Friday 17 April 2015

How to Generate Heavy Spin on the Pendulum Serve

Today's question comes from Ankush Arora, 'How do you develop a heavy sidespin pendulum serve, or other powerful service?' For this post I will focus on the heavy sidespin pendulum serve. As with any table tennis skill there are a number of key points which you need to focus on in order to develop the skill. Service can be a difficult skill to master but it's role in table tennis is pivotal for success. See more from my Coaching Blog.

Fan Zhendong Serving
Key Points for Developing a Heavy Sidespin Pendulum Service

Contact The Side of the Ball: Many players make the error of changing their stroke so that on the ball contact they are hitting into the ball directly instead of brushing the ball, this means the serve has very little spin and often floats a little high. In order to maximise the sidespin on the ball, you need to ensure that you are contacting the side of the ball. This means your bat is often closer to parallel with your body upon contact.

Maximise Contact Time: Spin is generated through the contact time, this is the amount of time the ball spends on the rubber. The longer the contact time, the greater the spin. So how do you maximise the contact time? You want to make sure that you are contacting the ball towards the edge of the rubber so it may dwell across the rubber. Often players make the mistake of contacting the ball in the middle of their bat which reduces the amount of grip which can be achieved. Acceleration is also important, the ball doesn't remain on your bat for long so you need to maximise the amount of friction created. In order to do this try and 'drag' the ball contact closer to the head (top 1/3) of your racket where speed generated is greatest.

Utilise Wrist to Accelerate for More Spin: Acceleration is very important. A slow contact often doesn't allow the rubber to generate spin, this causes a float or low spin serve. You need to make sure you utilise acceleration through use of the wrist in order to create the necessary acceleration to achieve heavy spin. The wrist is able to generate the most acceleration into the ball, many players focus too much on the forearm, which while it is an important part of the pendulum serve, is not able to provide enough acceleration for heavy spin.

Timing and Core is Vital: Often when players use the pendulum serve you will notice they turn into the ball in order to create even more acceleration and drive, use of the core is important in service and is often overlooked. Also it is important to get the right timing, taking the ball too high or too low will produce a less effective result.

Use of the Thumb and Fingers to Maximize Rotation: Tightening of the thumb and fingers to create a rapid contact motion is very important for creating the most spin possible. You can see my YouTube tutorial video below which outlines this point.

Videos to Help Reinforce the Above Points: 

Here are some videos to help you with your service. I believe that, while writing points can help a little, technical aspects of the game are better demonstrated with video or in person. Here are some of the best tutorial videos available for pendulum service.

My video on maximizing service spin.

A Video on where to place the index finger when Pendulum Serving by Pingskills

Things to Consider When Practicing Serve:
Often in order to maximise the amount of spin that can be achieved, it pays to simplify your service action and concentrate on the absolute key points. Once you can generate a high amount of spin then you can personalise your service style again and implement the improved skills you have learned. This means that service practice should follow some simple guidelines:

- Always maintain a focus on key areas, for example set a service practice session on 'improving the quantity of spin on the short backspin serve' and really focus on that one aspect for 20-30 mins. Requires discipline!

- Focus on the core mechanisms of the service stroke, what parts of the serve come together to generate spin? You need to focus heavily on the tiny moments before, during and after the ball contact and see how they align to create spin on the serve. Also you need to evaluate how you can improve these moments in order to create maximum spin.

- Lift the core out of the serve for practice. You don't need to use your whole service action, you can take out a very simple backspin serve motion and work on improve the spin contact during service practice, this 'core action' can then be put back into any service action - you learn the feeling for the spin generation and the contact rather than just for one specific service action.

Hope this helps you with your service Ankush. If you have any questions you would like me to write about, please use the contact form on my blog or via my facebook page at MHTableTennis

1 comment:

  1. Very useful!! I love your blogs, keep up the good work


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