Attacking a backspin serve

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 5 years ago

Devin Hirsch

Devin Hirsch Asked 5 years ago

Hi Alois,

At the club I go to, there is this player who does this really annoying serve. I am a penholder who doesn't really have an aggressive backhand, so of course he does a backspin serve straight into my backhand at a wide angle. 70% of the time it's short, and the other 30% of the time it's long. When he serves long, I don't have enough time to pivot and loop. My only option is to push it back, and give him a whole bunch of time to step around and fire a winner. And it doesn't seem to matter where I place my return.  

The reason I don't just stand on my backhand side is because if I do, then he might just serve a missile down the line. I know, it's pretty funny. When I play him, I feel like he has me in a strategic checkmate before he even serves. With the shakhand grip, it's an easy backhand topspin, but I play penhold, and I'm not Wang Hao with the RPB. What would you advise me to do?

Thank you so much,


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 5 years ago

Hi Devin,

This is a common issue for a lot of players.

I think ultimately the idea is to work on your backhand topspin as an option off the long serves.

However, for now work on getting the push and punch shot better with the penhold.  This takes some touch as well.  It requires you to get a good angle on your racket and push the ball back quite aggressively by taking the ball early and pushing through the ball.  The option being a long fast push back.  By taking it early you give the server less time and by pushing through, you can generate some backspin of your own to make it more difficult for them to attack.

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Thoughts on this question

Johan B

Johan B Posted 5 years ago

Maybe he steps around early so you can push/punch it down the line? You can also just keep trying to find his middle (which will be further to his backhand corner than normally as he's stepping around)

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