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?
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.