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Top 5 Table Tennis Serve [The Most Effective]

Welcome back to PingSunday, today we will discuss about the top 5 serve (or service) in table tennis.

The 5 Killer Serve in table tennis to destroy your opponent. If you think you have a good serve, then watch this.

This serve is illegal. You are not allowed to do that. If you don’t know the service rule, read this.

Illegal serve - Don't hide your serving arm
Illegal serve – Don’t hide your serving arm

If you want to watch the illegal serve, then read this.

But today, we will show you 5 killer serve to destroy your opponent, very good serve and all of them are legal. Good and legal serve.

5 killer serves in table tennis
5 killer serves in table tennis

Having a good serve gives you many advantages

But first of all, is learning table tennis service important?

Yes, it’s very important. I still remember a Chinese coach said to me that. The table tennis serve (or service) will decide more than 40% of the value of the player.

A good serve boostes your skills 40%
A good serve boosts your skills 40%

Really? up to 40% the skill of a player?

And then, later, I think his advice is correct. In fact, in table tennis, every shot always starts with the serve. The serve is the start of any rally in table tennis. And nowadays, there are on average 2-4 rallies, and then the point is ended.

1/3 = 33 % advantage for the start of the rally

So when you have a good serve, you already have 1/3 = 33% of advantage for your rally. A good serve will give you a lot of advantages.

That’s why, in China, players take a lot of time to practice the serve. They practice how to have a good set-up serve. Or sometimes, they will train to have the ace-serve.

Chinese players take 4h every week to improve their service
Chinese players take 4 h every week to improve their service
Ma Long has a spinny set up serve that help he build his playing style
Ma Long has a spinny setup serve that help him build his playing style

What do you need to think about before serving?

You need to think about the “purpose of your serve”. In table tennis, there are 2 types of serve based on the purpose: the set-up serve, and the ace serve.

So what are set-up serve, and an ace serve in table tennis?

Set-up serve

The set-up serve is used to give a lot advantages for your next shot. That’s why it’s called “set-up” serve.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov once said that Ma Long is the player who has the best “set-up” serve in the world.

In this video, you can see that Ma Long is doing a setup serve. He knows where the ball is returned, and is ready to attack the next ball.


5 killer table tennis serves to destroy your opponent

Watch this video.


Another good example of an ace serve of J.O. Walder. You know that Waldner is considered one of the best servers in the world. He has a super good set up serve, which gave him a lot of advantage. That’s why he is the first Grand Slam in table tennis.

Waldner has a very good setup serve
Waldner has a very good setup serve

Ace serve

And ace serve is a serve, that you try to win directly, just one serve, and you get the point. But at the high level, it’s not easy to win the point with only a serve. And nowadays, we are using the bigger ball, so it’s even harder to have good ace-serve. But I recommend you to have 1 or 2 ace-serve. This is very important in some cases, in some crucial situations, like at 9-9 or 10-9. So use some risky serve will help a lot to win the match. It’s called the “secret weapon”, or ace serve.

ace serve is used to win directly
ace serve is used to win directly

OK, so you know about the ace serve, and the set up serve in table tennis.

Having a good ace serve help you finish a set with an surprise serve
Having a good ace serve help you finish a set with an surprise serve

5 Amazing serves in table tennis

Now, here is a very good example of the best 5 killer service help you destroy your opponent. Are you Ready?

#1 – Short Sidespin Pendulum Serve

If you have a very good short sidespin pendulum serve, then you are so lucky. This serve is very effective. One of the best set up serve in table tennis. Why?

Because it’s very hard to return this serve well. The ball is always returned to your pivot position. And you can finish the point by attacking the next ball. Watch this video, to understand the principle of pendulum spin.

short sidespin pendulum
short sidespin pendulum
learning a good serve will help you a lot during a match
learning a good serve will help you a lot during a match

#2 – Short Sidespin Reverse Pendulum Serve

If you can do this difficult serve, that is super great. Backhand dominant players like Zhang Jike, Dimitrij Ovtcharov love this serve a lot. This serve is very spinny, and it’s very difficult to do the short reverse pendulum serve.

Use this serve, if you are the backhand dominant player. And use this serve, if your opponent has a very strong backhand flick.

short sidespin reverse pendulum
short sidespin reverse pendulum

Read this to understand the effect of “reverse pendulum spin”.

Look how this player uses his waist to “add more spin” to the serve.
He not only uses the forearm to serve, but also generates speed by using his waist. His body at the beginning is straight, but then he follows the ball and then goes down and rotates the waist to generate more spin.

#3 – Fast Nospin Cross Court Serve

The fast and long serve cross-court is a surprising serve. This can be a very good tricky serve. If your opponent is very weak at his backhand, then you can do this serve.

Mixed up your long serve

With fast nospin serve, the ball will often go up. And it can go out of the table, and you win the point. Or you can have an easy ball to attack.

#4 – Fast Nospin Down The Line Serve

This is absolutely a very good ace serve. You can catch off your opponent with serve. And normally you will win the point directly. Like this.

And further, you can mix up, fast serve cross-court, and fast serve down the line, to make your opponent even more confusing.

fast down the line serve
fast down the line serve

#5 – Long Sidespin serve

Long sidespin serve is also a very good serve. This serve has a complicated bounce. When you mix up a very good spin, the opponent has a very hard time to read the correct bounce. It can bounce high, but some time has a very flat bounce.

Look at the bounce.

flat bounce is hard to receive well
flat bounce is hard to receive well

This will make the opponent under pressure to deal with your service.

I have opened my second channel “The EmRatThich Show”. On this second channel, I will answer all of your questions with a very short video. So, “The EmRatThich Show” is a place we can have fun, we can chat together. About the pro players, about the equipment, and funny stuff. See you there.

Do you like this week PingSunday? You can support me if you find these videos helpful.

I hope that you can improve your serve in table tennis. Please remember that, 40% of the value of a player is decided by his serve.

Your serve can decide 40% of your skills

take time to practice your serve during your training session
take time to practice your serve during your training session

So take the time to practice and improve your serve.
See you next Sunday.

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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

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