Service strategies

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Jul 2020
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Pre covid I had some pretty basic serves with not much variation.
The UK lockdowns meant that everyone had plenty of time on their hands to do nothing!!
Having a table in the garage meant I could learn some serves!!
I learnt the following serves

FH pendulum
FH reverse pendulum
FH hook/jab

Looked at my BH serve, which was tweaked so that variation and deception was improved. I also learned a couple of slight ‘form’ changes - differing actions and use of the wrist,
With a standard BH serve (for a RIghty) the ball moves curves right to left, so I learnt to curve the ball left to right (similar to FH pendulum). I did this mainly for fun!! I rarely use it though!!

FH pendulum and FH hook/jab I found to be the easier ones to learn, to start with. Reverse pendulum was harder, to start with.
With the Reverse pendulum it’s the action / form that’s the hard part, but once embedded, I found that learning the spins was as, if not easier than learning the spins for the other 2, especially with deception in mind!!!

So great, when lockdown eased I had a pretty good arsenal of serves and variations at my disposal.
The issue was not knowing what I was going to get back from the receiver and how each serve, variation and placement of the serve would effect my 3rd ball attack and point strategy!!!
This is the real nitty gritty and important part, Knowing what return you will get 80% of the time. Then you can plan better.
This learning phase can take as long, maybe longer than learning a serve!!!
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Sep 2022
Is there a "most effective" service strategy?

in the list of "most effective" serves my top item on the list would be as follows :-
It is the set of serves that works the best against a specific opponent. What works against Tom my be a disaster against Bob . What works against Bob may be not work at all against Charlie etc,
I keep telling myself this but also keep forgetting to do this > Watch a player's serve when they are not playing you and watch which serves work best & worst for him and against which opponents etc. Does he or she have a favoorite pet serve ? How would you mullify it ? How do other opponents handle it etc etc
I have seen players keep scouting notes and this should be a vital part of those notes

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Mar 2022
OK... after reading all your comments and watching some youtube videos, I tried a new service strategy that seems to work as I hoped.

I used to like pendulum serves, and I would expect the return to come somewhere to my BH side with underspin, most of the time. Then I could step around and attach the return with my FH. As I'm older now, I can't step around like I used to, and if the push return is to my wide backhand, I'm not able to do a good chiquita flick, either. So, the effectiveness of this particular serve has diminished over the years (for me, at least).

Against right-handed players, now I serve mostly with the backhand (~80% of the time), from my mid-backhand (to the left of the centre of the table). I vary the amount of side/under/no spin and the placement. Now, I don't have to move much after serving, and I can attack the third ball more easily with either FH or BH flicks or loops. I've only played one left-handed player since experimenting with new strategy, but I can see that I may want to rely more on the pendulum serve against them in the future.

Thanks everybody for your comments.
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