Sense of the reverse pendulum

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 3 years ago

Dieter Verhofstadt

Dieter Verhofstadt Asked 3 years ago

I'm often wondering why the reverse pendulum exists in the first place?

  • If you want that kind of spin, why not simply use the backhand sidespin serve? There is more wrist flexibility on the backhand for that kind of sidespin, and you're in a ready position sooner
  • If the purpose is disguise from the other sidespin, I don't think that will work, the motion is just too different.
  • Or is it merely a serve with yet another before-action, so that reading the spin becomes more difficult?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 3 years ago

Hi Dieter,

Even though different serves move in the same direction, I find there are real differences in being able to read the spin.  It depends on how much you have seen of that particular action.

I find I can read backhand serves much more easily than the Reverse Pendulum serve because I grew up returning backhand serves but nobody did Reverse serves when I played.


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Thoughts on this question

Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 3 years ago

Hi Dieter,

I think the efficiecy of the reverse pendulum lies in its much smaller action, that can also be a little bit hidden by the upper arm if the reciever stands too much upright. Therefore even if it's harder to put extreme spin with this serve, it can be more deceptive than the large open backhand serve. I also find it easier to vary the length of this serve without giving it away by a too different action. Finally, from a purely empirical point of view, I've also oberserved first hand that some players are much less comfortable receiving this serve, even when your backhand serve is of an objectively much better quality, as Alois mentioned.



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