How to Return Sidespin Serve

How to Return Sidespin Serve

Welcome back to my blog. I’m EmRatThich.
Today, let’s learn how to return a sidespin serve, short and safely with Michael Maze. Maze announced his retirement in 2016, saying “after several operations, I can no longer train one hundred percent without pain and therefore not compete at the level I’m used to.”

About Michael Maze

Michael Maze is a former professional table tennis player from Denmark. His strength is in his strong forehand loop and lobbing. He is currently considered to be the best, defensive lobbers in the world. His strong forehand loop, his forehand pendulum serve, and his confident defensive play away from the table make him a top world class player.

Maze is considered as one of the best lobber in the world
Maze is considered as one of the best lobber in the world

Michael Maze’s equipment

Maze currently uses a Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit Blade with Butterfly Tenergy 05 on the forehand and the backhand.

The blade used by Michael Maze: Timo Boll Spirit Acrylate carbon
The blade used by Michael Maze: Timo Boll Spirit Acrylate carbon

He changes the rubber every 2 weeks.

I hope that he will come back because table tennis is such a great sport!

How to return a topspin/sidespin serve

Let’s see the demonstration:

Learn how to read the spinny serve in table tennis

Really impressive, right?

Yes, Maze has a really good service receive skills. Pro players train 6-7 h daily until they master the skill. But don’t worry! I will give you 3 tips to return the sidespin serve correctly.

  • Tip 1: Early timing in service returning
  • Tip 2: Contact near the racket handle
  • And Tip 3: Receive the serve on the “rotation axis”

If you don’t know, why top players prefer doing the sidespin serve, watch this video for the real reason.

Tip 1: Early Timing

Tip 1: To keep your return short, you should contact the ball in the early timing. At the position 1 to 2 timing. If you hit the ball late, it’s very difficult to keep your return low, and short. So the opponent will attack your return easily.

Timing position to return the spinny serve in table tennis
Timing position to return the spinny serve in table tennis

Here are the timing position: from 1 to 5. I’ve explained the “hitting timing” in a previous PingSunday video. Search “Optimal timing table tennis” to watch it. So you should contact the ball at position 1 to 2.

Tip 1 - Contact the ball in the early timing to keep the return short
Tip 1 – Contact the ball in the early timing to keep the return short

Tip 2: Contact near the racket handle

Well, you know what, sidespin ball has a lot of energy. So to return it short, you need to absorb energy, otherwise, you can’t return it short correctly. But how?

I’ve explained the PingSunday video, named “Contact Point in Table Tennis”. To absorb the energy of the service, you need to hit the ball, near the handle of your racket. Here, at the position (1,2) and (2,2).

Contact Point during a service receive to absorbe energy
Contact Point during a service receive to absorbe energy

Because the velocity of your racket at this position is minimum. So your return is less affected by the spin.

Let’s see it with Michal Maze’s contact position.

Contact Position to reduce the spin of the opponent serve
Contact Position to reduce the spin of the opponent serve

Can you see it? Yes, great!

OK! Tip 1 and Tip 2 is the easiest one. But the last tip is very difficult for the new players. So please concentrate right now, because this one will decide the quality of your return.

Tip 3: Read the “rotation axis” on service

Well, Chinese coach says “You can return every ball short, no matter how much spin on the ball”.

Yes! but the problem is you must hit “on” the rotation axis. If not, you will “eat” the spin of the ball.

On the rotation axis, there is “no rotation”, “no energy”, right? Look at here, it’s on the North, and South Pole of the globe.

Rotation Axis on the spinny globe
Rotation Axis on the spinny globe

“Ting!”, Aha!
So imagine is the incoming ball with pendulum sidespin. So hit the ball, at on the bottom back. Here, on the rotation axis. So you won’t “eat” the spin.

The last skill is the hardest. To learn this feeling, practice a lot, and you can realize where is the rotation axis of the ball.

Hope you improve your table tennis skills everyday!
And don’t forget to support my channel (share, comment, and offer me a coffee, if you like).

I’m EmRatThich, see you again.

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