forward, the handle comes free from under your wrist, when you can either leave the wrist straightened or "lock" the wrist in the position at the end of the DTLS - the former is simplest.

A simple training session would be to practice the DTLS until your wrist-, arm- and body-action are smooth, then - when you drop your arm down by your side, where the bat will be hidden from your opponent's view - change the "wrist-lock" to behind/under for the RPBS with the same smooth, forward arm and wrist action.

One could vary this serve further by changing placement (short/long, FH/BH, and/or at the opponent's cross-over point (shoulder/elbow)), stance (left or right side-on or square to the table) and/or position behind the table (corner, between corner and centre-line, at the centre-line - even outside the side of the table).

I trust that this makes sense and is easier for anyone wishing to adopt this serve.

It should also be clear that you should not approach a game with a "whatever" attitude - that spin serves are not something you "make-up-as-you-go-along": you need to think about and practice them before you play a match to find out the most effective combinations of spin, placement, stance, and/or position behind the table.

[Apologies for going into "lecture mode".:eek:]

Kindest regards,

James

What I find interesting about all this is that if you watch Brett's serve, he is sometimes actually doing exactly what you describe, though he confessed on MYTT that occasionally, the handle does hit his wrist or come over. Note that Timo Boll for example has his come over the wrist and I generally started with that because I tend to struggle with controlling serves when my index finger is not on the blade and the index finger on the blade is usually what determines whether you have to come over the wrist or not.

Do please lecture - your insights were interesting and they helped me understand a little better why aspects of my motion are different from Brett's in a way I tried to understand but couldn't appreciate previously.

As for whether Brett's method is disguised or not, I think this is the video you need to judge that.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57Sl2UZnkAQ

Dragan Glas
09-25-2015, 02:44 PM
Greetings,


What I find interesting about all this is that if you watch Brett's serve, he is sometimes actually doing exactly what you describe, though he confessed on MYTT that occasionally, the handle does hit his wrist or come over. Note that Timo Boll for example has his come over the wrist and I generally started with that because I tend to struggle with controlling serves when my index finger is not on the blade and the index finger on the blade is usually what determines whether you have to come over the wrist or not.
I meant no insult to Brett (or Alois) - I merely felt that the technique used is overly complicated and, as you mention, sometimes the handle interferes with Brett's wrist action. The position of the arm somewhat gives the game away as to what's coming - notwithstanding that the spin is imparted by the wrist. I realise that Schlager uses a similar method by actually holding the handle itself - however, he relies more on his over-the-table play - but most players who rely on spin serves to win points hold the blade for ease of wrist-action.

Waldner's method hides what he's doing with the bat as late as possible - until it appears from behind his body/above the table - minimising the amount of time the opponent has to process what's coming.


Do please lecture - your insights were interesting and they helped me understand a little better why aspects of my motion are different from Brett's in a way I tried to understand but couldn't appreciate previously.

As for whether Brett's method is disguised or not, I think this is the video you need to judge that.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57Sl2UZnkAQ
I had watched the series of videos and was judging the awkwardness and arm-cocking giving the game away on them.

It's perhaps just a personal preference of mine to limit the time the opponent has to prepare for my serves.

I was looking for a better video of Waldner's DTLS and found it:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1mmpnS3-KY

He has a number of variants of the DTLS, from vertical to horizontal blade, where it's slightly open. As a result, it's very difficult for the opponent to tell what's coming until it's too late.

Kindest regards,

James

Baal
09-25-2015, 04:09 PM
I got to where I could use RPS pretty well, vary the spin, and fool the returner and even have confidence that I could execute it pretty much at will -- and then started getting all sorts of wrist pain from it (so I must have been doing something wrong but the pain keeps me from learning a more efficient motion). So I use hook serves now (by necessity when I need that reverse spin) and have found ways to make them deceptive.

NextLevel
09-25-2015, 04:17 PM
I got to where I could use RPS pretty well, vary the spin, and fool the returner and even have confidence that I could execute it pretty much at will -- and then started getting all sorts of wrist pain from it (so I must have been doing something wrong but the pain keeps me from learning a more efficient motion). So I use hook serves now (by necessity when I need that reverse spin) and have found ways to make them deceptive.

Yeah, many people are doing this now - wonder why Brett went with the ancient version of the serve.

