I get this question asked a lot from players that are just starting out and want to get to grips with the basics, so they can progress with their game. Very often, people form bad habits from the start.
It's essential that you start to learn a few basic serves to give yourself more fun with the game and become a better player, whether you play on an indoor table tennis table ot prefer to play on an outdoor ping pong table.
There are loads of options when it comes to serves and you might what to watch some of the professional table tennis players like the USA Team do their serves on youtube and basically copy them until you perfected your table tennis serve.
Here, we detail three basic serves so you can learn to use them at home on your ping pong table. These basic serves will lead into using more advanced serves. Let us help you form good habits to enhance your overall playing experience!
Just a little tip for you! Study the masters, practise constantly, be patient and one day soon you will become a master!
Study the masters & practise constantly, become a master!
A good player should always have at least 10 different serve in his tool bag to use at any one time. This gives you a competitive edge and will always keep your opponent guessing because they don't know what to expect or what serve is coming next, that's what keeps them on their toes and makes you a great player.
Today I'm going to give you 3 examples of basic serves that you can practise. Forehand topspin long serve Backhand chop short serve Backhand topspin serve
A few little tips before serving
1. I worked out a very long time ago: a good serve is a lot to do with how you stand, position your body and follow through with the ball when throwing the ball up in the air and striking the ball. Positioning your body, so you can pivot round and be in a ready position when the return of serve comes at you.
2. You should always have a flat open palm with the ball in your hand before you serve.
3. Mix up your serves each time you serve
Mix up your serves each time you serve
I am assuming in these tips that you are a right handed player. If you're a left handed player, switch them round.
Forehand Topspin Long Serve
Stand sideways with your left leg closes to the table and your right leg slightly behind. Hold your left palm out flat with the ball in your palm. Be still for a second before serving and then throw the ball about 6 inches in the air. Then with your Batt follow through with topspin hitting with ball with a nice pace aiming for the middle of your court, so it bounces long on your opponents court.
Bounce Goal with Forehand topspin: middle / long bounce your side and long on their side.
This gives it's nice speed and topspin. Practise that a few times and you will start to see improvements, once you get confident, you can serve across the court , straight down the line or in the middle to give that serve some variation.
Backhand Chop Short Serve
Stand with both legs square with your body facing the table. Hold your left palm out flat with the ball in your palm. The right Ball arm should cross over on top of the left arm, so you can chop the ball away from your body in the serve so it hits the ball from underneath to give it the chop/backspin you need. Be still for a second before serving and then throw the ball about 6 inches in the air. Then strike the ball underneath gently hitting the ball long with backspin so it serves short on the other side of the court.
Bounce Goal with Backhand chop short serve: long bounce your side and short on their side.
This gives the ball slow speed and backspin. Again, once you get confident at this serve you can serve across the court or down the line to mix the serves up a bit.
Backhand Topspin Serve
Stand with both legs square with your body facing the table. Hold your left palm out flat with the ball in your palm. Very similar to the Backhand chop service, but this time, we want to drop your wrist and flick the ball upwards, so it give it that topspin you need. The right Ball arm should cross over on top of the left arm, with your wrist dropped. Be still for a second before serving and then throw the ball about 6 inches in the air, Then strike the ball over the top of the ball gently hitting the ball long with topspin so it serves in the middle of your court and long on the other side of the court.
Bounce Goal with Backhand topspin serve: long /middle bounce your side and long on their side.
This gives it a good speed and topspin. This seems like a complicated serve but once you get the hang of it, it's a very effective serve and will give you great enjoyment in the game. The key is to drop your wrist and flick the ball upwards to give the ball the top spin. Again you can serve across the court or down the line. (straight line torwards your opponent)
OK, have fun and take your time learning these serves, they do take a few weeks of practise to get the basics right, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be on fire and people will want to know "where you picked up these skills" and start to copy you!!!
Ping Pong Coaching Videos
Since we aim to help everyone improve their table tennis game, we have produced a series of original ping pong coaching videos with Eli Baraty. Eli is a top coach from the UK and currently works with the Harefield Academy. We have coaching videos for all different types of serves and you can find them by following this link: ping pong coaching videos.
Chop Chop, get practising!
I hope you enjoyed this article on how to do a table tennis serve. Why not browse our reviews of the best ping pong tables on the market and get a table to play on at home?