2.6.5 When the ball is struck, no part of the body or clothing of the server or his doubles partner shall be within or above the triangular area formed by the net and imaginary lines between the ball and the tops of the net posts, at a height where it could hide the ball from the receiver.
In short, the contact point must be visible to the receiver.
My game depends heavily on the service advantage, so I am eager to understand how to minimize the damage to my game under this new rule, which is designed to reduce the service advantage (which is also an effect of both the other rule changes of the last two years, the bigger ball, and 11 point games). Here are my initial thoughts.
To maximize the service advantage, I believe one will have to focus on hiding the paddle before and after the point of contact, and on service strokes with rapid changes in direction or orientation of the paddle around the point of contact, and on toss/stroke combinations which make the resulting spin difficult to see even when visible.
Sometimes twiddle the blade while it is behind your body so that the visible color does not tell the receiver the blade orientation.
If possible, swing the blade underneath the table after contact so that the follow-through is invisible. A topspin serve with an under-table follow-through should be very confusing.
Alternatively, do an opposite follow-through, indicating a different spin than the actual one.
There are at least a couple of ways to flip the blade to get this result. The wrist may be above the blade; the blade may be above the wrist.
Because vision distinguishes movements across the line of sight better than movements along the line of sight, it follows that small movements or differences in movement in the line between the ball and the receiver's eyes will be nearly invisible to the receiver. Therefore if you can translate differences in forward motion into differences in spin, then those spins should be indistinguishable to the receiver. It may be easier to hide spin quantity rather than spin direction, but making a dead ball look spinny is still plenty of deception.
Copyright © 2001 Tom Veatch All rights reserved.Last Modified: October 25, 2001. Comments welcome! Please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-206-366-0198.