Have you ever wondered why table tennis players stomp with their legs while they’re serving?
Table tennis players choose to stomp because it gives us a crucial advantage. In fact, stomping while serving enables an array of tactical variations.
We are going to explain why the vast majority of table tennis players stomp when serving and why you should do it too.
The main reason why table tennis players stomp when serving
The main reason table tennis players stomp when serving is that, by doing so, they disguise the sound of the ball when it contacts their racket.
You see, if you graze the ball, your racket will make almost no noise, but if you hit the ball instead of grazing it, your racket will make a very characteristic “knock” sound.
If you want to load your serves with tons of spin, you’ll have to graze the ball, that is, your serves will make no noise.
On the contrary, if you wanted to serve with little spin, your contact will make a lot of noise.
If players didn’t stomp, then it’d be obvious when their serves had tons of spin or very little spin.
If you stomp at the same time you contact the ball, your opponent will have no way of knowing if your serve has a lot of spin or not because you will be hiding the sound of the ball contacting your racket.
In table tennis, the vast majority of players will try to disguise their serves.
All table tennis serves are a combination of sidespin with some degree of topspin or backspin.
Most table tennis players will know how to return sidespin serves and also backspin and topspin serves.
The hard part of returning a table tennis serve isn’t counteracting the spin on the ball. The difficult part is reading the spin properly.
This is why it’s so important to disguise your serves properly, and stomping plays a huge part in deceiving your opponent.
The most common and effective way to trick your opponents is by doing the same serving motion but changing the way you contact the ball.
This will create two different serves that look the same but carry different spin. This tactic is effective at every level, from beginners to professionals.
A very effective serving variation is to perform a heavy backspin serve and a no-spin serve with the same motion.
What will happen is your opponent is going to dump the heavy backspin serve into the net and pop up the no-spin serve.
This strategy would not be possible without stomping, since your opponent would be able to easily tell apart the no-spin serve from the heavy backspin one given the sound of contact.
In this video, you’ll be able to hear the difference between the contact on a heavy backspin serve and on a no-spin serve, and how that difference is eliminated when stomping.
3 Secondary reasons why table tennis players stomp when serving
Apart from concealing the spin on the ball, there are three secondary reasons why table tennis may want to stomp when serving.
Stomping distracts the opponent
Another reason why players may stomp when serving is that the action could distract their opponent.
In fact, I have spoken to many players who say they stomp to achieve this effect.
I think this is partly true and that it’s a good enough reason to stomp, even though the main reason to do it is to conceal the spin of the ball.
If I were to receive and the opponent didn’t stomp, it would be easier for me to concentrate because there wouldn’t be as much noise.
I can recall many times when my opponent stomped excessively loudly and it took me a few points to adapt to the volume of their stomp.
Players who stomp excessively loud are usually stomping to distract their opponent, since you don’t really need to stomp hard to hide the spin on the ball.
Helps with timing
If I was told that I had to stop stomping while serving, I would have to adapt, since stomping greatly helps my timing.
Stomping while serving helps my and many other players’ timing as it helps us time the moment of contact more accurately.
It also makes serves more structured since there’s always a constant in every serve: stomping at the moment of impact.
Lots of players will also lift their foot and stomp to add momentum to their serving motion.
It looks cool!
Upon asking my clubmates why they stomp, some of them couldn’t give me a viable explanation as to why they do it.
The majority said that they do it to hide the spin on their serves. Some said they think it helps with their timing, but others said they do it just because.
They saw other players doing it so they started stomping themselves.
Most table tennis players started stomping because they saw other players do it so they started doing it themselves, without knowing why.
After they progress in the sport, most players learn why it is so crucial to stomp when serving, but others never asked themselves that question, so they stomp without knowing why they do it.
Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 100 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!
Blade: Butterfly Fan Zhendong ALC | Forehand: Butterfly Dignics 09c | Backhand: Butterfly Rozena
Playstyle: The Controller