Serve Placement | Table Tennis | PingSkills

Very early on in your serving development it’s important to start to focus on where your serve is going on the table It’s important that you start to understand where the danger zone is for your serve This area here in-between our two ropes is what I call the danger zone Why is this the danger zone? Because if you get the ball to land here, the next bounce is going to be out here and it’s going to be in the hitting zone of your opponent That is why you’d want to avoid this area here You’ve seen what can happen when I serve into the danger zone, so I need to start to think about the good zones So why is this a good zone? Because when the ball bounces for the first time here the second bounce is still going to be over the table That makes it a little bit more difficult for my opponent to make an attacking shot Why is this a good zone deep on the table? Because there I can get that ball travelling really fast and deep and if they’re in their ready position then they’re going to be forced backwards to make an effective attacking stroke So good because it gets a short serve, and good because you can get a really nice fast and long serve By serving that ball short it stopped Jeff from making a strong shot and it gave me the opportunity to make the first attacking shot in the rally The fast serve can also be effective as long as you’re getting it nice and long and deep and forcing your opponent away from the table Also you need to consider your opponent and their weaker and stronger sides. For example, if your opponent has a strong forehand you don’t want to serve the ball into their forehand area even if it’s going to be long and fast, and you can serve deep into the backhand side and vice versa If they’re strong on the backhand side avoid that area and play more serves into their forehand I wanted to examine the difference between a club level player and the best players in the world as to where they were serving So I took two games from a club level player and two games from the final of the men’s world singles championships between Ma Long and Fang Bo The results were really interesting. Lets first examine this short and long serving The club level player served 50% short and 50% long. And here’s the difference Ma Long and Fang Bo served 80% short and just 20% long Lets now look at the danger zone. So the danger zone as we saw is between about there and there Why is that the danger zone? Because if you land the ball there it’s going to be right in their hitting zone It’s going to be easy for them to attack, this happens sometimes when you’re trying to serve short and the ball strays a bit long. Or if you’re trying to serve that long fast one but the ball drops shorter giving them more time to be able to attack your shot So with the club level player 5 serves ended up in the danger zone, for Ma Long and Fang Bo, the number was 0 This a real difference between a club level player and the high level player This area here is a good area to play to, but sometimes we talked about Fang Bo and Ma Long serving there 20% So, really it’s not even in this area that we’re talking about 20%, we’re talking about this area here being 20% So 20% of serves into the green deep area but even for Fang Bo and Ma Long when they serve there, their success rate was still quite low It was less than 50% but it’s just used as a surprise tactic to keep the receiver honest to make sure they’re not coming in and standing all the way over the table The club level players we see do serve a lot of serves long and sometimes they get away with it because at the club level or at the lower level your opponent might not have a strong attack, but as you start increase the levels as soon as you stray long then the opponent is going to be able to hit the ball strong and hit a winner Initially what I’d like you to do even at the club level or lower level player, I want you to focus on trying to serve a few more balls short 70% is good, as you increase the levels and if you’re already a club level player or higher then you need to start to think about the Fang Bo and Ma Long statistics of 80% serves short and 20% serves long and that is only just as a surprise

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