Serving short with a lot of underspin/backspin

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The angle of the racket is obviously important but there's so many things... It's really impossible to 'teach' or explain. You just have to practice a lot.

For example, a few of the things that make a huge difference but are very hard to explain:
1) How exactly to hold the racket (depends on the size of your hands, the length of your arms, the size and shape of the handle, what you find physiologically comfortable or uncomfortable.. It's very idiosyncratic but it has the biggest effect on your serves really.)

2) How tight you grip the racket (also depends on how you hold the racket, because fingers apply pressure in different spots, but generally a tight grip at contact is important for generating high spin)

3) The behavior of your personal rubber (my tacky, hard sponge battle II behaves radically different than my soft, non tacky AK47 Blue on the backhand. It grabs the ball and imparts more directional momentum, so you have to be very careful to really generate a lot of spin on the serve or it'll all turn into forward momentum and you'll get high/net/out balls)

4) Your throw (higher throw can make more spin, if you want a really strong backspin serve, but too much can be very hard to control consistently).

5) Where you hit the ball in relation to your body (a bit behind, right in front, close or far from the body?)


In short there are a ton of variables which are unique to you and so only a lot of practice will do it, but here's the best tutorial:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjm9PvelFnA


Also notice the big difference between real backspin serves and so-so backspin serves: The real backspin serve is fast. The ball is fast, and it jumps back to the net fast. It can be fast because it has such a shitton of backspin on it. Look at ma lins serve at the beginning of the video. So set your goal not just to have a lot of backspin, but a lot of backspin and speed :)
 
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says Spin and more spin.
says Spin and more spin.
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The two people who can probably give the best info on this subject from the forum are Der_Echte and NextLevel. Both can get very high levels of spin on their serves. And both spent a decent amount of time working on their serves.

I am simply going to throw a few terms out there that have a lot to do with the subject of serving effectively.

1) Whip Mechanics
2) Grip Pressure
3) Deception
4) Angle of Blade Face

Then I am going to discuss one concept. In low level strategy, serves are often thought of for winning points. For higher level strategy, serves are often thought of for giving you a good third ball to control the point.

Deception and varied levels of spin are useful ways of using the serve to give you the third ball you want.

It is useful to learn how to generate massive amounts of spin on your serves. But not because you should always use that massive amount of spin. Instead, the heavy serves serve to let your deception be more effective. So that when you show heavy and make your opponent respect your heavy serves, your light and no spin serves give you easier third balls to attack and control the table.

If you are playing decent level players, the most useful thing you can get from your serves is a ball that is not exactly as low as your opponent wanted. Because your serves will come back against a high level player. And it is low level strategy that will get you nowhere fast to simply hope you can win the points simply on the serve itself.

You have to back up your serve with a plan of attack.


Sent from The Subterranean Workshop by Telepathy
 
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Your serves are horrible. Nobody has ever taught you. You need to start a bit lower down on the technique scale.

Don't worry about spin at first. Start by learning to serve anywhere you want on the table. Learn to serve short and low.

I repeat. Learn how to get a backspin serve that barely clears the net. To either side of the table. At almost any depth but mainly short at first. Don't worry about how heavy the spin is. The key word here is low.

Master that. You will need buckets of balls, a lot of patience and willingness to figure it out. It is harder than it looks. It will take awhile.

After that, and not before that, come back. We will then talk about how to vary the spin. But until you can do the step 1 it is pointless to try to get to step 2. Actually, once you can do step 1, then step 2 is "what actually makes a serve good?". Until you understand that, and you clearly don't know, it is pointless to talk too much about spin.

But you can get there.
 
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Listen to Baal if you want a more effective serve as quickly as possible. But since the question was about developing heavier spin, the answer is to do the opposite of what he suggested; don't worry about placement at first, just focus on generating lots of spin. Underspin on a pendulum serve is usually side-under, not pure under, which in practice means the underspin component is less heavy. So if you want to learn a really heavy underspin serve, first learn a pure underspin serve. The videos linked above are good places to start. Concentrate on proper whip mechanics (keep it short), ball contact (roughly six o'clock like the video says), and initial ball trajectory (not down into the table, but a very shallow arc up off the face of the racket). Plan to spend weeks to months of daily practice before you really get it (consistent good contact is the hardest part), and don't get frustrated because you will get it if you keep trying.
 
