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Saint
03-17-2014, 10:00 PM
Hello Fellow players,

I really wish to learn Ma Lin's Ghost serve but i am finding it difficult, i know how to back spin which is said to be similar but i am not quite sure.
Also is it true that this type of serve is illegal in a competition if so why, thank you for your time:)

SquareBall
03-17-2014, 10:06 PM
It isnt illegal serve the way you do it can be illegal.

Saint
03-17-2014, 10:12 PM
So it is like a serve that has different variations to it.

Der_Echte
03-18-2014, 01:51 AM
If you play vs an able body player and observe the rules of service, you will be good to go.

In a real match, unless you play a really low rated player or just somehow completely suprize the enemy, that serve isn't so useful.

Still, practicing the kind of impact needed to generate such spin and fine contact is GOOD training for your touch and timing for other serves, so practice it up!

Tony's Table Tennis
03-18-2014, 09:02 AM
Agree with Der_Echte ( as usual :) )

It is fun to do, and great for showing off (getting kids interested etc)

I'm no Ma Lin, but here is a video from a while back.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=110065002490064
Just took my multiball racket and showed one of my student some under spin serves. Didn't practice for this, otherwise I can get the ball to spin more :)

MDanielCRO
03-18-2014, 11:28 AM
If you are not using rubbers that can produce enough spin for this serve, it's imposible to make it.

Tony's Table Tennis
03-18-2014, 11:30 AM
If you are not using rubbers that can produce enough spin for this serve, it's imposible to make it.

Yes, but also no.
As long as there is some grip, I am able to do it.
Maybe result is not as promosing as a spinny rubber, but it is still doable.

MDanielCRO
03-18-2014, 11:46 AM
Yes, but also no.
As long as there is some grip, I am able to do it.
Maybe result is not as promosing as a spinny rubber, but it is still doable.

I know that you can make it with any rubber with a little bit of grip, but this guy is new in table tennis, and he is not like you and me

Tony's Table Tennis
03-18-2014, 12:01 PM
I know that you can make it with any rubber with a little bit of grip, but this guy is new in table tennis, and he is not like you and me

Thats why I replied yes and no :)

Saint, there is a few things you need to know before you can execute this ghost serve:
1) serve soft/gentle - makes sure you can serve a ball that bounces more than 3 times on the other side
2) good underspin control - this is where you brush the ball correctly, so it generates plenty of spin
3) drop the first bounce close to the net, and rely on the weight of the stroke to push the ball over than oppose to serve the ball over the net. This way, you are 100% focusing on the spin, and not focusing on the serve.

MDanielCRO
03-18-2014, 12:56 PM
Thats why I replied yes and no :)

Saint, there is a few things you need to know before you can execute this ghost serve:
1) serve soft/gentle - makes sure you can serve a ball that bounces more than 3 times on the other side
2) good underspin control - this is where you brush the ball correctly, so it generates plenty of spin
3) drop the first bounce close to the net, and rely on the weight of the stroke to push the ball over than oppose to serve the ball over the net. This way, you are 100% focusing on the spin, and not focusing on the serve.

I would add 4) Use the wrist for better contact

agold
03-18-2014, 08:38 PM
You must be able to put a lot of power, but the power shouldn't be directed towards the part of the ball facing you, or the ball will fly off the table. The power must be directed towards the spin

Der_Echte
03-19-2014, 12:40 AM
Impact point is very bottom of the ball with very thin contact with a FAST bat at impact. You get this by being LOOSE and adjusting grip, stance, and swing mechanics.

There are a couple schools of thought in growing your ability to slice the ball on serves...

1) the school that says at first, do not worry about thin contact now... it will come with more training and timing and growing later... Just like NIKE... Just DO IT!

This school of though believes you will gradually be able to put better and better thin contact on the ball and not worry right away about blade angles.

Myself, while I can see some of the logic, I am NOT from that school, at least NOT the AFTER the first couple days. I believe one should learn a very fast, very long, very spinny underspin serve as a bridge to this serve, but one need not dwell very long on that part, it is so easy to get such a fast, long, spinny underspin serve.

