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    Question Forehand/Backhand Short Serve

    What is the main difference between forehand and backhand short serve?

    In singles, we see top male players usually serve short backhand. While female players tend to serve short forehand. Is there any reason why they do that?

    Say a right-handed player serving on the right side of the court: If he/she uses backhand serve, he will be facing his opponent in the attacking stance. However, if he was to serve on the left side, he(his feet) would be facing away from his opponent.

    If this is true, is it more logical, for right-handed players, to serve backhand on the right, and forehand on the left?

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    My thought: A short backhand serve is used by most players because of economy of movement, and it flows into the perfect stance to counter a return. You serve backhand, your racquet head can continue to flow upward and is already in the position to use the forehand counter to the opponent's return. Furthermore, when serving backhanded, you are usually leading with your racquet foot, and this is again the correct position to counter the return.

    This is just from my observation. I am sure there are others on the forum who will be able to offer a better explaination.

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    I don't think it's anything to do with the feet. After you hit the serve, you have at least half a second before the shuttle comes back: that's enough time to adjust your feet however you want.

    With the backhand serve, you hold the shuttle in front of you before you hit it, while with the forehand serve you hold the shuttle to your side. This means the backhand serve happens from closer to the net, giving you better control for your short serve.

    In singles, I believe female players tend to use the forehand serve because they use high serves more often, and it's hard to do a real high serve (not a flick serve!) with the backhand. At club level, many male players also use high serves, so we often see the men serving forehand for singles but backhand for doubles.

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    I recently watched the world championship games, and was surprised that both Wang Lin and Wang Xin serve short forehand.
    I agree that serving short backhand may be more accurate than forehand but it is kind of ironic that these top female players would serve forehand, since they usually look for accuracy than power.

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    The only comment I will make, is that singles is the form of the game where the serve is LEAST important. I take your point that in singles it is interesting to see that men serve backhand and women serve forehand. I wonder if in womens singles the opposing lady may not necessarily stand as far forwards as a man (due to height difference). Thus a mans serve may be returned SOONER thana ladys and seeing as a backhand serve has the feet well placed to cover the court, this may be preferable. With a forehand serve, the racket foot must be further back, making assuming the correct position slightly longer. What I am saying is a womans serve may not be returned so quickly.

    In general: Yes, its not a good idea to hit a stinker of a bad serve, thats not helpful. However, there is relatively little pressure and a relatively large margin for error on serves in singles. Mixed doubles has more pressure, and level doubles the most pressure on serve.With so little pressure on serve, is it down to preference.

    A final consideration. When men are TAUGHT to play, in general a forehand high serve is discouraged, because at a higher level of play, ones opponents can hit winners off this high serve. This is not normally the case in womens singles off the high serve. Therefore, maybe men are taught the backhand serve, whilst women are taught the high serve and low serve on the forehand.

    Just my opinion. Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexh View Post
    I don't think it's anything to do with the feet. After you hit the serve, you have at least half a second before the shuttle comes back: that's enough time to adjust your feet however you want.
    I'm not so sure about that. Certainly you have enough time to adjust your feet, but the backhand serve position requires less adjustment and may leave the player more balanced.


    In singles, I believe female players tend to use the forehand serve because they use high serves more often, and it's hard to do a real high serve (not a flick serve!) with the backhand.
    I'd go further and say it's (probably!) impossible to hit a good high serve with a backhand action. Certainly I've never seen anyone do it -- although many have declared they can, only to show me a flick serve.

    It's also worth noting that a good flick serve in singles is quite difficult on the backhand. As the receiver is standing farther back, you really need to make the flick reach the back of the singles court. As a rule, it should also be directed wide to the corner, to increase movement pressure. Finally, the server is standing farther back. All of these considerations increase the distance that the serve must travel, and therefore increase the requirement for power.

    At a high level of play, you must have a flick serve available, if only as a deterrent. Otherwise, your opponent will murder your low serves.

    It's possible that the women don't have enough power on the backhand for a good singles flick serve. I don't actually know; it's just a theory. The top men can definitely do it, however.
    Last edited by Gollum; 10-24-2010 at 09:12 AM.

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