Receiving fast flat serves to my backhand

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 8 years ago

andrew brand

andrew brand Asked 8 years ago

hi alois and jeff.  my problem is how to return this serve when it is aimed into my backhand side, i have a strong forehand, players notice this, and serve into my bh flat and fast, this gets them lots of easy points.  i find the bh topspin difficult against a fast flat ball, i usually go into the net or well long of the table. because of that i usually just try to flat touch it back but they always smash the next ball.  if i pivot to use the forehand they always angle the next one to my fh corner and i still lose the point.  i dont have problems receiving when there is some top or backspin on it. ive always had a problem with this ball.  any advice? im guessing you will say just practise it lots, but i never seem to improve on it when i do.  Thanks in advance.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Andrew,

You are right with the last bit, I do want to tell you to practice this more.

If you are able to topspin the backspin serves it sounds like you might be misreading the amount of spin on the ball and/or you are running out of time to make the stroke.

One solution may be to take your receiving position half a step backwards to allow yourself a little more time especially wen you notice that they are working in this tactic.

The other thing is to understand that when the ball is fast it acts like it has more backspin that you may be paying for.  So soften the contact on the ball a little and play it more like a backspin serve. So play a more vertical stroke.  You can also shorten the stroke a little to make it more manageable with your time constraints. Just make sure the stroke is going in the right direction.

As a mind set, expect the ball to come there once you know they have picked up on it.  If you are always willing the ball to come somewhere else, you won't be prepared mentally for the ball to come to this position.  So look for this ball at the start of the rally, then it won't be such a surprise and you will find you will have a fraction more time and you will be more ready to make the correct stroke.

So I am picturing a short upward brushing topspin stroke from half a step further back as your return. 


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andrew brand

andrew brand Posted 8 years ago

Thank you very much for that brilliant answer.  i will take it all on board, and will get back to you with how it goes for me.  Really you are doing a brilliant service with this Ask the Coach. Thanks again.

andrew brand

andrew brand Posted 8 years ago

yes that did the trick. done 2 hour practise and it has improved it dramatically. thanks again.


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