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How to Serve Short with Side Spin in Table Tennis

Welcome to the channel of coach EmRatThich. Today is Sunday 26 March, our Ping Sunday
number 9. I will explain how to serve short in table
tennis and why you should add side spin in your serve. Coach Xiao Zhan, the personal coach of Zhang
Jike, is considered one of the best coach about technical aspects in China. He has helped Zhang Jike to incorporate the
reversed pendulum serve in his backhand quick attack playing style. Today, I will talk about “how to do a good
short serve in table tennis according to the Chinese coaching philosophy”. At the amateur level, we are taught to serve
short, but the coach didn’t focus enough on how to serve short with a high amount of spin. Normally, to serve short, we should:
– contact’ the ball as low as possible (lower or at the net height). – make the first bounce very close to the
net, so the second bounce on the opponent’s side is also short and near the net too. But, this service is short but with less spin,
therefore less dangerous. It’s easier to return the short serve without
spin than the serve with a lot of spins. You can drop short this service and control
the placement of your return. So, the amateur players are taught to serve
short first, but then don’t know how to add spin efficiently. In China, the approach is a little different. They teach the player to make a spinny serve
first and then ask them to shorten the serve. Chinese philosophy defines a good short serve
as: – a good short serve must have a high variation
of spin. Because spin will make the service more deceptive. – a good short serve will stop the opponent
to attack your service. However, they should not return it easily. (they can’t drop shot and can’t return your
service to anywhere on the table as they want). – and finally, after your short serve, you
must attack first. To do that, the server should find a way to
add “energy” to the short service so the returned ball is long and you can attack it. How to add sidespin in your short serve? Chinese players rarely use a short serve without
spin. They are taught to serve short but spinny. The best way to serve short and spinny is
“adding sidespin” to the ball. There are 2 reasons, you should do that. First reason, because add sidespin is the
safest way to add “Energy” to your service. Short serve with backspin, the second bounce
on the opponent side, the ball will bounce up and can be attacked. So it’s rather risky. Short serve with topspin, the second bounce
on the opponent table, the ball will jump forward outside the table. So it’s difficult to keep the service with
topspin short. If your service is long, the opponent will
attack first. Short serve with sidespin. Side spin affects little the trajectory of
the ball. Therefore, you can add much spin to your serve
and keep it short. All the energy is transferred to the spin
with less effect on the bouncing. It’s difficult to drop short the ball with
sidespin. If the opponent pushes
this ball, the returned ball will be long and you can attack it first. If the
opponent flips the ball, he must counter the direction of the spin, so you
can predict the placement of the returned ball. Second reason. Sidespin is the way you control the placement
of the returned ball. The placement of the ball is very important,
which will affect your 3rd ball attack and also your playing style. There are 2 types of sidespin: clockwise rotation
which is called as pendulum serve, and anti-clockwise rotation (called as reversed pendulum serve). Because you must counter the direction of
the spin in table tennis if you make the pendulum serve (the ball spin to your right), the returned
ball will go to your left. This type of sidespin is preferred by the
Forehand dominant player like Ma Long. The best-attacking shot of the Forehand dominant
players is the pivot, where they attack at his left side. Ma Long uses this type of sidespin because
he wants that the ball returned to his left side. If you are the Backhand dominant player like
Zhang Jike. You prefer using your Backhand at a larger
area on the table: your left side, also in front of your body, and a little bit at your
right side. So you want that the ball is returned more to your right side. That’s why Zhang Jike prefers using the Reverse
Pendulum serve: the ball spins to his left so the returned ball will go to the position
he is waiting for. So please remember, side-spin will make difficult
for the opponent to return your service. The ball with sidespin is deceptive and prevents
the opponent from returning it shortly. Sidespin is also the way you control the placement
of the returned ball. The placement of the returned ball is the
opposite of the spin direction and can be predicted. That’s it for today. See you next weekend, EmRatThich.

David Frank



  1. Dev Patel Posted on March 25, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    please teach the technical aspects of backhand and forehand flick]

  2. LeBrOn BASIT Posted on March 25, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    I'm planning to buy the dhs hurricane 3 neo commercial not national blue sponge it's cheap do you think it's a good rubber????!!!

