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PostPosted: 26 Nov 2008, 20:13 
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SERVICE GUIDE: Spin as the base, mix is key {PART ONE}
To possess a deadly serve, you must firstly have spin as your starting point. Especially your main services must have huge changes in spin. On top of heavy spin, it is important to accompany them with deceiving follow through motions and differing placements. This would then be a lethal weapon.

Requirements of a serve

SPIN
Spin is the basis of service technique. Apart from being able to produce heavy spin, you must also produce large differences in your different spins.

SPEED
By speeding up your serves, it would firstly attain an element of suddenness which would decrease the time your opponent has to correctly identify the spin and may disrupt their rhythm, further you may use the increased speed to increase the spin.

PLACEMENT
Apart from being able to serve where you want, it must also constantly vary. You cannot afford to have “blind spots” in your service placement. This way you can lower your opponent’s stamina by simply keeping him on his toes, and would decrease the chances of your opponent killing the serve.

DECEPTION
Although with the rule changes that we can no longer hide the serve, but we can still use the angle of our positioning together with fake follow through motions to disrupt the opponent’s vision and destroy their judgement.

TRAJECTORY
No matter if you are serving long or short, the trajectory must remain low. If the height of the serve is not controlled well, it would decrease the serve’s deadliness and may also give the opponent a chance to attack.

The Principle of brushing

POSITION OF RACKET
When brushing the ball, there must be order to your racket position. To serve backspin or side-backspin, the racket tip is required to contact the ball, this way the length of time of brushing is lengthened and would be easier to produce spin. To serve no spin or side-topsin, the middle of the racket is needed for contact, this would make the ball stay on the racket for a shorter period of time.

CONTACT POINT
Serving backspin or side-back, the contact point is usually the bottom of the racket, at positions 2 or 1. [For reference, I’ve drawn with terrible mouse-art, a diagram] Serving no spin and side spin, contact point is usually positions 5 and 4. Serving topspin and side-top, the contact point should be 8.

ImageImage

OPTIMAL HEIGHT OF SERVE
When serving a long ball, you should hit the ball at a lower height, typically around the net height. When serving a short ball, the contact height should be higher, around chest height [assuming the bent over Chinese serving stances…look at Ma Long].

How to use Power when Serving

USAGE OF WAIST AND CENTRE OF GRAVITY
When serving, you may use your waist and the shifting of bodyweight to give the serve an extra element of spin. The best part of this is that it is hard to notice by your opponent.

ACCELERATION OF THE FOREARM
If you want the ball’s speed to increase, the acceleration of the forearm is of utmost importance. From the swinging of the racket to contact with the ball, the movement must be fast, using the speed of the swing to increase the speed of the ball. Especially on long serves, having a fast swing is the basis of having heavy spin.

AGILITY OF WRIST
When serving, your wrist must be relaxed, try to maximise the range and speed of wrist movement, which increases the brushing of the ball. The most technical aspect of this is to try and keep the grip loose but not allowing the power to dissipate, and tight but not stiff. Try and transfer all your power onto the ball at the contact point.

POWER IN YOUR FINGERS
At the time of contact, your finger’s ability to generate power is crucial for extremely heavy spin. As you can imagine, the power comes from the swift forearm movement which leads to your wrist snap which then leads to your fingers then finally to the ball. Thus on the last moment of contact, your fingers must firmly grip your racket, to allow all your power to be focused.

DIRECTION OF POWER USAGE
Given the game racket angle, same point of contact, but using power in different directions would result in differing trajectories/spins. For example, a serve with racket angle horizontal (ie, parallel to table), contact point is bottom left of the ball, but on contact, the power is from below the ball and dragged up, then the resulting serve would be side-top.
Or if the racket angle is vertical, contact point is bottom of the ball, but on contact there is a downwards force, it would become a sinking backspin serve.

Thus, you could always use power in different directions (even just on contact with a small motion), to create differing spins, and further deceive your opponent.

Techniques with Spin

BACKSPIN AND NO-SPIN
This is a typically used strategy. Basically it combines a rather strong backspin serve with a no-spin serve. First requirement is being able to produce both these services. Then it is required that the motion for both these services look similar, but the difference in spin must be significant.

When serving heavy backspin, use the tip of the racket (1, 4 or 7) to brush the bottom of the ball, taking notice of the power usage in your fingers.
When serving no spin, use the middle of the racket (2, 5 or 8) to contact the point halfway between the middle of the ball to the bottom of the ball, reduce brushing on contact, and add a slight forward push to the serve. Focus on the speed and trajectory of the two services to truly deceive your opponent.

