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How to return spin serve in table tennis like a pro

How to return spin serve in table tennis like a pro? This is how the pro players practice their serve return skills.

Whether amateur or professional, receiving the table tennis serve is the most difficult technique.

Hello, welcome back to PingSunday, the best place to learn table tennis. I’m EmRatThich. Today, let’s learn the hardest skill in table tennis, receive the table tennis serve.


Very difficult to read the spin on the serve.

Many amateur players have confirmed with me that returning the serve correctly is their main weakness. How to improve? Serve return is one of the hardest aspects of table tennis. Many players have trouble returning high-quality serves and lack confidence in their decision-making and execution.

Today, coach EmRatThich will translate the training session of coach Che Xiaoxi. She shares her training method for you.

Watch this video:

How to return spin serve in table tennis like a pro

Watch this video.


01 Learn to judge the spin on the serve

Practice judging spin by the flight and bounce of the ball, not by watching the opponent’s ball contact. The opponent may have a deceptive contact point and motion or an illegal disguised serve, thus being able to evaluate the ball’s flight,and judge the bounce are significantly more essential than seeing the ball contact.

learn to judge the spin on the serve
learn to judge the spin on the serve

There are no spin serve, underspin serve and topspin serve.

Here is my tips! A serve that floats through the air and stops sharply after the second bounce is likely a strong underspin serve.



While a serve that cuts through the air more rapidly is likely topspin serve. Topspin serve will kick forward (kick effect).

Nospin serves bounce softly on the second bounce.


02 Lower your stance

To read the serve better on the spin, you need to lower your stance. You will observe the spin and the bounce of the serve easier.

lower your stance
lower your stance


03 Use the right footwork

To deal with the short serve, or the long serve, you need to step in or to step out of the table.
On the serve return, use your feet.

use the right footwork
use the right footwork


04 Let the ball drop if you can’t see the spin

If you’re having problems estimating the opponent’s spin, take the ball a little later to see what it does on the second bounce. Give yourself margin and don’t aim for perfection. This is especially critical if you’re unfamiliar with your opponent’s serves.

let the ball drop
let the ball drop

It’s also crucial for drop shots, which are hard to control if the ball is too flat. Learn to offer your serve returns some cushion while keeping them low to challenge the opponent.


05 Practice many type of serve as possible

Try as many serves as possible. This includes players who aren’t as good as you yet serve well. Playing practice games against different players and working on serve return errors might improve your serve return.

practice many type of serve
practice many type of serve

There are too many types of serve: no spin serve, float serve, topspin serve, sidespin serve, fast serve, pendulum serve, reverse pendulum serve, etc. So you need to practice and learn to return all of these types of table tennis serves.

That’s it. See you in the next video.



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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

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