Returning side spin serves

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 11 years ago

Camilo Patiño

Camilo Patiño Asked 11 years ago


By now I'm having serious trouble trying to return side and back spin services, especially the ones which comes hard.

When I try chopping the ball goes to the net, and when I try blocking the ball goes out of the table...

help :p

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 11 years ago

Hi Camilo,

Firstly don't worry, returning serves is one of the hardest parts of the game. The real key is learning to tell what type of spin the server has put on the ball. If the server mixes up sidespin and backspin and you can't tell the difference it is impossible to return the ball consistently.

Let's take a look at how you should be returning different serves. Any long serve, you should try and topspin. If the ball has only sidespin or sidespin and topspin the stroke will be more like a topspin against block. If the ball has some backspin on it, you will need to lift the ball more like the topspin against backspin stroke.

If the serve is short, then off a no-spin, sidespin or topspin serve, I would suggest using the flick. Off a serve with backspin try the short push.

What I would suggest is finding a good server who is willing to help you improve. Have them pick one serve, and get them to serve it to you over and over again with exactly the same spin. For example you could pick a long sidespin serve first. Try and topspin this back on the table and keep making adjustments until you can do this fairly well. Then ask the server to try a backspin serve. With this serve you'll need to lift the ball more with a brushing action. Again keep going with this until you can start to return the serve consistently. The next step is to ask the server to mix up the 2 serves and you'll need to pick the different spins and adjust accordingly. This approach works really well but it does take time and requires a lot of practice. It certainly is worth the effort though. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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