Basic Table Tennis Serve

Master the basic table tennis serve.
Improve your table tennis serving and win more games.

basic-table-tennis-serve by courtesy of the ITTF

The table tennis serve is the most important stroke in the game because it provides the only situation in which you have total control over how and where you play the ball.

However, before you can master the correct table tennis serving technique, you'll need to ensure that you're using the correct table tennis grip and that you've mastered the four basic table tennis strokes.

RECOMMENDED  TABLE  TENNIS  BOOK

Table Tennis Service Secrets

Table Tennis Service Secrets Discover the fastest way to improve your table tennis by 30%

Improving your service and return of service will add three points, or more, to every game you play.

RECOMMENDED TABLE TENNIS BOOK

Table Tennis Service Secrets

Table Tennis Service Secrets

Discover the fastest way to improve your table tennis by 30%

Improving your service and return of service will add three points, or more, to every game you play.


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The basic table tennis serving technique

If you're a beginner, try the following exercises to help you master the basic table tennis serving technique...

  1. On your backhand side, position yourself at the side of the table, halfway between the net and your end of the table.

    table tennis serve

  2. Hold the racket at an open angle - as if you were going to play a backhand push - and with your free hand, hold the ball between your thumb and first finger at a height of around 30cm (12 inches) directly above the racket.

  3. Without moving your racket, drop the ball onto it so that the ball is projected towards your opponent's side of the table.

    The ball must first bounce on your side of the table and then go over the net and bounce on your opponent's side of the table.

  4. Repeat this several times until you're consistently successful.
  5. Once you've mastered this technique standing close to the net, gradually move further away from the net, nearer to your end of the table, and repeat the exercise.

My top table tennis tips:

As you move further away from the net, you'll need to play a forward stroke action with your racket to give the ball enough momentum to get over the net.


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A legal service

Once you've mastered the basic table tennis serving technique, you'll need to learn how to serve in accordance with the official laws of table tennis.

Here's how...

  1. Balance the ball in the palm of your free hand and project the ball upwards, as near vertically as possible, so that it rises at least 16cm (6 inches) after leaving your hand.

  2. Allow the ball to drop and then hit the ball with your racket - using the stroke technique you mastered earlier - so that it bounces on your side of the table and then goes over the net and bounces on your opponent's side of the table.

When you've mastered this, you'll be able to produce a legal serve. Simple.


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Service return

table tennis serve

The return of serve is regarded as the second most important table tennis stroke because it's the first opportunity for you as the receiver to play the ball.

In preparing to return the service, you should take up the ready position (as explained in the following video).

 

Here's a video demonstration of the ready position.

(If you have problems with the sound, there are captions/subtitles that you can turn on. Just click on the captions/subtitles button)

 

Here's a video demonstration of the ready position.

(If you have problems with the sound, there are captions/subtitles that you can turn on. Just click on the captions/subtitles button)

 

If you're still a beginner you should, depending upon the depth of your opponents service, return the ball using one of the four basic table tennis strokes:

  • Forehand or backhand push (from a short service)
  • Forehand or backhand drive (from a long service)

My top table tennis tips:

As receiver, you should try to vary the direction of the return by making good use of the available angles and lines of play.

To force a weak return from your opponent, play your shots to their crossover point.

The crossover point is the area in which the player has no obvious choice of forehand or backhand. For a right handed player, the crossover point is roughly in line with the right hip.

 

When you've mastered the basic table tennis serve and you can produce a legal table tennis service in accordance with the official rules, you'll be able to progress onto the advanced service...

RECOMMENDED  TABLE  TENNIS  BOOK

Table Tennis Service Secrets

Table Tennis Service Secrets Discover the fastest way to improve your table tennis by 30%

Improving your service and return of service will add three points, or more, to every game you play.

RECOMMENDED TABLE TENNIS BOOK

Table Tennis Service Secrets

Table Tennis Service Secrets

Discover the fastest way to improve your table tennis by 30%

Improving your service and return of service will add three points, or more, to every game you play.


^ Top of page ^


 

 
MORE PAGES ABOUT
HOW TO PLAY TABLE TENNIS
For more information on how to play table tennis and improve your game, take a look at my other tips and techniques articles...

Basic Skills

And watch these video demonstrations...

 

Advanced Skills

 

Strategies and Tactics

 

Tips

 

Skill Tests

 

Exercises

 

E-Books

 

Personal Coaching

 


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