Returning a very spinny and tricky serve

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 5 years ago

Tanishq Tripathi

Tanishq Tripathi Asked 5 years ago

Hi coach

I am an intermediate player and I am from India I had played in various competitions and the one big problem which I came across is returning the spinny and tricky serves.

There is one of my rivals whose serve always troubles me as his serve is quite spinny and speedy and throughout the the match I lose most of my points in returning his spinny serves these spinny serves have a great speed.

So plz suggest me some ways to tackle this situation.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 5 years ago

Hi Tanishq,

You are right that returning serves is the most difficult part of the game.

The most important thing is to look at the contact of the bat on the ball.  Over time you will start to recognise the type of spin he is putting on.  Then don't try to do too much with the return.  Just use the angle of your racket to counteract the direction the ball wants to go to.


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Thoughts on this question

Nicolas Matthew

Nicolas Matthew Posted 5 years ago

Also about the speed of the serve, keep your distance and the table around the length of your arm. This will ensure more reaction and thinking time before receiving his serve.


Tanishq Tripathi

Tanishq Tripathi Posted 5 years ago

Hi Coach 

If the serve has great spin and and great speed and it comes at the backhand as if it comes on forehand I can attack it by topspin but what about backhand ?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

Hi Tanishq,

You can topspin with the backhand as well.  Try standing a few centimetres further away from the table when receiving.  This will give you a little more time to see the serve and play your shot.

Use a topspin stroke like the Backhand Topspin Off Backspin stroke.


Bungo Bobbo

Bungo Bobbo Posted 5 years ago

I was losing quite badly (2 games to 0) and was down 3-1 so I chose to sacrifice a point by keeping my blade still and parallel to the table when the opponent served. It clearly showed the spin on the ball when it launched off, and I learned how to attack it. I still lost the match, but it was 4-2 instead of 4-0. This was, of course, a desperate move to learn a serve return that had dismantled me.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

Interesting idea Jehron.

Does anyone else think this is a good idea?


Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 5 years ago

I do think it's a good idea. Normally I will try to adjust my returns attempts gradually based on what I think is in the serve and what I tried to do with my return, but sometimes when you're totally bamboozled by a serve that just doesn't have the effect that it seems to have when you look at it, just presenting a dead vertical bat to it once and see how the ball actually bounces of from it, is probably a good investment for the rest of the match.



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