2) the school that says learn the mechanics and practice "proper" mechanics to include acceleration and point of impact on the ball and bat angle at impact (which are essentially same if ball is tossed vertical)

With this concept, the player first learns the basics, then goes out and tries to apply them. What I always see players do wrong is they start with the proper blade angle to make at impact, but on backswing, they change the blade angle (close it 30-45 degrees) and on the swing do NOT correct the bat angle enough, so the result is a serve made with too closed (or better said not open enough) bat angle at impact that results in a ball struck way longer than intended.

I believe one should not focus on the speed/acceleration of the bat at first, but on the grip, stance, swing and angles needed at impact, to focus on NOT changing blade angle during backswing, even if the swing and result of serve is predictable. The important thing is to practice impacting the ball at the right point and slowly building up the ability to make better acceleration/bat speed at impact. This has a lot more profit after the first few days of fail, yes, FAIL you will at first. Once you make a swing with wrong blade angle on swing, you basically gotta blow up the swing and start over. It is WAY better to do the serve at 1/4 bat speed with correct impact (directly below ball at 6 O'clock) that try too soon for blade speed and get the blade angle wrong always. You see results of making the serve short withing the first few days, even if the spin is kinda weak, you know that you CAN do the serve and keep it short, even if spin is not overwhelming.

When the player gets better stroke and is loose, the timing gets better. I always ask players wanting to improve this aspect of their serve to practice while standing or seated while awaiting matches at the club... How?? You practice grazing under the ball, make ball go out a meter on the wood floor, then have the ball come back to you. If your impact angle is below the ball exactly (and later a bit to the front of under) then you get better spin as you get better stroke bat speed at impact. This exercise gives the player good practice at impact timing, ball toss, timing in general, plus the art of making that loose wrist accelerate to a nice speed without a giant backswing. Progressing in this manner is important in my (crappy) view in that it makes the player get right what is more important first.

look, when playing better players, it is more important to make the serve short and low, so what if the spin is not yet 150 rpm, but 83? When the player makes his 34 rpm serve look like a 67 rpm serve, he did his job and did it well. It is just that later, you need to show the ability to generate extra heavy spin to make your spin variety greater and make it easier to have opponent mis-read the level of spin, and later, be ready to make offense outta that. That is the basis of successful serving. There are many players in the elite ranks who have 2-3 really good deceptive serves from same service position and keep opponent off balance and get what they want from serve time and time again, or at least limit the 2nd ball attack options, or even take away opponent confidence to attack successfully. Too many balls hit into net or sprayed everywhere can get on your nerves for sure, why not take advantage of that like pros, even we are amatures?

agold
03-19-2014, 01:35 AM
Yes that's what I meant. My post looks very wimpy next to Der Echtes long and thoughtful comment :)

Der_Echte
03-19-2014, 02:09 AM
Maybe you were more direct and had more brevity than I.

ttmonster
03-19-2014, 06:49 AM
Wonderful post Der Echte !!!

DDF2
03-21-2014, 01:58 AM
In a real match, unless you play a really low rated player or just somehow completely suprize the enemy, that serve isn't so useful.


I think the basic underspin serve is one of the best weapons you can possibly possess in table tennis. By itself it's not the best, but in combination with different serves it can become a very powerful weapon.
Once you force a mistake by placing a big amount of underspin on a serve you can crack their receives by adjusting the spin and speed of your serve, if you are able to do several serves from the same position and swing motion. Doing a slow and short sidespin/topspin serve or a long and fast flat serve will often result in a point after winning one with a underspin serve.

If you can also alternate between the spins (like under under then under top then top side) and keep the opponent off their balance it will be very hard for your opponent to read your serve and play a strong or aggressive receive. If you use the underspin serve as a foundation to fan out your arsenal you can become a very good player. ;)

Der_Echte
03-21-2014, 02:44 AM
I think the basic underspin serve is one of the best weapons you can possibly possess in table tennis. By itself it's not the best, but in combination with different serves it can become a very powerful weapon.
Once you force a mistake by placing a big amount of underspin on a serve you can crack their receives by adjusting the spin and speed of your serve, if you are able to do several serves from the same position and swing motion. Doing a slow and short sidespin/topspin serve or a long and fast flat serve will often result in a point after winning one with a underspin serve.