  3. MidnightSTALKER979 Posted on March 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Can you make a video about how to get more quality on a push ball? -> deeper on the table, more spin and good control. Most videos only cover the basics as far as pushing goes but I think that's very important

  4. My Style Posted on March 25, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    hello emratthich.i want to ask you about practicing the punch serve .i can do a long punch serve on both sides that cab reach very high speeds and be extremelyyy spin i usually use my whole body to hit it.but at the same time i cant make this serve short.even the slightest contact makes it jump alot.the thing is if i wud be able to do even half the spin short i wud be a beast at serving…i wanted to ask you how can i add so much spin in a punch serve(especially when i flick up for topspin)while making it a short serve?thanks you for the videos i love so much.

  5. madan kumar Posted on March 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Hi Emrat, can you help me with the details of how to add more side spin on short serve?. In this video it is like more WHY? than HOW? to do short side spin serve. Also thank you so much for your videos 😊

  6. WorgAgate44 Posted on March 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    now I know why to do a short serve with sidespin, but I don't know how to do it

  7. A B Posted on March 25, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    thank you so much sir, i hope one day i will be able to use ur advice and defeat ZJK.

  8. ALandarion Posted on March 25, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    so I can do a pretty spinny serve.. and I can also do a very short serve.. But how exactly to do it both short and spinny at the same time? :s

  9. derhenri2002 Posted on March 25, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Hey, EmRatThich, I've been playing a European/Japanese blade(Timo Boll ALC and Tenergy 05) now for about 2 to 3 years and I've never had any problem with it. I've only been playing for 4 years now and I'm a pretty young player, so I pretty much learned all of my techniques with this blade. So, should I really change my blade as you suggested in your videos about the Chinese philosophy? And if you think so, how should I change it? Should I only change the forehand rubber or even the entire wood? If you want to see me playing, there are numerous videos like the links I show you here: and and . Most of the links here are a bit older and my playing style has changed a bit since then of course(e.g. the stuff I'm doing wrong in the third video, faster forehand topspin, better footwork, etc.). The videos are already in public and even my schoolmates, as well as my chemistry teacher, have seen them, so I don't really care if I share it with you too. My dad needs a new racket too because his old one which I won is too fast for him, so I could even just try it out. Hope you'll respond! Thanks if so!

  10. artmaroof90 Posted on March 25, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Now i am able to do pendulum serves but its hard to do short serve i can spin the ball but long not short i always do net when serving short

  11. Dawid Garboliński Posted on March 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    i dont get it… why fh dominant player would like to to pendulum serve when the ball is going to his bh…
    if u are fh dominant player u want the ball to got to ur fh…
    im fh dominant player and i prefer reverse pdneulum because most of the time oppoenet recived to my middle and i dont need to step around to do pivot… i have ball in midlle so i can easy do fh without pivot (stepping around)

  12. Jin Kuang Posted on March 25, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    You are one the best Table Tennis coach on YouTube!  🙂

  13. nuri demir Posted on March 25, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    but a lot of coach says we must %80 use short backspin serve. Because with backspiny serve your opponent will difficult to flick…   (sorry for my englısh)

  14. Dieter Verhofstadt Posted on March 26, 2017 at 12:47 am

    The sidespin selection makes sense if you look at the evidence, but not from a theoretical or amateur standpoint. Logically:

    a) if I'm forehand oriented, then I want the ball to land to my right side, so that I can play the forehand without having to move, so I will play a serve with counterclockwise sidespin
    b) if I'm backhand oriented, then I want the ball to land to my left side, so that I can play the bakchand without having to move, so I will play a serve with clockwise sidespin

    In your explanation, it is precisely the other way round. I guess this is because:
    – professional players move well
    – and professional players don't merely think of the 3rd ball attack, but about dominating the rally after the 3rd ball.

    Can you clarify?

  15. Xtreme Posted on March 26, 2017 at 1:45 am

    I ussually serve with pendulum sidespin, because I cannot pendulum serve with backspin. But when I play with attacking minded player, he will return my serve with flick easily because no backspin on the ball. My friend told me to put the ball to his forehand down the line, because forehand flick is harder than backhand flick. I want to ask your opinion about it. How should I serve?

  16. Fico Arelian Taidy Posted on March 26, 2017 at 2:17 am

    how to generate spin and serve short at the same time?

