How to Execute the Ma Lin Serve

Gaurav Simha

Gaurav Simha

Last updated on 19-Aug-2014 06:02:36 AM

In a video, Ma Lin is shown practicing a serve in which the ball rolls back towards the net after delivering a pendulum serve. I've been trying to execute this serve for a very long time, but it never rolls back. So can somebody please help me ? I really wanna learn this..
Alois Rosario

and Alois Rosario said...

Hi Gaurav,

The idea is to have a lot of backspin and not much forward momentum on the ball.

The brushing action should be right under the ball and even coming under and up the front face of the ball a little. 

You can practice getting the contact correct away from the table.  Just find a piece of floor and see if you can get the ball to come back to you on the floor.  Once you feel comfortable doing this then you can step up to the table and give it a try.

Here's a video to answer the question...

Comments on this question

Gaurav Simha

Gaurav Simha commented...

on the 30-Oct-2011 10:52:48 PM
thank you !
Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills said...

on the 07-Nov-2011 11:26:25 PM
Here is the video the question talks about.
Gaurav Simha

Gaurav Simha commented...

on the 08-Nov-2011 02:08:38 AM
yeah the very same one i was talking about.
Ian Costello

Ian Costello commented...

on the 09-Nov-2011 07:17:32 AM

Hi,

When I toss the ball high @ hit the ball, the ball soars over the net @ never hits my side of the table,@ the serve tends to not have enough spin.

Please help!                                          @THX 


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills said...

on the 09-Nov-2011 08:11:39 AM

Hi Ian,

As Alois suggests in the video, try practicing this away from the table so you don't have that restriction. It does take a lot of practice to get the right contact. Especially when you throw the ball high as it comes down pretty fast. Once you start to get some good brushing contact away from the table, then you can come back and try it out on the table.

So keep practicing! That's the best advice I can give. 


Oliver

Oliver commented...

on the 09-Nov-2011 03:04:08 PM

Whenever I do it, it seems to go high. Although it does spin back I still have a feeling someone will smash it back someday. Is there somethin u can do to help?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 09-Nov-2011 03:37:17 PM

Use a string across the top of the net, about 10 cm above it and aim to get the serve below the string.  Take a look at the lesson on Keeping The Ball Low


Oliver

Oliver commented...

on the 10-Nov-2011 04:22:10 PM

thx


Oliver

Oliver commented...

on the 10-Nov-2011 04:24:25 PM
although i kinda meant about 4-5cm, not so much 10
YK Wong

YK Wong commented...

on the 11-Nov-2011 03:42:52 AM
Thanks a lot for clear explanation & demonstration! Let's keep practising!
Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 11-Nov-2011 04:13:37 AM

Oliver,

You can adjust the string height if you want.  This will be a good indication of how high the ball is going. 


Chris McDade

Chris McDade commented...

on the 11-Nov-2011 11:22:41 PM
This is a very nice demonstration of a heavy back-spin serve. It is a great opportunity to employ the "third-ball attack." That is, a serve with a great deal of back-spin will often produce a "chop return" or push by your opponent. This allows you to loop your third ball for an aggressive attack. However, it may be difficult to disguise your serve. This requires some practice and deft serving skills. Nevertheless, it is a great technique to learn and acquire in your service repertoire.
andrew brand

andrew brand commented...

on the 12-Nov-2011 03:35:14 AM
Alois, ive been having a go at this serve today, i find the only way i can get the ball coming back is by using a very compact stroke, mainly wrist and a bit of forearm. when i try to rip into it with more arm i cant keep it low.
Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 12-Nov-2011 07:33:14 AM
Andrew for all of your serves you should mainly use wrist.  The forearm won't come through too much eventually.  The wrist is the most vital part of the action.  The next most important is the forearm and you should almost keep the upper arm still.
Gaurav Simha

Gaurav Simha commented...

on the 12-Nov-2011 09:16:34 PM
@Alois Rosario: Isn't that style of serve in your video against the rules of the ITTF ? Because, while serving you partially block the vision of your opponent with body in front of ball & about the nature of spin of the ball.
Claus Hamacher

Claus Hamacher commented...

on the 13-Nov-2011 12:12:22 AM
The execution is perfectly visible. Nothing is blocked.
Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 13-Nov-2011 08:04:54 AM
I do try.  Having only played in the era of the hidden serve I do sometimes lapse into old bad habits.
AbdurRehman Malik

AbdurRehman Malik commented...

on the 15-Nov-2011 12:58:29 AM

Hi! 

