Returning high sidespin shots

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 1 month ago

Colin Smith

Colin Smith Asked 1 month ago

Hi Alois

In beginners many of the returns are unorthodox with little. The most annoying is the player who returns the ball high with alot of sidespin. It is easy ( and i have!) to underestimate the sidespin and mess up the smash or push. Am I taking the ball too early or rushing etc? They are shots I should put away.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 1 month ago

Hi Colin,

I completely understand your frustration with dealing with unorthodox shots, especially at the beginner level. When players return the ball high with a lot of sidespin, it can indeed be tricky to judge correctly. Here are a few tips on how to handle such shots:

One of the first mistakes players often make is rushing to hit these high-bouncing balls with sidespin. Give yourself time to see and react to the ball's spin and trajectory.

Before you play the stroke, move to a position that gives you the best chance to strike the ball comfortably. For high balls with sidespin, make sure you're not too close or too far away from the ball's expected bounce.

Keep your eye on the ball all the way to your racket. By doing so, you can adjust in real time to any deviations in the ball’s path.

Open or close your racket angle depending on the direction of the sidespin. If the ball is spinning away from you, you'll need to anlgle your racket towards yourself to counter the sidespin.

It's crucial to hit the ball at the top of its bounce or just after. This is when the ball has the least amount of spin and is easier to control.

Instead of going for maximum power, try to use a controlled smash. Your main goal is to put the ball on the table. Focusing on placement rather than power can increase your success rate.

To get better at handling these high sidespin returns, you can practice with a training partner or a robot. Have them feed you similar balls so you can repeatedly work on your timing, footwork, and racket angle. Remember that consistency is key in table tennis. Over time, these shots will become less of a problem for you as you continue to practice and adjust to them. Keep working at it, and those seemingly tricky unorthodox returns will turn into opportunities for you to win the point.


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