How To Serve In Ping Pong Like An Expert?

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Ping Pong, Table Tennis, call it whatever, the game runs on the art of speed and technique. From the arch of the back, to the angle of holding the paddle, everything is equally important when it comes to playing Ping Pong professionally. We often tend to generalize Ping Pong with other racket games and believe that whatever way we choose to play would be fine for us. In some ways, maybe it is okay to have your own style of playing (many famous Ping Pong players have their own styles), but again, not anything and everything is alright when it’s about serious Ping Pong match.

One needs to be well trained and practiced in every single art that it requires expertise in. One such skill is the ‘way to serve’. 

Did You Know? 

Although the Ping Pong ball seems to be empty inside, it’s technically not hollow. It is pressurized with a gas to a certain extent.

Why Is The Knowledge of Serve Important? 

Many beginners assume that it doesn’t matter how much they practice the serve, if they know the game, they can play it too. Definitely! One can definitely play Ping Pong without a proper practice of serve, but they cannot play it right. If it’s just a recreational activity for you, then it’s fine to be lethargic on the practice, but if it’s a game you wish to excel in, you need to be perfect even in the art of ‘serve’. 

The time of serve is what decides mostly the whole game for you. This is where you have full control over your actions (spin, speed, and placement) and on what pace you want to set your game on. If it’s a great serve, you force the opponent to try harder into counter-striking your hit, and that’s where they make mistakes which, in turn would prove beneficial for you in the long run.

Doesn’t matter on what level you are, these expert techniques of service would fit right into your practice making your Ping Pong game flawlessly smooth. 

Rules Of Ping Pong Serve

Before trying to dive right into the game, it’s always better to be acquainted with the rules and regulations that it comes with. As little as it may seem, the way you serve always affects your game greatly. You need to do it right to play right! 

Ball In Flat Palm: 

You need to place the ball in a straight palm, not holding it, neither touching it with the fingers. This process is done in order to restrict the players from spinning the ball before hitting it. 

Throwing And Striking The Ball behind The White Line: 

Before hitting the ball you need to throw it high in the air with your flat palm, and this throw needs to be behind the white line in the Ping Pong table. This prevents the players from stooping too close to the net. 

Tossing The Ball: 

You need to throw the ball at least 6 inches high (16 cm) and that needs to be behind the white line (as mentioned above). You cannot just hit the ball from your fist like in any other racket game. In 1980s and 1990s, the players used to hide the ball away with their fists which restricted the opponent from getting any idea of the ball. However, this technique changed as the formulated rules decided to let the ball be thrown up, in the eye proximity of the opponent so that he/she can apprehend the shot well. 


If it’s a singles game, you can choose the side of the table you wish to serve from, and that too, to any part of the opponent’s table. When it’s a doubles game, you have to be confined to your own side. 

Did You Know? 

Chinese have been ruling the game since 1981. There have been 131 world champion competitions after that year, and the Chinese players have won straight 109 of them.

Serves In Ping Pong: 

Now that you know the basics of a Ping Pong serve, you can very well get trained into the ways you can incorporate the serves into your game. Obviously, there’s no perfect serve taking you straight into being the champion of Ping Pong, but there’s are a few primary serves knowing which, you can be called an expert in Ping Pong. 

  • Forehand Serve: 

It’s one of the first serves a beginner is made acquainted with. Here you just need to hold your arm in a way that the underside is facing the other player. After that, you simply have to hit the ball with the back of the paddle. This is something you’d probably be using the most in your game. Although the Forehand Serve is considered to be one of the easiest, getting perfected in this can only help you move ahead in Ping Pong. 

The easiest tricks are the most essential ones! 

  • Backhand Serve: 

This serve involves using almost the same motion as in the Forehand Serve. There is typically only one major difference which says that the back of the hand needs to be facing the other player. Again, you will be hitting the ball in the same manner as in the Forehand Serve. These technicalities are everything to the game of Ping Pong.

  • Ghost Serve: 

The Ghost Serve is yet another backspin serve that allows the ball to bounce and then go backwards. This serve is pretty deceptive (as you can very well understand from its name), and is very difficult for your opponent to apprehend and get prepared for. When you are using this serve, you can be sure of hitting the mark and your opponent, missing the hit; but of course, if your opponent is a master of Ping Pong, you’ll have to train a bit harder to overtake him. 

For this spin, you need to move the paddle horizontally and beneath the ball, that goes from right or left.

  • Pendulum Serve: 

As interesting as the name seems, a Pendulum Serve is that when you smoothly move the paddle from right to left and left to right (side to side). This will allow you to perform two different types of spins- clockwise and counter-clockwise. You can also be benefitted with two other types of spins- topspin, underspin, or no spin at all. 

You get an abundance of options while using this type of serve. It does, although depending on where the ball and your paddle come into contact, and how hard you can hit the ball.

Did You Know? 

The ITTF added a brand new rule in the year 2000 which talked about increasing the size of the Ping Pong ball so that audience could see it clearly on TV screens.

When To Change The Serve? 

The key to winning any Ping Pong game lies in the fact that how well you are trained with the serves, and how smoothly you can change it looking at the pace of the game and your opponent. Try to change your serve frequently, so that your opponent is never able to apprehend your move and thus, fails hitting the ball. 

Do not keep using the same serve for too long just because your opponent is getting offbeat on that. Humans are made to adapt. The opponent will also soon be able to counter-strike this move of yours and then this strongest strike of yours would prove deadliest for your match. The secret recipe is to save this ‘perfect serve’ of yours for that perfect moment where it is most needed and then strike it right to win the game! 


Your practice and perfection in the way you serve writes your victory story. We often ignore these things and end up paying high costs for it. It’s always better to go step after step. Being slow is not a matter of shame. The more time you spend perfecting your skills, the better you perform in the game. The art of ‘serve’ is what turns the game of Ping Pong to your favour. Work it well!


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