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Ditto what Andy said. The paddle must be horizontal. How high the ball is tossed and the elevation above the table where the ball is hit is critical to keeping the ball low. The forward motion will come from tangential forces or friction from the paddle that will exert a horizontal force that gets converted to spin and forward speed. The normal force determines how hight the ball will bounce. The secret is the height of the toss, the height at where the ball is hit and lots of horizontal motion using lots of wrist.
I don't need to hide this serve much. I like to serve it to the pocket or wide.

For really short skinny serves the stroke must be upwards with the paddle tilted back a little from horizontal. This is difficult to do. I usually practice by serving the ball so it goes to the end of the table and rolls back to the net.
 
says Spin and more spin.
says Spin and more spin.
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Your serves are horrible. Nobody has ever taught you. You need to start a bit lower down on the technique scale.

Don't worry about spin at first. Start by learning to serve anywhere you want on the table. Learn to serve short and low.

I repeat. Learn how to get a backspin serve that barely clears the net. To either side of the table. At almost any depth but mainly short at first. Don't worry about how heavy the spin is. The key word here is low.

Master that. You will need buckets of balls, a lot of patience and willingness to figure it out. It is harder than it looks. It will take awhile.

After that, and not before that, come back. We will then talk about how to vary the spin. But until you can do the step 1 it is pointless to try to get to step 2. Actually, once you can do step 1, then step 2 is "what actually makes a serve good?". Until you understand that, and you clearly don't know, it is pointless to talk too much about spin.

But you can get there.

I do think this is really valuable info.
 
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The thing is that once he develops touch and feel to totally control trajectory of serves, it is suddenly easier to learn to vary spin (while disguising it). Converesly without developing that touch and feel he will never generate EFFECTIVE spin.

Again, OP should think a bit and write here what he thinks makes a serve good. I ask students that a lot. It is quite revealing.
 
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The thing is that once he develops touch and feel to totally control trajectory of serves, it is suddenly easier to learn to vary spin (while disguising it). Converesly without developing that touch and feel he will never generate EFFECTIVE spin.

Again, OP should think a bit and write here what he thinks makes a serve good. I ask students that a lot. It is quite revealing.

Is it necessarily better to develop total control of trajectory before focusing on spin development? That's an interesting contention. No doubt it's easier to develop the touch for one if you can already do the other. My touch and control improved the most during the time I focused on learning heavy underspin. I found it the hardest serve to learn by far and (maybe for that reason) the most helpful in improving the rest of my game.

No argument though that placement is more important than spin in making an effective serve. Keeping in mind that good spin control makes placement and deception easier. Not to mention that as you learn to generate and control spin on your own serve, you gain ability to read that spin on your opponent's serve.
 
says Spin and more spin.
says Spin and more spin.
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Another thing is, if you are talking about that you are a pro, and that you want to be in the top 200 in the world, then you should understand that long, high, slow serves without much spin and without much variation, are actually exactly how Baal described them.

And you could learn to serve heavy long serves without being able to translate that at all into heavy short serves. And Alpay does need to back up to the basics with his serves.

And for a player who has progressed to the level he is while still not really knowing how to serve or serve/receive strategy, it seems to me that Baal is actually giving the information Alpay needs to hear.
 
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So, what makes a serve good?
 
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No. There is a universal answer to that.

A good serve puts the server in control of the point by evoking a weak return.

What causes that does depend on many things.

Often this is because it is something other than what it appears to be. A serve with very heavy spin that is obvious is not as useful as a spin with relatively little spin that the opponent thinks has more spin. And vice versa,

If there is a serve the opponent simply can't deal with and he knows it is coming that works too but a server may have to probe a bit during a match to find that, which requires being able to consistently execute diffefent serves. Diffetent locations, trajectories or spins.

Beginners often think it is only about having heavy spin serves. It is good to have a few. But for most peop,e that is not a good thing to try to develop first. But early on you should work to develop serves that have different amounts of spin that look exactly the same. And since those serves may not be very loaded, it is good to start by learning to keep them low. They are harder to attack and they elicit more return errors.
 
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