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    #1

    Reducing Spin on Your Serves

    While people want more and more spin on their serves, the truth is that when you have spin, there are advantages to making the serve have less spin than it does as people mostly want to borrow your spin when the spin is very heavy.

    Here are some good videos that discuss in some detail what the technique for reducing spin on your serves is. This technique draws errors mostly on backspin and side backspin serves.

    Do remember though that these variations are only effective if you already have heavy spin serves as light spin tends to be overpowered by fast racket head speed that generates spin with good margin. Therefore, it is the contrast between the heavy spin (which the opponent will have to adapt to) and the light spin (which ideally, the opponent would go through but will not because he expects more spin on the ball than there is) that makes the difference.





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    #2
    Thank you NL!

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    #3
    I like it that NL emphasizes having and showing heavy serves first to setup the contrast of spin when you pull out the carpet for a no spinner.

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    #4
    Very few players point this out first.

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    #5
    Now we wait for the beginner crowd to chime in and ask why the hell someone would want to serve light spin.

    Wait a minute, I'm most likely to be in said beginner crowd.

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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel
    While people want more and more spin on their serves, the truth is that when you have spin, there are advantages to making the serve have less spin than it does as people mostly want to borrow your spin when the spin is very heavy.

    Here are some good videos that discuss in some detail what the technique for reducing spin on your serves is. This technique draws errors mostly on backspin and side backspin serves.

    Do remember though that these variations are only effective if you already have heavy spin serves as light spin tends to be overpowered by fast racket head speed that generates spin with good margin. Therefore, it is the contrast between the heavy spin (which the opponent will have to adapt to) and the light spin (which ideally, the opponent would go through but will not because he expects more spin on the ball than there is) that makes the difference.





    Good point, NL.

    I would like to add, that it could be helpful if one can "disguise" the amount of imparted spin.

    See, if one makes it too obvious, it's most likely that the serve will get slapped (depends on opponent's strength). So it can be quite helpful if the motions of heavy spin and light spin mostly look the same to cause an easy pop up and be able to kill that ball.

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    Last edited by Suga D; 09-28-2016 at 06:10 PM.

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    #7
    LOL - maybe not you, but me definitely! I don't know how to serve no spin!

    Quote Originally Posted by Archosaurus
    Now we wait for the beginner crowd to chime in and ask why the hell someone would want to serve light spin.

    Wait a minute, I'm most likely to be in said beginner crowd.

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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Suga D
    So it can be quite helpful if the motions of heavy spin and light spin mostly look the same to cause an easy pop up and be able to kill that ball.
    This is what i need to work on.

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by OldschoolPenholder
    LOL - maybe not you, but me definitely! I don't know how to serve no spin!
    It's actually quite hard to serve a good no-spin and make the motion look like it's not.


    Anyone can serve no-spin, and it's the killer serve at below 1000 USATT level. They're DAMN good at serving no-spin down there. However I think you can see the issue.

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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Archosaurus
    It's actually quite hard to serve a good no-spin and make the motion look like it's not.
    Well mostly it's a matter of practice and not so much of theory...


    Thomas Keinath is really good at this (disguising the amount of imparted spin).

    Last time he was coaching at our club, he even made guys miss whose ratings would be translated to around 2000 USATT.
    One really needs a sharp eye and mind to be aware what's actually happening...

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    Last edited by Suga D; 09-28-2016 at 06:37 PM.

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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by OldschoolPenholder
    LOL - maybe not you, but me definitely! I don't know how to serve no spin!
    Yes, you do. Initially, when you want to fake, it takes some practice because people can't believe that they need to control the ball and hit it flat. I used to serve with much more backspin on my serve than necessary until I started hitting the ball softly with my whipping motion. When you serve long, unless your serves kick a lot, no spin is not going to be as effective against someone who loops long serves and reads the deceleration. But for people who block or people who loop with light spin like kids, it helps a lot.

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    #12
    NL,

    I can serve what i think is a fast no spin serve from a FH pendulum motion but i don't think it's deceptive enough. But thinking about it, as the ball goes forward, is that technically topspin? Anyway, against lower-level partners, the speed and placement surprises them, against higher-level partners, i may get them 1x with it.

    My guess is it will take a while to disguise it and integrate into my fh pendulum motion. Will need to experiment and report back.

