Backspin Pendulum Serve

Table Tennis Serving

Last updated 9 years ago

Michael McKendry

Michael McKendry Asked 9 years ago

Hi Pingskills,

I have been using the pendulum serve as my main serve in matches for some months. I get a good effect from my heavy sidespinner, and also get a good amount of spin on my topsin pendulum. However I am finding I cannot get much spin on the Backspinner, I watched the videos for the Pendulum backspin serve, and found I was hitting the ball too late, I changed this, and got a little more spin. But it is still more like a flat serve rather than a backspinner.

I also find that I cannot get the ball short with the backspinner, I tends to hit hard on my side, then land quite deep in my opponents court.

Thankyou for your time,


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb Answered 9 years ago

Hi Michael,

It sounds like you are developing your serve well. It is a fine skill that takes time. The key to getting spin is to get a fast contact and a brushing contact. See if you can practice away from the table and hit the ball with backspin so it comes back to you. Once you can do this you know you can generate plenty of backspin. Then you can come back to the table and work some more on your serve. To start with don't worry about getting it short but try to get lots of backspin. With this serve you can almost come right underneath the ball and hit the bottom of the ball.

To work on getting the ball shorter, you need to try and brush the ball finer. You still need to swing the bat fairly fast so you can get the backspin but if you brush it really fine, it won't have much forward momentum. Try to get the first bounce fairly close to you.

You can also watch our video response to the question How to Execute the Ma Lin Serve.

Try out these tips and let me know if they help you out.

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Thoughts on this question

Arnon Thaicharoen

Arnon Thaicharoen Posted 9 years ago

In order to do short serve, hit the ball at the height of the net, ie, you should let the ball fall to just about the height of the net from the table, then hit it with your bat. Also aim to land the ball at about the middle of your side of table. Remember that you don't need to put too much force to get fast contact. Try to lessen the force used in your forearm. For starter, don't use wrist snap until you can serve short. Once you can serve short, you can increase the amount of spin using wrist snap.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

The other approach that I use a lot is to get the players to use a lot of wrist snap first and not worry if the ball goes short.  As you get a better contact on the ball the ball will go shorter.

Michael McKendry

Michael McKendry Posted 9 years ago

Thanks for the quick replies Jeff and Alois.

I have tried laying the bat almost flat before(Away from the table), and I tend to get alot more spin. But when I am actually serving, I usually ends up short but bounces up high, and most better players in the club will flick it.

I was also wondering how to do the deep and fast sidespinning pendulem. Should you have a tense hand or a loose hand?

Thanks again,


Michael McKendry

Michael McKendry Posted 9 years ago

Hi again PingSkillers,

I watched the Ma Lin serve video very closely today, and then went out and tried it.

I laid the bat right back, and practiced it for a bit, and eventually was able to get the ball to spin back and stop about a foot from the net, as well as getting the ball low and short. Thanks for helping me to finally be able to do the backspin pendulum.

Thanks again,



"To live long, play ping pong"

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

Good to hear Michael.  Keep working on it add see if you can master to a stage you can serve it anytime you want, even at an important stage in a match.

mat huang

mat huang Posted 9 years ago

True, but as Arnon said using your wrist and controlling takes heaps of practise. I'll try doing bacjkspin away from the table and then only use forearm on table and then use your wrist gain

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