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Herbert
06-09-2016, 09:04 AM
At the moment I am getting backing my old form. I used to play once a week, now it's 1-2 times a week.
Some of the extra time I want to spend on service training. I sometimes hear that my service is weak and relatively easy to attack
I think my placement and reading of the game is ok, it's just that I don't give enough spin or don't have enough variation.

What do you think could help make my serves better? I would also like to learn how to do a topspin serve.

THL
06-09-2016, 10:24 AM
[QUOTE=THL;149275]I think you don't need a new service.
Just practice your serves in all your trainings. You must train the placement of your service on the table and then the spin and variation. But first of all train the placement thats very important. Train alone and then proofe the services with a partner.
When you often train your service you get creative and you automaticly test new services.

Boogar
06-09-2016, 12:34 PM
At the moment I am getting backing my old form. I used to play once a week, now it's 1-2 times a week.
Some of the extra time I want to spend on service training. I sometimes hear that my service is weak and relatively easy to attack
I think my placement and reading of the game is ok, it's just that I don't give enough spin or don't have enough variation.

What do you think could help make my serves better? I would also like to learn how to do a topspin serve.


As THL said just take about 15 to 30 minutes every day and you will get new ideas along the way.
To train placement try to mark an aim on the other side of the table and then try to hit it. As for spin try to do some ghost serves ( the ones that pop back over the net). At first they will probably be too high, so you must gradualy get the ball lower.

Also try out some feints, those are alot of fun :)

songdavid98
06-09-2016, 03:03 PM
When you ask for these kinds of things, you should provide a video. We don't know how advanced you are (this community has at least taught me this).

Once we see how your serves actually are, we should be able to provide some reliable feedback as to how you can improve your serves.

The quickest and easiest way to stop people from easily attacking your serve is to serve short and low. It doesn't matter what spin it is. As long as it is short and low, it will be much more difficult to attack.


As for the topspin serve, most people serve it with some sidespin to make it a little bit harder to tell. The pendulum serve is a good example. Pure topspin might not be an awesome idea.

In the end, you just have to practice. Make sure you have specific goals in mind. A lot of people just mindlessly serve ball after ball from a container. In order to improve quality, you have to focus on each serve. The same goes for any shot in ping pong.

If you want to practice consistency, make sure you can reliably with quality do ten of the same serve in a row. If you miss one, start over. Do this for each serve your have.

When I practice serving, I only had one ball. I would serve, think about what I did, and then pick up the ball. Over and over. Think about what you are doing with your paddle, and think about what you are doing to the ball.

Focus on one thing at a time



Think about how high you tossed the ball (this matters way more at higher levels; it matters enough to make you miss)
think about how fast the ball is moving when you hit the ball
think about at what height you hit the ball
think about where on the paddle you are hitting the ball
think about where you are hitting the ball
think about at what angle your paddle is hitting the ball
think about in what direction you are swinging in
think about in what direction the paddle is pointing when you hit the ball
think about how fast you are swinging your paddle (the faster you swing, the harder is it to read)
think about how much you are spinning the ball
think about how your forearm is moving
think about how your wrist is moving
think about where your elbow is and how it is moving
think about how far away the ball is from your body
think about where on the table the first bounce is
think about where on the table the second bounce is
think about how high your serve is
think about how fast your serve is
think about how it would be returned
think about what you do before and after the serve
think about where you are standing before and after you serve (are you in the optimal position?)

pingpongdingdong
06-09-2016, 04:50 PM
Your two main service concerns are variation and the amount of spin on them.

Variation

For variation, it can be brought down to two main categories; the different serves you have and the serves you choose to use in a game.

Before trying to learn a lot of variations on a specific serve like the reverse version of a serve, focus on the basics. It is important to be able to generate a backspin, sidespin, topspin and no spin service with considerable heaviness and deception. It is more effective to have a few serves of great quality to start out with. This will provide a strong foundation for building and expanding on your serves.

A good video for learning the basic pendulum serve:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZvkFChf6MM

In terms of finding new serves and variations, watching a lot of professional matches and analysing their serves is one of the best things to do. Players like Jan Ove Waldner, Liu Guoliang, Werner Schlager and Ma Lin are highly recognized are some of the best servers of the game. Learning from other players is extremely important; this applies to the entire game as well.

