Returning short serves to my forehand

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 12 years ago

Mindaugas Steponkus

Mindaugas Steponkus Asked 12 years ago


I have difficulties when receiving short reverse - pendulum serve to forehand from right handed player or short pendulum serve to forehand from left handed player. That left handed player serves side/back or side with little backspin serve when a second bounce drops just after the edge of the table or second bounce is on the table. So the ball is as far as possible from the net maintaining the ball short. It makes it harder to make short push. Good thing is that he makes these two serves 95% of a time so I know that I get it right into my forehand or into the middle I just need to read wheather it is back/side or side with little backspin and if it is long enough to topspin or it is not long enough and I need to push short.

Now, here is the problem. At first I am prepared to return the serve with my forehand so if it's just little high or long so I topspin or if it is not long enough I push short. Most 75% is not long enough. During the game I always get confused because while I am expecting it long it is not long enough and I need to quick chanage and push it so 1) I lose my balance, control, preparation to return the serve while reading the spin at the last moment. 2) ball drops deep in my forehand with sidespin so I need to open my arm when I push with my forehand which makes harder to control. I find it easier to return the serve with my backhand, however if serve is long I dont have time to turn back and loop with forehand(I dont loop with backhand because serve is low and I can not make enough speed as much speed on the ball as with my backhand.

Some tips or thoughs how I can deal with that?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 12 years ago

Hi Mindaugas,

This is good serving by your opponent.  You need to watch the ball carefully and keep learning to read the short and long.  This takes time but eventually you will see this quite early and will be able to make your decisions early which will give you more time.

You are doing the right thing by watching for the long balls to topspin and pushing the short balls.  You need to work on your forehand push return.  Again it is a matter of getting used to this spin and angle.  I find it good in this situation to think abut getting my nose close to the ball.  This gets me closer and helps with control.

The footwork movement here is important.  You will need to move your right foot close in to the table and again as close to the ball as you can.  Keep your balance with your left leg.  After making the push you need t push off with your right leg and come back to the ready position.  This movement is crucial to making this shot well.  The right leg does most of the moving.  If the ball is long then again your right leg moves to the ball.  This time instead of moving in close to the table you move it across depending on the length of the serve.  Again your left leg keeps your balance and enables you to get back to the ready position quickly.

Work on this return a lot and see if you can get someone to serve this to you in training repetitively so that you can practice this movement and strokes. 

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