Serving from which side

Table Tennis Serving

Last updated 8 years ago

Dieter Verhofstadt

Dieter Verhofstadt Asked 8 years ago

When two right handers are facing each other, they will usually serve from the backhand side to the backhand side and using a pendulum (reverse) serve.

For a long time I had been thinking that this habit was due to the relative weakness of the backhand, for the returner to be cornered at his weak spot and leaving the space for the server to use the forehand.

The returners turned this situation into their advantage, by developing the backhand banana flip. Hence short serves tended to be directed to the forehand side and we saw returners "run around their forehand"!

When a left hander faces a right hander, they will still serve from their backhand side. Now my question:

  • does the side from which you serve depend more on the ability to target the opponent's backhand corner?
  • or does it depend on the server's ability to play the 3rd ball from an exposed forehand side (and not an exposed bh side)?
  • or has it simply become a habit to server from the backhand side?

On the beinner level and beyond, one can observe serves from the forehand side and they are often surprising. Is it recommendable to vary the serving position or should we imitate the pros as early as possible in this regard?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Dieter,

I think it is more about getting into a good position after your serve and the follow through.

A lot more players are serving from a more central position now so that it is easier to get to that ready position as well.  That is why we are seeing more Tomahawk and Backhand serves.

Changing your serve position is a good tactic and one that isn’t used enough.  Just by altering the angle you often give the receiver something else to think about and they see a different picture.


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Thoughts on this question

Johan B

Johan B Posted 8 years ago

I've gotten many points in tight sets by serving a really deep and spinny pendulum serve from the forehand corner, even against people who can normally return my pendulum serves effortlessly. It really makes people uncomfortable.

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