The Long Serve and Plastic

Rowden September 2019

Even with less spin, the long serve can be very effective with the plastic ball, provided you observe certain parameters.

However it is vital that the following 2 aspects be strictly observed:
• Length is crucial and serves must be baseline to baseline, bouncing in the last 10 centimetres on the opponent’s side of the table
• The serve should be executed with as much speed as possible, regardless of whether it is topspin, sidespin, backspin or float

Usually long serves will be directed to the corners or the crossover, regardless of whether they are executed on the diagonal or down the line. Most higher level players are able to produce a variety of serves with the same or very similar action, topspin, backspin and float for example with both BH and FH and these can be very deceptive if executed with real speed and directed to the last few centimetres of the opponent’s half. Most players will also appreciate that if you can work at serving with speed sometimes down the line and sometimes on the diagonal, it can be difficult for opponents to read your action and to respond with power.

One other point to particularly bear in mind is that sidespin is the most beneficial spin with the plastic ball. If you combine your topspin or backspin serves with sidespin at speed, the ball will stay lower on the opponent’s side of the table and may well give you an advantage.