illegal serves

Table Tennis Rules

Last updated 8 years ago

Arthur Rentz

Arthur Rentz Asked 8 years ago

I play at the local senior center and I am a mediocre player but enjoy it. The problem is a couple of the better players consistently serve by spinning the ball off their bat with no tossing of the ball into the air. this makes for a super spinning ball which I cannot return no matter what. I have spoken to them about legal serves but they say it's not tournament play and they'll stay with what works for them. They are good enough that they do not have to serve this way, but....

Is there anything I can do? I'd like to learn how to return the ball even with their illegal serves. The ball will squirt off to the right off my bat every time.

Thank you,

Art Rentz 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Art,

This is always a problem in local leagues.  Unless the organisers take a stand it is difficult for individuals to do anything about it.  Perhaps it is worth talking to the organisers and see what can be done for the league as a whole.

To return these serves that are going off to the right the key is to use your bat like a rudder and steer it back in the right direction.  Don't try to do too much with it just use the angle of your bat to get the ball back straight.  So if it is going to the right face your bat to the left of the table.  The angle the ball comes off your bat will now take it straight back.  This will take a lot of trial and error but if you stick with this principle you will start to return some.

We have a DVD dedicated to returning spin.  If you can, purchase Receiving Secrets Revealed DVD.  This will go through in great detail the keys to returning serve as well as recognising types of spin.

Good luck with it. 


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