Countering Combined Spin Serves

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 7 years ago

Pat Babao

Pat Babao Asked 7 years ago

Hi Alois,

I was having problems with countering services with combined spin like the topspin with sidespin services.

How to counter them?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 years ago

Hi Pat,

The key is to get the angle of your bat right.  This comes with a lot of experience and also understanding of the basic principles.

First watch the contact of the server.  Then watch the flight of the ball carefully.  Finally and probably most importantly, watch what happens when it hits your racket and flies away.  This will give you good information for the next time you encounter the same serve.

So if the ball is going to the left, angle your bat to face the right and so on.  With combined spins the ball will go at different angles not just straight left or right but may go left and down with sidespin and backspin.  You then need to angle your bat right and up to counter this.

As part of our Premium membership,we have a series of lesson on Receiving Secrets which goes through and shows you in detail the principles and will help you with this important area of the game.


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Thoughts on this question

Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 7 years ago

Hi Pat,

We've answered your question in Episode 3 of the Ask the Coach Show.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 7 years ago

Does it mean that if I want to recieve this kind of serve with a loop, I actually need to play a hook?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 7 years ago

You can play with a topspin or loop but don’t hook the ball just hit the ball with your bat slightly angled to counter the spin.  When you are hitting the ball with topspin the spin on the serve has less effect.



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