In an article, Liu Guoliang said that good service is 80% visualization and 20% practice to which Werner Schlager agreed. He also mentioned that talent is especially needed in regards to serving. This essentially means that some people will naturally be able to create serves better than others. Keep in mind that actually creating the serves is the majority of the work. That is what makes up good service. The other 20% is for practice to develop consistency, along with considering other factors and deciding what parts of the serve need to be modified to maximize its potential.

The article: http://www.experttabletennis.com/liu-guoliang-on-psychology-tactics-and-player-development/

Innovation and creativity are nothing without safety. It is therefore still important to practice your serve. This will build consistency along with ease of controlling the ball and its spin and speed. However, it is still important to try out new things and new service ideas that come to mind; this is how all serves were made. Try varying the contact point on the ball, bat and table. Try different tosses. Try different angles and ways of hitting the ball. Try standing somewhere else. These are all small variations which can help improve the serve; along with bringing new serves to your collection.

Here is a game which can help make your service training more interesting and effective:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUiCrDY3rpw

A fairly long video talking about mistakes you may make during service training:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWF84ndOiJc

As I said before though, the easiest way to develop new serves is simply by watching different players and their serves. Take the key points from some of the great serves and do your research. Don't be afraid to experiment with the knowledge you have and the things you think of.

A great video by Werner Schlager demonstrating how a slight wrist change can provide an entirely different serve:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldheZbxGWlQ

In terms of choosing your serve, it is best to choose a serve that is most effective against your opponent. People often get caught up in over-using their favourite and/or 'best' serve but ultimately the best one is the one that works against your opponent. It is also about serving to exploit the strengths of yourself and weaknesses of your opponent.

I could expand on this topic more, but Liu Guoliang explained nearly everything about choosing your serves in game in this interview: http://www.masatenisi.org/english/roportaj5.htm

Generating heavy spin on your serves

Getting heavy spin on your serve is another way to add variation and make you a better server. Players will really have to pay attention because a mistake can cause a ball to plummet into the net, shoot up and out the end of the table or give you a high ball that's easy to attack. Getting heavy spin makes the serves harder to handle and can often help you construct your plays better. A very heavy, long backspin serve to your opponent's forehand will most indefinitely provide you with a slow, heavy topspin ball which you can then counter. It is having the ability to generate heavy spin that is important as it can help you predict your opponent better and set up, while also having more variation and possibilities.

Generally speaking, there are a few generic tips I can provide which do help quite a lot.

- Hitting the ball on the bottom of the bat.
Essentially I am talking about the end opposite of the handle. The bat is moving faster there than any other part of the racket, and in theory will create more spin.

- Swinging through faster.
This allows you to have more speed and brush to create more spin on the ball.

- Brushing the ball.
This is incredibly important and should be done by using the wrist like a whip. A fast swing can still produce a short serve as long as you are brushing the ball and have a very fine contact.

This article explains it all: http://www.tabletenniscoaching.com/node/2408

- Using your body.
Using your hips, shoulder, arms, legs and core in synergy can help you get more spin.

- Using a higher toss.
This will allow the ball to come down faster, and in theory, be able to have spin put on it.

Ultimately, getting heavy spin on the ball comes down to having the ability to accelerate your arm while brushing the ball with a fine contact. This will take lots of training and time, and ultimately comes down to your touch.

Here is a good video explaining how to get lots of spin on your serve but still keep it short:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwnnvzau_NQ

Serving a topspin serve

You also wanted to know how to do a topspin serve. Most serves are sidespin/sidespin-topspin, which generally gain a little bit more topspin as they roll over. This is because they are easier to disguise than pure topspin.

As Werner Schlager covered in the other video, you need to either change the movement of your racket or where you contact the ball.

For topspin, you are brushing up on the ball and/or hitting on the side or top of the ball; it is very hard to make a topspin serve by contacting underneath the ball.

This is not a serve I would recommend doing often unless you know how to disguise it well as it can be very easily attacked.

One last key point is that variation needs deception. After performing a backspin serve, you can drop the bat down to create the illusion of backspin, lift up and create the illusion of topspin or get under the ball to create the illusion of backspin. Keep in mind the best way to do this is using the complete opposite spin like making a topspin serve and dropping your arm since they normally associate that with covering a backspin serve to look like a no spin serve.