    Thank you!
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by OldschoolPenholder
    NL,

    I can serve what i think is a fast no spin serve from a FH pendulum motion but i don't think it's deceptive enough. But thinking about it, as the ball goes forward, is that technically topspin? Anyway, against lower-level partners, the speed and placement surprises them, against higher-level partners, i may get them 1x with it.

    My guess is it will take a while to disguise it and integrate into my fh pendulum motion. Will need to experiment and report back.

    Thank you!
    IT sometimes becomes light topspin, but the problem is that long serves are long and loopable. You need to serve that into the elbow or somewhere the person will just block - if the person gets a looping stroke on that ball, your counterloop or block had better be set.

    On the other hand, people used to returning spin serves are sometimes lost when it comes to no spin serves. I remember one girl who just couldn't serve with spin and around that time (I am thinking late 2013), I started to serve with spin so I began to appreciated no spin. Initially, I was sending her serves into the sky for easy attacks but I later adjusted and started touching her balls flat and she didn't know what to do with them either!

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  14. Baal is offline
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    #14
    Let me add a closely related trick. On very low and short serves make sure the ball moves very slowly through the air. Low and slow. I have noticed that this reduces the margin of error the returner has to judge spin correctly. So relatively small spin variations have larger effects on the opponent. And for example, opponent will frequently put a return into the net that is not in any way loaded, or will pop the return. I am sure there is some physics behind this. Not sure I care what it is, only it works well, especially if you also have some fast deep serves to mix in.

    Make sure when you do this that the balls stays low. If it isn't and it gets too long, you are toast.

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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal
    Let me add a closely related trick. On very low and short serves make sure the ball moves very slowly through the air. Low and slow. I have noticed that this reduces the margin of error the returner has to judge spin correctly. So relatively small spin variations have larger effects on the opponent. And for example, opponent will frequently put a return into the net that is not in any way loaded, or will pop the return. I am sure there is some physics behind this. Not sure I care what it is, only it works well, especially if you also have some fast deep serves to mix in.

    Make sure when you do this that the balls stays low. If it isn't and it gets too long, you are toast.
    Wow. I do this against much lower players, just to give them something that looks easy because it's slow, and most of the time they're kinda high too, but they always get netted. Even if they're very light. I honestly always expect a pretty strong return.

    I thought it was just low skill players not knowing how to return backspin at all. You've really seen this work at a decent level?

  16. songdavid98 is offline
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Archosaurus
    Now we wait for the beginner crowd to chime in and ask why the hell someone would want to serve light spin.

    Wait a minute, I'm most likely to be in said beginner crowd.

    I use to think no spin was useless. Now, I get why it has a little use, but I still think it's not that useful. It's only okay for variation purposes.
    You're basically taking advantage of a weakness that lower level players have, and it's that they
    1) can't read spin
    2) can't deal with short no spin

    ******************
    For lower level play: sure, go for it, and have a field day.
    For medium level play: sure, go for it, and have a field day. Just be a little careful.



    For higher level play:
    My reasoning is that serving short no spin gives your opponent many different options to deal with the ball.

    A lot of serve and attack gameplay relies on patterns and predictions. Against a good player who can deal with no spin in multiple different ways, serving no spin pretty much gives your opponent an option to do whatever they want to the ball, whether it is drop it short, push long, flip it, or do crazy sidespin stuff to the ball. And not only that, since the serve doesn't have much spin, it is easier for the opponent to control the ball and hit wider angles.

    In general, giving your opponent options is a very bad idea. When we serve and attack, we try to force the opponent into making shots that we expect and are familiar with.

    When we serve short underspin, we generally see one of two things occurring
    1) Drop shot
    2) Long push

    A third one would be flipping, but that isn't exactly a great idea unless you are godly because
    1) It will either miss, or it won't be that aggressive. Against a good short underspin serve, it is hard to get a powerful, good quality flip. Also, it generally goes in the more dominant direction, so you can usually predict where it goes. If it goes in an awkward direction, the flip won't be as powerful anyways.
    2) Someone who is prepared for a long push would also be prepared to counter the flip. I've done this consistently before, against someone with a strong flip (it was easier than trying to block it). Xu Xin is a good example of this.

    When we serve short topspin/sidespin, we generally expect a flip.
    When we serve long, we generally expect a loop.
    Nothing very interesting in this area, except for counterattacking, which is very attention-grabbing.