SIDETOP AND SIDEBOTTOM
Best done with the pendulum motion. When serving sidetop, racket angle should be more flat and angled to contact the side of the ball (left side for righties), contact point is side of the ball with an upwards hooking motion.
When serving sidebottom, use the same racket angle, but contact the bottom left of the ball, and use a downwards chopping motion. Take notice that on contact point, the wrist must be moving very quickly, to ensure the ball has some explosiveness.

TOPSPIN KICKING SERVE
As the name implies, this serve carries significant topspin. On contact point, your hand should be lower than the ball, your wrist should be using power in a upwards direction, using the middle of the racket to hit the middle of the ball. The feel is kind of like looping, creating massive topspin. When the ball hits the table, there should be a noticeable forward kick. If your opponent is just slightly unprepared for the serve, then he is likely to be jammed. Also, during your upwards motion on contact, try to angle your racket slightly, so the ball retains slight sidespin, the resulting ball would be different to pure topspin and may float a little, making it harder for your opponent to make a strong return.

REVERSE-SIDESPIN
Opposite to the normal sidespin, the reverse sidespin serve contacts the other side of the ball (contacts the right of the ball of righties), which produces a reverse sidespin. It is equivalent to using forehand to serve a typically backhand sidespin serve. There are two methods to serving this.

First is to start the motion from close to your body directed outwards (think Boll), using your wrist in a backwards to forwards motion to create the spin through brushing. The motion is relatively small, and contacting middle-top (half way between top of the ball and the middle of the ball), and middle-bottom would create the sidetop and Sidebottom spins respectively.

The second method is to angle the racket down and facing your body, the motion is from behind you to in front of you, whilst keeping your wrist locked, use your arm and your body’s rotation to brush the ball. The motion is a little bit like a hooking motion (ie, a boxer’s right hook punch), that is why some people call this “hooking hand serve”. Typically this method contacts the ball in the middle and middle-top, thus it is slightly harder to produce heavy backspin.

BASELINE LONG SERVE
The difference between a good long serve and a bad long serve is speed. Firstly the racket swing must be swift, and using the acceleration of the forearm and wrist to give the ball power. Further, the contact height should be as low as possible to the table, and the power should be from backward to forward, try to prevent excessive downwards motion. The lower and flatter the trajectory is, the faster the serve will be. Also using too much downward force on the ball or serving from too high above the table would create a higher trajectory, which lowers ball speed.

Another element of the baseline long serve is spin. Sideback and backspin should contact as bottom of the ball as possible, kind of almost horizontal. For sidetop and topspin long serves the contact point should be the middle of the ball, whilst brushing take note that you are giving it enough forward force, and ensure all your power is transferred to the ball and not dissipated.

For long backspin serve, your hand should be above the ball on contact, at the same time your forearm should have a downwards “scooping” motion, the ball should feel as if it has been expelled from the racket. That way, when it reaches your opponent’s side, there would be a sinking effect.

DOUBLE BOUNCE SERVE
Basically a double bounce serve forces the opponent to receive the serve over the table. If you want to serve short, it is important to have the ball (1st) bounce near the middle regions of your side. Too close to the net and the ball is likely to hit the net, whilst too close to the endline would send the ball off the table on its 3rd bounce.

The next important aspect is to control your power. On contact, try to minimise the forward motion, at the same time ensure your brushing is swift.

Thirdly, the balance (centre of mass) of your body must have a downwards motion. Using this you will be able to reduce the forward force of your serve. Try to reduce the distance between your racket swing and the contact point, which again reduces forward power.

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PostPosted: 26 Nov 2008, 20:20 
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Gekogark- thanks for the great article.

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PostPosted: 26 Nov 2008, 21:35 
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Nice!

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PostPosted: 26 Nov 2008, 22:21 
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Thank you, Geko. Very nice :)

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PostPosted: 27 Nov 2008, 01:54 
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PostPosted: 27 Nov 2008, 04:37 
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I am going to assume that those items are in not particular order?

I would rate the double bounce portion of a serve very critical because hanging balls are loopable, junkable, killable balls. :) Do that with spin and you have a a server that will not be attackable which at the upper levels, one misguided or high serve and the ball is getting flipped killed.


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PostPosted: 27 Nov 2008, 08:20 
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figgie wrote:
I am going to assume that those items are in not particular order?

