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Table Tennis Serve Tutorial: Ma Lin “Ghost” Serve

Welcome back to the channel of coach EmRatThich. Today I will show you
3 key points to do the “ghost serve” like Ma Lin. This serve is the most amazing
“trick serve” in table tennis. I also show you the best way to return this
tricky serve. WHAT IS “GHOST SERVE” ? “Ghost serve” is considered as a “tricky serve”,
with heavy underspin. This serve is
the trademark of Ma Lin. There are 2 types of serve in table tennis:
tricky ace serve and set-up serve. Chinese players focus more on set-up serve
because at the high level, you can’t win the game by just using
ace serve. “Ghost serve” is the trademark serve of Ma
Lin because he has the greatest touch in the China National Team. Penholder has also the advantages over
a shakehand player because of more freedom in the wrist movement. The
way that penholder holds his racket allows him to freely use the wrist. With Liu Guoliang, Ma Lin is the best server
in China Team. He used a lot of
fake motion after the serve, that’s why his serve is so tricky. So when people talk about Ma Lin, they think
of his serve. If we talk about Wang Hao, we think of his
beautiful reverse backhand. For Zhang Jike, it’s his solid physical strength
and the “explosiveness”. For Ma Long, it’s his super consistent and
powerful forehand. So every player has his own specialty. It’s because of their “micro-adjustment”. If you don’t know what “micro-adjustment”
is, look above for my explication. Practicing “Ghost serve” is the best way to
improve your feeling, and learn how to impact the spin into your serve. This serve is not very effective in the real
match. For your match, focus on “set-up” serve. Add sidespin to control the placement. Watch my video “How to serve short with sidespin”
for the reason behind. Since then, Ma Lin just won few points with
his “Ghost serve”. The most famous
one is this point with Zhang Jike. Now, I will give you 3 tips to do this “ghost
serve”. Using these 3 tips, you will know how
and when to accelerate the ball. First, to do this “ghost serve” effectively,
or another serves in general, you should hold your racket loosely. Look how Joao Monteiro holds his racket. Put your thumb higher
on the rubber, hold at the side of the blade and vertical (like the penhold). Holding the racket like this will increase
the freedom of the wrist. This is crucial because you want to accelerate
and spin the ball with your wrist. Second point. This point is very important. Put your elbow close to your body. To serve
effectively, you need a quick acceleration, and short movement (explosiveness). Unlike
another stroke (like forehand loop) which require a long and full movement, a good serve requires a short but quick movement. So you don’t need to use forearm
here. Put the elbow close to body to stabilize the
shot. Amateur players don’t know this
important point, so they can’t accelerate into the ball correctly. Where to contact the ball? The contact point is very close to your body. The closer you
contact the ball, the easier you control it. New players tend to contact the ball too far
from the body, and then there is not enough spin in their serve. The two rotation axis are: first your body. You must rotate your body to add spin, and
power to the ball. Rotation from the body also controls the trajectory
of the serve. If you want your serve short, rotate your
body a little. If you want your serve longer, rotate more. If you want to serve to the right side of
the opponent, rotate your body a semi-circle. If you want to send the ball to the left side,
rotate a full circle. Please
remember: Don’t use the forearm. Fix the elbow and the forearm. It’s your body rotation that controls the
length and the direction of your serve. This is
the keypoint of a good server. Because with a little change (rotate more
or less), you can suddenly change the direction of your
serve. Surprise factor, and quality factor. Body rotation is the first rotation axis. The second is your wrist. Wrist is where you
accelerate and make the ball spin. Wrist movement is very fast. Without wrist, you can’t
make a spinny serve. Again, don’t snap with your forarm around
the elbow but use your wrist. “Explosiveness” all comes from the wrist and
the body rotation. We don’t
need your forarm and elbow in your serve. And my 3rd tip is: To make this serve tricky,
add “fake motion”. That means after you
contact the serve, move your hand up like you are making a topspin serve. Ma Lin always add fake motion after the contact
point. You should also do a “psychology” game. Before doing this “ghost serve”, serve some
topspin serves with a clear “up motion”. And then at the crucial points (9-9) or (9-7),
use this tricky serve with the same “up motion”. This way, you can easily trick your opponent. How to return “GHOST SERVE” ? “Ghost serve” is a pure underspin serve. This serve is also slow. So a simple “drop shot”
can easily return this serve short. That’s why, you should learn how to add “sidespin”
to your serve, which will make your serve more
dangerous. I’ve shown you 3 tips to do this serve: Hold
your racket loosely, Put the elbow close your body, rotate your body, accelerate with your
wrist, and add fake “motion” after the contact point. Now, you can see Ma Lin’s serve in slow motion. Now you can see that everybody can do this
serve. The key point is knowing how to
accelerate with your wrist. And this is the “XXL version” of Ma Lin ghost
serve. 😀 Look he has the same “national coach” as Ma
Lin. I really prefer this “XXL” version than the
“original” version. That’s it for today. Hope enjoy this tutorial. See you, EmRatThich. SPECIAL THANKS TO (SHARING AMAZING FOOTAGES)
ldb579932 & ttTricks

