Serve plays an important role in table tennis. Recently, International Table Tennis Federation, ITTF, has published online a serve teaching video coached by Chinese national team coach Li, Xiaodong. As a table tennis enthusiastic amateur, I made a summary of LI’s serve tips as follows. Hopefully, all enjoys my translations.
(影片來源：Official ITTF channel, 若侵權請告知移除。)
Now I’m going to talk about tips of the first three stroke.
The first element of the first three stroke is serve and serve skills. Pay attention to that serve is the only skill not influenced or interrupted by others.
Serve occupies half time of a game. Thus we should work on how to serve well. Do not underestimate the importance of serve. It is a myth that you can ignore how to serve well and focus entirely on how to play well after you serve. The truth is that if you serve badly and you can not play well afterwards.
There are three purposes of serve. First, try your best to make an ace. Make your opponent fail to receive the ball and win the point right away. Second, create your attacking opportunity. Make your opponent receive the ball weakly and you can attack easily. Third, lead the game to a rally. Do not give your opponent any chance to make a return ace, and seek for any attacking opportunity in the rally after the serve. The third one is the lowest standard for a qualified serve.
On the other hand, a weak serve brings some troubles. If you serve weakly, your opponent can attack your serve directly, change speed, spin, location of his return, etc. Therefore, you have no chance to attack after serve. That is, you lose your advantage of the serve.
With the prosperous development of backhand flick, twist and side-twist skills, it is very important to make a serve conquering the threat of your opponent’s backhand flick, twist and side-twist skills. Personally, I find that high toss serves, serves with disguised backspin and soft serves are more effective than low toss serves, side-spin serves and hard serves.