Ping Pong Serves – Become a Professional Player

This article will explain everything about ping pong serves, different serving techniques, the pros, and cons of different techniques, and even what equipment you could buy to improve your serve.
Reviewed by
Last updatedLast updated: July 21, 2023
PingPongAcademy is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

Ping pong is a fun and fascinating sport. And one of the most mesmerising aspects, especially when we watch professionals play at tournaments like the olympics, is the serve. Getting it right is crucial to winning games and knowing how to respond to your opponents serve is just as vital. There are dozens of serving techniques in ping pong, ranging from basic to very advanced. There’s a serve for everyone, and as long as you master the serve you choose, you’ll be winning a lot of games. So, let’s take a look at everything to do with ping pong serves.

Advanced Ping pong serves

There are many different types of serves in ping pong, and some of them are pretty tricky. Below is a list of the most advanced serves in ping pong.

Forehand serve

The forehand serve is the first serve that most players learn due to its simplicity, yet also its effectiveness. To do this serve, simply place your hand, palm up, on your paddle, and toss the ball in the air. Then swing the paddle in a smooth and controlled manner.

The forehand serve allows you to manipulate spin and speed pretty easily. You can add speed by hitting the ball with more force and spin by hitting the ball at different angles. If you’re looking for an easy way to increase your spin, try this forehand rubber.

Backhand Serve

Backhand Serve

Backhand serves in table tennis refer to a player starting their swing across the body, and finishing on their arm side.

The backhand Trusted Source The Backhand Sidespin Serve in Table Tennis Watch and learn from clear photographs, videos and explanations of how to do a backhand sidespin serve in table tennis/ping-pong. serve consists of four stages. The ‘ready position’, the ‘backswing’, the ‘forward swing’, and the follow-through. The serve is another great one for beginners, as it allows for great control of the ball placement, as well as great speed and spin control.

Pendulum Serve

The pendulum serve is a very advanced serving technique. It involves the player swinging the paddle from side to side, mimicking a pendulum. The player then hits the ball from their body. The great thing about this serve is that it is very unpredictable. You can serve from either side and add lots of spins, so your opponent will have no clue where the ball is going to end up.

Because this is such an advanced serve, you should give it a lot of practice before you use it in a game. A great way to practice is to flip on half of your table up and serve against that.

Ghost Serve

The ghost serve is another advanced serve, but one which can help you to win tough games. You’ll need to hold your paddle flat. This is because, with the ghost serve, you slice the ball from underneath. This will generate a backspin, which will cause the ball to bounce in unorthodox ways. It’s a great serve if you’re looking to be unpredictable and maximize spin overpower.

The ghost serve is going to require a lot of practice to master. Not only will you have to work on the technique, but also your poker face and feints to distract your opponent and make them think that the ball is going in a different direction.

Tomahawk Serve

The tomahawk serve gets its name because it mimics how you would throw an actual tomahawk. You actually strike the ball with your paddle’s rubber. The aim is to just skim the ball to develop a lot of spins. To do this serve, you’ll need to be in a squatting position to help you develop power and balance. This is a very hard serve to pull off, so you’ll definitely need to give it a lot of practice before you start using it competitively.

This shot will require a lot of power. To help your power, you can get a paddle that is built for power shots. Check out this Yasaka Sweden Extra if you’re looking for a great paddle.

Tomahawk Serve

In a squatting position, lift your elbow and extend your arm outward, striking the ball with your forehand rubber.

High Toss Serve

The high toss serve is one of the most popular serves at top-level play. It allows you to disrupt your opponent’s timing by striking the ball at unpredictable times or by placing large amounts of spin on the ball when it is struck.

To perform a high toss serve, simply grip your paddle with your thumb on the base of the handle and the fingers on the opposite side. This grip will allow you to engage your wrist more, which is vital for a good high toss serve.  When you strike the ball, hit the left-hand side of the ball. This will give you a lot of sidespins, which will help the ball bounce away from your opponent, securing your points.