  17. james chen Posted on March 26, 2017 at 3:02 am

    my ping pong club Formula 19 is a strong follower of yr you tube..we understand you really well

  18. fzambetta75 Posted on March 26, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Great video, it explains the core concept really well. However, Elijah Ng is right about pros (indeed good state level players will be already able to control spin most of the time). I think it comes down to observing your opponent and serving P or RP depending upon whether they return to your strength (be it FH or BH).

  19. Vivero Bosque de Alimentos Posted on March 26, 2017 at 3:34 am

    Hi EmRatTinch and all here. I learn a lot with your videos. I use to do sidespin reverse pendulum serves all the time, sometimes long, sometimes short… the short ones are more difficult to me, but the opponent use to reply with a long and high ball, so I almost smash the ball in the 3er ball atack. Very good advices. But I really DONT know how to serve using pendulum. I am forehand dominant but my serve is reverse pendulum, so the opponent ball goes allways to my right…

  20. ZestLight Posted on March 26, 2017 at 4:40 am

    Wasn't this posted before? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Still Great! ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

  21. Suppenhuhn 0815 Posted on March 26, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I have a good sidespinn/underspinn serve, but if i get the serveball back, the ball is very spinny und high.
    I have to much time to attack and i hit the ball in the net..

  22. Bashar breije Posted on March 26, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Thank You so much

  23. Kokol560 Posted on March 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Hello EmRatThich,

    I really like your channel and your videos a lot, because they are very helpful. But I have a problem:
    I just turned 18 and i got myself a new racket ( BH: Butterfly Feint AG 1.3mm / FH: Donic Acuda S1 Turbo 2.0mm / Wood: Donic Epox Powerallroung ). Since I play it in my matches I lost very often, even to opponents which I have previously won and developed from best player in the league to only midfield. I know that its not all about my racket but also about my self but still I feel that Im not getting enough confidence throughout my choice of materials.

    As you noticed I am a modern defensive player who likes to be able to perform some defensive but also some offensive strokes with my backhand. so I am searching for somehow an allround pimple. For my forehand I think I would need something with a bit more control but it should still be fast enough because I perform topspins quite often. My wood should be not to fast becuse of my backhand. Do you think my wood is a good one to play with pimples or should I change?

    Please help me, tabletennis is my life and I currently feel so unhappy with my play eventhough I train up to 8 hours a week and at least two matches every weekend.
    PS: Keep up the good work on your channel, you really are a good coach!!

  24. Dev Patel Posted on March 26, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    And coach..
    What about the banana or the backhand flick?

  25. KY Chiu Posted on March 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    you did not explain how to add more spin to the balls in short serve

  26. jghfk1 Posted on March 27, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    hey, you explained my question from the third ball attack video! thanks a lot man, have a great day!

  27. wholesomechiro Posted on March 27, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Shi shi for all your advice. In your opinion is viscaria similar to infinity vps? I have infinity vps and wanted to upgrade to viscaria. I'm a developing player around u.s.1500-1600 rating

  28. wholesomechiro Posted on March 27, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Why do Chinese players prefer to have a bigger blade 158cm by 151cm like dhs instead of more compact 157cm by 150cm. Isn't smaller blade faster?

  29. Dima Shevchenko Posted on March 28, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Thank you! You are really helpful. You made me really great and I understand table tennis philosophy much better know. I have watched all your technique and tactics video. They are great. But I have not seen anything about footwork. Great coach!

  30. chad champlin Posted on March 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    all the guys at work have recently discovered my weakness in returning deep side spin. my question is about the "tackyness" of the rubber on the blade. I've noticed my serve getting returned easier and easier. Should the rubber be cleaned everynow and then and if so with what? and how often replaced?

  31. Basilio Palmero Jr. Posted on March 29, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Oh you're such a great TT coach and thanks a lot for sharing this one of a kind tutorial guides/tips.MORE POWER TO YOU Sir …

  32. Dev Patel Posted on March 29, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Should we keep our body tight or loose while playing table tennis

  33. Chris Chat Posted on March 30, 2017 at 4:09 am

    Hi there,
    I am learning TT in Vietnam with a VN teacher (I don't speak Vietnamese, so it's a bit slow). You are right, the first thing I learnt was spin. Spin for serves and spin for shots. What I am struggling with is how to do a short side spin serve. I always put too much power on my serves. Is it just a question of power or am I missing something?