Just remember, serving is the only stroke in the game where you have full control of it and that's why it is so important. The best servers often get many free points or easy balls to attack and it can really improve your standard. Keep learning, working hard and improving!

Herbert
06-09-2016, 05:59 PM
Wow, thanks! Great replies. I will study them tonight and try to make a video and post it here

UpSideDownCarl
06-09-2016, 08:03 PM
....it's just that I don't give enough spin or don't have enough variation.

What do you think could help make my serves better? I would also like to learn how to do a topspin serve.

Well, I think that David's point about video is the most important point. The thread title says this is about improving serves for an advanced player. But, my guess is, if knowing how to vary spin and learning how to serve topspin is part of the issue, this might really be more about basics of serving to help a player improve.

The comments so far are excellent. Hopefully you will put some video of you serving. Because then people can actually help you based on where your needs are.

And hopefully NextLevel and Der_Echte will jump on here because they both have really good information about developing serves. And they skilled at avoiding being caught by the goon squad: more skilled than pretty much anyone else at that.



Sent from Deep Space by Abacus

JHB
06-09-2016, 10:08 PM
A topspin serve is the easiest thing in the world to do - and as many of the posters above have said, it is also very easy to attack unless you manage to deceive your opponent by making him/her think you are playing it to one side of the table while it actually goes fast to the other. Producing a CONCEALED topspin serve is much harder and requires good wristwork and timing - it will take a lot of forehand pendulum practise before you can do this. N.B. I'm not any sort of advanced player myself - being able to serve both FH and BH is enough to frighten most of my opponents - I just like practising service variations :D

Herbert
06-10-2016, 11:53 AM
As THL said just take about 15 to 30 minutes every day and you will get new ideas along the way.
To train placement try to mark an aim on the other side of the table and then try to hit it. As for spin try to do some ghost serves ( the ones that pop back over the net). At first they will probably be too high, so you must gradualy get the ball lower.

Also try out some feints, those are alot of fun :)

What is a feint? I learned serving from trying to imitate professional players.
What would the technique be for a Samsonov side sweep service with topspin?

Herbert
06-10-2016, 12:02 PM
Your two main service concerns are variation and the amount of spin on them.

Variation

For variation, it can be brought down to two main categories; the different serves you have and the serves you choose to use in a game.

Before trying to learn a lot of variations on a specific serve like the reverse version of a serve, focus on the basics. It is important to be able to generate a backspin, sidespin, topspin and no spin service with considerable heaviness and deception. It is more effective to have a few serves of great quality to start out with. This will provide a strong foundation for building and expanding on your serves.

A good video for learning the basic pendulum serve:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZvkFChf6MM

In terms of finding new serves and variations, watching a lot of professional matches and analysing their serves is one of the best things to do. Players like Jan Ove Waldner, Liu Guoliang, Werner Schlager and Ma Lin are highly recognized are some of the best servers of the game. Learning from other players is extremely important; this applies to the entire game as well.

In an article, Liu Guoliang said that good service is 80% visualization and 20% practice to which Werner Schlager agreed. He also mentioned that talent is especially needed in regards to serving. This essentially means that some people will naturally be able to create serves better than others. Keep in mind that actually creating the serves is the majority of the work. That is what makes up good service. The other 20% is for practice to develop consistency, along with considering other factors and deciding what parts of the serve need to be modified to maximize its potential.

The article: http://www.experttabletennis.com/liu-guoliang-on-psychology-tactics-and-player-development/

Innovation and creativity are nothing without safety. It is therefore still important to practice your serve. This will build consistency along with ease of controlling the ball and its spin and speed. However, it is still important to try out new things and new service ideas that come to mind; this is how all serves were made. Try varying the contact point on the ball, bat and table. Try different tosses. Try different angles and ways of hitting the ball. Try standing somewhere else. These are all small variations which can help improve the serve; along with bringing new serves to your collection.

Here is a game which can help make your service training more interesting and effective:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUiCrDY3rpw

A fairly long video talking about mistakes you may make during service training:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWF84ndOiJc

As I said before though, the easiest way to develop new serves is simply by watching different players and their serves. Take the key points from some of the great serves and do your research. Don't be afraid to experiment with the knowledge you have and the things you think of.

