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  1. jammmail is offline
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    #1

    Generating spin on serves

    So I think a key problem I have, that I need to work on is generating heavier spin on serves and the ability to serve to get the best shot back to follow up on.
    I can serve short - but it tends to have little spin, longer serves have spin but in comparison to how well I can spin up, or loop a FH, serving just doesn't get that same bite. It's not like I don't know how to spin the ball, or what the feeling should be. I do seem to get more spin on reverse pendulum than normal - possibly down to the more 'wristy' nature of that serve.

    Maybe I would be better off trying to work on a BH serve.
    Has anyone got any key tips, or how they approach it - or any success stories on how they have managed to take there service game forward?

    Im a left-hander and always serve from the BH corner - and most successful serve that gets loose balls or the odd winner is really wide to the FH side of the receiver across court of the side of the table.
    Last edited by jammmail; 04-27-2022 at 01:20 PM.

  2. Takkyu_wa_inochi is offline
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    #2
    if you find a way, please tell me !more seriously, i've been a very bad server for decades... because... i never practiced it !now i'm practicing more regularly, im finally getting a bit better...I think just try and try until you find something you do well, then try to do it better. There are many many tutorials on YT, because there are so many variations and techniques.a good player in another forum told me, focus on one thing at a time: like the throw, or bat angle, point of contact on the bat, point of contact on the ball, control the height of the ball... whatever...for the traditional pendulum serve, i find it easier (like most players) to put backspin by putting sidespin as well, so contact the ball on the left side (for a rightie) with a bat angle around 45 degrees.

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    #3
    It's a big challenge for sure but I have found it is almost all linked to ability to generate good wrist speed and touch. My spinniest serve is without a doubt my backhand side/backspin as I find this is less wrist dependent and more about arm movement (Ovtcharov used to use this serve a lot to good effect)

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    #4

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  5. Way Zooted is offline
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    #5
    So much about table tennis is serve and serve return.

    Might I suggest Sandpaper? Myself and some of our club members are really taking a liking to it!

  6. KM1976 is offline
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Takkyu_wa_inochi
    if you find a way, please tell me !more seriously, i've been a very bad server for decades... because... i never practiced it !now i'm practicing more regularly, im finally getting a bit better...I think just try and try until you find something you do well, then try to do it better. There are many many tutorials on YT, because there are so many variations and techniques.a good player in another forum told me, focus on one thing at a time: like the throw, or bat angle, point of contact on the bat, point of contact on the ball, control the height of the ball... whatever...for the traditional pendulum serve, i find it easier (like most players) to put backspin by putting sidespin as well, so contact the ball on the left side (for a rightie) with a bat angle around 45 degrees.

    I used to think on the same lines, however, I now feel that you don't need a very heavy spin serve as your main serve. A good serve constitutes of spin, speed, placement and height when it crosses the net. If you can keep a simple serve, which might not be too much on spin but uses other parameters effectively then it is an effective serve.
    Also, how you follow up on the 3rd ball, after serving is what makes the serve effective. If you check YouTube, it has lots of videos which talks about effective serve placement on the receiver side. For example, If you can keep a no spin serve really low and at a location which is not comfortable for your opponent then you are at a good starting point.
    Another example could be, if you don't have high spin serve then get a deep fast serve and then start from there in counter rally. Hope this helps.

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  7. ricospin is offline
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jammmail
    So I think a key problem I have, that I need to work on is generating heavier spin on serves and the ability to serve to get the best shot back to follow up on.I can serve short - but it tends to have little spin, longer serves have spin but in comparison to how well I can spin up, or loop a FH, serving just doesn't get that same bite. It's not like I don't know how to spin the ball, or what the feeling should be. I do seem to get more spin on reverse pendulum than normal - possibly down to the more 'wristy' nature of that serve.Maybe I would be better off trying to work on a BH serve.Has anyone got any key tips, or how they approach it - or any success stories on how they have managed to take there service game forward?Im a left-hander and always serve from the BH corner - and most successful serve that gets loose balls or the odd winner is really wide to the FH side of the receiver across court of the side of the table.

    4 things I’ve been working on are:
    1. Squeeze on contact so the rubber grips the ball
    2. Using more wrist plus accel on contact
    3. changing where you are hitting on the ball.
    4. Thin contact. (You ideally don’t want to hear the blade- only topsheet.)I’ve always been skeptical with the squeezing but it works. I’ve gotten more people as well as visibly see the amount of spin I produce.

    Last edited by ricospin; 04-27-2022 at 06:55 PM.

