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Reverse Pendulum Backspin Serve Table Tennis – Like a Boss!

September 17, 2019


Hi, I’m Brett Clarke and welcome to part
1 of this reverse serve video series for Joining me in the series is member Laj from
Philadelphia. Laj has a USATT rating of around 1900, which means he is better than the average
tournament player. Following my snake serve video, Laj sent me
footage of his backspin reverse serve and his snake serve. What I found is his backspin
reverse serve is quite good, but it can be so much better.
During this video series, I will attempt to show how Laj and you how to get more backspin
on your reverse serve. The reason people generally struggle with
the reverse is the swing is very unnatural and quite awkward.
In this tutorial, I’m going to use this here frisbee or flying disk as an aid to help
show you how to get more spin on your backspin reverse serve.
Then I will show you how to use floor serves to get the right balance of backspin and sidespin.
Okay, it’s time to take a look at Laj’s serve.
Here is my serve, matched up against Laj’s serve.
This first thing that Laj can improve on is his stance. When serving the reverse you need
to be side on to the table with your left foot well in front or your right. You also
need to bend your knees quite a lot. The major difference between the 2 serves
can be seen right here. Note our finishing positions. Laj’s arm is almost straight,
suggesting that a lot of his energy has gone out this way. My arm remains bent and this
usually indicates the energy from my wrist and forearm has been directed to my opponent’s
side. Generally speaking, it is very difficult to
get backspin by straightening your arm, unless you illegally throw the ball onto your bat,
as some top players do. This is a view from behind highlighting our
finishing positions once again. Here is an overlay from front on.
Alright, here’s where the frisbee aid comes into play. You need to start by standing in
your normal reverse serve position and throw the Frisbee across yourself, as I will demonstrate
in this video. The action will help you to actually feel the correct arm position for
serving the backspin reverse. Most players really struggle to get their
elbow out far enough and to leave it in the correct position for the entire serve. The
frisbee training technique can really help you to get the correct feeling.
Once you release the frisbee, hold your position and make sure you finish with your elbow bent
and away from your body. Stop the swing immediately after releasing the frisbee to keep the motion
as much like the reverse serve as possible. After mastering the reverse frisbee throw,
you are ready to move on to the reverse floor serve. Your aim should be to hit the ball
down and out for about 4 meters and make the ball bend at right angles off the floor. If
you can do it, you’re getting a good balance on backspin and sidespin on your serve. If
you can’t you need keep practicing with the frisbee and the floor serve, before moving
on to the table. Make sure you are hitting the ball down and not up in the air as the
last thing you want to do when you move onto the table, is lob your serve.
Lobbing serves in practice to prove spin is a bit of a trend in table tennis and I think
it is a little questionable. A few top player have been seen serving slow serves to show
off spin, and it has caught on, giving lower ranked players and beginners the wrong idea
about service training. The best serves are short, low, fast and spinny,
although you can’t necessarily see the spin by the reaction off the table.
The ultimate flight path of the ball occurs when the maximum height of the ball is just
over 6 inches and it feels like the ball barely bounces on the opponent’s side. If the maximum
height of the serve is just over 6 inches, the ball will only bounce 4.2 inches on your
opponent’s side, which is much lower than the net. The second bounce on your opponent’s
side will be only 2.9 inches, which is pretty low.
Finally, I want to talk about the importance of the using your wrist when doing your reverse
serves. Make sure the wrist is moving this way and not out this way. This is your contact
point. So to member Laj, I would like to see you
make a video doing some reverse frisbee throws and some floor serves.
Part 2 of this series will be analyzing Laj’s progress and making further recommendations
about how he can improve his serve If you enjoyed this video, you can go to for
more tutorials by world class player William Henzell and me.

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