Serve return hidden serves

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 6 years ago

Shripathi ramakrishnan

Shripathi ramakrishnan Asked 6 years ago

hi alois and jeff,

ive started playing against an opponent who has a pendulum sidespin serve with very powerful spin. i have great difficulty returning this serve as it often goes into the net. ive tried watching the ball curve and get into a positon . it works fairly well but when i play my bh topspin it goes into the net. and even if i do get the ball over the net, it flies out. any ideas ?

also another opponent of mine plays a foul serve . he doesnt toss and covers the ball with the free arm. in official matches he plays different serve (legal!) but in  league matches in my club i lose quite some points against this as i dont know where the ball will go or how deep it lands in advance (its too sudden but with same spin). as you have definitely have some experience back from the hidden serve era, can you please help me understand how to return these serves? :D

thank you!


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 6 years ago

Hi Shripathi,

Firstly to return those sidespin long serves to your backhand take a look at this lesson How to return a long sidespin serve.

To return the hidden serve you need to watch the swing and the flight of the ball carefully.  This will give you a lot of information.  It is a shame that this rule is so hard to police in league matches.


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Thoughts on this question

Gordon L

Gordon L Posted 6 years ago

If the serve is hidden, why can't the receiver simply call a let?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

It depends on how the game is umpired.  If there is an official umpire you have to rely on their call.  You can point it out to them between points or games but it is still their call.  There are no official rules for when there is no umpire as to who calls a let or fault.



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