Which type of server are you?

Which type of server are you?

Many players have good serves. Serves which are low and spinny, with plenty of spin and placement variation. Serves which are difficult to return and win lots of points. But there is often a huge difference in what players do after they serve. How players approach this key part of their service routine determines whether they truly have a strong service game. I am going to highlight three types of server. Which one do you most identify with? Keep reading

The curse of the strong server

The curse of the strong server

Some players are so good at serving that it can become a weakness. This is what often happens at lower levels… A player will develop some strong, spinny serves. His opponents don’t have the receiving skills to return many of the serves. He wins many points outright with his serve. But problems arise when the strong server faces higher ranked players – players who are capable of returning his strong serves. Now his service game becomes a weakness… Keep reading

How often should you use long serves?

How often should you use long serves?

Is it true that you should only serve long occasionally? Most players and coaches would say that you should serve short, or half long, most of the time and only use a long serve now and then. But there are times when using lots of fast, long serves is absolutely fine, and strategically the best thing to do. Here’s some scenarios… Keep reading

The surprising power of a no-spin serve

The surprising power of a no-spin serve

When serving, most players usually try to generate very heavy spin. This is undoubtedly a good thing. A heavy spin serve can be very challenging to return. But players often neglect using no-spin serves. In this short article I explain the benefit of using no-spin serves and give some tips on how to use them effectively. Keep reading

Tips for serving effectively in doubles

Tips for serving effectively in doubles

Serving in doubles is something we have all experienced, but probably not given as much thought to as our singles service game. I don’t confess to having all the answers, but in this article I give a few thoughts on effective serves to do when playing doubles, focusing on placement, spin variations and forehand vs backhand serves. Keep reading

How many different serves should you use?

How many different serves should you use?

I have been experimenting with my serves for the past few months. During the summer I only used my pendulum serve in matches. Then I switched to using multiple service actions when playing matches. Which approach is best? One service action or multiple service actions? Here’s my latest thinking… Keep reading

Do your serves complement your playing style?

Do your serves complement your playing style?

I have a player I coach who has very strong drives. He can hit the ball hard and with good ball placement with both his forehand and his backhand. However, this player has a service problem. Yes, his serves are decent and spinny, and sometimes win him points outright. But in general his serves do not complement his playing style. He often gets stuck in pushing rallies and loses the point. In this blog post, I explain how you can use your serves to set up the type of rally you want and win more points. Keep reading

How to do a legal table tennis serve

How to do a legal table tennis serve

One aspect of table tennis gets people more animated than any other. Serves. Or more precisely, illegal serves. I play local league table tennis and illegal serves are very common. I’ve seen full-grown men (it’s always men!) argue, swear, throw chairs and threaten physical violence because of the questionable legality of a player’s serve. So in this blog post, I will state very clearly what the service rules are and encourage you to play by these rules. Keep reading

How to destroy opponents with long serves

If you play table tennis at an amateur level, especially at lower levels, you can dominate your opponents with long serves. These are serves which land very deep on your opponent’s side of the table, ideally with a lot of speed and spin. In this blog post, I explain why long serves are effective (especially at lower amateur levels) and how to do devilish long serves which can give your opponents nightmares. Keep reading

Improve your serves with some solo service practice

One of the best ways to improve your table tennis serves is solo practice. You get a box of balls and serve, serve, serve. I admit, this can be pretty boring. You need plenty of motivation to do this regularly. But if you can find the time and mental energy for some solo service practice, you can improve your serves a lot. In this blog post, I give advice on what you should (and shouldn’t do) during solo service practice and share some training drills to help you keep motivated. Keep reading