how to return fast and long serve

How to return the long serve in table tennis like a pro

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Welcome back to the PingSunday video. To improve your table tennis skills to the next level, you should improve your return first. Today, we learn how to return the fast and long serve in table tennis.

How to return the long and fast serve in table tennis. Beginners don’t know how to return the long serve correctly, and normally just return it passively. Meanwhile, professional players try to control the placement of the return. Pro players also attack all the long serve. Today, coach EmRatThich explains the best tips to deal with long serve in table tennis.

How to deal with fast and long serve

A player from Indonesia asked me, “Dear sir, I have been going to Guangzhou a few times every year and practicing Chinese style. But when I come back to my country and play some tournaments, I’m having difficulty playing with top players as their style is different from china.

In China, normally most of the players do short serve and open with a backhand flick or short push. But in Indonesia, the players do the fast and long serve. So how to deal with fast and long serve?

question about the long serve
question about the long serve

Two options to return long and fast serve

Here I will give you the 2 options to deal with long serve like a pro.

2 options to deal with long serve
2 options to deal with long serve

Option 1: Attack the long serve with the forehand topspin

First, the best option is always to attack the long serve. Stay 2 steps further from the table, and attack the serve!

Don’t rush, wait for the ball, and hit at the right timing.

If you have a strong backhand, attack it directly with your backhand.

attack the long serve with your backhand topspin
attack the long serve with your backhand topspin

If you can’t attack strongly with your backhand, you can step around (pivot), and attack it with your forehand like many pro players. The rule of thumb is, you should attack every ball which jumps outside of the table!

attack the long ball with the forehand topspin
attack the long ball with the forehand topspin

If you know your opponent will mostly serve long, prepare yourself. Stay 1-2 steps further at your corner, and attack it early. But don’t rush, aim to hit the ball before its highest bounce, position 3 timing.

If they serve long and fast serve to your backhand corner, step around and attack it hard. If they serve directly to the middle and your forehand side, they just give you an “easy point“. What are you waiting for? Just attack it!

pivot to attack the long serve at your backhand corner
pivot to attack the long serve at your backhand corner

Option 2: Use the “active drive” to return the long serve

The second option is a more secure option. It’s the “active drive”. If you don’t have good footwork, or you don’t have the confidence to step around to attack the fast serve strongly, just use the “active drive”.

If you step around and attack the serve, but the opponent can return it fast like this situation then you should use the “active drive”.

So it’s rather risky! If you know that you can’t win the point with your first attack, just use the “active drive”.

Use active drive to return the fast long serve
Use active drive to return the fast long serve

For the “active drive”, don’t aim for the power because you won’t win directly the point with your drive but focus on the consistency and the placement of your return.

Best placements to return a serve

In general, there are 3 placements that you should aim for.

  • (1) return to the opponent wide forehand.
  • (2) return directly to the opponent’s elbow. and
  • (3) return the long serve to the wide backhand.

It depends on your opponent’s playing style. If they are strong with their forehand, return more to their weaker side (backhand side).

return the long serve to their wide backhand side
return the long serve to their wide backhand side

If they are the backhand dominant player, return the serve to their forehand side.

return the long serve to their wide forehand side
return the long serve to their wide forehand side

If they stay too close to the table, return directly to their elbow. And prepare to attack the next ball.

return the long serve to their elbow
return the long serve to their elbow

A good player always tries to control the rally first. By doing this “active drive”, you always control the placement first. Don’t just return the fast serve passively, they will attack your return first!

Ma Long does not always step around to forehand attack. Sometimes, he just uses his backhand drive to safely return the fastball. Focus on the placement to surprise your opponent is the key!

Ma Long used backhand drive to deal with long serve
Ma Long used backhand drive to deal with long serve

In general, fast and long serve does not work well at the high level. A good player always attacks the long serve. So if you want to improve, learn good timing, and practice to attack every long ball.

Ma Long has the good answer to the “King of Serve”, and wins the matches 4-0.

Ma Long has won Wener Schalger 4-0
Ma Long has won Wener Schalger 4-0

Do you like this tutorial?

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