If you can also alternate between the spins (like under under then under top then top side) and keep the opponent off their balance it will be very hard for your opponent to read your serve and play a strong or aggressive receive. If you use the underspin serve as a foundation to fan out your arsenal you can become a very good player. ;)

First off... DDF2, your first post on this forum waz awesome, the mini-translation of the German. haha, we all speak German, English and prolly Korean!

Why I said the GHOST SERVE is a useless serve in a match vs a decent level player.... is this... the serve must bounce too short and it is entirely too high of a bounce on receiver's side to keep it that short and spin strong back to net. A decent level player would step in and FH flip-kill it without any thought.

I did in the earlier post say essentially what you said. Practicing this serve is GREAT to get down the timing and impact needed to get the touch for short serves. I just think that vs say a USATT 1800+ player, this serve will lose me more points that it will win me points.

I am totally with you in that effective serves are serves that have a plan, setup your offense, and/or control receiver options / limit their attack. We achieve these in a number of ways, but I always advocate (like you do) that effective serves are made by spin variation that the receiver does not catch. You achieve this (like you also said) by having the ability to make different spins, depths, breaks, speeds, placements using the same serve motion and arm slot. It is all in the impact. hard, soft, loose, tight, fast, soft, open, not so open. All of this is difficult to detect if your serve motion is smooth and you have the timing, touch, and knowledge/ability to execute the different blade angles and wrist tensions (loose wrist thin contact for short/heavy).

I also advocate (like you do) that the "Art" to the effective serving at amature levels is to "sell" the serve and keep opponent guessing (hopefully guessing wrong!). Once you got opponent guessing like that, you own him or her and can do what you want, because you have broken their confidence, that makes them play a couple levels lower. it is not an easy thing to break the confidence of a USATT 2500 TT player, which would be the Korean equivalent of a very strong top 10% Div 1 national player (mens). Yong-In City city team (Sichong) has players around 2600 level. You are not gunna kill these guys on serve unless you are natl team level for an Asian country TT power.

I again agree with using this kind of serve, or rather the kind of impact bat speed, angle, and touch needed to accomplish this serve... I agree that is good to use the kind of timing/touch as a way to develop it for your regular underspin serves.

I frequently advocate that the NO-SPIN serve is my BEST SERVE most of the time, but the effectiveness of that serve is increased greatly when I am able to first establish that my underspin serve is HEAVY. That sets up a lot more spin variation possibilities and when I am able to smoothly serve any spin and make it appear that the degree of spin is different, I have won a lot of the battle already.

To say it short, I pretty much agree with your outlook.

Since you are in Korea, (if I don't know you already) (Heck, there are only so many of use who know German, English, AND Korean AND play TT haha) ask around about a dude named William who just left Korea. Some will say they are glad he left as William might be an angry dude, but many will tell you that my serves propped up my level.

ttmonster
03-21-2014, 03:05 AM
Good post William :P . What is under top ?? is that a missed translation from german ?

Der_Echte
03-21-2014, 03:31 AM
Ah... you are talking where DDF2 said this...

If you can also alternate between the spins (like under under then under top then top side) and keep the opponent off their balance it will be very hard for your opponent to read your serve and play a strong or aggressive receive. If you use the underspin serve as a foundation to fan out your arsenal you can become a very good player.

OK, it looks like (or at least this is what I get from it) that he is talking about...

under under... Underspin with contact on the UNDERSIDE of the ball

Under Top... Topspin with contact on the UNDERSIDE of the ball

HOLD IT A MINUTE !!! A lot of you might say NO! there is NO WAY to make topspin by contacting the underside of the ball at 6 O'clock... but YES! You can make topspin. Try this out. Tilt bat 45 degrees, tos ball up and hold bat steady. Allow ball to hit bat and go forward... it will have light topspin and you didn't even moe the bat at impact. Move the bat upwards or backwards at impact and you will add spin to the ball... TOPSPIN. If your impact timing and touch are there, along with your position and blade angles... then you can even make a short topsin serve with this. it is a matter of touch, timing, and where to land the first bounce.

