How to return/receive fast balls

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 7 months ago

Francis Mallari

Francis Mallari Asked 7 months ago

Good day Pingskills,

I've started playing table tennis because of our P.E and now I'm hooked. I started watching your videos and now a level up to my classmates. To cut the story short, I have a classmate who is better than me and can do a fast forehand topspin and I can't block it or receive it, my reaction time is slow! Please help me. Please forgive my English, it's not my first language. Thank you, Pingskills for helping me improve! More power.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 months ago

Hi Francis,

I think the first principle to follow is to stop him from making the fast forehand.  This can be done by changing the direction of your shots and keeping the ball lower.

If he does get a faster shot, then make sure you are watching the ball carefully all the way through.  If you focus on this, you will find you will get more time because you will see the direction a little earlier and then be able to react.

Take a look at our tutorial in our Match Strategy section on I Can't Return That Smash!

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Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco Posted 7 months ago



If you can get the Table Tennis Edge app, get it! I had a few issues with my reaction time and I use this app every now and then to see how my reaction time has improved. It helps a lot and now I can make pretty fast counterattacks when people try slamming a ball.

Another thing to keep in mind is, if you know their slam will probably be coming from their forehand, try placing short balls on their backhand side of the table with side spin or backspin. Since I'm a lefty, people tend to place those balls to my forehand side with weak or no spin and I'll "probably" attack. In the case where they do attack you and the ball is coming directly at you, just place your racket at around a 45 degree angle and block it; don't use a forward movement since the ball's topspin already provides that. Not only do you need to have the techniques correctly, but you need to be intelligent with your shots too. If you do something, know what is going to be returned to you. Otherwise, if, for example, you do a backspin serve on a strong backhand player and they flick it, you won't know what to do unless you've planned ahead.

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