The Importance of Your Serve

When it comes to the importance of a particular table tennis shot, anyone who plays tennis at a moderately high or professional level will tell you that the most important shot is ‘The Serve’. I would consider myself in the category of a lower level of table tennis players who practice there rallying skills far too much, rather than practicing and improving their serving technique.

Statistically, most points are won within the first five shots within a rally from the initial serve. Therefore, during a match a lot of the shots played will actually be the serve. Having an understanding of the importance of the serve means that you can then go on to working out a series of different types of serves.

A long serve is when one bounce is placed on the opponent’s side of the table within six inches from the endline. The reason why this type of serve is good is because it can be hit with speed and can catch out your opponent. This would work particularly well if you played a shorter serve before using a longer serve. You would play a shorter shot with a higher ball toss in order to gain more ball speed before contact to provide more spin. You would try and bounce this short serve just over your opponent’s side of the table.


Through practice you will begin to understand how your receiver of the serve will play their next shot and therefore can predict or have an idea where their return shot will go. This works as a further advantage to your game because if your opponent struggles under pressure, they will feel under a greater deal of pressure from you having a good serve. This is because they will know every time it is your turn to serve you will have a slight edge over them.

Importantly, there are other aspects to consider of course when thinking about your service. In order to not be predictable you should use a variety of serves. This can be achieved through the use of spin, placement, height of ball toss, short vs long serves, forehand and backhand serves. So get perfecting that serve.


Conor Haynes


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