The Most Important Shot In Table Tennis

by Ben Nisbet on August 15, 2013

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By Mr. Zakir Nawab

Most professional table tennis players believe that the most important shot in table tennis is the serve. The serve is typically neglected by most beginners and amateur table tennis players; they usually concentrate on improving their rallying and looping skills.

There are a number of reasons why the serve is important; these include-

1. Return- a good use of serves will influence the return ball. If the serve is good, the return ball could either be predictable or poor. This can allow the server to take the winning point.

2. Control- the serve is only stroke that the player has control over without any interference or influence of the opponent. The player can play any stroke that they desire.

3. Knowledge- by increasing you knowledge on serving, it will improve your understanding on the best return for your opponents serve

Making a good serve

After knowing why the serve is important, producing the good serve is the next step. The 3 best types serves are-

1. Placing the ball- This serve is about knowing your opponent well; this serve includes placing the ball in a position on the table in your opponent’s weak spot. This will make there return weak. However this serve would need constantly updating of your opponents’ weakness; a good player will always reduce their weakness. So its best to always scout your opponents.

2. Spin- This serve is used to confuse your opponent into playing the wrong shot. There are different types of spin such as the topspin, the backspin and the sidespin. By spinning the serve, the opponents return will either play a defensive shot or put the ball into the net.

3. Long serves- These serves are aimed to bounce on the opponents side towards the edges of the table and close to the end lines. This serve is based on surprise and sometimes speed. This can force a weak return from your opponent. However use with caution, if your opponent is not surprised then expected a decent return.

Factors in serving

There is a number of factors that can affect you serving. These include-

1. Variety- serves will more effective if a mix of serve types are used. This will ensure that your opponent is kept on their toes. If you use your best serves, you opponent will use it against you

2. Scout your opponents- this will help in observing the areas that your opponent is weak in. This will provide an advantage in producing a serving plan against your opponent

3. Practice- only with practice can you get better. Practicing serving can be done whilst playing or on your own.

This blog should convince you that the serve is the most important shot in table tennis. A good serve will provide you with a variety of different advantages. By following the advice above, your serve should improve. So now you don’t have to rely on rallying to get your points.


Mr. Zakir Nawab is a graduate working for SportsDirect.com. As a fan of table tennis, Zakir started playing table tennis in local club and learnt table tennis by just playing. As he learnt more, his love for table tennis naturally grew. Now Zakir is combining his university degree and his passion for table tennis to his work place; now Zakir doesn’t feel like going home from work!

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