  34. Life is Musicz Posted on March 30, 2017 at 5:49 am

    I don't have an serious table tennis partner
    So please can u make an video on practising alone as per chinese philosophy

  35. Dima Shevchenko Posted on March 30, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Best coach! Will the ball be shorter if you make the serve lower right?

  36. Happy Cadava Posted on March 30, 2017 at 6:29 am

    very nice…Helps me out! greetz From Germany!

  37. Dima Shevchenko Posted on March 30, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Will you make a video about serve variations in Chinese philosophy

  38. old man lincoln Posted on March 31, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    6:35 puss.. pussy

  39. pauz Posted on March 31, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Thank you, so helpful, I agree, you are the Best

  40. Loveleen Sharma Posted on April 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    hello sir, I'm an advanced attacking player. I can attack short n long balls from backhand n forehand easily. I have footwork n technique. I am confused between DHS HURRICANE MA LONG V, INFINITY GOLDEN TOUCH N INTENSITY NCT CARBON. Could you please suggest which blade will b better for me? At present I use yinhe n9, which is too slow away from the table. Please help me.

  41. fabio jr Posted on April 16, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    vídeos for choppers, please 🤣

  42. ExtremeGame TableTennis Posted on April 19, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    ¡Terrific explanation, thanks coach!

  43. pham ken Posted on April 21, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Minh nam nay 31 tuoi . Danh bong ban nang khieu nam 12 den 17 tuoi.
    Bay gio lau lau danh lai cung thay vui.
    Thay ban lam video nao cung hay. minh rat thich.
    ban co facebook khong minh co the hoi ban cach chon loai vot nao phu hop voi loi danh 2 cang giong FAN ZENGDONG cua minh.
    Minh dang danh cay viscaria voi 2 mat hexxer, vi danh mat tau cam giac khong co xoay lam!
    cam on nhieu!

  44. Kamran Salek Posted on May 1, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Hello Coach,
    could you please have a session to show couple receiving service respond performance?
    Thank you,

  45. Rodney Bygrave Posted on May 3, 2017 at 12:37 am

    Many of Zheng Jeke's serve are short with side top,
    for armature players wouldn't the normal pendulum serve be better for a back hand player as the ball is returned to the backhand because of spin and the reverse pendulum be netter for forehand players as the spin sends the ball to the servers forehand

  46. Airport Operations Specialist Posted on May 8, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Thank you for your coaching. I am grateful.

  47. Abdullah Sayeed Posted on May 16, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Thank you coach, learned a lot from this video. Can I have you at my direct contact list? Skype, Viber, Whattsapp? I love your coaching.

  48. Arnaud Posted on May 29, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    Your analysis contredict Cristophe Legout's one about Ma Lin serve
    (I think you can understand French)

  49. diksha s Posted on June 3, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    my fore hand push is really very worst I'm trying to improve it….and in matches short service is done on my fore hand side so how can I return the ball

  50. Anton Praja Posted on June 11, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    thx coach.. i will use more sidespin on my serve

  51. Erbold Burmaa Posted on June 27, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Thank you for your such a effort! 😀

  52. Deepu Surendran Posted on June 27, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Thanks EmRatThich !!

  53. Yash Deolekar Posted on July 9, 2017 at 8:06 am

    coach, can you make video on how to brush the ball

  54. Nirbhay Pandya Posted on August 10, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Thank you so much 🙂

    This was really helpful.

  55. TECHNICAL KNIGHT Posted on August 17, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Please give me some tips based on Zhang jike serve please make video

  56. Abhishek Malhotra Posted on August 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    sir , please add a video how to serve long !!!!

  57. Erik Tempelman Posted on August 28, 2017 at 6:52 am

    I like this on so many levels! You say "in China, the approach is a little different.. " while what I would have said at that point "We do this very differently…" . Of course, nothing wrong with being subtle. It reminds me to take your other subtle comments much more seriously than I would if they were said in Western style.

  58. Lakshit Sharma Posted on September 3, 2017 at 8:21 am

    I know that we can attack on long sidespin+topspin serve but if that serve is very short than push makes ball out of table so how to return because we can not play any topspin shot in that condition

  59. cgandy2 Posted on September 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Your videos are brilliant. You explain the philosophy and technique so well. Thank you for taking the time to post these videos!

