The table tennis serve involves complex spatial movements combined with biomechanial characteristics. Although the differences in lower-limb biomechanial characteristics to a great extent influence the translational and spinning velocity of the ball when using the different styles of table tennis serve, few researchers have studied their mechanics. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the differences in lower-limb activity between the squat and standing serves during a table tennis short serve.
Ten advanced female table tennis participants performed a squat serve and standing serve in random order. A Vicon motion analysis system and a Novel Pedar insole plantar pressure measurement system were used to record kinematics and kinetics data, respectively.
Key findings from the study were that the squat serve not only showed significantly larger hip and knee flexion, as well as ankle dorsiflexion, it also showed significantly larger hip adduction and external knee rotation, with larger changing angular rate of the lower limb joints in the sagittal and the transverse planes when the two serving styles were compared. In addition, the force-time integral (FTI) was higher in the rear foot area for the standing serve.
The results demonstrated that the squat serve needs higher lower limb drive during a table tennis short serve compared with a standing serve. These biomechanical considerations may be beneficial for table tennis athletes and coaches as a method of optimizing performance characteristics during both competition and training.