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The serve is not just the way to start the game. It’s an opportunity to get things going in your direction.
Don’t waste your serve with a thoughtless shot. You are standing still and get to choose your positioning, so make it count. The goal isn’t to hit an unreturnable shot, but to make it difficult for the opponent to do what they want with the serve. Your goal is to set yourself up for the third shot.
Here are some strategies for the serve: 1. Exploit a weakness. Target their weak side whether it is their forehand or backhand. You will have to pay attention to figure this out. 2. Make them move. If you can move them off the court to hit the return, then you are set up for a better third shot. For stacking teams, move them out wide. 3. Hit hard. A faster serve gives your opponent less time to react. 4. Use spin. Topspin makes the ball drop quickly, giving you more margin for error in hitting hard. To give topspin, brush up the back of the ball to produce topspin. Sidespin can move the opponent off the court or cause them to misjudge the bounce. To give sidespin, swing across the back of the ball with an open paddle face. 5. Serve deep. The further back they are, the further they have to run to get to the kitchen. Also, they will be more likely to hit a slow ball in order to give themselves more time to get to the net, which sets you up for a better shot.
Key to the serve: Set up your third shot for success.
Key Technical Skills:
- Eastern Forehand Grip - Keep your hand behind the paddle for more power. This keeps your paddle face neutral making it easier to keep the ball low and impart spin.
- Forward Impact Point - Hit the ball in front of your body. Start low and use your legs and core to generate power.
- Laid Back Wrist and Acceleration - Accelerate through the serve with your wrist in order to snap the ball into play.
The serve is an offensive opportunity to make it harder for the opponent to do what they want and make it more likely you will get to do what you want on the third shot.