“Texas Wesleyan University’s Table Tennis Team, sponsored by Tibhar, won its ninth consecutive Coed Team Collegiate National Championship title at the 2012 Collegiate Table Tennis National Championship Sunday, April 15, 2012.
The most popular serve in table tennis is the forehand pendulum serve. (Here’s nine minutes of 2004 Olympic Champion Ryu Seung Min doing them, much of it in slow motion.) With this serve, the racket tip is down as you contact the ball with a right-to-left motion (for righties). And it’s a great serve – but it can be even more effective if you can vary it with the reverse pendulum serve variation.
The most under-used serve in table tennis is the forehand reverse pendulum serve. This is the reverse of the normal forehand pendulum serve, with the racket moving left-to-right at contact. It seems awkward at first, but is surprisingly easy to learn.
While you should vary your spin serves to all parts of the table – at least until you find out what gives your opponent trouble and what doesn’t – there are certain spin serves that are generally more effective when done to specific parts of the table.
The main principle to remember is that, in general, opponents will have more trouble returning a serve that spins away from them than one that spins into them. For example, when a righty serves a forehand pendulum serve to another righty (so that the ball breaks to the server’s right, the receiver’s left), if the ball is served to the wide backhand, the ball spins away from the receiver, and is usually harder to receive than the same serve to the forehand, where it breaks into the receiver. Similarly, a backhand or tomahawk serve to the forehand is generally more difficult to receive than one to the backhand, since it also breaks away from the receiver (to the server’s left, the receiver’s right). There are three reasons for this.
Where do most players block best? On the backhand. Where do most players attack the most? To the opponent’s backhand. This never made sense to me.
When attacking there are three places you should normally go for: the wide forehand, the middle (the opponent’s crossover point between forehand and backhand, usually around the elbow), and the wide backhand. Most beginning and intermediate players probably attack to the backhand twice as often as to the forehand, and almost never to the middle. We’ll call it the 1-0-2 rule, i.e. they proportionatly go once to the forehand, zero times to the middle, and twice to the backhand.
Ariel Hsing and Lily Zhang talk about their road to London in this Bay Area TV interview. Ariel Hsing & Lily Zhang are two exceptional table tennis players with Olympic Dreams. We are very proud of our young stars. What a great example of youth in our sport. Good luck to our Olympic hopefuls!
Let’s do a thought experiment. Hold a piece of paper so you hold the top with one hand, the bottom with the other. Now twist the top. Notice how the entire piece of paper twists? Now twist the bottom. Same thing. How does this relate to table tennis?
Now imagine holding a table tennis player in your hands. (You are either very strong or the player is very small.) Hold his playing hand in one hand and his feet with the other. Twist his playing hand and his entire body twists. The same if you twist his feet.