Unable to decide which return to play

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 5 years ago

Dep Dep

Dep Dep Asked 12 years ago


I love PingSkills videos it helped a lot in my TT.

I often find it difficulty in returning serves I tend to use forehand drive or smash, forehand flick, backhand sidespin return, backhand topspin brush or smash, I have all these shots in my mind and when the actual time comes to rerun a serve I end up in just forehand drive lose the point and I am out of control at the end.

How do I predict what type of serve I am going to receive? or is there a common return, I want to return low for all types of serves??.



Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 10 years ago

Hi Dep,

Watch the ball carefully and you will pick up as early as you can the small changes in their service action that will give away what type of serve is coming.  Remember they can change their serve very late in the action and they may not even know what serve they are going to do and they probably don't know how well it is going to come out.

Watching the ball is your best key.

Each type of serve needs a different response.  You can't predetermine your return, that is sure to get you into trouble.  The more returning you do the better you will get at this.


Watch the video response to this question titled Deciding Which Return to Play.

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LIN WEI JUI Posted 10 years ago

Dear Sir:

This is my question.

My opponents did not throw the ball high enough when he server the ball to me.
His hand is in front of the racket face, it is really difficult to distinguish the rotation of this server.

My opponents are older and play games together every night.
It is very difficult to make them change their habits.

Every time they serve, they scored two points.......
It is very hard for me to win the games.

How can I overcome this situation?

Thanks for your help.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago


This is a difficult situation.  If you feel comfortable you need to mention to him that you can't see the contact of the ball which is making it difficult for you.  Perhaps ask him for some advice about how to return the serves as well and when he tells you to watch the ball, tell him you can't see it behind his hand on contact.

Marcus Anbau

Marcus Anbau Posted 10 years ago

Sounds like an illegal serve.

Akhmad Thryee Amalsyah

Akhmad Thryee Amalsyah Posted 10 years ago

 sir , do you show me the technique for newbie ? 


i'm a newbie tennis, i want see your videos for newbie

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Hi Akhmad,

Take a look through our lessons on the Strokes & Technique page.  This will guide you through the basic strokes.

DHS Lover

DHS Lover Posted 10 years ago

can flick at the very short backspin serve ? as i try to open my bat and then hit it flat and fast, it still go to the net

is it because the backspin and the flick is only reliable for the less backspin ?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Yes it is.

DHS Lover

DHS Lover Posted 10 years ago

oh ok, so for the lot of backspin, it's better to just let my bat touch the ball and let it back very short as what you've said right ? with that contact, is is generate backspin or not ?

Akhmad Thryee Amalsyah

Akhmad Thryee Amalsyah Posted 10 years ago

Hi Alois,

Thanks, you are good.




kathy mckelvey

kathy mckelvey Posted 7 years ago

Thank you for your video's!!

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