Third ball play

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 7 years ago

Pronit Roy Chowdhury

Pronit Roy Chowdhury Asked 10 years ago

My friends were telling me something about third ball play. What is it and how can one master it?

Thanks in advance sir.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 10 years ago

Hi Pronit,

Third ball refers to the third ball in the rally.  The serve is the first ball, the return is the second and then comes the third ball.

The idea is to be able to make an attacking stroke on the third ball by using an effective serve.

In Table Tennis it is often the person that can make the first attacking stroke that will win the point.  That is why the third ball is so important for the server.

It is related to your ability to serve well and create those opportunities.

To get better at it work on your serves and especially your Forehand Topspin Off Backspin. These are the two critical elements of having a good third ball attack.

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Pronit Roy Chowdhury

Pronit Roy Chowdhury Posted 10 years ago

Thank you sir for the video 

Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

You're welcome Pronit. I hope it helps you out.

YK Wong

YK Wong Posted 10 years ago

Thanks a lot! I will follow your instruction and practise.

Salvatore Arpaia

Salvatore Arpaia Posted 10 years ago

Well, in this video you mentioned that if you have a strong backhand you should go for spinny backhand as third ball attack. This could be my case. Any hint on how to favor your opponent playing on that side his second ball?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Hi Salvatore,

By serving more to their backhand corner they are more likely to have the angle to put the ball back to your backhand side.  Also think about the spin that you are putting on the serve.  You can put sidespin that will tend to make the ball come to this side.

Experiment with your serves to see which of them gives you the best results. 

aishik das

aishik das Posted 10 years ago

show me please the reverse pendulum serve


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

This is shown in a previous question.  Search for it on the Ask the Coach section.  At the top of the page you will see a box that says "what would you like to know about Table Tennis".  Type in Reverse Pendulum Serve and you will see that there are a lot of responses.  If you go through them you will also find a video we have made on the topic.

trilochan singh

trilochan singh Posted 10 years ago

I often see third back attack as topspin shot. If it returns by opponent then drive shot will come. Am I correct Alois.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Yes Trilochan either a drive or another topspin.  If the ball comes high it can even be a smash.

Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 7 years ago

But what about serving fast and long rather than short? Do you think that tactics that involves fast and long nospin serve and then a strong counter-attack can be effective? What are the best sequences to practice for this kind of play?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 7 years ago

Hi Ilia,

The fast serve can be useful at a certain level, especially if they are struggling with your spin and speed.  At a higher level, the long serve can be easily attacked by your opponent.  It can still be used as a variation and surprise tactic.

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