Secrets of putting Spin on Serves

Table Tennis Serving

Last updated 11 years ago

Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Asked 11 years ago

I might be preempting what is going to be covered in the upcoming DVD but I had one question that's been bugging me about service.

Basic physics would tell you that the spin you impart on the ball is a function of the speed of the racquet head when it contacts the ball. I.e. the faster you move your racquet when you hit the ball, the more spin you can put on the ball. And it is true that you see some people with fairly violent service motions who get a lot of spin on the ball. But there are those who seem to have very quiet gentle motions on their serves. The example I was thinking of was Australia's own William Henzell. I'm sure you've seen his forehand backspin serve from the middle of the court. It looks so gentle and absent-minded that you would swear he couldn't be putting much spin on it. But he does this serves against the best players in the world, so it's clear that there is actually a great deal of spin going on. So HOW is he putting so much spin when his action is relatively slow????



Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 11 years ago

Hi Ji-Soo,

Another good question.

You are exactly right with the physics that the spped of the racket when it hits the ball is one of the vital components that determines the amount of spin.

So to Henzell's serve. It actually does not have the same violent spin as some of his other serves but the placement is excellent, he puts very subtle variation of spin and he keeps the ball very low making it difficult for his opponent to make a strong attack, even Wang Liqin. The ball doesn't travel fast whichh doesn't give his opponent much pace to work with on the return either.  He is also ready for the return and almost invites the returns that he is getting from the serve, especially to his backhand.

So effectiveness is not only about intense spin but also variation, speed  and placement.

There is another component to this and that is when you serve with a completely relaxed wrist you can actually generate good speed with your racket, and it may look effortless. but the wrist is moving through very fast.

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Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Posted 11 years ago

Thanks for the helpful answer Alois.

Can't wait for the DVD! I know it's coming out in it likely to be early June or late?  Continuing my attempt to play as much competitive table tennis as possible, I've put my hand up for the NSW Country Championship during the Queen's Birthday weekend.  3 days of solid wall-to-wall table tennis...sounds like heaven!

Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 11 years ago

Hi Ji-Soo,

Progress on the DVD is going well, so we are hopeful the DVD will be ready by early June. Good luck at the NSW Country Championships!

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