I'd like to thank you guys... you realy help me out a lot. thisvideo of yours is the most helpful for learning the ma lin serve  i've found on the net cause it gives very clear instructions ....thnx a lot


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 15-Nov-2011 06:21:44 AM
No problems.  Glad to be able to help you.
Ian Costello

Ian Costello commented...

on the 17-Dec-2011 09:46:02 AM
Does It take time to get a spinny contact?
Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills said...

on the 17-Dec-2011 09:17:36 PM
It certainly does take practice to get a nice spinny contact. As explained you need a fast brushing contact. It is the combination of these 2 factors that make it difficult. As you are moving your bat fast, it is hard to get a fine brushing contact. However with practice it will come.
Varun Chaturvedi

Varun Chaturvedi commented...

on the 09-Jan-2013 02:41:55 AM

At what point of the i should make the contact of the ball?

 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 09-Jan-2013 09:22:16 AM

Contact can be in the middle of the swing.


Gaurav Simha

Gaurav Simha commented...

on the 10-Jan-2013 12:17:56 AM

I get the serve best when the ball is in contact with the racket at the time just when it's starting to ascend as a part of the swing. I don't know if the rubber matters, but i rarely get it in the middle of the swing as alois suggests. 


Justin O'Toole

Justin O'Toole commented...

on the 31-Jan-2013 02:32:26 PM

This serve is very deadly when used correctly but very hard to do. I can get the ball to backspin and go sideways 70% of the time, but not to come back as yet. This is because this serve is very hard to do. My advice to others trying this serve is watch video clips on this serve over and over. Also watch clips of the master Ma lin doing the seve over and over. If you have a coach practice with him too.

Then practice this shot 24/7 untill you feel comfortable enough to do it in practice sessions-games. Then use it in matches only when you feel confident-comfortable enough to use it in a match. Here is a train of thought the great golfer Nick Faldo said when making a golf swing change practice 24/7 and don't go in any major golf comps for a while.

The reason for this is when you feel uncomfortable with theese changes you will play poorly at first and this will demorilise you mentaly because you don't see the results at first. So i think this is good advice for table tennis too. Check with Jeff and Alois on this matter see what they think, there the pros not me. For me though i my coments are good advice. For me anyway and maybe it will work for you too.

 


Esteban Mendez

Esteban Mendez commented...

on the 23-Feb-2013 10:03:35 AM

When I try this, the ball keeps drifting off to the side. sometimes, it comes back to me but mostly it comes back sideways. Why is this?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 23-Feb-2013 07:01:12 PM

Hi Esteban,

You are brushing the ball a little on the side.  This will result in sidespin.  It is difficult to feel this.  The best thing is to get a video and then watch yourself doing it so that you get a proper feel for what is happening.


Esteban Mendez

Esteban Mendez commented...

on the 25-Feb-2013 11:40:58 AM

You're right. It turned out my bat was slightly tilted and that's why I produced this unwanted result. thanks a bunch!


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 25-Feb-2013 11:41:45 AM

No problem Esteban.  Glad you have worked it out.


Justin O'Toole

Justin O'Toole commented...

on the 25-Feb-2013 12:06:18 PM

I can get this serve to go side ways 60-70% of the time but still can not get it to roll back to the net. It is a very hard serve to do. I don't know why my ball will not come back. Ma Lin makes this serve look easy when he is doing but then again he practices 24-7 and has great skills.

Just keep practicing the Ma Lin serve over and over. Any thoughts Master Alois.?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 25-Feb-2013 12:14:03 PM

You need to get the bat flatter with the end of the bat higher.  Then think about the brushing contact only to start with.  If you can get the brushing action you will get it to come back towards you.  Step away from the table and see if you can get this to happen on the floor first.


Danish Ali

Danish Ali commented...

on the 28-Feb-2013 03:22:48 PM

Hi Alois when i try to do "malin serve"it dosent hits my opponents side it returns to me after hitting my side of table...please help me


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 28-Feb-2013 06:16:25 PM

Hi Danish,

Hit the ball more forward with a slightly flatter contact.  It is great that you are able to get the ball to spin back so well.


Danish Ali

Danish Ali commented...

on the 01-Mar-2013 12:51:50 AM

Thanks for the advise but when i hit the ball with flatter contact it wont returns like original serve after hitting the other side

 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 01-Mar-2013 06:07:27 AM

It is a fine balance.  It is a matter of getting the right amount of contact to get the serve just right.  Keep experimenting.


Frendy Halim

Frendy Halim commented...

on the 04-Mar-2013 11:55:44 PM
This serve is the most difficult serve for me to execute it
Frendy Halim

Frendy Halim commented...

on the 05-Mar-2013 04:08:50 AM
Anyway, i have some problomes with this serve that i want to ask first, does rubber important for this stroke ? What I use is wakaba 60 bat with butterfly addoy rubber, the second one is a custom bat with yasaka mark V rubber. I've tried with that two rubbers but i still can't generate a lot of spin second, you said to swing it fast, but what happen to me is the ball is long even with a lot of backspin the last is, what's the start and the finish position to make it (there're many ways to do it but for sure i want to ask which one is the best) and also, how high the ball when we brush it, is it higher than the net, the same, or lower ? And also how long our position to do it, is it near the table or a bit backward ? My problome is when I do it, the is not come back but it still bounce twice and not fall but sometimes the ball goes to the net and sometimes I late to swing my bat so the ball is fall down (the time) please for the answer :D thank you.
Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 05-Mar-2013 05:25:06 AM

This takes time to get right.  The main thing is to get the brushing contact right first.


