How to return a disguised fast backhand serve

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 7 years ago

Michael Armishaw

Michael Armishaw Asked 7 years ago

Hi, in my local league I play a player who has a serve that I find very difficult to return. I often only get one or two of his serves back into play each game. However, the games are usually quite close as I win most points on my own serve. 

He alway uses the same serve, a backhand serve from his backhand corner played fast and deep into my backhand corner. The difficulty is that he varies and disguises the spin, and I cannot read which spin is on the ball. It either has chop, which I put into the bottom of the net, or topspin, which I usually hit off the end of the table.

What do I need to do in order to learn how to read the spin better? I already watch the bat very closely but cannot tell the difference between the two serves. Or is there a way to return the serve that will work no matter what spin is on the ball? 

Thanks in advance for your help.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 years ago

Hi Mike,

Also try watching the ball in flight more closely rather than the bat.  You will see the path of the bat peripherally anyway.  Watching the flight may give you some more clues and help you to track the ball better.

You could try taking half a step back from the table.  This will give you a little more time to read the spin.

If at this stage he wins most of the points doing this, then taking a risk can be good.  You may want to try to topspin each return.  If you brush the ball finely and fast this will help to overcome a lot of the spin variations.

The other option is to go back and chop the ball back onto the table.  At least this makes him play one extra ball.

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Michael Armishaw

Michael Armishaw Posted 7 years ago

Hi Alois, thanks very much for your quick reply. As it happens I will be playing against this opponent again this week. I will definitely try your suggestions of closely watching the flight of the ball and taking a step back and trying to brush the ball more. I do think I was too close to the table last time.

Thanks again, and I will let you know how I get on.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 7 years ago

Looking forward to your update.

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