How to return hook and fade shots effectively

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 6 years ago

martin k

martin k Asked 6 years ago


I am more or less an intermediate right handed player with a somewhat decent forehand topspin, but still working on my backhand topspin. Anyway, I noticed that a huge flaw of mine is returning shots with sidespin, essentially shots that move to the left/right after the bounce. I sometimes play against a right handed player who mostly hits beneath the ball. Almost all of his shots contain sidespin. A typical shot is when he uses his backhand, hits beneath the ball from his left to right and finishes a bit up on the right hand side. The ball then bounces to my right. I believe this shot is similar to a forehand hook or reverse pendulum. Not entirely sure if this is side-topspin, but let's assume it is.

Anyway, the shots are almost always long and bounce pretty high, say 30 - 40 cm up, but I still struggle with a decent return. I either miss the ball, or it flies off the table. In addition, I think I sometimes might hit the ball too hard finishing with my racket on the other side of my body.

I find it even harder when a get a shot that bounces from my right to left. This one usually ends up on my backhand side with mostly the same results. I guess this is sort of an forehand fade/pendulum, even if he hits with his forehand from his right to left.

I might be overthinking, and mostly get a bit paralyzed by those shots bounce on my side. Maybe part of this is footwork, not being in position and possibly too close to the table. Still, I have to somehow compensate for the spin. I guess it does not matter thinking if I should hit inside or outside of the ball? Maybe a small topspin is good enough? But then again it is difficult to get a proper contact and mishits and off the table balls follow :/

Part of the story is that I also have to receive serves which are also always long, but carry pendulum spin. If I am passive and just compensate to left/right with my racket, the ball usually hits the end of the table in the middle but pops up high. Sometimes the ball curves into my body on the forehand side too...

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 6 years ago

Hi Martin,

The main thing is to move your bat forward into the ball on contact.  The sidespin often means that we get a poor contact because the ball is moving more sideways than forward when it is coming to us.  If you can push your bat more forward you will tend to compensate for this.

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