Service return choices

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 10 years ago

Andrew Pape

Andrew Pape Asked 10 years ago

Hi Alois,

As my f/hand is my weaker side, I am reluctant to attack most balls served there. I know that your teaching is to get the first topspin ball on, and I'm feeling guilty for not making the shot.

However, many top players are also reluctant to return with a f/hand topspin. I recently watched the Dmimitri Ovtcharov run around every ball served to his f/hand, so that he could play a b/hand.  Zhang Yining does the same thing. When I last saw her play, she only returned about one serve only with a f/hand. The first player I saw doing this was Persson. He did it against short serves.  I'm noticing more and more players do the same thing. They all have excellent f/hands, much better than mine, so maybe I have an excuse?

I think players are not finding enough time to play a full-blooded topspin, or else they are afraid of pushing the ball too high when a b/hand push would keep the ball lower. Perhaps they are also unsure whether the ball will bounce twice and can't risk a swing? Usually the receiver moves right to return with b/hand (for a right hander), and then darts back to b/hand corner. When the server realises this, he may try to wrong foot the receiver by hitting straight back to ther eceiver's  f/hand side. I don't know the win/loss percentage here. I've noticed that players have a variety of returns but still played with b/hand.

I can only play a weak loop against a chopped service, and feel more comfortable trying to land a good push out of harm's way, and hopefully get an easier ball and more time. Should I be guilty doing this, even when the pros often do the same thing?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 10 years ago

Hi Andrew,

Never feel guilty...

It is a matter of making the best return you can in each circumstance.  If the push return suits you then keep going with it as long as it is effective.

Some players prefer the backhand return because of the angle of the serve or just because they feel more control with the backhand.

Always do what works for you.

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