Combating side-spin serves

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 12 years ago

James Goulding

James Goulding Asked 12 years ago


I have been playing for little over 2 years, and have always had a sticky time trying to counter players who serve with lots of side-spin.

Is there any tips or techniques I could use to combat this?



Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb Answered 12 years ago

Hi James,

Returning serve can be a very frustrating part of Table Tennis. You need to practice this part of your game as much as you can. The best way to return a sidespin serve is to angle your bat to counter the sidespin. 

See if you can get a practice partner with a good serve to help you out. Ask them to serve exactly the same serve over and over. By getting them to serve the same serve, you can keep adjusting your return until you can get it back on the table. Once you can return the ball regularly, you can ask your opponent to serve a slightly different serve over and over as before until you can get that serve back too. The next step is to ask your opponent to mix up their serve between the two that you can return and see if you can pick the difference between the serves. Lastly you can ask you opponent to mix up more serves by varying the spin, speed and placement.

Try this out and let me know if it helps. Also keep an eye out in a few months as we are planning on releasing a DVD on how to return serves. 

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