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Table Tennis/ Ping-Pong - Forehand Pendulum Backspin/ Sidespin Serve

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Ready Position
Photo of FH Pendulum Backspin/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 forehand pendulum backspin/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.

View the Forehand Pendulum Backspin/Sidespin Serve Video - 720x576 pixels version.(6MB)

640x480 pixels version.(3MB)

Points to look for:

  • The serve is called a pendulum serve because the movement of the bat resembles the way the weight on a pendulum (such a grandfather clock) moves back and forth.
  • This serve is typically performed from the server's backhand corner. This is because the type of sidespin put on the ball will tend to make the receiver's return go towards the server's backhand. Most servers are looking to take a step to their left and hit a powerful forehand attack from their backhand corner. 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 and backspin will be varied constantly, in order to make it more difficult for the receiver to judge the correct amount of spin on the ball.
  • The use of sidespin makes it harder for the receiver to tell how much backspin is on the ball, since the ball has a combination of backspin and sidespin.

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