Back Spin Serve

To perform a back spin serve, simply serve from an open palm and aim to hit the ball at the bottom to give the ball a backspin. This is a highly technical serve and one that your opponent may not be able to reply to if you master it.

Ping Pong Serving Techniques

There are many ping pong serving techniques that you can learn and master. Some will be easier than others, but the hardest serves will be more than worth the time that you put into them. Here is a list of the best serving techniques in ping pong.

High Toss Serve

The high toss serve will give you great flexibility when you play. You can hit the ball at the bottom left if you want sidespin. If you’re looking for a chop serve, you can strike underneath the ball. Finally, for topspin, strike the top center of the ball.

No-Spin Serve

A no-spin serve is a serve designed to look like it will have spin, but actually has none Trusted Source The No-Spin Serve | By Larry Hodges
One of the first things table tennis players are taught is how to put spin on their serve. So it comes as quite a surprise to many to find that most top players often serve with no-spin. What is the purpose of this?
. This serve is great at throwing your opponent off. You can make it look like you’re going to give the ball spin, which will cause your opponent to prepare for such a serve. Then, give the ball no spin to throw them off and secure some easy points.

Forehand Serve

The forehand serve is a very basic but effective serve. All you have to do is have your palm facing the ceiling when you serve. The forehand serve is simple to master and will give you great control of the ball when you’re first starting out.

Backhand Serve

The backhand serve is another simple serve but is nonetheless still very effective. Simply plant your body behind the racket and push the ball to the other side of the court.

Low Serve

A low serve is great serve to master. This is because the lower the serve, the harder it will be for your opponent to attack it. It doesn’t matter how much spin you have on your ball- if it’s too high, your opponent will be able to return it with ease.

Forehand Pendulum Serve

This serve is a great way to confuse your opponent, as they won’t know when or where you’ll be serving. But, it’s a tricky one to master, so you’ll have to make sure to practise it a lot before using it.

Forehand Reverse Pendulum Serve

This is a variation of the forehand pendulum serve. All you’ll have to do is use backhand grip instead of forehand grip. It’s a great way to vary your serves and allows for more power in your serves.

Forehand Tomahawk Serve

The forehand tomahawk serve is the only serve that makes use of the paddle’s grip. All you’ll have to do is squat like you’re throwing a tomahawk and strike down with the grip.

Placing the ball when serving

When you serve in ping pong, it’s critical that you hit the ball to the opposite side of the table. So, if you’re on the left side, make sure you’re serving to the right side of the table. It must also hit your side of the table once, and then the other side once when you serve.

Illegal Serves

Illegal Serves

Hidden serve is the most common illegal serve in table tennis.

If you hide the ball from your opponent when you serve, then this will be deemed as an illegal serve, and a point will be taken away from you. These types of serves are illegal because they don’t allow your opponent to judge the type of serve you will be performing, which limits their ability to respond.

How to Serve in Ping Pong Better: Tips

Here are three tips for serving better in ping pong:

  1. Take your time and relax
  2. Focus on accuracy and timing rather than speed and power
  3. Mix up your serves during games to keep your opponent guessing

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t matter which serving technique you prefer, as long as you practise it properly, you’ll win a lot of points off of your opponent. A good serve will be a major advantage when you go into games, because it will ensure that you win your serving points, which will put more pressure on your opponent to perform well. Have confidence in your serve, and you will win a lot of games. You should also make sure to mix up your serves, as this will keep your opponent guessing, and benefit you further.


The Backhand Sidespin Serve in Table Tennis
Watch and learn from clear photographs, videos and explanations of how to do a backhand sidespin serve in table tennis/ping-pong.
The No-Spin Serve |
By Larry Hodges
One of the first things table tennis players are taught is how to put spin on their serve. So it comes as quite a surprise to many to find that most top players often serve with no-spin. What is the purpose of this?
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *