Ask the Pro – Keeping Serves Low

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Question: I’m having trouble keeping my serves low. Any tips?

Coach Larry Hodges: Very likely you are either contacting the ball too high, or serving downward into the table, forcing a higher bounce. For a very low serve, contact the ball as low as possible, no more than a few inches above net height at most. Nearly all of your serving energy should go into spin, with a little bit going into forward motion so the ball reaches the net. None of your energy should go into downward motion to make the ball bounce high enough to clear the net. Right after contact on the serve, if the ball reaches a height of just a few inches above the net, it’ll bounce over the net naturally very low.

Many players think they are contacting the ball very low, but are actually contacting it a foot or more above table level. Have someone watch you serve from the side, and put their hand where you contact the ball so you can see if you are contacting the ball too high. It’s also best to serve very close to the endline, both so you are closer to your target (just above the net, if you are trying to serve very low), to make it easier to serve short, and so your opponent has less time to react to your serve.


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