I would rate the double bounce portion of a serve very critical because hanging balls are loopable, junkable, killable balls. :) Do that with spin and you have a a server that will not be attackable which at the upper levels, one misguided or high serve and the ball is getting flipped killed.


I'm going to draw your attention to the title of the article, yes it is true that a very backspin is harder to attack, but a truly deadly service requires a balanced combination between all these techniques.

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PostPosted: 27 Nov 2008, 08:52 
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gekogark1212 wrote:
figgie wrote:
I am going to assume that those items are in not particular order?

I would rate the double bounce portion of a serve very critical because hanging balls are loopable, junkable, killable balls. :) Do that with spin and you have a a server that will not be attackable which at the upper levels, one misguided or high serve and the ball is getting flipped killed.


I'm going to draw your attention to the title of the article, yes it is true that a very backspin is harder to attack, but a truly deadly service requires a balanced combination between all these techniques.


I am going to say it depends. :)

At the higher levels. A fast long serve is getting loop killed just as fast as it went to them. In my own league, my mainstay diet is the short serve with varying spins. On RARE occasion I will slide a long serve but very rarely do I do that as most of the top guys will read it before it ever gets over the net and be ready to ram that long serve down my throat.


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PostPosted: 27 Nov 2008, 10:39 
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figgie wrote:
I am going to say it depends. :)

At the higher levels. A fast long serve is getting loop killed just as fast as it went to them. In my own league, my mainstay diet is the short serve with varying spins. On RARE occasion I will slide a long serve but very rarely do I do that as most of the top guys will read it before it ever gets over the net and be ready to ram that long serve down my throat.


speedplay wrote:
Yes, you are right, all long serves are getting loop killed at the top level! Like, there is no way someone could make an ace on such a serve in table tennis... :roll:


I really dislike doing this, so I'm making it clear now that I'm not usually so petty ahahahah

But to demonstrate my point, I'll choose a recent match...umm, how about the 2008 Chinese National Championships? With the ITTF calling it the toughest tournament, it must be worth looking at...check out Wang LiQin vs Zhu Zhou.

Last point of the 2nd set is a long serve (WLQ winning 11-4), WLQ serves long at 3-2 in the 3rd, then Zhu Zhou serves long THE NEXT SERVE, then again at 10-9.....

I could go on (there're actually quite a few long serves in that match), but even I'm starting to get disgusted at my own post :P Just watch out for my long fast serve when we manage to get together and have a forum tourny! :twisted: lol

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PostPosted: 27 Nov 2008, 11:24 
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Articles like this should be sticky'd or preserved somewhere. Great information.

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PostPosted: 27 Nov 2008, 16:35 
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haha thanks for the great article! haha you should get it published.

at my level (yes you may have heard alot about my level) ppl just use loads of spin that makes the ball go sideways when it contacts the table. they can't even hit the ball sometimes!

But i will print out your article and stick it on my table when im practicing serves! great info and it will surely help many ppl including me!
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PostPosted: 28 Nov 2008, 11:47 
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Wow, great article (again)! How did I miss this thread???

I'll copy this to the archive section, as we don't want ti to get lost.

Thanks Geko!

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PostPosted: 28 Nov 2008, 13:54 
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BTW, haggisv, i think i have seen your serves before, they're sick! Super spinny.


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awesome, really helpful :lol:

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mynamenotbob wrote:
Articles like this should be sticky'd or preserved somewhere. Great information.


Actually, I have mixed feelings about this

Yes, great article. Serving is probably one of the most important skills for tournament play, at all levels, but can you imagine a TT match where neither player could return the opponent's serve? I would guess that at the higher levels serves are used to setup the 3rd ball attack but to me even this is not enough TT to make it worth watching or attract new players to the sport.

Personally, I would enjoy playing and watching TT a lot more if serves were not such a big part of a match. I think long rallies between looper vs defender, looper vs looper, and even defender vs defender are what TT is all about.

I don't enjoy spending over $100 in equipment plus club and tournament fees so that the point is over right after the serve. I actually enjoy feeling and hearing the ball sink into my paddle on every loop, every chop, every push, every hit, every block, for as many times as possible.

I realize there may not be a good or fair way to make serves less important so that we get longer rallies. Even the ITTF hasn't found that happy medium: they tried to slow down the game with the bigger ball but they want to speed up the match with the 11-point games and still have the expedite rule.

I stopped watching men's tennis because there are too many points decided by serves. It just isn't fun anymore.

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