Returning Sidespin

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 1 month ago

Rutajit Ghosh

Rutajit Ghosh Asked 1 month ago

How to react to sidespin shots?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 1 month ago

Hi Rutajit,

Reacting to sidespin shots in table tennis requires a combination of reading the spin, adjusting your position and racket angle, and practicing specific techniques to return the ball effectively. Here are some general guidelines to help you deal with sidespin shots:

Pay close attention to your opponent's racket movement at the point of contact. If their racket moves from left to right, the ball will have right sidespin, and if it moves from right to left, the ball will have left sidespin.

Move your feet so that you position yourself to take the ball at the optimal point. Sidespin will cause the ball to curve, so you may need to move laterally more than for topspin or backspin. Maintain good balance to be able to move quickly in any direction, as sidespin might require sudden lateral movements.

Angle your racket to counter the direction of the spin. For instance, if the ball has right sidespin, angle your racket slightly to the left to counter the leftward deviation of the ball.

You can use the existing spin to your advantage by returning it with your own sidespin or by using it to direct the ball in a specific direction. For example, if the ball has right sidespin and you hit it straight on, the ball will tend to go to your left.

When in doubt, opt for a safer return. Use a controlled block or a push to neutralize the spin and ensure the ball goes back onto the table, putting the pressure back on your opponent.

As with any skill in table tennis, dealing with sidespin requires practice. Use drills with a training partner to get accustomed to the different types and intensities of sidespin.

Keep your eye on the ball all the way until it hits your racket. This will help you make last-minute adjustments and improve your timing.

Sometimes you have to match the speed of the incoming spin with your stroke speed. A faster swing can help override the effect of the sidespin. Remember that these are general guidelines and the specific reaction will depend on your playing style, skill level, and the situation during the match. In table tennis, personal experience and continuous practice are key to mastering the art of returning different spins.


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