    However, when you serve short no spin:

    1) It's easier to get a good quality flip in any direction you choose. That's my biggest reason.
    2) The opponent can short push it (if they're good at it), and it won't have much spin. Very annoying. Not only that, it's easy to get wide angles.
    3) It's is extremely easy to do a very fast long push, in whatever direction.

    **The opponent can do all of this without worrying too much, since it is easier to control a no spin ball.


    The whole point is that a no spin serve gives the opponent to do something unexpected, that would screw up your third ball attack.
    I say this as someone who likes their third ball attack.

    I do see that serving with less spin than usual can give you the chance to destroy your opponent and win the point, but it is a risk and really depends on how good the opponent is.

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    Last edited by songdavid98; 09-28-2016 at 10:35 PM.
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by songdavid98
    I use to think no spin was useless. Now, I get why it has a little use, but I still think it's not that useful. It's only okay for variation purposes.
    You're basically taking advantage of a weakness that lower level players have, and it's that they
    1) can't read spin
    2) can't deal with short no spin

    ******************
    For lower level play: sure, go for it, and have a field day.
    For medium level play: sure, go for it, and have a field day. Just be a little careful.



    For higher level play:
    My reasoning is that serving short no spin gives your opponent many different options to deal with the ball.

    A lot of serve and attack gameplay relies on patterns and predictions. Against a good player who can deal with no spin in multiple different ways, serving no spin pretty much gives your opponent an option to do whatever they want to the ball, whether it is drop it short, push long, flip it, or do crazy sidespin stuff to the ball. And not only that, since the serve doesn't have much spin, it is easier for the opponent to control the ball and hit wider angles.

    In general, giving your opponent options is a very bad idea. When we serve and attack, we try to force the opponent into making shots that we expect and are familiar with.

    When we serve short underspin, we generally see one of two things occurring
    1) Drop shot
    2) Long push

    A third one would be flipping, but that isn't exactly a great idea unless you are godly because
    1) It will either miss, or it won't be that aggressive. Against a good short underspin serve, it is hard to get a powerful, good quality flip. Also, it generally goes in the more dominant direction, so you can usually predict where it goes. If it goes in an awkward direction, the flip won't be as powerful anyways.
    2) Someone who is prepared for a long push would also be prepared to counter the flip. I've done this consistently before, against someone with a strong flip (it was easier than trying to block it). Xu Xin is a good example of this.

    When we serve short topspin/sidespin, we generally expect a flip.
    When we serve long, we generally expect a loop.
    Nothing very interesting in this area, except for counterattacking, which is very attention-grabbing.

    However, when you serve short no spin:

    1) It's easier to get a good quality flip in any direction you choose. That's my biggest reason.
    2) The opponent can short push it (if they're good at it), and it won't have much spin. Very annoying. Not only that, it's easy to get wide angles.
    3) It's is extremely easy to do a very fast long push, in whatever direction.

    **The opponent can do all of this without worrying too much, since it is easier to control a no spin ball.


    The whole point is that a no spin serve gives the opponent to do something unexpected, that would screw up your third ball attack.
    I say this as someone who likes their third ball attack.

    I do see that serving with less spin than usual can give you the chance to destroy your opponent and win the point, but it is a risk and really depends on how good the opponent is.

    Given that the most common serve at the highest levels is the no-spin serve, don't you think this sounds pretty uninformed? The key thing about no-spin is the height. If it is low, then it is hard for the opponent to be aggressive.

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    Last edited by NextLevel; 09-28-2016 at 10:38 PM.
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    #18
    David, you see, the point is that you can disguise your serve well enough that they won't go "Aha, a no-spin serve, what a dummy!". It'll miss the point entirely if you tell them that you're serving an easy ball.

    I'm not doubting your level of play at all, but if you can't really disguise serves, then I can see why you wouldn't find much value in having no-spin be one of your standard serve variations. I think it also has to do with the average and maximum amount of spin on your serves, as well.

  19. songdavid98 is offline
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel
    Given that the most common serve at the highest levels is the no-spin serve, don't you think this sounds pretty uninformed?
    Can you give me sources?
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by songdavid98
    Can you give me sources?
    http://butterflyonline.com/the-power...no-spin-serve/

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