  60. oh yeah yeah yeah yeah Posted on October 5, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Hey iam a penhold.Any tips for me?please reply

  61. DomZ Music Posted on October 6, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    I am a Bckhand dominant player

  62. Andy Zhao Posted on October 11, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    note that if you feel he's talking a bit slow, you should go 1.25 speed

  63. Mh Aِlan Posted on October 19, 2017 at 8:21 am

    You are not good in explaining "Why", yous say a statement as if it is approved knowledge without telling any explanation.

  64. Luke Goh Posted on October 30, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    make a video on how to use serve to set up third ball attack.

  65. EmRatThich Table Tennis Coach Posted on November 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Read more:

  66. Vincent Tran Posted on November 30, 2017 at 4:18 am

    i always thought reverse was for forehand dominant, while regular pendulum was for backhand dominant. my playing area is quite small so i do it like that so i dont have to step around table. lol

  67. 24 Frames/Sec Posted on January 4, 2018 at 6:28 am

    Why would Ma Long want the ball at his BH side? Pivoting on that side can leave a wide open FH side. Wouldn't you want serves to be returned to the FH area of the table by using a reverse pendulum?

  68. ᅳ ᅳ Posted on February 23, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Amazing teaching !!! Thankyou

  69. Hartmut333 Posted on March 4, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    funnie the little baby!

  70. Ali Ali Posted on March 6, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Could u teach us how to push deep and smash strong acurrate ball

  71. Sunshine Hotel Dong Hoi Phong Nha National Park Posted on April 7, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    very good

  72. Somdutta Sarkar Posted on April 9, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Thank you very much coach..😃😃

  73. Bhavesh Shera Posted on April 9, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    I want buy a racket my buget is 500 rupees plzzz suggest the racket for me plzzzzzzzzzzz

  74. abetroll01 Posted on June 1, 2018 at 3:41 am

    I have been struggling with attacking my 3rd balls when using the pendulum serve because it always goes to an award spot on my backhand corner. Maybe now I should be working on my step around footwork to take advantage of this placement. Thanks coach. 🙂

  75. Ruslan Safin Posted on June 16, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    The child’s voice behind so lovely and funny 🙂

  76. Kiswani j Posted on June 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Very nice, thanks!

  77. Nir Tal Posted on October 21, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Very good explanation. Like it a lot!

  78. Degist Nguyen Posted on November 29, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Tôi chưa tìm thấy một video nào phân tích chi tiết tư thế giao bóng chuẩn để tạo ra một cú giao bóng tốt. Các vđv phong trào thường ko có đc tư thế tốt để có thế giao bóng tốt. Từ tư thế của chân, lườn và tay thường là ko kết hợp đc nhuần nhuyễn để có một cú giao hay. Rất mong HLV ERT có thể chia sẻ một video phân tích hướng dẫn chi tiết để chúng tôi có thể tập đc tốt! Very thanks!!!

  79. Dr. FeelGood Posted on December 22, 2018 at 5:18 am

    Coach T H I C C

  80. Hamza Javeed Posted on March 3, 2019 at 6:05 am

    Thanks Coach! Now I get it that I have no serves understanding + what will be the return + what do in what situation.

  81. juan diego recalde murillo Posted on March 16, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    Subtitulos en español por favor.

  82. Leevit Boy Posted on March 22, 2019 at 7:47 am

    Thank you!! Greetings from Uruguay

  83. Brodie Priesley Posted on March 28, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    I'm not sure if your reasoning about why forehand players prefer pendulum, backhand prefer reverse pendulum is correct. The way I understand it is

    A forehand player (Ma Long) will serve pendulum because he wants it going to his forehand(right side). The logic is that if the opponent blocks and let's the ball go with its natural spin it will be a weak shot to his left which he can attack because it is weak like in the clips. However, if a player counters his spin as they should it will almost always end up on his right side where he is more comfortable to play the point. It isn't safe for a player to try and return to his left because the angle of the spin means any error will see the ball off the table. The safest play for the return is counter spin to Ma Longs strong side

  84. Fabián García Posted on April 17, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Subtítulos en español??? 😭😭😭😭

  85. azerty qwerty Posted on June 3, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Nice video, good job. It's difficult to explain with a little player on your legs, congratulations.

  86. Nguyễn Duyanh Posted on June 9, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Good knowledge.thanks you very much

  87. Oleg Oleg Posted on September 16, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Very strange Chinese logic. I am an amateur player. And for me more convenient if the ball goes to my right for forehand and to my left for backhand. Perhaps that's why they always on the top.