Giangt
09-25-2015, 04:21 PM
Here is a video from ITTF.COM/SPINSANDSKILLS series where Elizabeta Samara is demostrating the RPS with backspin.


http://youtu.be/fznDln6_iyc

NextLevel
09-25-2015, 04:22 PM
I had watched the series of videos and was judging the awkwardness and arm-cocking giving the game away on them.

It's perhaps just a personal preference of mine to limit the time the opponent has to prepare for my serves.


No, it's not just yours and in fact, it is one of the things I don't like about the serve. The main reason why I still use it occasionally is that the mere use of it still gives opponents trouble at my level and that my backspin is heavy enough to get me at least one point when I first use it as most people initially put it in the net because they don't respect the motion. And if I can get a point at 9-9 to 10-9, then the reverse topspin just ends the game.

What I really want to do is to be able to find a grip out of which I can comfortably serve both Pendulum and reverse. It's one of the reasons paradoxically why I prefer my backhand serves. It's for the same reason most people don't like the backhand - I can serve backhand reverse and backhand regular fairly competently.

Dragan Glas
09-25-2015, 05:13 PM
Greetings,


I got to where I could use RPS pretty well, vary the spin, and fool the returner and even have confidence that I could execute it pretty much at will -- and then started getting all sorts of wrist pain from it (so I must have been doing something wrong but the pain keeps me from learning a more efficient motion). So I use hook serves now (by necessity when I need that reverse spin) and have found ways to make them deceptive.
:eek:

The following slide presentation on table tennis injuries indicates that you may need to rest your wrist for 3-6 weeks to let the ligaments heal properly, Baal:


https://prezi.com/6v6n_jyfierw/wrist-injuries-in-table-tennis/

Kindest regards,

James

Dragan Glas
09-25-2015, 05:30 PM
Greetings,


Yeah, many people are doing this now - wonder why Brett went with the ancient version of the serve.

Perhaps he's a Schlager fan!?

Kindest regards,

James

Dragan Glas
09-25-2015, 05:32 PM
Greetings,


Here is a video from ITTF.COM/SPINSANDSKILLS series where Elizabeta Samara is demostrating the RPS with backspin.


http://youtu.be/fznDln6_iyc
Watching the video I don't get the impression that there's that much backspin on the ball... Anyone else got that feeling?

Kindest regards,

James

NextLevel
09-25-2015, 05:38 PM
The demo serve contact definitely had backspin. The others were a bit different.

Dragan Glas
09-25-2015, 05:46 PM
Greetings,


No, it's not just yours and in fact, it is one of the things I don't like about the serve. The main reason why I still use it occasionally is that the mere use of it still gives opponents trouble at my level and that my backspin is heavy enough to get me at least one point when I first use it as most people initially put it in the net because they don't respect the motion. And if I can get a point at 9-9 to 10-9, then the reverse topspin just ends the game.

What I really want to do is to be able to find a grip out of which I can comfortably serve both Pendulum and reverse. It's one of the reasons paradoxically why I prefer my backhand serves. It's for the same reason most people don't like the backhand - I can serve backhand reverse and backhand regular fairly competently.
In the second Waldner video I posted, at 1:06 he does a RBS against Chartres - the slow-motion replay shows it clearly. His action is very smooth - even with the handle above the wrist.

Needless to say, it's important to find a easy technique to do this serve lest you end up with RSI - as Baal appears to have done.:(

As regards backhand serves, I don't actually use the backhand side of the bat for my "backhand" serves.

If anyone remembers Jonyer's backhand serve, where he stands square-on to the middle of the table, he - and others - are only able to swing the bat through 90 degrees before the end of the handle fetches up against the wrist bone. My variant is to turn the bat over as I begin the swing so that I'm actually serving with the forehand rubber - this way, I'm able to swing the bat through 180 degrees, getting considerably more spin on the ball. Changing stance and position behind the table gives me even more options and spin effects.

Kindest regards,

James

NextLevel
09-25-2015, 08:24 PM
There needs to be ma long training videos.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddVkXRh1UeY

Baal
09-26-2015, 12:30 AM
Actually I just stopped hitting that serve over a year ago and the pain is gone, but now I am not going to try it again. The best way to prevent a repetitive use injury is to stop the use that is causing the injury. Other shots and serves are not a problem for me (at least in the wrist), just the RPS serve. Of course there are all the other joints in my body that complain loudly, but that is another matter.

My hook serves are good. (Hey isn't that Per Gerell over there?).