Returning short serves

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 10 years ago

Andrew Pape

Andrew Pape Asked 10 years ago

Hi Alois,

I am weak with very short serves, including the reverse serve when it kicks sideways to my right.

The ball bounces too short to hit. I have tried a backspin push/chop, which has gone into the net. My partner said I should not chop these balls. He said I need to lift them. That made it easier for me to return, but when I got the ball into play with a basic push my partner hit  winners against them as they popped up. I think a flip would be good if I had the finesse to flip according to the amount of backspin.

My coach used to do similar short serves and I messed them up too. I wanted to see how the better players coped with his serves, so I've watched him play several matches. Unfortunately, he never uses these short serves. He doesn't practice what he preaches.

I've heard the best receives are short-backspin or backhand side-spin loop. The short backspin doesn't work well (eg when ball has heavy backspin already), while the side-spin loop only works for me when the ball breaks to my left (i.e. std pendulum serve) rather than the reverse version, which breaks the wrong way.

I'm using the "Miao" medium pips, which have a low flight path, which may mean I need a flip or more lift on the receive. Any help appreciated.

I'd love to see video footage of returning the types of serve mentioned. Any chance?



Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 10 years ago

Hi Andrew,

Receiving Reverse Pendulum serves is my weakness as well.  I think though it is just a matter of finding the right angles with a lot of practice against them.

Short backspin returns are good to stop your opponent from making a strong third ball.  With the short pimples they may not be as effective because it is hard for you to generate enough backspin to make it hard for them to attack.  A flick or sidespin backhand flick can also be effective if you get the flick strong enough. You may need to hit more through the ball with the pimples. 

We will try to get to a video response if there are some more Premium member votes for it. 

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