David Frank



  1. EmRatThich Table Tennis Coach Posted on July 21, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Sorry, I'm sick right now. That's why I've voiced over with the "nose-sound". Sorry for that. Just want to deliver a good video on the weekend. Special thanks to TTTricks and ldb579932 for their amazing footages.

  2. Rapid Spectre Posted on July 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    hey emratich for this type of a serve u need a very gripy rubber tight???

  3. Dieter Verhofstadt Posted on July 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Haha, how you keep this videos both funny and loaded with useful information. Wonderful!

  4. CORPSE REANIMATED Posted on July 21, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    xxl version>ma lin version.

  5. linda kim Posted on July 21, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    sicology? no saicology is correct pronounciation

  6. Anton Praja Posted on July 21, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Hi coach, for more spin on serve, you suggest tacky and hard rubber, one question for DHS rubber like hurricane or neo, is it need to apply booster on ?

  7. Æsir Posted on July 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    LOL 9:09 (๏д๏) WTF 9:23 ✧*。٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و✧*。

  8. Dawid Garboliński Posted on July 21, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    i dont think this serve is useless in a match. i think this serve is core. mostly used to prevent opponent from flicking. even ma long uses it, short along the line to the opponent's fh.

  9. shubhang mittal Posted on July 21, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Haha, making your videos funny makes them more interesting and fun to watch. By the way, xxl version was great 😂
    keep making such videos, coach

  10. Jonathan RC Posted on July 21, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Lin gain some weight at the end lol

  11. TheOneWhoKnows Nothing Posted on July 21, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Hahahahaha xxl ghost serve

  12. Joël Martin Posted on July 21, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    lmao xxl version of ma lin

  13. Airport Operations Specialist Posted on July 22, 2017 at 12:23 am

    Coach, what is the end credits theme song that you play every video, please? I love it!

  14. Sentea Keimah Posted on July 22, 2017 at 3:20 am

    i love the xxl version😁

  15. shreyas chandar Posted on July 22, 2017 at 3:25 am

    Thank you coach! Please make a video on sidespin service and how to do service practice

  16. Kinshuk Joshi Posted on July 22, 2017 at 4:15 am

    Emratthich explination is an incorrect word. The correct one is explanation. Spell as x-pla-nation.
    Video is awesome and amazing. Loved every bit of it.

  17. Jonathan Yung Posted on July 22, 2017 at 4:49 am

    jun mizutani's ghost serve is more compact, putting it in a short toss.

  18. You Tube Posted on July 22, 2017 at 5:07 am

    why is he shirtless 😂

  19. aaa aaa Posted on July 22, 2017 at 8:05 am

    In the demonstrations, when they serve their shoulders hide the contact. Their serves are great, but they are (slightly) illegal IMO.

    Nice video; lots of good information.

  20. nuri demir Posted on July 22, 2017 at 10:10 am

    we want more match analysis video coach emratthic we love you thanks a lot for everything ( like this video : Table Tennis: Amazing 10 years old kid in China   )

  21. Tareq Shahriar Posted on July 22, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Tip 4 (that u missed): take off your shirt before practicing underspin serve

  22. michaelangelu Posted on July 23, 2017 at 4:47 am

    The rotation explanation confuses me, they both look like same amount of rotation, neither semi or full circle. Can you explain again or do another vidfeo?

