The First Step to a Great Pendulum Serve

8 years ago

Table Tennis Advice

Pendulum Serve Grip

Modifying your grip is the first thing you need to learn about the pendulum serve.

The Problem with the Shakehand Grip

To have a great pendulum serve, you need to be able to generate lots of spin. Not every serve you do needs to be spinny, but you must have the ability to mix up the amount of spin on your serves and that means you need to know how to get lots of spin. With the standard shakehand grip your wrist movement is limited and this limits the amount of spin you can get. The limited wrist movement also makes it harder to disguise the spin you are putting on the ball.

Modify Your Grip

Firstly take your 3 lower fingers away from the handle of the bat. Then make a fist with them behind the handle. This will mean you are gripping the bat with only your thumb and index finger. Lastly you can slide your index finger up and further onto the backhand side of the rubber. This allows you to use your wrist more freely.

Try This Experiment

Firstly grip your racket in the normal shakehand fashion and attempt to do a pendulum serve. You will see that your wrist has a limited range of movement. Then use the modified grip and you will see that you can move your wrist with a greater range of movement. The movement of the wrist is paramount as to how much speed you can get with your swing and therefore how much spin you can get on the ball.

Serving Secrets Revealed Course

We cover the pendulum serve in detail plus many more must learn serves in the serving and receiving tutorials section of the website.


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Tom McGuffey

Tom McGuffey Posted 8 years ago

I was working on pendulum serve earlier today and can't tell you how important the proper grip is. 


The next most mportant factor, so I thought, was a whippy, light touch to brush the ball. It seems like the slower and lighter the serve is the better. A tendency to HIT at it makes for an average serve at best.  Does that sound right guys? 




Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 8 years ago

Hi Tom,

It's important to be able to generate lots of spin on your serve and to do that you need a fast brushing contact. To get the bat moving fast you need to whip through your wrist. It's OK to use some forearm but generally keep your elbow quite still and use it like a fulcrum. The key then is to brush the ball so you don't "hit" it straight on. The more you brush the ball, the more the speed of the bat will be used to produce spin and not forward momentum. That's how you can generate lots of spin but still serve the ball short. It certainly does take a lot of practice to get this right and that's why the top players keep practicing their serves.

So I think the best serve is one that is as fast as it can be whilst still keeping the ball short so it would bounce twice on your opponent's side. Then mix up the spin and the placement and it will be very effective. Of course it's good to have a deep fast serve for surprise too.

Does that help answer your question?

kathy mckelvey

kathy mckelvey Posted 7 years ago

Thank's Alois and Jeff for sharing your skills!!

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