This serve looks a LOT like an underspin serve! It has pretty much the same motion, but you are impacting the ball only slightly later (on the recovery part of the stroke) and only just a tad later. You can even make a double fake topspin serve. You do the fake underspin serve which is really a topspin serve, then you do a follow through flipping the bat over the ball after impact to make it look like you are faking topsin. What you are ding is serving topspin and making a fake topsin follow through. This makes the opponent believe you are doing one fake (the follow through), so he believes the serve is underspin (because you did that fake topsin follow through and he believes you are trying to fake him, so he believes your fake topspin follow through is a disguised underspin.) You REALLY faked him out as he caught the wrong fake. You already faked him with your impact, which looked like you were serving underspin. When you do this AND do a fake topsin follwthrough, you REALLY make opponent believe you are serving underspin.

But then... something goes suddenly wrong... the ball pops up, you smash the daylights outta the ball and shout POWER!!! Opponent is WTF! That shoulda been underspin! You just double faked him into believing you simply (single) faked him and he was more wrong than a drunk dude leading an AA session.

Top Side... You are making a topspin serve by impacting the ball on the side.

Many of us know how to make this serve. This is an effective FAST/SUDDEN serve crosscourt, down the FH line, or as hiz playing elbow.

DDF2... if you meant something else... come on out.

Tony's Table Tennis
03-21-2014, 03:59 PM
haha Der_Echte, you making this thread too complicated now. Even though what you saying is true lol

But one thing I like you to challenge you is to try and FH flip-kill my ghost serves:)
I can get it to bounce really low and soft, best thign to do is just push it back.

I agree that no single serve will ever win you point. It is all about strategy/plan and all the serves, 3rd ball, opponents condition all added together etc

Most time where I used the ghost serve succesful is when the player chop/push the ball directly into the net - they didn't pick up the heavy underspin, or they totally mis-intrepete it and the ball bounce more than 2 times on they side (normally younger unexperience player who see my "heavy" action and thought ball is going long)

But never the less, I get my students to practice it, so they can understand more about spin and they can use it in any undrespin related touch/control

agold
03-21-2014, 04:16 PM
I was playing a player at my club, and he had complete control over the Mizutani serve i had been working on for ages, which worked well with most people, but he had trouble returning my topspin or backspin tomahawk serve, so I mostly used that. You should have a variety if serves, and if one works well, use it frequently with some backspin serves as well.

Der_Echte
03-22-2014, 02:16 PM
I was playing a player at my club, and he had complete control over the Mizutani serve i had been working on for ages, which worked well with most people, but he had trouble returning my topspin or backspin tomahawk serve, so I mostly used that. You should have a variety if serves, and if one works well, use it frequently with some backspin serves as well.

You have accepted in your heart one of the basic foundations of successful serving... variety, change and suddenness. That is good. I can tell you firsthand, at the lower amature levels, simply learning how to serve effectively can bring you up a level or two.

In 2008, I was a 1400ish level play, maybe low end of average USA club player level. I had to go to Iraq for work in the Army for a year+. My first camp had a couple of crappy tables in a rec center on a rough concrete floor with not so good room, but it was better than nothing. A unit from the Romanian Army was there and several of them would play daily. They ranged from 800 level to 1600 level and showed up daily. For my first two months, I could at least play some and practice a little. Then I had to go to a remote camp for a year, almost no one there played.

So, all I could do was practice serves. There was a cheap table setup in a trailer with the internet phones soldiers used to call back home. I would bring my small bucket of practice balls, stand behind the endline and practice the Ghost serve or a low double bounce serve, sometimes my topspin serve that looks like cut. Since the sound of 3-5 balls bouncing on table and floor make a lot of noise, I would limit myself to 3-5 minutes of practice as a balance of respecting the ones calling and myself getting at least some practice.

That one year of practicing a few times per week for only a few minutes was enough for me to develop touch and timing and develop a few good serves from the same arm slot and serve motion. I did a couple tourneys after I got back and without any other practice, my level was low 1600s. That isn't a great level to brag about, but it was a level or two better than I was. This is an example of improving without a coach right next to you. I had only a forum friend show me a couple things in person one day and a few pointers on the TT forums. The improvement was 90% due to improved serving and follow up. The other ten percent was due to understanding spin and serves better.

I say this to anyone who wants to grow from lower amature levels, especially where there is not a coach or a club within a reasonable proximity. It can be done, but it would be better to be in a real full time club. A few years of those lessons and club/tourney play in Korea moved me up another two levels. Sometimes, a club or coach isn't near you, but usually internet access is, so these TT forums are great ways to connect, share, and grow.