  23. Ege Candan Posted on July 23, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    xxl version 😀 <3

  24. Joe Posted on July 23, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    So even when doing other serves like side underspin or side topspin, we should still keep our elbow fixed and stop using forearm?Only wrist and body rotation on all serves?

  25. Leeman Harrington Posted on July 24, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Super helpful!

  26. efr89 Posted on July 24, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    LEL, the XXL version hits the ball so well it hardly passes 10cm on the other side and then returns to back to his own side. Thats amazing!

  27. Woods V Posted on July 24, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    The XXL version is better than the original ma Lin version!

  28. Kevin Ng Posted on July 26, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    The XXL version of Ma Lin! xD

  29. Furthy Thirtyfour Posted on August 9, 2017 at 11:00 am

    You did not explain the bat angle when you contact the ball and would also like to see the contact point in slow motion please.

  30. Eric Posted on August 14, 2017 at 7:16 am

    I believe pen holder has severe disadvantage for playing backhand shots. I have seen Ma Lin always defending while playing backhand shots.

  31. Lightzy Posted on August 26, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    To return this (short) serve most easily just hold your racket out like a plate, completely horizontal close to the net and let the ball drop on it.
    Without any effort from you, the backspin on the ball will carry it so the other side of the net, very close to the net and difficult to answer.

  32. Donke Posted on August 28, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Where are you from?

  33. TECHNICAL KNIGHT Posted on August 30, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Upload a video based on how to keep eyes on ball

  34. John Carlo Ruiz Posted on September 14, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Why am I watching this at midnight. I don't even play table tennis.

  35. Hai Posted on September 18, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Hi coach ERT. My coach always uses a variety of trick serve – sometimes side spin, sometimes under spin and sometimes topspin. How did he serve top spin but his hand position is like serve under spin.. He won't tell me, he ask me to figure it out myself.. Can u help me? ^^

  36. TryToDoRight Posted on September 19, 2017 at 4:58 am

    Someone please tell me what the noise is Everytime someone serves? Is it a foot stomping, or the paddle hitting the table?

  37. JAYDEV ASHRA Posted on September 22, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Is it necessary to keep the T-shirt off, while practicing this serve…???!!!☺☺☺

  38. Angry Incubus Posted on October 21, 2017 at 10:15 am

    with ur wist

  39. Jacky Zheng Posted on October 22, 2017 at 2:25 am

    7:00 ????!!!!!?!?!!?

  40. IVAN ŠANTEK Posted on October 28, 2017 at 4:32 pm


  41. EmRatThich Table Tennis Coach Posted on November 4, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Read more at:

  42. Last Comment Posted on November 8, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    for those who never had a pro racket before , the rubber these guys use is so sticky that you can lift it up with your palm , that is why they can spin the ball that much

  43. Arek Wydmuch Posted on November 18, 2017 at 9:52 pm


  44. YunSheng Huang Posted on November 19, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    It really helps, thx for sharing!

  45. Syahrul Gufran Posted on November 21, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Thanks for the video…. i really like the XXL version of Ma Lin….

  46. Gemein Hardd Posted on December 11, 2017 at 12:33 am

    how about what is SPEAK ENGLISH

  47. LiteralAutist Posted on December 16, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Wow i was messing around when doing table tennis with friends and i actually started serving like that without knowing it is a real move

  48. Moon Bilguun Posted on December 27, 2017 at 8:05 am

    i like XXL Ma Lin more

  49. ralexlu Posted on December 28, 2017 at 3:23 am

    The end of this video had me crying!😂😂😂

  50. Elmo Blatch Posted on December 28, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    I am high on meth, cocaine, heroine, oxycontin, LSD, and marijuana, and this is still not entertaining.

  51. Lightzy Posted on January 9, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    Question: Why is Ma Lin's serve so fast, while everyone else who do it do it so slow?
    His serve looks like a very fast serve but still the ball shoots back, also fast.
    How to do it like that?

