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Improving your Serve by Pierce Scott

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What starts off every single point? What shot do you have 100% control of? Your serve!

The best way to improve your table tennis game drastically is to improve your serves. If you can improve your serve, you can get into the point better and set up your way of playing. If you can practice your serve about five days a week for a focused 30 – 60 minutes, you can really boost your game.

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. Or 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 you are losing focus, then stop. There is nothing wrong with stopping — quality always wins over quantity when serving.

Another 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 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. They will require a lot of little improvements to add up after about six months. Now you have an overview of how to improve your serves.

Pierce Scott

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