Sidespin serves - opponents return

Table Tennis Serving

Last updated 8 years ago

thijs gruwez

thijs gruwez Asked 8 years ago


I have lot’s of serves that have much sidespin (tomahawk serves, pendulum serves and an Ovcharov in a much more basic version let’s say ( J ) ).

I’m trying to figure out which serve I could use that is the safe in terms that less people would try to attack immediately on the return. Because the people that are used to the serves after a while are sometimes bringing me into trouble.

example: when I give a pendulum topspin across, It’s either

1) long & often fast towards the corner of the table.

2) shorter and crossing the side of the table halfway the opponents side.

In both cases the opponent sometimes chop the ball back and then it’s hard for me to attack or smash that ball.

I do know short serves are more safe in general because long means the opponent can attack.

But where should I focus on when doing topspin serves? Are there any basic rules to consider?

Should I try to give shorter topspin serves?

Should I make sure that the ball doesn't cross the side of the table?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Thijs,

I think you would be better focusing on serving with backspin rather than Topspin.  Also keeping the serve short is also a key.

If you can develop a good short backspin serve you will trouble a lot of players.

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Thoughts on this question

Nagaraj Hegde

Nagaraj Hegde Posted 8 years ago

It is a good thing if ur opponent chops. if that is a good chop, just chop it back to him. if that chop does not have much backspin, go for the flick. ull gain the advantage with the flick. (that is the way i play) Alois, is this way of playing ok, or do i need to make some changes.?

Daniel Bibeau

Daniel Bibeau Posted 8 years ago

In my opinion Nagaraj you a correct pending the return is short.... any long backspin returns can be attacked by driving and generally the first to drive takes initiative and has advantage of attacking. 

That i assume is the logic behind Alois' advice of serving short backspin... nearly impossible to attack so opponent is forced to cut ball back short which is not all that easy to do... well maybe for Alois and Jeff it is... 

Nagaraj Hegde

Nagaraj Hegde Posted 8 years ago

Yes, Daniel. a flick for a short return, and a topspin for a long return is the key to gain the advantage. and i dont think pushing the ball back short is quite difficult as it is a basic stroke of table tennis. and its possible to attack on short backspin serves. however needs a lot of practice and skills. ( i really want to flick on short services, but i am unable to do so).

Daniel Bibeau

Daniel Bibeau Posted 8 years ago

Yeah I suppose you are right, attacking a short backspin serve is possible yet difficult... I guess I was thinking more as a J-pen holder which is super hard to attack a good short serve ... (I see a lot of shakehand plyrs and c-pen players prefer taking those serves on their backhand to get that wrist flick shot going - really cool shot, I'm kind of jealous... lol - that option is not there for us J-pen players) soyou would have to read the service perfectly and jump all over it on FH and even then if the ball isn't bouncing higher than the net and is placed well short it's ambitious to try and attack - you do see Ryu Seung Min occasionally do that but not often and he was the best J-pen holder (in those couple years of his prime).  About pushing the ball back short - sure it's not difficult to do vs. basic cut serve but vs. good servers who are throwing all kinds of stuff at you - it is difficult to keep it short and well positioned enough to avoid getting smoked on the third ball.

Yeah, keep practicing on that BH flick shot on short services.... that shot is awesome and I love seeing players do it.  If you can add that to your game consistently I'm sure you'll find a whole new level.  Good luck Nagaraj!

Nagaraj Hegde

Nagaraj Hegde Posted 8 years ago

Thnx Daniel. And Good luck with your J-penhold BH flick as well. I don't know much about the penhold as I am a Shakehand grip user.

Daniel Bibeau

Daniel Bibeau Posted 8 years ago

Thanks Nagaraj - I'm not planning on trying to make BH flick a part of my repertoire, I do know one player in Seoul that can pull it off but it's not a shot J-pen holders use (I assume that's why the Chinese developed their style of penhold).  I am jealous of that shot though equally from shakehanders and c-pen holders to be able to flick it like that when the ball is short and square in the center of your body - so sweet.  As far as I know J-pen players settle with blocking, pushing and cutting when the ball is in that position or dropping left foot back and pivoting to get the ball on the side of your body for a BH drive and/or counting on quick footwork and anticipation to take full advantage of the J-pen and that of course is the FH drive (not to mention J-pen rackets and style is just so cool.... lol)

About your last post on other thread - I'm sure from the comments I've read from you that you do in fact count yourself lucky to be playing against a player you feel is more advanced than you... so keep it up and enjoy the challenge while you improve.

Quick side question (simply out of curiosity) .... where do you play and do you encounter many J-pen holders there.  


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