  52. Yiu Tun Posted on February 3, 2018 at 1:25 am

    duuummmaa so strooonngg

  53. Loumy AsItcomes Posted on February 28, 2018 at 4:39 am

    Thanks for the video…well explained

  54. Dipti Jain Posted on February 28, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Do we have to do the same in all serves to add more spin

  55. АГЕНТ ВАНОМАСА Posted on March 16, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    все понятно

  56. Fredtality Posted on March 19, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Unlike many of your other videos, this tutorial isn't that good. There are no technical aspects as to how to perform it, which is the main part, as without learning the technical steps, it is simply impossible to learn this serve (or any other difficult serve for that matter). I've finally learned this serve and here are my technical key points one must use when performing this serve:

    1. The start of your serve: Your toss is very important and should land slightly behind the center of your body, enabling you to create more spin (because of the momentum and follow through of your bat and body).
    2. During the serve: Your bat angle must go from horizontal to a backward lean, i.e. imagine a curve sloping upwards – that is your racquet movement.
    3. After the serve: Your follow through with your racquet is crucial for a good spin. Use your wrist AND forearm after impact and try to almost hit your stomach with your bat.

    If done correctly and smoothly (key word is smoothly, you really do not have to force the ball when attempting spinny serves), add a bit of lean angle to really make this serve difficult to return.

    Hope this helped 🙂

  57. Mac Miller Posted on March 29, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Why do you stomp your foot after every contact on serve?

  58. Rain Sky Posted on March 30, 2018 at 11:46 am

    What The F*
    1 min long advertisement before watching actual video – no option to skip after few second!!!

  59. Igor Nemo Posted on April 4, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Dear ERT
    Please let me Link to original video with the Jumbo guy training.

    Thanks to you a lot.

  60. Alligator Uno Posted on May 3, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    That XXL version tho 😂

  61. Table Tennis Central Posted on May 7, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Nice! ive recently made a video showcasing the Dictator Ma Long. Would really appreciate it, if you check it out!

  62. Chandrabali Mazumdar Posted on May 8, 2018 at 4:16 am

    Legend has it Joao is still serving on that table.

  63. Francis Raval Posted on May 14, 2018 at 3:02 am

    the XXL version is definitely better! haha

  64. Alejo Gonzalez Posted on June 12, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Hey coach, that guy doing the Demos… is hidding the ball… that's like an illegal serve…

  65. 박승호 Posted on June 15, 2018 at 5:22 am

    thanks for the lesson

  66. fanttasmon Posted on August 7, 2018 at 12:03 am

    gracias bro lo practicare 😉 saludos desde colombia

  67. Tsel project Posted on October 19, 2018 at 10:53 am

    9:23…. damnnnn 🙂

  68. Tarihi geçmiş bayram çikolatası Posted on November 14, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    it was a kind of like xxxxl version

  69. C Vremes Posted on November 28, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    there's 5 levels of table tennis: Easy Medium Hard Hell China

  70. Sunita Niure Posted on December 4, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Serves plz next vedio very easy returnibg serves

  71. Руслан Гурьев Posted on December 25, 2018 at 7:24 am


  72. Nefilim Posted on January 18, 2019 at 5:25 am

    Thank you for your videos. Tips inside are amazing.
    I made my serve more spinny, but I must train wrist for good acceleration. thx again.
    – Can I ask you a question about training legs and FH topspin?
    When I play FH topspin I often make angle in my elbow, I think main reason is the slow legs, or wrong steps, can you provide some tips how to train legs and topspin technique solo(right now it try to play 95% with FH I get this tip from one of your video), because I have not much time for training with advanced players. But I have access to table to train solo.
    Thank you very much again.

  73. Mario H Posted on January 24, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    The XXL version coach's thoughts: "I'm not getting paid enough for this shit"

  74. Tomboiii Posted on February 24, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Been playing table tennis for 3 years now. Still don't have a racket. Wtf

  75. saikesava satyam Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Excellent, keep seeing it

  76. Tinh Teo Posted on May 10, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    xin chào, bạn có thể thêm sub bằng tiếng Việt được không ? cho người nước mình xem với chứ.

  77. suffolk6311 Posted on May 18, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    lol. For some reason only the fat guy shows you how to do it because he's in super slow motion.

  78. PKevindox _official Posted on May 30, 2019 at 3:50 am

    You called it ghost serve.
    I called it a devil serve.

  79. Michael Sta. Maria Posted on June 9, 2019 at 3:31 am

    XXL version is GREAT!!!

  80. Mohd Azizee Sukor Posted on July 3, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    xxl version lol

  81. Captain Flirt Posted on July 5, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Ohh XXL version ❤❤❤😂