Table Tennis Serving - the Double Bounce Serve

01
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What Is a Double Bounce Serve?

Diagram of Double Bounce Serve
Double Bounce Serve. (c) 2005 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The concept of frequently using a double bounce serve (where the ball would bounce twice on the opponent's side if left alone) is one of the most important in serving. Watch videos of the pros and notice just how often they are trying to do this on their own serves. Bear in mind that the second bounce should be somewhere close to within six inches of the end line - shorter serves or more bounces are not better!

Reasons for the popularity of this serve include:

  • It's difficult to attack with a powerful return. Because the ball is not going over the end of the table, it is hard for the opponent to use his natural loop stroke to attack. At best he may be able to use a modified stroke that barely brushes the ball in order to topspin, but this will have a lot less power than a normal loop. More often, he will be forced to push or flick the return from over the table, which brings us to the next point.
  • Because most of your opponent's returns are made from over the table, the double bounce serve makes him perform it from as far away from the net as possible.
The following pages will show the effects of performing a good double bounce serve.
02
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Why Double Bounce Your Serve - Increased Recovery Time

Diagram of Double Bounce Serve - Increased Recovery Time
Increased Recovery Time. (c) 2005 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Effect 1:

Increasing the time you have to recover from your serve and react to your opponent's return.

03
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Why Double Bounce Your Serve - Harder to Return Short

Diagram of Double Bounce Serve - Harder to Return Short
Harder to Return Short. (c) 2005 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Effect 2:

Maximizing the distance your opponent has to play the ball to get it over the net, making it more difficult for him to drop the ball short (i.e. double bounce the return). This increases your chances of getting a return that goes over your endline, making it easier for you to use your normal attack stroke.

04
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Why Double Bounce Your Serve - Cut Down Opponent's Angles

Diagram of Double Bounce Serve - Cut Down Opponent's Angles
Cut Down Opponent's Angles. (c) 2005 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Effect 3:

Because it is deep, a double bounce serve cuts down the amount of angle your opponent can use, effectively making your next attack easier.

05
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Why Double Bounce Your Serve - Magnify Opponent's Mistakes

Diagram of Double Bounce Serve - Magnify Opponent's Mistakes
Magnify Opponent's Mistakes. (c) 2005 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Effect 4:

Any mistake made by your opponent in reading the spin is magnified by the extra distance the ball has to travel. A mistake that would be insignificant when made from a distance of six inches (15cm) from the net can be a return that goes into the net or high into the air when made from over a yard away (remember, each half of the table tennis table is four and a half feet long (1.37m)).

Return to Table Tennis - Advanced Guide to Serving