  8. jammmail is offline
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    #8
    Thanks all. Lots of thinks to try. Interesting about the squeezing as you would think having a loose grip to keep the wrist lose would be the way.
    watching that video of Brett Clarke the flex and whip of this wrist is mad

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  9. Lycanthrope is offline
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    #9
    This question has two sides:

    The first one, you still have room to improve the spin of your short serve. @ricospin #7 has given the points on it.

    The second one, you can do a good spiny short serve at your current level, but you want it better. If you try very hard to get it better, the result may be a high failure rate and you couldn't be able to apply it on a formal competition. That is because points at #7 requiring skills and experiences. Different level players have difference level of touch feeling and accuracy, so a certain level player can only do a certain level spiny serve that matches his level. When his overall level is getting higher, he has better touch feeling and accuracy, and he automatically does a better serve.

    For the second side, I think @KM1976 #6 is more practical, considering more on other factors, like placement and deception. If a player wants to do a spin/non-spin serve, he will have to make different serves identical, then a very spiny serve will sell him out as it looks totally different with non-spin serve.

  10. aliastheaka is offline
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    #10
    Maybe I misread, one basic thing that makes a great difference is the weight transfer like almost every stroke in table tennis. Doing that plus the wrist movement you will see the benefit of it and you will recover a stance position faster.As I am new to this forum but on YouTube you can find, among many others, a video called[h2][Eng] How to make underspin Service Heavier? _ Make me won vs Waldner 2004 Olympic (Ryu Seung Min)[/h2]

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    #11
    Predictability of serve return, is the REAL DEAL.

    If you know that one of your serve variations is usually returned in the same way, ie top spin return, to the same area of the table 8 out of 10 times, then you are almost just waiting for your opponent to put the ball where you are expecting it, you are one shot ahead of them before they have even played the return!!!!
    Don’t get complacent, and move in advance etc there’s still a chance that the serve return may not be as expected, but it’s likely that the non normal return will be to another position on the table 95% of the time.

    At crucial, points during close games / matches, a good serve is one that you can rely on to be returned with a high % in the same way.
    Predictability of serve return allows you to plan your points and be in control of the point. (Hopefully!!!!)

    Understanding what each of your serve variations does and how that can effect how and where on your side of the table that your opponent is going to return it is key to forming your serve and point play out scenario.

    Regarding having heavier spin, this is always a good attribute, it gives you a greater range of variation.

    The others have covered this well, but remember that sometimes ‘more’ is ‘less’, especially when good opponents can return the serve and give you back all of your own spin!!!!

    Having a serve with heavier spin shouldn’t been seen as an outright point winner!! ALWAYS EXPECT YOUR SERVES TO BE RETURNED.



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  12. Der_Echte is offline
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    #12
    Alright everyone. The key to a SHORT and HEAVY underspin serve is a FAST bast at impact and a FLAT bat angle. You can get more spin with a FIZRMING of grip AT impact too. That is all there basically is to it. Very simple concept... but in reality, so many players fail at it.

    Why? Several reasons. Number one is many players never learned the biomechanics for a short area whip and never practiced the TIMING of bat at max speed to impact point at the right time. This is the first and largest error players make and the biggest problem area. It is so important that the rest of the deal doesn't matter.

    Players will realize their timing is not there and slow down the bat just to keep it short. The serve should be very violent with a small whip. Players try even harder and hard and put more hours in practice... but in the end, they are practicing inefficient stroke/timing and they ingrain even more of a failure.

    Second issue players have is control over the bat angle for a short serve. The bat should basically be flat just like the table completely open. Variation tilt tip of bat down or up for side/under and an increased chance of a heavy short serve. Players MIGHT initially start their bat at the correct impact angle, but on their backswing, tilt it too much closed and do not open it back up completely flat like the table by the time of impact... so the player knows this and doesn't want a long serve... so player slows down swing to keep it short... but there is practically zero spin doing this and poor control of height and depth.

    Third issue is player is too tight.

    I have always advocated for a several stage progressive approach (so has Brette Clark and trouble maker Matt Hetherington)

    Stage one - isolate biomechanics to practice just the ball toss, the whip, and impact timing. Sit down, toss up ball to head height or higher, allow it to come down, backswing short, allow elbow to hit your rib cage, bring forearm forward, catch ball with open palm the angle totally open flat like table. Do this 5 minutes a day for a week or three.

    Stage two - Stand up in hallway or TT hall, toss ball up, impact ball forward and upwards, try to land ball a couple meters in front of you... allow ball to spin back. It it doesn't, go back to stage one and get timing and bat angle right.

