Hi Tom, I’m working with a wheelchair player who’d like to improve her serve. At present she gets the ball over the net but it’s very high – can you suggest how to improve that? I tried seeing if adding backspin would help but that didn’t work.
She’s left-handed, is fairly mobile in terms of upper-body movement, but low to the table because of the chair.
Many thanks, Jane
Well there is nothing to prevent a player in a wheelchair from keeping serves low over the net. They are already in a low position, which actually makes it easier to keep a serve low.
So for the player you are helping, it is unlikely that the wheelchair is the cause of a bouncy, high serve. This usually happens when a player contacts the ball too high and hits the ball down into the table too much.
So initially encourage your player to make contact with the ball around net height with a straight bat angle, hitting through the back of the ball. This will be a basic topspin serve, but it should stay much lower over the net. When she is comfortable doing this, then get her to open the bat angle slightly and slice under the ball, again making contact around net height. This will be a basic backspin serve.
When she has mastered both of these serves, keeping the ball low over the net, then she can experiment with other serves.