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November 27, 2007

Service Return Tips

Last night I had my second lesson with Ivan, and this time he helped me on a major downfall in my game: returning serves. I honestly lose two thirds of my points because I cannot read the spin, nor can I craftfully return heavy sidespin.

Dealing with long serves:
If the service is long (it only bounces once on the table), the best return strategy is to loop the shot back (if it has heavy underspin), or to hit it at the apex of the bounce and treat it as a normal forehand or backhand topspin shot. Sometimes the server will hit a quick ball to your backhand. If this happens and you are unprepared, simply block the shot. Do not risk swinging and missing because as soon as the ball bounces it is going to pick up speed. If you are unprepared for this serve do not try to be fancy, just react with a block.

Long serves deserve to be punished with an attack. Do not push them or chop them unless you are out of position.

Countering Short Serves:
If the serve is bouncing close the net, you cannot loop it. Instead, you perform a short push on balls with underspin (make sure not to snap the wrist). Try to land the shot close to the net- you don't want the server to have a ball that he can attack. If you are receiving sidespin, do a quick topspin shot to the opposite side of the table. Pushing a sidespin ball will cause it pop up in the air- Ivan slammed all of my returns when I would push. The goal with this shot is to quickly attack the open side of the table.

Short serves need to be approached with caution, remember this.

Be sure to practice these return strategies if you have been struggling with heavy spins like me. If you need help judging the spin on the ball, be sure to read this article from ehow.com

Posted by djablons at November 27, 2007 04:27 PM