Differentiate between pure sidespin and side backspin

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 1 month ago

Jasper Low

Jasper Low Asked 1 month ago

I realised that i don't encounter long sidespin pendulum serves so often and earlier i did encounter someone with that serve and I struggled to get any good receives at all (most receives were outright errors) which was frustrating.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 1 month ago

Hi Jasper,

When returning serves in table tennis, it's crucial to read the spin correctly to respond properly. Here are some tips to differentiate between pure sidespin and side-backspin serves:

Pay close attention to the server's racket at the point of contact. For a pure sidespin, the racket will typically move horizontally, either from left to right or right to left. For a side-backspin serve, you'll notice a downward component in the server's racket motion.

A pure sidespin serve will cause the ball to curve in the air without much dipping. A side-backspin serve will have a curve as well but will also tend to dip downwards due to the backspin.

Side-backspin serves tend to stay low after bouncing and sometimes even "skid," making them difficult to lift. Pure sidespin serves will have a more predictable and less skidding bounce.

When returning a side-backspin serve, your bat angle should compensate not only for the sideways motion but also for the backspin by opening up slightly. With pure sidespin, focus more on aligning your racket to counter the side movement.

Have someone serve you various combinations of sidespin and side-backspin serves. With practice, you will begin to recognise the differences more intuitively.

Since the serve return is one of the most challenging parts of the game, do not get discouraged. It takes time to develop the skills to read and react to different types of spin.


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