Returning half-long and long combined sidespin serves

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 4 years ago

martin k

martin k Asked 4 years ago


Being an offensive player, I have recently been working hard on returning long and half-long sidespin serves. Those are usually a combination of sidespin and backspin/topspin.

My mantra has been so far, that no matter what, I will return those with a topspin. I do not care if I lose games, just want to play my game and learn something.

My success so far has been 50/50. When I get a return in, it is usually very good. If I don't, the ball might fly long or into the net. I struggle a bit with mishitting the ball with the edge of the racket or even missing it totally, especially when taken by surprise with a long serve. Of course, the backhand topspin needs a lot of improvement too ;)

However, I noticed that staying on top of my feet and always moving, even slightly, maybe taking a small step back helps tremendously with a better return.

I suppose that I cannot really rely on "overriding" the incoming spin with a topspin? I still have to try reading the spin and compensate for side/back/topspin? Many of the players I meet are just above a basement level, so the serves do not carry too much spin, but I still struggle sometimes. Some people have much better serves than the rest of their game.

To summarize, even with a small amount of spin, I need to read the spin correctly on those returns? But then again, maybe the footwork matters even more?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 4 years ago

Hi Martin,

The concept is good... try to make the topspin whenever you can.

You do still need to read the spin on the serve to help you make an effective return.  You can compensate a lack of spin reading with a faster racket head speed on contact and a fast brushing action to get the ball on.

Also make sure you are getting close to the table to make the shot.  This will get you closer to the ball on contact and give you better control of your stroke.

Keep working on this as it is an important part of making the next step in the game.

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