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Table Tennis - Advanced Serving Techniques

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    Posted: 09/23/2017 at 10:54am
First things first. In a game of table tennis, there are two grips you can use. The shakehand grip and the penhold grip. Now, services in a game of table tennis is extremely important. 

With the shakehand grip, you will be able to have a pretty wide variety of services to choose from. Services with the shakehand grip can be relatively easy to perform. But with the penhold grip, you will be able to have much more wrist action. 

Although the services are usually harder to perform at a professional level, much higher level of spin could be generated depending on your skill.

With the shakehand grip, you will be able to perform these basic services. The pendulum, the reverse pendulum, the undercut and the backhand sidespin services. 

These are all the basic services, which professional players then modify into their own unique services. 

To generate more spin then just moving your entire arm while hitting the ball, use more wrist action. The wrist can be flicked much more easily than the arm can move. 

By flicking your wrist at the precise time of contact of the racket rubber with the ball, you will easily achieve a much higher level of spin on your serves. Other than that, you must remember to also just scrape the ball with the rubber surface. 

If you put too much racket swing onto the ball, the spin will be cut tremendously. Instead, with every service you serve to your opponent, you must use as much rubber surface contact as you possibly can. 

This will slow down the speed of the ball, thus allowing you to impart more spin upon the ball without putting too much speed on it and causing the ball to fly off the table.

Apart from using more wrist action, another tip is to throw the ball higher than compared to a regular service. Yes, with the increased height, there will always be increased spin. This is because the more acceleration the ball possesses as it descends, the more force there will be even with just a little bit of racket movement. 

This will cause the ball to have much more spin than if you were to just throw it up a foot high. That's why players like Ma Lin and Werner Schlager sometimes throw the ball up so high that the screen can hardly capture it.

The time of contact of the ball with the rubber is also of the utmost importance. Try serving a ball with your racket moving at a moderately slow speed when you strike the ball. Then try serving with a lot more speed upon that split second contact of the rubber and the ball. 

The difference will be extremely obvious. The shorter the time of contact, the more spin is generated.

Other than increasing the spin in your services, there are also various things that you can incorporate into your serving techniques that will confuse your opponent and make it more difficult for a perfect return. 
Factors such as fake arm movements and only revealing the point of contact to your opponent will well confuse and distract him/her from the type of spin being imparted on the serve. 

Arm movements which move the opposite direction right after the point of contact can disguise the serve as to whether it was side-top, side-bottom or just plain side spin. 

Watch videos of Wang Liqin, Ma Lin, Chen Qi and various other top Chinese players for good examples. But remember to never hide the point of contact, as that will break the ITTF rules.

One more tip is from Liu Guoliang himself. He once said in an interview that his immense spin that he can generate in his services are not only from his wrist action but from his entire body movements as well. 

In his videos, he always puts his whole body into his serves. Using more body movement could well improve the spin on your serves, too.

I hope this guide was helpful to you and your gameplay. Cheers.
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