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To start with, you should teach your students to serve topspin and backspin, with both the backhand and forehand. These four serves will not only be useful in games but will also allow them to serve in such a way as to start good rallies during practice.

Make sure you have explained the difference between topspin and backspin before teaching these serves. Also make sure they understand the service rules.

Once demonstrated, the kids should be sent out on the table to practice their serves. They should not rally at this time. Have one serve the ball and the other catch it and serve it back. Give them goals to work towards, either a certain number of good serves in a row or a specific target on the table to hit a certain number of times.

Some children will have trouble doing a six-inch toss and making a good serve. For these players, you can help by guiding their playing arms through the stroke. You should still let them do the toss alone, however.

To teach a topspin serve, have them hold the racquet so it is perpendicular to the floor. Have them contact the ball on the back towards the top with an upward and forward motion. Show them how to graze the ball for maximum topspin. This serve can be done either forehand or backhand, whichever is easier for the child. However, they should eventually learn to do it both forehand and backhand.

A topspin serve, once learned, can be served very fast. Players should see how fast they can serve the ball and still keep it on the table. For maximum speed, do not graze the ball too much. Have the ball sink mostly into the wood and swing mostly straight forward. Try to have the ball hit the table as close to the endline on the far side as possible. If it lands too short, the serve can be served faster. If it lands too deep, it’s been served off the end.

To teach a backspin serve, have him/her hold the racquet so the hitting surface is pointing mostly upward at about a 45 degree angle to the floor. The specific angle depends both on the type of racquet surface, the speed of the racquet at contact, and how finely the ball is grazed. This is true on all serves, but especially with backspin and sidespin.

Contact the ball on the back towards the bottom with a downward stroke. Again, stress that the more you graze the ball, the more spin. This serve can also be done both forehand and backhand, and both ways should be learned.

On all serves, the points that should be stressed are:

  • Keep the ball low.

  • All serves should be served with as much spin or as much speed as possible.

  • All serves should be aimed at a particular part of the table, not just served in the general direction of the far side.

  • Serve with a general plan in mind. If you want a topspin return, serve topspin. If you want a backspin return, serve backspin. Of course, this is just a generality. You can’t force your opponent to return the ball the way you want. But you can try.

  • Make sure the serve is legal!

Below, you will find sequences of the forehand and backhand topspin, backspin and sidespin serves.

Forehand Topspin Serve

Forehand Backspin Serve

Backhand Topspin Serve

Backhand Backspin Serve

Forehand Sidespin Serve

Backhand Sidespin Serve

Similar to backhand backspin or topspin serve except racket moves sideways instead of down or up.

Copyright Larry Hodges

Copyright Mark Nordby, Dan Seemiller, John Oros

Copyright USA Table Tennis

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Last Update : 06 Kasım, 2002

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