Tricky Server

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 11 years ago

Parikshit Kumar

Parikshit Kumar Asked 11 years ago


I am about to face an opponent in a club level match but I have faced problems in delaing with his serve. He has a service involving high amount of spin. It is slow and heightened and whether I chop or push the ball goes outside the table. If I try to block the return goes at a certain height which he smashes easily. Please advice.

Also he happens to be an attacking player and hits forhand strokes with high accuracy. Please advice how to handle such a player?

Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb Answered 11 years ago

Hi Parikshit,

Good servers vary the spin on each serve which makes it difficult as you can't use exactly the same shot to return each one. You need to read the spin that's on the ball and make small adjustments. It sounds like he is serving sidespin as your block return is going back on the table. As you are hitting the ball to high you need to close the angle of your bat more to keep it lower. This will make it harder for him to attack. 

As they have a strong forehand you need to work on your placement to. Try to put the ball to a difficult spot for them. This may be wide to their forehand or backhand or even right into their middle.

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Surapun Wongopasi

Surapun Wongopasi Posted 11 years ago

Hi Jeff and Alois,

Sometimes some of these strong players swing their blades so fast that you don't really see how the ball touches and spins off their blades.  All you see is how the ball is coming towards you.  I wonder if you can tell what type of spins (usually sidespin together with either backspin or topspin) and the amount of spins that are put on the ball simply by judging from the flight of the ball.  And in case you are not certain, can you approach the ball with your blade's face rather flat (perpendicular to the table) and aim to hit the ball with the upper part of the blade?  If there is topspin on the ball, you bat angle will be safe because your return won't be too high for him to make a third-ball attack.  If there is backspin, can you feel the spin upon ball contact and immediately try to flip your bat upward so that your return clears the net?  Assuming that the serves are not too fast.  I really wonder if you can change your bat angle at a split of a second to lift the ball over the net in case it is a backspin once you sense it upon ball contact?

Thanks a lot for your kind reply.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 11 years ago

Hi Surapan,

Returning spin is probably the hardest part of the game.

WIth experience the flight of the ball will help you to judge what type of spin is on the ball.  This however takes many years of returning serves.

It is almost impossible to alter the angle of your racket once the ball has contacted the rubber.  It all happens too fast.  It is more about watching the contact of the bat on the ball and building up a good database of returning serves.

Surapun Wongopasi

Surapun Wongopasi Posted 11 years ago

Hi Alois,

Thanks for your prompt answer. 


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