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The Backhand Sidespin Serve - Table Tennis/ Ping-Pong Basic Strokes

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Ready Position
Photo of BH Sidespin Serve - Ready Position

Ready Position

(c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
In this tutorial, we will be looking at how to perform a backhand sidespin serve in table tennis/ ping-pong. As a more advanced serve, the idea is to prevent the receiver from making a strong attack against the serve, and hopefully force a weak return instead that can be third ball attacked.

There is usually a small amount of backspin on the ball. The server wants the receiver to think that there is much more backspin on the ball than there really is (the serve will look very similar to the backspin/sidespin serve), which should lead to a bad return which is higher than the receiver planned.

View the Backhand Sidespin Serve Video - 720x576 pixels version. (5MB)

640x480 pixels version. (2.4MB)

Points to look for:

  • This serve can be performed from the server's backhand corner, although it is also common to use this serve from the middle of the table, as pictured here.
  • The type of sidespin put on the ball will tend to make the receiver's return go towards the server's forehand. Most servers are looking to take hit a powerful forehand attack from the forehand side of the table. The use of sidespin helps the server to control the likely placement of the return.
  • The free hand is flat, stationary, and above the playing surface and behind the endline.
  • The bottom three fingers of the racket hand have been loosened, to allow the bat to be moved more freely when serving. This makes it easier to put more varieties of spin on the ball.
  • The amount of sidespin will be varied constantly, in order to make it more difficult for the receiver to judge the correct amount of spin on the ball.

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