Playing with the spin

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 4 years ago


M V Asked 10 years ago

Hi Jeff and Alois,

a very happy new year to both of you.

i was playing vs. one of the opponents who was really spinning the ball sideways- a lot of side spin.

i found that it was easier to return the serves when i was playing with the spin.

e.g. i am right handed so if a right handed player serves a normal sidespin pendulum serve to me and a long serve, it will move from right to left when i am receiving, i found it very difficult to topspin it with my backhand coz i thought i was playing against the spin. i found it easier to return it by pivoting and taking it with my forehand and topspin it back coz i am playing with the spin, but doing that is really difficult especially slow serves that are long and one has to receive it from below the table.

How can you do that? i hope i have been able to explain what i want to.

Thanks a lot. Would love to clarify if needed.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 10 years ago

Hi Manish,

Some players like the ball coming into them and some like it moving away from them.  It sounds like you like the ball coming into you on the forehand.  Try getting the feel of hitting the ball swinging away on the backhand.  You could try hitting the ball a little earlier so it doesn't get too wide.  It is just a matter of doing it often and getting the feel of it.

This can be difficult to start with but persevere with it.  It is too difficult to hit that ball with your forehand all the time.


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Shaji Alavi

Shaji Alavi Posted 10 years ago

Hi Coach,

As you have told we should angle our racquet in the opposite direction of the sidespin serve, especially while pushing it back. but while using backhand counterhit or backhand topspin as shown by Jeff, do we still need to angle the racquet to the opposite side or the angle is automatically tilted as while playing backhand shots we have to face in the direction where we want to place the ball? Can we stand square on to the table and hit the backhand topspin down the line to the wide forehand corner?

I have noticed that most of the players are a little late in reacting or it is difficult to reach to the wider forehand shots after the pendulum sidespin serve, so i think hitting a topspin or pushing it to that part of the table would give me more time for the next ball. What say coach?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

When you topspin the ball the spin doesn't have as much effect because you are generating a lot of spin and giving it it's own direction.  You will still have to allow for the sidespin a bit but not as much as if you were pushing the ball.
You can stand square on and hit it down the line.  The main thing with the change of direction here is the use of your wrist. It can be a good tactic to play the ball down the line there from the Pendulum serve.  Just depends on the player.  You are still giving them a forehand to hit.

Christian ,

Christian , Posted 10 years ago


What do you think about playing a sidespin with the backand around the net ?

Is it  possible ?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Hey it is possible but very very difficult.

rajesh jha

rajesh jha Posted 10 years ago

Coach while topspinning the ball most of the sidespin is negated bt wat abt the bat angle while i try to use a backhand counerhit to return d ball.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

You will need to allow for the spin with the backhand hit because you are not putting your own spin on it.  Angle the bat to allow for the spin.


M V Posted 10 years ago


i must say, hitting a backhand topspin is one thing, hitting a backhand topspin that looks as good as yours is another thing, i really admire picture perfect technique something a player can only aspire to inculcate in his game, thanks a lot, and again, that backhand topspin looks absolutely awesome and flawless...

kathy mckelvey

kathy mckelvey Posted 5 years ago

Playing doubles would be at a different angle since the sidespin ball is coming to my right side.  would I have to always use my forehand to keep the ball on the table?  thank you both!!

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

You have more options with doubles because you only have half the table to cover on the return.  You can step around and position yourself to use your backhand as well if that feels more comfortable.

kathy mckelvey

kathy mckelvey Posted 5 years ago

Yes I understand,  although sometimes its difficult if my partner has not stepped back.  thank's  alois for your suggestions!!

Ali Ali Hassan

Ali Ali Hassan Posted 5 years ago

Hi Aloi

My opponent was serving very short side spin at the near corner of the net.

please help me about this


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

You need to step in close to the table and try to keep the ball short on the other side.  This will stop your opponent from being able to attack.

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