A great video by Werner Schlager demonstrating how a slight wrist change can provide an entirely different serve:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldheZbxGWlQ

In terms of choosing your serve, it is best to choose a serve that is most effective against your opponent. People often get caught up in over-using their favourite and/or 'best' serve but ultimately the best one is the one that works against your opponent. It is also about serving to exploit the strengths of yourself and weaknesses of your opponent.

I could expand on this topic more, but Liu Guoliang explained nearly everything about choosing your serves in game in this interview: http://www.masatenisi.org/english/roportaj5.htm

Generating heavy spin on your serves

Getting heavy spin on your serve is another way to add variation and make you a better server. Players will really have to pay attention because a mistake can cause a ball to plummet into the net, shoot up and out the end of the table or give you a high ball that's easy to attack. Getting heavy spin makes the serves harder to handle and can often help you construct your plays better. A very heavy, long backspin serve to your opponent's forehand will most indefinitely provide you with a slow, heavy topspin ball which you can then counter. It is having the ability to generate heavy spin that is important as it can help you predict your opponent better and set up, while also having more variation and possibilities.

Generally speaking, there are a few generic tips I can provide which do help quite a lot.

- Hitting the ball on the bottom of the bat.
Essentially I am talking about the end opposite of the handle. The bat is moving faster there than any other part of the racket, and in theory will create more spin.

- Swinging through faster.
This allows you to have more speed and brush to create more spin on the ball.

- Brushing the ball.
This is incredibly important and should be done by using the wrist like a whip. A fast swing can still produce a short serve as long as you are brushing the ball and have a very fine contact.

This article explains it all: http://www.tabletenniscoaching.com/node/2408

- Using your body.
Using your hips, shoulder, arms, legs and core in synergy can help you get more spin.

- Using a higher toss.
This will allow the ball to come down faster, and in theory, be able to have spin put on it.

Ultimately, getting heavy spin on the ball comes down to having the ability to accelerate your arm while brushing the ball with a fine contact. This will take lots of training and time, and ultimately comes down to your touch.

Here is a good video explaining how to get lots of spin on your serve but still keep it short:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwnnvzau_NQ

Serving a topspin serve

You also wanted to know how to do a topspin serve. Most serves are sidespin/sidespin-topspin, which generally gain a little bit more topspin as they roll over. This is because they are easier to disguise than pure topspin.

As Werner Schlager covered in the other video, you need to either change the movement of your racket or where you contact the ball.

For topspin, you are brushing up on the ball and/or hitting on the side or top of the ball; it is very hard to make a topspin serve by contacting underneath the ball.

This is not a serve I would recommend doing often unless you know how to disguise it well as it can be very easily attacked.

One last key point is that variation needs deception. After performing a backspin serve, you can drop the bat down to create the illusion of backspin, lift up and create the illusion of topspin or get under the ball to create the illusion of backspin. Keep in mind the best way to do this is using the complete opposite spin like making a topspin serve and dropping your arm since they normally associate that with covering a backspin serve to look like a no spin serve.

Just remember, serving is the only stroke in the game where you have full control of it and that's why it is so important. The best servers often get many free points or easy balls to attack and it can really improve your standard. Keep learning, working hard and improving!

Great post, thanks. I will watch some Werner Schlager videos to get an idea how important serves are. His disguises are brilliant. I think my variation is actually okay. I just don't have a 'best service' that I could use at 9-9 for example.

I didn't know of the part of the bottom of the racket swinging faster. I will try that as well.
For topspin serves it's just that I can't find the right movement. It's frustrating sometimes.

I have a tournament tomorrow and I'll ask if someone can record a set with their phone. don't expect too much ;)

Thank you all for the help so far!

UpSideDownCarl
06-10-2016, 01:13 PM
You can also record a few min of serve practice.

Usually, at 9-9 the serve you use is one that sets you up well to take control of the point. That is the safest and most effective use of serves. And frequently, a serve that sets you up well against one opponent, is not that effective against another opponent. So that means, when you are playing a match you have to be aware of what serves are more effective against the person you are facing.

VicVoc32
06-10-2016, 02:02 PM
Thanks for all the great tips guys! I need to improve my serve a lot!