Returning serves

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 9 years ago

Albert Sherrington

Albert Sherrington Asked 9 years ago

I'm not very good at returning serves, especially those with side spin. I've accessed and seen your videos on serving and reading spin and still have a problem. Your videos demonstrate how spin is applied and what happens to the ball on hitting the bat. However I wish I could see a video that looks directly at the server (instead fof being  behind), watch the ball coming toward (me) the receiver and explain how to deal with a variety of spin serves. You do have a video, which is looking at the receiver, and it shows the action of the ball hitting the bat but not how it's served. Is there such a video?

Al Sherrington

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 9 years ago

Hi Al,

This is something that one of our readers suggested and we will be working on this with some of our Ask the Coach video responses.  So stay tuned.

Thanks for bringing it to our attention again.  I think it is a great idea.

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Thoughts on this question

Jayce Soberano

Jayce Soberano Posted 9 years ago

 There are many ways to return a serve. The easiest way i can explain is to look how the serve is made. Then you act as a mirror and keep the bat as the server hit the ball with the serve or ended hes serve. Think about it. If a server serves a pure topspin serve you would block it with the bat closed. If you would hold it straight the ball would go flying upwards. Now turn the serve 180 degrees(upside down). That means underspin. If the server serves a underspin. what most players would do With a short underspin serve is to keep the bat downwards like holding the plate but alittle more Down. With the right angel of holding the bat the ball will just go over the net. Now turn the serve 90 degrees. That means sidespin. A pure sidespin that rotates left means that the server will end hes movement to the right on Your view,but hes ending the serve to With hes bat to the left on hes view since hes in the opposite table from you. With him ending the serve to the right(Your view) means that you teoretically should recieve the ball with your bat on your right side With Your forehand. Keep in mind that i say that you recieve the ball where he ended hes bat. Easiest way to understand is when someone is serving a underspin. You can see that the servers bat will be ending the serve With hes bat going downwards or going under the ball. But this is something you have to try for yourself in order to understand. What i explained is mostly for short balls. There are so many ways to recieve like looping a long underspin ball. meaning changing the rotation of the ball. You just have to understand the spin of the ball.


What i explained is alittlle hard understanding by reading but will be easier to understand if you watch it live.

I learned by watching matches and see how people make serves and recieving. And ofcourse trying it out my self. 

What helped me alot is to try to mimic the bat angle of the server, as i said, a mirror. That is what i think is the basic of recieving a serve and something Alois and Jeff should take With them on the video.

Albert Sherrington

Albert Sherrington Posted 9 years ago

Thanks for your comment. I will certainly pay attention and do what you have suggested.


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