Defender's tactics on return of serve

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 6 years ago

Sasha Savic

Sasha Savic Asked 6 years ago

Hello,  Pingskills

I have watched your video about defenders tactics and it is great,  something that we defenders need. I also think that it is possible to reach high level play with defending, regarding strong attackers. 

Here is what I want to know: when attacker serves short, should defender return short,  or does he have to return long by default. I have watched some clips from top defenders like Joo Se Hyuk,  Ruwen Filus, and, whether the serve goes to their forehand or backhand,  they always return long.  Why is that?  Usually when I return long, my opponent tries to attack,  even strongly. Can you elaborate me on this issue.  Thanks


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 6 years ago

Hi Sasha,

The top players tend to do this because they know what the next ball is going to be then.  They know they will get a topspin ball and so they can move back and be prepared for this.  If they return short, their opponent can play it back short or flick it fast and long.  They have a good ability to return the topspin shots.

For the club player I think the short return can also be effective because the attacker doesn't have such a strong attack off the short ball.


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Sasha Savic

Sasha Savic Posted 6 years ago

That's the point,  I am affraid if I push long,  the attacker will make strong attack. How top players are not affraid of strong attack,  what gives them insurance that they won't get strong topspin


Sasha Savic

Sasha Savic Posted 6 years ago

That's the point,  I am affraid if I push long,  the attacker will make strong attack. How top players are not affraid of strong attack,  what gives them insurance that they won't get strong topspin


Johan B

Johan B Posted 6 years ago

Push long, take a step back, relax and keep trying in practice matches until you're no longer afraid ;)


Sasha Savic

Sasha Savic Posted 6 years ago

Good tip, Johan, let's hear what Alois has to say


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

Hi Sasha,

They often do get a strong attack but their defensive block is also very good to be able to cope with that.  I do like the advice that Johan has given you too.



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