Der_Echte
03-22-2014, 02:38 PM
haha Der_Echte, you making this thread too complicated now. Even though what you saying is true lol

I'm not making anything complicated. If it is complicated, I sort through he bull crap and bring out the good stuff. In fact, I am into simplifying things. I do that well, but when it comes time to "break it down and get technical" you have learned I can ramble on with the best of them. The technical aspects of the touch/timing/concept of that topspin serve where the contact is on the bottom is s foreign idea to most and I had to explain it.

But one thing I like you to challenge you is to try and FH flip-kill my ghost serves:)

You are right, I wouldn't FH flick kill a fly, that part of my game is not yet developed. I dare you to try that crap to my BH wing though, it just might get sent back to China with a stamp on it "Return to Sender" haha.

If your heavy serve is that heavy and low, it isn't the ghost serve that is so close to net and doesn't go out. You need a bounce a few cm over net to get it that short, that is why I say it is not a good serve vs a decent amature. Now it sounds like your version of the ghost serve is a very PROPER low, short heavy underspin serve that makes it difficult for an opponent to commit to an aggressive flip - risk reward might not be favorable for him in that moment. That is one good serve, it also controls opponent's receive options and opens up your 3rd ball attack. You will not get me to doubt the "goodness" of your ghost serve, I just think it is a good regular low/tight short serve.

I say it everywhere. It is important to early on establish that you have a VERY heavy underspin. Sometimes, like you mentioned, you get one put into the net, even from a good amature player. The better ones adjust soon. That is good for me, I want them to adjust, because it sets up the effectiveness of my best serve - the no-spin or light underspin serve if I kept it low and tight like you do Tony. I get so many chances to attack from doing just these two serves, just like I am sure you get.

I can get it to bounce really low and soft, best thign to do is just push it back.
That is a sign of a very high quality proper short serve.I agree that no single serve will ever win you point. It is all about strategy/plan and all the serves, 3rd ball, opponents condition all added together etc

Most time where I used the ghost serve succesful is when the player chop/push the ball directly into the net - they didn't pick up the heavy underspin, or they totally mis-intrepete it and the ball bounce more than 2 times on they side (normally younger unexperience player who see my "heavy" action and thought ball is going long)
That is another sign you do very well with the smoothness and timing/touch of your serve. A sign you have practiced a LOT and it profits you. Of course the better players will do better vs it and of course you use that nicer lower short underspin serve to paralyze them in terms of receive options that enhance your 3rd ball attacking options.

But never the less, I get my students to practice it, so they can understand more about spin and they can use it in any undrespin related touch/control.

I say it time and time again. (I agree with you) There is much profit in developing the ghost serve as it practices the same foundations of timing, touch, impact, first bounce, smooth stroke, the use of all the body, but especially the difficult part of wrist timing/acceleration. Even though the ghost serve as we see on the Ma Lin vid... it is a demo serve and it is a few cm high. Despite this, you do the same thing to make the ghost serve that you must do to make a proper tight low short underspin serve. It is absolutely worthwhile to practice it, that serve can help one develop other killer serves with the same principles of touch and timing.

Please see my text in bold in quote.

Saint
03-23-2014, 08:32 PM
thanks guys

DDF2
03-26-2014, 06:37 PM
Yeah sorry I'm not active in here since I got an exam coming next week. ;)
What I meant was actually the variation in spin: under under means underspin serve followed by underspin serve, under top means underspin serve followed by topspin serve.
By alternating your patterns a lot you can force a lot of concentration of the opponent. If you can also match him in the rest of your play this can give you the edge you need for winning. :D

Der_Echte
03-26-2014, 11:39 PM
We waz wondering, I got it all wrong :( haha.

mmmm6279
03-30-2014, 07:18 PM
Interesting post! I am also eager to learn this serve.

Der_Echte
03-31-2014, 01:59 AM
Well, practice away, after you get the idea of your bat direction and angle at contact, the loose grip, and the way to accellerate the bat, it will work out. Might take a bit to get used to that, but once you get the hang of it, you will be good to go. I ws a hammerhead and it took me maybe 10 sessions just to get 1/2 my serves short, then another 10 tries to get this serve down. Brighter players will of course do it sooner.