You start every single point with a serve! It is also the only shot you have 100% control of! So it is extremely important
The best way to drastically improve your table tennis game is to improve your serves.
Think about it, if you can improve your serve, you can get into the point much better and set up your way of playing because you will be in control. If you can practice your serve about five days a week for a focused 30 – 45 minutes, you can really boost your game.
Ways to practice your table tennis serve
The best way to practice serves is to pick one or two serves that go with each other.
For example, you could just work on short heavy backspin to the forehand orr you could work on short heavy backspin to the forehand and long fast topspin to the backhand.
These two serves go together because you would use these as a combination in a table tennis match.
Work on only these two serves for the training session. When you are serving, make sure you don’t lose focus.
If you feel fatigued and that you might be losing focus, stop and take a break. There is nothing wrong with stopping — quality always wins over quantity when serving.
One more great way to improve your serves is to record yourself serving to look for certain things. You could be looking to see if they are legal, if they look the same as other serves or if they are deceiving.
Watching yourself make the mistake is a lot easier to correct than having someone tell you about it and not know what was wrong.
To have an effective serve, you need to have many varieties of serves you can use. The main varieties of serves you can have are short and spiny, long and fast, trick serves and dead balls.
Short and spiny serves need to bounce twice on the opponent’s side if they weren’t touched. Long and fast serves need to hit within 3-5 inches of the white line at the end of the table.
Also, a very useful serve that people often overlook is the dead ball. It can be served short or long. If you serve it short, make sure it double bounces. If you serve it long, a good place to serve it is to the backhand or the player’s middle.
Normally a player’s middle is at their elbow. The benefit from serving a long, fast and dead ball serve is normally the opponent is surprised when you serve long and fast so they try to block it on.
If you give them a dead ball they will have to create their own spin to get the ball over the net. If they do not create spin then the ball will go into the net.
Remember when you are practicing your serves they will not get better overnight. It takes constant effort and commitment to improve, keep going and keep fighting!
Now you have an overview of how to improve your serves.
Learn table tennis tactics from USATT Certified National Coach and Hall of Famer Larry Hodges. Includes tactics against different styles, grips, and surfaces as well as tactical and strategic thinking. The book opens with this: “Tactics isn’t about finding complex strategies to defeat an opponent. Tactics is about sifting through all the zillions of possible tactics and finding a few simple ones that work.” The book then explores the tactical and strategic development needed to have the specific tactical tools needed in any given match – your “tactical toolbox.”