ArticlesBlog

Reverse Pendulum Backspin Serve Table Tennis – Like a Boss!

Reverse Pendulum Backspin Serve Table Tennis – Like a Boss!


Hi, I’m Brett Clarke and welcome to part
1 of this reverse serve video series for Joining me in the series is member Laj from
Philadelphia. Laj has a USATT rating of around 1900, which means he is better than the average
tournament player. Following my snake serve video, Laj sent me
footage of his backspin reverse serve and his snake serve. What I found is his backspin
reverse serve is quite good, but it can be so much better.
During this video series, I will attempt to show how Laj and you how to get more backspin
on your reverse serve. The reason people generally struggle with
the reverse is the swing is very unnatural and quite awkward.
In this tutorial, I’m going to use this here frisbee or flying disk as an aid to help
show you how to get more spin on your backspin reverse serve.
Then I will show you how to use floor serves to get the right balance of backspin and sidespin.
Okay, it’s time to take a look at Laj’s serve.
Here is my serve, matched up against Laj’s serve.
This first thing that Laj can improve on is his stance. When serving the reverse you need
to be side on to the table with your left foot well in front or your right. You also
need to bend your knees quite a lot. The major difference between the 2 serves
can be seen right here. Note our finishing positions. Laj’s arm is almost straight,
suggesting that a lot of his energy has gone out this way. My arm remains bent and this
usually indicates the energy from my wrist and forearm has been directed to my opponent’s
side. Generally speaking, it is very difficult to
get backspin by straightening your arm, unless you illegally throw the ball onto your bat,
as some top players do. This is a view from behind highlighting our
finishing positions once again. Here is an overlay from front on.
Alright, here’s where the frisbee aid comes into play. You need to start by standing in
your normal reverse serve position and throw the Frisbee across yourself, as I will demonstrate
in this video. The action will help you to actually feel the correct arm position for
serving the backspin reverse. Most players really struggle to get their
elbow out far enough and to leave it in the correct position for the entire serve. The
frisbee training technique can really help you to get the correct feeling.
Once you release the frisbee, hold your position and make sure you finish with your elbow bent
and away from your body. Stop the swing immediately after releasing the frisbee to keep the motion
as much like the reverse serve as possible. After mastering the reverse frisbee throw,
you are ready to move on to the reverse floor serve. Your aim should be to hit the ball
down and out for about 4 meters and make the ball bend at right angles off the floor. If
you can do it, you’re getting a good balance on backspin and sidespin on your serve. If
you can’t you need keep practicing with the frisbee and the floor serve, before moving
on to the table. Make sure you are hitting the ball down and not up in the air as the
last thing you want to do when you move onto the table, is lob your serve.
Lobbing serves in practice to prove spin is a bit of a trend in table tennis and I think
it is a little questionable. A few top player have been seen serving slow serves to show
off spin, and it has caught on, giving lower ranked players and beginners the wrong idea
about service training. The best serves are short, low, fast and spinny,
although you can’t necessarily see the spin by the reaction off the table.
The ultimate flight path of the ball occurs when the maximum height of the ball is just
over 6 inches and it feels like the ball barely bounces on the opponent’s side. If the maximum
height of the serve is just over 6 inches, the ball will only bounce 4.2 inches on your
opponent’s side, which is much lower than the net. The second bounce on your opponent’s
side will be only 2.9 inches, which is pretty low.
Finally, I want to talk about the importance of the using your wrist when doing your reverse
serves. Make sure the wrist is moving this way and not out this way. This is your contact
point. So to member Laj, I would like to see you
make a video doing some reverse frisbee throws and some floor serves.
Part 2 of this series will be analyzing Laj’s progress and making further recommendations
about how he can improve his serve If you enjoyed this video, you can go to for
more tutorials by world class player William Henzell and me.

Comments (20)

  1. That's brilliant. I'll try it tonight at practice.

  2. Pretty good video. I've always found the reverse pendulum with backspin a little harder to do as it tends to be more corkscrew vs actual backspin due to the wrist action to the side of the table. I'll try to focus on keeping my elbow out and coming more forward & under the ball. Nice tips.

  3. I was amazed at the spin of your serve considering how little your wrist seemed to move.

  4. Should we snap our wrist to produce more spin? Your service has a lot of spin, even if it has little wrist snap.

  5. thanks for the nice video! You should try to speak more natural in front of the camera, every – sentence – has -the – same rythm.
    But this will improve like tabletennis skills 😊

  6. brett  !!! duuuude  you are so great at doing this …  your information, and your delivery is so good.. i enjoy every one of your videos… also to mention your serves are just fantastic..  if i can just server 50 percent like you,  i can get to a higher level… currently 2130  but if your serving for me.. i bet you the sky is the limit  haha !   keep up the great work

  7. Ben moi je fais le même service en lançant la balle à 4 m de haut avec un effet retro qui fait revenir la balle par dessus le filet

  8. wait is Laj = NextLevel ?

  9. Thanks A Lot!!! THis Helped Me Beat My Friends Easily!!!

  10. Amazing video that allowed me to to learn this serve. Thank you so much Brett

  11. Thank you Brett. I find your lessons very helpful. I'm just a beginner. After watching every lesson, i apply it on the table. My playing is improving everyday. Thank you very much

  12. really U are amazing ……. THANKS from my deep heart

  13. Great instructions, weird coach.

  14. Thank you for the tips! Works like a charm. Same for the pendulum serve

  15. I really cannot get this serve done In any way. It's really hard for me to time the ball, but I don't find the motion unnatural at all. I would even argue that my reverse frisbee throws are better than yours ;d, but I can't put anything together. Shadow serve is perfect, but when I add the ball… you know. Is there any simple excercise to improve the timing? Thanks 🙂

  16. You are Amazing Good !!! Thank you so much !!!

  17. Should the first bounce on the floor practice be at 4 metres? Your video looks like the second bounce is at 4 metres and the first bounce is less than 2 metres. Have I misunderstood this? [Just a beginner]

  18. Can we talk in private please

Comment here