    Stage three - stand a meter plus behind table, do the same thing, but bounce ball real high once on your side, once on other, and allow ball to spin back over net.

    Stage four - serve at table, do not worry about height too much, but learn your various first bounce locations for how fast or slow you serve. Do not worry about height, just keeping serve short with good spin.

    Stage five - serve at table and now focus on getting serve tighter and lower over the net. Work on spin and impact.

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  13. Der_Echte is offline
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    #13
    Two years ago, Matt Hetherington did a series of service videos around Mar or Apr 2020 covering ALL the nuances of stance, grip, biomechanics, impact and everything I am talking about to make a quality short serve. SEARCH and you will be rewarded.

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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte
    Two years ago, Matt Hetherington did a series of service videos around Mar or Apr 2020 covering ALL the nuances of stance, grip, biomechanics, impact and everything I am talking about to make a quality short serve. SEARCH and you will be rewarded.

    Matt Hetherington also did a vid on ‘what is a good serve’ this is definitely worth watching as well, basically what I posted in post#11 and my comments are based on his vid.

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  15. ricospin is offline
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by aliastheaka
    Maybe I misread, one basic thing that makes a great difference is the weight transfer like almost every stroke in table tennis. Doing that plus the wrist movement you will see the benefit of it and you will recover a stance position faster.As I am new to this forum but on YouTube you can find, among many others, a video called[h2][Eng] How to make underspin Service Heavier? _ Make me won vs Waldner 2004 Olympic (Ryu Seung Min)[/h2]

    Weight transfer is so and so... You can only do so much with service. I would say weight transfer accounts for maybe 5% of spin during a serve. Unless you are a top level pro and you are trying to squeeze the most out of your serve, you will be fine without it.

    What you would ideally do is use body rotation to get into position to play the next ball.

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  16. jammmail is offline
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte
    Alright everyone. The key to a SHORT and HEAVY underspin serve is a FAST bast at impact and a FLAT bat angle. You can get more spin with a FIZRMING of grip AT impact too. That is all there basically is to it. Very simple concept... but in reality, so many players fail at it.

    Why? Several reasons. Number one is many players never learned the biomechanics for a short area whip and never practiced the TIMING of bat at max speed to impact point at the right time. This is the first and largest error players make and the biggest problem area. It is so important that the rest of the deal doesn't matter.

    Players will realize their timing is not there and slow down the bat just to keep it short. The serve should be very violent with a small whip. Players try even harder and hard and put more hours in practice... but in the end, they are practicing inefficient stroke/timing and they ingrain even more of a failure.

    Second issue players have is control over the bat angle for a short serve. The bat should basically be flat just like the table completely open. Variation tilt tip of bat down or up for side/under and an increased chance of a heavy short serve. Players MIGHT initially start their bat at the correct impact angle, but on their backswing, tilt it too much closed and do not open it back up completely flat like the table by the time of impact... so the player knows this and doesn't want a long serve... so player slows down swing to keep it short... but there is practically zero spin doing this and poor control of height and depth.

    Third issue is player is too tight.

    I have always advocated for a several stage progressive approach (so has Brette Clark and trouble maker Matt Hetherington)

    Stage one - isolate biomechanics to practice just the ball toss, the whip, and impact timing. Sit down, toss up ball to head height or higher, allow it to come down, backswing short, allow elbow to hit your rib cage, bring forearm forward, catch ball with open palm the angle totally open flat like table. Do this 5 minutes a day for a week or three.

    Stage two - Stand up in hallway or TT hall, toss ball up, impact ball forward and upwards, try to land ball a couple meters in front of you... allow ball to spin back. It it doesn't, go back to stage one and get timing and bat angle right.

    Stage three - stand a meter plus behind table, do the same thing, but bounce ball real high once on your side, once on other, and allow ball to spin back over net.

    Stage four - serve at table, do not worry about height too much, but learn your various first bounce locations for how fast or slow you serve. Do not worry about height, just keeping serve short with good spin.

    Stage five - serve at table and now focus on getting serve tighter and lower over the net. Work on spin and impact.
    Thanks Der_Echte - I think thinking about it logically, it has to be down to biomechanics and I imagine your 3rd point is true with me - I'm stuck in a rut of an inefficient stroke, that hasn't changed over the years.

    As much as I appreciate some of the replies - its not about levels or variation as its not like my serves are terrible, they are ok - but for variation without the heavy spin version in the first place the contrast isn't drastic enough to cause the deception. Yes, I'm comparing myself against better (in league terms) players than me, but surely thats an area of focus that can have a big effect? I don't see why thats a different question. Plus theres been many a time where a game against myself has been much closer than it needed to be as the other player had 'good' serves.

