What is the benefit of being low when serving?

Ask the coachCategory: ServiceWhat is the benefit of being low when serving?
Fritz asked 5 months ago

My wife and I were watching an Olympics table tennis match yesterday — the gold medal match between Germany and China — and were struck by the strange (to us) way in which they served. They started by lowering their face to the edge of the table, with their ball-holding hand very close to their face, and their racket almost touching their face. I know the rules of serving, but have not watched much elite table tennis. Is this the way most good players serve? What is the benefit of this style?

1 Answers
Tom Lodziak Staff answered 5 months ago

Many players find it useful to start from a very low service position, so they can easily transition to a low recovery position after the serve, ready to make a quick movement or play an explosive shot.

There is also a psychological element. A pro player will often take his/her time when serving, by getting into a low position and briefly pausing to really focus and visualise the serve he/she is about to do.

But not all professional players do this. If you watch Vladimir Samsonov serve, you will notice he stays quite upright. And he was a top 10 player 15-20 years.

Most amateur players don’t get as low as the professionals, and they can still have a very good service game. But it’s worth trying. Get yourself a little lower when serving and see if it brings you any benefits. If yes, great. If not, don’t worry about it too much.