How to return an awkward spin

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 7 years ago

Wong Jiunn Hann

Wong Jiunn Hann Asked 7 years ago

Dear Sir:

First of all I would like to apologize as this might sound a little bit ambiguous due to my bare experience in table tennis. I am recently up against a player who serve using pen hold, the contact point and the direction of the follow through is obviously going to either side (left or right) which to my perspective would be a side spin (but i do feel the ball bouncing off quite strongly after contacting my bat probably a little topspin?). Most of the time the ball lands in the middle of the table (not quite of a long serve or short serve; somewhere in the middle) with medium height. 

The question i would like to ask is how should i address this kind of serve in order to make a good return? I have tried pushing the ball to give it a little bit of backspin, however every time i try to push the ball down the table it tends to get reflected by the strong side spin and goes right out of the playing area. Would you be able to guide me on the direction i should push and the angle of the bat as associated with different spins? As aforementioned the serve comes in middle height, therefore i have tried to return with a side spin flick. Again the result is undesirable as most of the flick ends up flying out of the table or goes right into the net (I am aware that side-spin flick is a high level skill that requires a lot of practice). Following that, I tried to punch the ball down as in returning a topspin; again the sidespin took effect and it didn’t go well. The last thing i tried is to loop the ball, but this is quite difficult to be performed as the bounce of the ball is very close to the end line of the table. Is is possible to loop a side spin ball? And with the ball landing in the middle of the table will a flick be effective? 

Thank you for spending your time. Your help is greatly appreciated.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 years ago

Hi Wong,

It is all about the angle of your racket.  If you can adjust the angle of your racket appropriately then you will be abel to return the ball on the table.

Now that sounds easy but in practice, it takes a lot of time and practice to get the appropriate angle right.  A lot of trial and error unfortunately.

The spin on the serve is constantly changing with each serve so your response to one serve may be appropriate but then when the spin changes the same response will send the ball into the net or off the side of the table or too high.  Watch what happens each time you return a ball and adjust the angle for the next serve, as long as it is exactly the same.

The best thing we have is our lessons on Receiving Secrets on Understanding SpinReading Spin and Receiving Principles.  If you can get yourself a Premium membership, even for a month, you will be able to watch all of those and gain a good understanding on what needs to happen.


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