How to Serve in Table Tennis for Beginners (Easy and Effective)

How to Serve in Table Tennis for Beginners (Easy and Effective)

7 minutes read
Sep 14th, 2023
Edited by:  Kim

Welcome to the exciting world of table tennis (or ping pong)! If you’re new to this sport and wondering how to execute a basic serve, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the fundamental steps and tips for how to serve in table tennis. Whether you’re looking to grasp the basics or refine your skills, let’s dive into the essentials of serving.


  • Remembering the Basic Rule of Serving
  • How to Serve in Table Tennis for Beginners
  • How to Serve Fast in Ping Pong (Tips for Beginners)
  • Conclusion

Remembering the Basic Rule of Serving

The first rule of serving is to ensure that the ball bounces on both your side of the table and your opponent’s side. Unlike other shots, where the ball should stay solely on your opponent’s side, serving requires a bounce on your own side first.

Keep this in mind every time you practice your serve.

How to Serve in Table Tennis for Beginners

Serving is your opportunity to initiate each rally, and executing it correctly can set the tone for the entire point. There are many ways to serve, which can be very confusing to beginners. But no worries, we’ll keep everything super simple and effective in this blog. Let’s break down the process step by step.

Step 1. Practice hitting the ball correctly

If you’re finding the basic serve a bit challenging at first, here’s a helpful tip. Begin by placing your paddle in your playing hand and the ball in the other hand. Keep them very close together. You can stand up or lower your stance a bit behind and close to the table. You can keep the paddle and ball at your chest level or wherever you feel comfortable according to your stance.

With this setup, focus solely on the hitting action. As you hit the ball, it should bounce on your side and then your partner’s side. This simplified approach can help you get a feel for the serve’s fundamental motion – hit, bounce, bounce.

Step 2. Stand behind the table end-line

After you feel familiar and comfortable with the hit-bounce-bounce motion. Time to get in the position. Ensure that the ball is placed behind the end line of the table when you toss it up and hit it. Serving from beyond the end line is against the rules.

You can stand wherever and in the position you feel okay. Normally, if you serve with forehand, your body can face the direction of your playing hand. For example, if you play with your right hand, your body can face toward your right side (not completely facing your opponent). The leg that is on the same side of your playing hand can be placed behind your body a bit. This setup allows you to serve with better force and speed. It also helps you get back to the ready-to-respond position quickly after the serve.

Step 3. Hold the ball in your palm

Correct ball placement in your hand is crucial. According to the rule, remember to always set the ball on the flat palm of your hand, avoiding positioning it on your fingers or thumb. While a slightly cupped hand is acceptable, it should be generally flat. This ensures a legal and controlled serve.

Step 4. Toss and Hit

Focus on the height of your ball toss. It must be above and behind the table. Throw the ball up to at least the height of the net from your hand. This ensures your serve clears the net and lands on your opponent’s side. Practice tossing the ball to the correct height while maintaining control over the serve’s trajectory.

Hit the ball at the correct time on the way it falls down, like you practice in step 1 above. Make sure it bounces on your side first before going over the net and landing on your opponent’s side.

Common mistake: Beginners usually lift the paddle along when they toss the ball. This makes it harder to hit the ball and also makes the ball travel more slowly and bounce higher. Remember to keep your paddle still, toss the ball, wait until the right time, and make the hit.

How to Serve Fast in Ping Pong (Tips for Beginners)

To make the ball go faster, here is a tip for you. After tossing the ball, wait for it to come close to the table on the way down before hitting. You should hit the ball forward, specifically on its back.

Keep your paddle steady as you toss the ball up, then move it forward to meet the descending ball. This technique creates a low, fast serve that can catch your opponent off guard.

If you, instead, hit the ball on the head, at a higher location from the table, it would take more time to travel and bounce higher when it touches the table.


There you have it! These are the steps for how to serve in table tennis for beginners. Don’t complicate things up. Keep practicing these simple steps and techniques. Be consistent and you’ll be able to serve effectively in no time.

Thoughts on “How to Serve in Table Tennis for Beginners (Easy and Effective)

Articles and Insights


Regulation Ping Pong Table Dimensions (That You Should Know)

Explore the essential guide to regulation ping pong table dimensions, including size, height, and net specifications for optimal play.

Dec 25th, 2023


Table Tennis vs. Tennis: A Comprehensive Comparison

While their roots intertwine, the gameplay, techniques, and culture of table tennis and tennis diverge significantly.

Dec 21st, 2023


Table Tennis vs Badminton: The Differences? Which Is for You?

We'll explore the main differences between table tennis vs badminton and help you decide which one might be the right fit for you.

Dec 18th, 2023