How to generate more spin on your forehand serves

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davidpui
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Joined: 08/28/2011

Hi Larry,

I have been trying to practise serving and some how always find it difficult to generate enough spin on my serves. Be it an underspin, a side spin, top-spin etc.

 

I can do a TOP-SPIN serve very well by tossing the ball up and rolling the ball forward fast and long. I use this a lot as I can block very well and can use my forehand if they block to my forehand.. But it doesn't always work.

 

But I have been trying to do a simple and basic forehand pendulum serves and I know that you need to brush the ball finely. However I still can't do it.

I'm not sure if it's because of my grip or positioning or the way I contact the ball.

I have been watching a lot of videos both at the top level as well as serving videos... More say to use wrist and forehand and also ELBOW.. 

On the video it looks so simple... when I try and do it... it's doesn't feel right.. and it doesn't seems that I'm doing it correctly and the spin is weak....

Any idea or tips... ?

One thing - from all my reading and watching.. - says that for more spin - need a loose grip..... and for fast serves more firm grip. I think that's correct... However, I want heavy spin... - I see some players use lots of force.. and their body... to generate spin... whilst some players at elite level... says they only do soft touch to generate heavy spin...

I'm confused... and don't seems to be able to get this right...

Please advise.. what's the best technique... from your experience...

Also watch some videos... to do heavy underspin - it's not only brushing the ball horizontally but you want to brush horizontally and if possible brush slightly upwards.... but how do u do that..  - so that the ball can bounce backwards...

Please advise..

Cheers

David

 

 

 

 

Larry Hodges
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: How to generate more spin on your forehand serves

 

So this is not a feasible serve for a game ? I don't think I can do this serve with tight and low serve and spinning backwards. Can you ?

If I serve high, I can make the ball bounce directly back over the net. However, a good player would go to the side of the table and smash it in. I can also serve so the ball will, after a couple of bounces, change directions and bounce back into the net. However, it is more effective to drive the ball forward a little faster than to artificially serve it so that it will come back into the net. 

I see a lot of elite players especially the Chinese players eg. Wang Li Qin and Zhang Jike when they serve their pendulum serves, their forearm swing from outwards to inwards - swing towards their body...I think this is because they want to get to the side or behind the ball and skim it more.... and whip it upon contact when close to the stomach....Is this right ?

That's the basic motion of a forehand pendulum serve, with the racket moving toward the body. The racket can then contact the ball with pure sidespin, side-backspin, or side-topspin, depending on what point in the swing contact is made. Top players can vary the way they contact at the last second to vary this. 

I'm going to be coaching all day and into the night, so will look at your other postings when I get a chance. (I've also got about ten other projects to work on, alas.)  

EDIT - I went ahead and responded to the other postings. But it'll be a while before I get back (since I'm off to coach at the club shortly), and when I do, I need to focus on writing two Tips of the Week (for Monday and the following Monday, since I'll be out of town at the U.S. Open for a week), watch videos of U.S. Open opponents I might be coaching against, and work on my Tactics book. Plus we've got another week of camps at MDTTC starting Monday.

davidpui
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Joined: 08/28/2011
Re: How to generate more spin on your forehand serves

Thanks Larry.

That really helps. At least it confirms what I was reading and watching and listening is accurate and correct.

The other thing that is good to hear is the getting the heavy backspin to spin backwards is not the normal backspin. As I always thought that my backspin serves are not strong enough as I can never get the ball to spin backwards unless I toss the ball up really high - as you said try and brush the ball horizontal and upwards.

So this is not a feasible serve for a game ? I don't think I can do this serve with tight and low serve and spinning backwards. Can you ?

Also good to know the meaning of "soft touch" being grazing the ball rather than hitting the ball. I find it very difficult to whip the ball, that is snap the wrist and grazing the ball...... I think I know what you mean... as I have been trying this out at home without a table.. just freely doing with my racket and a ball.

What I find is that if I can my blade to smother over more of the rubber than I can get more spin.... But  very difficult to do this... unless you are doing a side top spin ......

I see a lot of elite players especially the Chinese players eg. Wang Li Qin and Zhang Jike when they serve their pendulum serves, their forearm swing from outwards to inwards - swing towards their body...

I think this is because they want to get to the side or behind the ball and skim it more.... and whip it upon contact when close to the stomach....

 

Is this right ?

 

I suppose it's all practise and getting the feeling of the ball..

 

Cheers

david

 

 

 

 

Larry Hodges
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: How to generate more spin on your forehand serves

 

But I have been trying to do a simple and basic forehand pendulum serves and I know that you need to brush the ball finely. However I still can't do it.

Without actually seeing you do it, I can't really judge what the problem is. Most likely, however, you just need to keep practicing to build up the ability to accelerate the racket into the ball and just graze it. 

I have been watching a lot of videos both at the top level as well as serving videos... More say to use wrist and forehand and also ELBOW.. 

The forearm rotates around the elbow as it snaps into the ball, with the wrist snapping at the end like the tip of a whip. 

On the video it looks so simple... when I try and do it... it's doesn't feel right.. and it doesn't seems that I'm doing it correctly and the spin is weak....Any idea or tips... ?

You might have to get a coach to work with you one-on-one. Is there one in your area? Here's the list of USATT coaches

One thing - from all my reading and watching.. - says that for more spin - need a loose grip..... and for fast serves more firm grip. I think that's correct...

That is correct on both counts. 

However, I want heavy spin... - I see some players use lots of force.. and their body... to generate spin... whilst some players at elite level... says they only do soft touch to generate heavy spin...

 

All spinny serves involve lots of wrist motion, but to get the wrist moving, you have to get the forearm moving. Some players use mostly forearm and wrist, others (on some serves) use various amounts of body rotation. "Soft touch" refers to their grazing the ball, not racket speed. 

Also watch some videos... to do heavy underspin - it's not only brushing the ball horizontally but you want to brush horizontally and if possible brush slightly upwards.... but how do u do that..  - so that the ball can bounce backwards...

Making the ball bounce backwards with backspin is really a trick serve that nobody normally uses as a serious serve, since to do so you have to serve the ball high. However, it's a good way to learn to create backspni. What they mean about brushing the ball upwards is that you tilt your racket all the way back so you can contact the front of the ball, and stroke upward. (So the bottom of your racket on your pendulum serve is higher than the top.) This creates a high but spinny backspin that can bounce backwards. For normal backspins you'd stroke more down or forward, contacting the back of the ball toward the bottom, or (if you graze it very finely) the very bottom of the ball. 

Hope this helps!