    It's going back to basics and getting the whip right. Im still unsure wether Im able to change the pendulum serve I do as a worry it is so ingrained. So thats why I was maybe saying a BH serve might be a good way to start from scratch and a different angle?

    The reason I asked the question on here in the first place is there are loads of videos on Youtube and online - but which ones are actually any good and what ones have people learnt from? Watching pros is good for some things but they have so much more time to practice and play the comparison is bonkers.
    Last edited by jammmail; 04-28-2022 at 01:58 PM.

  17. Way Zooted is offline
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte
    Two years ago, Matt Hetherington did a series of service videos around Mar or Apr 2020 covering ALL the nuances of stance, grip, biomechanics, impact and everything I am talking about to make a quality short serve. SEARCH and you will be rewarded.

    He was at our club last week with a couple Joola reps. They all use Golden Tango on FH and Matt generates a ton of spin on his serves. His spin with sandpaper was even surprising.


  18. matt243385 is offline
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by jammmail
    Thanks all. Lots of thinks to try. Interesting about the squeezing as you would think having a loose grip to keep the wrist lose would be the way.
    watching that video of Brett Clarke the flex and whip of this wrist is mad

    squeezing when you contact the ball gets that last whip motion if you imagine it. Its a really fast acceleration and if you hit the ball while the racket is accelerating from the squeeze your serve will be faster and spinner. For short serves, you focus on biting the ball instead of rubbing if that makes sense.


  19. Der_Echte is offline
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by jammmail
    Thanks Der_Echte - I think thinking about it logically, it has to be down to biomechanics and I imagine your 3rd point is true with me - I'm stuck in a rut of an inefficient stroke, that hasn't changed over the years.

    As much as I appreciate some of the replies - its not about levels or variation as its not like my serves are terrible, they are ok - but for variation without the heavy spin version in the first place the contrast isn't drastic enough to cause the deception. Yes, I'm comparing myself against better (in league terms) players than me, but surely thats an area of focus that can have a big effect? I don't see why thats a different question. Plus theres been many a time where a game against myself has been much closer than it needed to be as the other player had 'good' serves.

    It's going back to basics and getting the whip right. Im still unsure wether Im able to change the pendulum serve I do as a worry it is so ingrained. So thats why I was maybe saying a BH serve might be a good way to start from scratch and a different angle?

    The reason I asked the question on here in the first place is there are loads of videos on Youtube and online - but which ones are actually any good and what ones have people learnt from? Watching pros is good for some things but they have so much more time to practice and play the comparison is bonkers.
    Hi, You are discussing the very thing I emphasize to players if they really want their serves to get setups.

    I always show my opponent right away my short serve is HEAVY, so I let opponent see that and get used to that, then pull the carpet out from under them with lighter serves using same motion.

    Getting the short whip biomechanics right is important. One of Matt's serve vids spent a very long time breaking that down. Most players use way too long a motion and they gotta slow it down to make impact. A short whip is efficient and can be very violent with a very fast final bat speed. Short and direct path is reliable.

    It is a matter of being loose, get that elbow to hit your ribs, then whip lower arm forward, a little wrist, and firming at impact. Once you figure out your serve speed and first bounce zones, it gets really easy. Just stay loose.

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    #20
    Practice makes perfect!! And serves need to be given a reasonable amount of practice time.
    I haven’t played for about 3-4 weeks due to an injury.
    Today I opened up the garage and did some serve practice, what a shambles!! Ball toss consistency gone!! Which then leads to other issues as each toss is different, timing, touch and feel gone because each toss required a different timing, contact point etc!!!!
    too fine a contact, too heavy, miss hits (loads of those!!!) balls netted, too high over net, consistency gone!!!
    so when you are practicing and playing regularly serves become easier, especially if you start training routines with a ‘proper’ serve, but even so a dedicated hour for serves per week is
    a good thing, or you can do 20 or so of each serve motion you have, FH pendulum, BH serve, punch / hook serve etc out of those 20 balls, 5 top/side, 5 back/side, 5 no spin, 5 pure side that sort of thing. As part of a warm up. If you practice 2 times a week, then 1st session 20 serves of 2 serve motions ( 40 serves total) 2nd session again 20 serves of 2 serve motions, but bring in the 3rd serve action ( if you have 3 serve actions) and rotate the serve actions so over a period of time things equal out.

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