Half long backspin serves

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 9 years ago

Simon Lewis

Simon Lewis Asked 10 years ago

 Hi Pingskills,

 Yesterday, I played someone who regularly gave me a half long backspin/sidespin serve. The problem I have with half long serves is that I find they are too long to push short, and not long enough to play an aggressive shot off. All the signs of a good serve!

If I pushed the ball, it went long, because the service itself wasn't short enough. If I tried to play an aggresive shot, it was normally weak because I didn't have enough control on the ball because it didnt come long enough. Any ideas what I can do to try and play an effective shot of this serve? Luckily, I am playing this player again tomorrow in a league game, so I can try again with those serves!


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 10 years ago

Hi Simon,

You are right this can be a really effective serve.  The best thing is to improve your short ball off this half long ball.  It is more difficult but not impossible to do.  Again it is a matter of having a really relaxed hand.  Push for the top of the net and take the ball as early as you can off the bounce.  You can also try flicking if the ball sits up a little higher.

Between these two shots you will start to win some of the points. This will put a little more pressure on the server and hopefully force a few shorter or longer serves to come your way. 


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Thoughts on this question

rajiv gollerkeri

rajiv gollerkeri Posted 10 years ago

alois, ive tried the short push, but its too tough to get it right, however the flick is easier, as i feel the ball has lesser spin than a well served short backspin serve, please correct me if im wrong.. t

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Keep working on the flick then.  You should still persevere with the push as well.  It will take more practice to get it right.

Rory Scott

Rory Scott Posted 9 years ago

Against half long serves I recommend playing a topspin shot, as opposed to a flick. Flicks are best used for short serves in my opinion. Half long serves only bounce once & although the second bounce is very close to the end of the table, it is still possible to play a topspin shot with the bat angle slightly less closed than for topspins vs long serves. I would also recommend adding more spin than speed, to get a nice arc over the net & a shorter stroke (than that used for a regular topspin) too, as playing a longer stroke is difficult due to the proximity of the ball to the table.

The timing when topspinning vs half long serves is late (as the ball is dropping), as if top-of-the bounce timing is used, it is only possible to flick, which I feel is a less effective return, as it is not as easy to get as much leverage (& therefore spin) on flicks as it is on topspins, especially when using the forehand. To topspin vs a half long serve, you need to use the elbow mainly, as well as a little shoulder rotation (although less than for a regular topspin). I wouldn't recommend using the wrist, as there will be less control. Of course for the flick, the wrist is employed (as well as the elbow), as shoulder rotation is not possible vs a short ball over the table.

Your Thoughts Alois?

Regards, Rory Scott (Horsham Spinners Table Tennis Club Coach).


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

Hi Rory,

I agree it is best to use a topspin when you have the swinging room.  I do like the slow topspin waiting for the ball to drop off the end of the table.  This can be a really effective stroke, especially in todays game because most players are used to fast balls and have difficulty with the slower spinny ball.  It is a matter of getting the contact right with a sharp brushing contact to get the ball to lift and have the arc you talked about.


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

Good points Alois and Rory. I guess there is some differences of terminology here on what a half long serve is. For the purpose of this question, Alois was referring to half long serves as ones that would bounce twice on the table, with the second bounce being very close to the end line.


Simon Lewis

Simon Lewis Posted 9 years ago

Thanks for all the comments. I think my favourite option is to practice that short push. The flick has never been a strength of mine, so the push may be a good option. Thanks.


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

Hey Simon,

That sounds like a good idea. A good short push is very effective. You can always work on improving your flick as well. :)

I hope you enjoyed the video too. Anyone even if they are not a premium member, can watch a video response if they have asked the question!


Rory Scott

Rory Scott Posted 9 years ago

Well spotted Jeff! Certainly in England the half-long serve refers to a serve where the 2nd 'bounce' only just misses the end of the table by a very small distance, so only has 1 bounce on the table. For me a 2-bounce serve is a short serve & a serve with 3 bounces or more is a very short serve. I have not come across anyone who disagrees with this terminology, but having read Jeff's comment, I did a bit of googling & there seems to be some discrepancy, as to what a half long serve is. Some think it is as I explained, while others think it is a serve where the 2nd bounce is around the baseline and yet others think it includes both.


Simon Lewis

Simon Lewis Posted 9 years ago

To me, a half long serve is a serve that clips the white line on the second bounce, hence why it is called half long... because half the ball went long!


Rory Scott

Rory Scott Posted 9 years ago

By the way a 3rd type of return against a 2 bounce serve is the long fast push. This can be employed using no spin (float) or backspin. It is usually necessary for it to be fast, as if not, the opponent will topspin straight past you. It depends on who you are playing as to how fast it needs to be. Obviously the faster you hit it, the higher the risk, so if a medium fast push wins you the point, or sets you up, then no need to risk a very fast push. I think it is easier to hit it faster if you don't use spin. However I would not bother practising a slow long push, as it is generally not effective.

To execute the long fast push I recommend using top-of-the-bounce timing for more control & power, although it is also possible to use early timing to give the opponent less time. The stroke is very short & comes mainly from a jabbing action of the wrist. For float returns the angle is less open (close to neutral) & for backspin the angle is more open. Placement is also key. If you are predictable then even with a fast push the opponent can get on to it. Itis possible to change where your bat it aiming at the last second, as the wrist is a fast joint. A good area to aim at generally is the crossover point (right between the oppoent's forehand & backhand side-aim at the playing arm). This means the player needs to make a decision (F/B) & then move to play the shot. This makes it harder for the opponent. Also forcing players to return the fast push with their backhand is effective against many opponents, as the backhand side is often weaker than the forehand side.


Siddhartha Raja

Siddhartha Raja Posted 9 years ago

i am not a premium member so please tell me what is in this video

 



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