Danish Ali

Danish Ali commented...

on the 08-Mar-2013 02:18:23 AM

Thanks Alois


Frendy Halim

Frendy Halim commented...

on the 09-Mar-2013 07:05:15 AM
I often practicing this serve and it seems i've brushing it at the right contact most of the time but, it still can't move back as i do it away from the table, the ball can move back but not as much as what you do... So, what's the next thing should i do ?
Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 09-Mar-2013 07:30:10 AM

More practice...


Frendy Halim

Frendy Halim commented...

on the 10-Mar-2013 03:53:44 AM
Okay ! I'll do my best and thank you for all !
Sam Evans

Sam Evans commented...

on the 31-May-2013 09:19:49 AM

Hi Alois

I was just wondering how effective this serve is in a match as I still cannot consistantly perform the serve with a small amount of spin, let alone to the extent of spin that you can. I need a lot of practice, so I was wondering if that serve is worth the practice time that could  be used developing other areas of my game?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 31-May-2013 03:05:38 PM

Hi Sam,

Trying to make the ball come back to you is not really what you should practice.  Think about trying to keep the ball short and low with backspin.  This is important to be able to gain the initiative in the rally.  That is worth practising.


Sam Evans

Sam Evans commented...

on the 31-May-2013 07:10:57 PM

Thankyou,

I have both pendulum and reverse pendulum backspin serves which I can get quite a lot of spin on; am I better off developing these or working on the ma Lin serve which currently I can get lower and closer to the net, with inconsistencies?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 31-May-2013 09:55:46 PM

I would keep working on all of the 3 serves.  Use the Pendulum and Reverse Pendulum mainly but develop the straight backspin serve as well.


Justin O'Toole

Justin O'Toole commented...

on the 31-May-2013 11:06:14 PM

Keep practicing everyone Alois is right more practice. Don't worry I have trouble too just like you friendly Halim. I just keep practicing this serve. Also I watch my serving secrets dvd that Alois and Jeff did. It was one of the best sporting instructional dvds I have ever brought.


Tmoney Tlarz09

Tmoney Tlarz09 commented...

on the 24-Jul-2013 01:33:34 PM

Hey is there a correct technique when using the pendulum serve and hit the opposite corner of the table on the opponents side closes to you while adding side spin and bouncing directly away from the table making your opponent have to go to the side of the table to return it sorry if this question is hard to understand. Thanks 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 24-Jul-2013 01:46:40 PM

This is a matter of changing the angle of your body to start with or the angle of your swing.  Try putting a target on the table where you want it to land and practice aiming for it.  That is a simple but effective way of getting the ball where you want it.


atharva sakharkar

atharva sakharkar commented...

on the 04-Jan-2014 05:12:10 PM

Hi alois I can get the spin back on the ground bt when I try on the table the ball doesn't go above the table it just remains very low nd hits the net pls help me


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 04-Jan-2014 05:19:20 PM

Hi Atharva,

Try hitting the ball from a little higher.  Give the ball a bit more air.  Hope this helps.


gabe yap

gabe yap commented...

on the 04-Jan-2014 10:34:31 PM

Dear Pingskills,

where is your table tennis club. Is there any chance I can join.

 


gabe yap

gabe yap commented...

on the 04-Jan-2014 10:34:35 PM

Dear Pingskills,

where is your table tennis club. Is there any chance I can join.

 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 04-Jan-2014 10:53:33 PM

Hi Gabe,

We do all our coaching online.  We live in Melbourne, Australia.


sami feras

sami feras commented...

on the 09-Jan-2014 10:34:31 AM

do you need to throw the ball high


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 11-Jan-2014 06:33:57 AM

Hi Sami,

No you don't. You can still get the ball to stop and come back if you tilt your bat back a bit further and slow the speed of the ball down.


Ayesha Noon

Ayesha Noon commented...

on the 08-Apr-2014 10:47:08 AM

This video actually helped me with the regular backspin serve.

Thanks! ;-)


izz izz

izz izz commented...

on the 14-Aug-2014 02:13:20 AM

I tried to do it many times but i can't do it


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 14-Aug-2014 07:51:00 AM

What is your bat like Izz?


Ashish Desai

Ashish Desai commented...

on the 18-Aug-2014 09:38:12 PM

I tried to do the back spin too I can't do it


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 19-Aug-2014 06:02:36 AM

Persevere Ashish.  Make sure you are brushing right under the ball and that your bat has plenty of grip on it.


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