Using the waist when serving

Table Tennis Serving

Last updated 6 years ago

eugene lu

eugene lu Asked 6 years ago

Hi alois,

Is it necessary to rotate the waist when serving or is it enough to just use the arm and wrist?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 6 years ago

Hi Eugene,

Most of your spin is coming from the wrist and forearm and then the waist movement helps you into position after contact.

If you watch the best players their contact on the ball happens before their waist moves around.

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Thoughts on this question

Damon S

Damon S Posted 6 years ago

 Hi Alois,

My coach actually gave me the opposite advice. He told me that my serve should come from the waist and then add a little wrist snap at the end. I've found that this has helped with my serve timing, control, and spin. Maybe it depends on the person, though. When I mainly used wrist and forearm, I had a tendency to swing too fast and early and either tighten up or flat out miss. But focusing on the serve coming from the waist allows my arm to relax more because it hardly has to do any work.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

Thanks Damon.  Tale a look at our latest show where we discuss this question. Table Tennis at the Olympic Games #273 and show you some footage to explain it better.

Damon S

Damon S Posted 6 years ago

Hi Alois,

I was actually just watching that after I posted my last comment, and I actually kind of disagree with you on that video. Maybe it's harder to see, but I think the waist rotation is there, just more subtle than what we think of with a forehand shot. If you watch Ma Long's back leg during the serve, it straightens out slightly as he tosses the ball, bringing the weight to his back foot. Then, as he moves into the serve, his back leg bends and the weight transfer comes forward along with a slight rotation of the waist. Just try standing in a similar serving stance with your back leg straight, then bend it. This automatically causes your waist to rotate.

Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 6 years ago

I'm pretty sure that the rotation that necessarily happen when you transition from side on to facing the table can sometimes start before the contact point for some variations of the serve. Now is it a major component of it, I don't think so.

But only the forehand pendulum serve was discussed here. When it comes to the backhand serve, I think that the rotation of the trunk really helps adding some speed to the swing.

Damon S

Damon S Posted 6 years ago

I still disagree that the waist isn't an important part of Ma Long's serve. Take a look at this video: The first section is on his forehand serve. While they don't explicitly mention the waist, they talk about center of gravity and weight transfer, and that can't happen without incorporating the waist. You can even see more clearly in this video how he turns and uses his whole body to propel the serve forward. Now again, I'm not talking about a big waist rotation like a forehand loop. It's maybe around 1/8 of a turn, but that small rotation at the waist will create greater motion at the paddle.

To be clear, I'm not arguing that it's integral for all pendulum serves. Take a look at Timo Boll or Vladimir Samsonov. They have great pendulum serves that don't incorporate the waist so much. But I think it's misleading to say that Ma Long isn't using his waist.

But like I said in my first post. It might just depend on the person. I was having control and timing issues with my serve, and my coach told me I was using all arm and needed to use my waist instead. When I started doing that, everything about my serve improved.


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