Hiding spin

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 11 years ago

Stefan Liew

Stefan Liew Asked 11 years ago

Hi PingSkills,

How do penholders hide spin in their serves? Its looks like they are doing a backspin action but it turns out to be a topspin serve. Therefore, I always cannot differentiate what serves they are doing and lose most of the points because of that.

Thanks. 


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb Answered 11 years ago

Hi Stefan,

The rules now state that you cannot hide the ball when serving. This means that you should be able to watch the ball from the time the server throws it up all the way as it hits and leaves the bat. However it is still not easy to read the spin. Subtle variations in the way the ball is hit can make a difference to the type and amount of spin on the ball. Even top players still get caught out and sometimes don't get the ball back from a really good serve.

The key here is experience. You need to play against lots of different serves and pay close attention to how the server strikes the ball.

If you can find someone to help you out, the best way is to get them to serve the same serve over and over until you can return it. As they are serving the same serve, you can make adjustments and should be able to return the ball. If you are hitting the ball long because of the topspin the start closing the racket. Once you are used to that serve, ask them to try a different but similar serve until you can return that. Then get them to mix up the two serves. This is a great way to practice returning serves.

Then just face as many different serves as possible and always watch closely the effect their serve has on your rubber. With experience you will get better. 


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