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Techniques for mastering table tennis backspin serve

This is an excerpt from Table Tennis by Richard McAfee.

Forehand Short Backspin Serve


To execute a forehand short backspin serve (figure 5.6), take a position completely off to the left side of the table, so that your left hand is located at the left sideline (right-handed player). Your left foot should be in front of your right, and your upper body should be parallel to the left side line of the table. The racket hand and the free hand, which is holding the ball, are close together at the start of the serve.

From an open palm, toss the ball at least 6 inches (15 cm) high and, at the same time, rotate your upper body to the right, bringing your racket back into the ready position. The racket blade is open and the wrist is laid back. As the ball begins to descend, rotate your body back to the left and bring the racket to the ball. Contact the ball at the bottom of the ball's face with an open racket. The racket travels under the ball and up at the end. The follow-through is very short to help disguise the type and amount of spin on the serve.

The first bounce on your side of the table should be close to the net. The bounce on the opponent's side of the table also should be short. If done properly, this serve will bounce several times on the table or even back up toward the net. After serving, quickly get into the ready position to take advantage of any loose return.


Figure 5.6 (continued)


Backhand Short Backspin Serve


The backhand short backspin serve (figure 5.7) begins with the left shoulder close to the left side line of the table (right-handed player). Rotate the right shoulder and hip so they are close to the table. Both hands are close together with the racket behind the ball and close to the left forearm. Begin the serve by throwing the ball up as you rotate your upper body more to the left. This puts your body weight on your back foot. As the ball descends, transfer the weight to your front foot and rotate your upper body back to the right, bringing the racket to the ball. Contact the ball at the bottom of the ball's face with an open racket. The racket travels under the ball and up at the end. The follow-through is very short to help disguise the type and amount of spin on the serve.

The first bounce on your side of the table should be close to the net. The bounce on the opponent's side of the table also should be short. If done properly, this serve will bounce several times on the table or even back up toward the net. After serving, quickly get into the ready position to take advantage of any loose return.


Figure 5.7