View Full Version : Match losing conclusions and how to improve them.

Kwon Jae Wu
09-09-2017, 06:55 AM
Hi guys. I finished my match and did some review on why i lose the match. Here are some of the crucial mistakes that i made and would like to hear your coaching advice.

1)I can't receive service well and always lose points once i am the receiver.
2)I can't read the spin and don't know how to receive some specific service that i have never seen before.
3)I can't find a way to calm my nervousness during my match and that's probably my biggest biggest reason why i lost the match.

I need your advises and tips in order to improve myself and not make the same mistakes again. Thanks guys.

09-09-2017, 08:24 AM

for reading service try to pay close attention to what your opponents bat is doing at contact. What types of service receive errors are you making? Are you popping the ball up or downright losing the point on his serve?

That you don't know how to receive serves you haven't seen before is completely understandable. My advice for you would be to keep exposing yourself too them and try to stay focused and watch the serve action. Whatever the serve is the principles are similar. Also pay attention to the types of mistakes you're making to whatever serve your opponent is doing, is your bat angle too open/too closed for that particular serve? If so try adjusting until you get it right.

Nervousness is likely to affect your focus so it's not surprising that particularly receive of service is affected as this element requires a lot of attention. Perhaps try some deep breathing and tell yourself to pay full attention to what your opponent is doing at contact, block everything out (easily said I know). Preparation is also key, see if you can find someone who can serve to you outside of a match environment.

This video might be useful to you


I don't know your level, some of this advice might be obvious to you, hope it helps anyway. Serve receive is one of the most difficult aspects of table tennis so don't be too hard on yourself.

09-09-2017, 11:33 AM
Service receive is difficult. You need to understand the fundamentals of spin, to read through all sorts of deception, to execute a proper return action and to adjust to what the opponent likes and doesn't like. You also need a positive attitude.

The key point is: you have to practice. But first, you should make sure you understand how spin works, how the ball rotates and have a naive understanding of how the elastic rubber reacts and propels the ball back. Why? Because it will be clearer for you what is really essential to obtain some type of spin and what isn't. This gives you the theory to figure out disguises, either when you serve or receive.

Then comes practice. My advice to you is to practice serves a lot. Not just serve consistency. Things you don't know. Try to copy serves that gave you trouble. Not exactly, but approximately. Understand the key deceptive trick and make it your own. Try out stuff. Fail a lot. Try to copy serve styles of world class players. At first if you are completely at a loss of what to do and what serve actions to try, make your goal to find ways to load the ball with as much spin as possible. Any progress in serving will probably improve your ability to read serves.

Then there is receive practice. When training, don't be afraid of failure. Reverse your attitude to feel gratification each time you do something right, be it reading the spin or returning the serve. To read the spin, focus on 1) the ball contact, bat and wrist action, 2) the body action, as some people use body rotation, weight transfer and timing to change the resulting spin, and 3) ball trajectory and better, the rotation of the mark on the ball if the serve is not fast and long. This latter point will save you when you've got no clue what the server is doing and make you feel rad. It's a matter of habit, anyone can do it. Step in, stare at the ball, just delay your return a little bit. It's also very helpful if you are unsure about the amount of spin. Just use the first serves in the game to associate a visual rotation of the mark with a feeling of spin on your blade.

To return the serve, keep it simple. Use your fundamental understanding of spin to figure out what works and doesn't when returning, until it becomes intuition. Let your experiences reshape your fundamental understanding.

To return in a game situation, especially if tense, keep it simple and make it progressive. Be positive. If you are very confident in your serves, you should see every point you make on receive as a bonus and congratulate yourself for it. At first, be happy to figure out the spin and to keep the ball on the table, or to achieve the return you are most comfortable with properly, even if the opponent trashes the 3rd ball past you. For instance, I will often initially push or guide the ball back to the deep backhand of the opponent. I feel I generally can do that roughly right even if I'm tense, making a quality short return is tougher; I also have a strong counter-initiative game. Worst case, the opponent will kill the ball past me. What to get out of it? Confidence and tactics. If I landed the return, congratulations! I use that to relieve the tension. What shot did the opponent make in return? Did they miss? Step around? Were they surprised? Did they trash the ball. If so, it's fine. I know I can 1) improve the quality of my return, or 2) adjust my position, maybe I was standing a bit too close to react to the speed and power? Or 3) return the ball differently. Return is always a compromise between what you can do best and what the opponent does best. The more stuff you try out in practice and practice games, the more options you will have, and the more confident you will grow. Progressively over the course of the game, you can build confidence and improve shot quality (height, placement, spin, pace, deception, etc.). If you suddenly feel tense, go back to what you do best.

Remember, don't be too harsh on yourself! Play the point, be positive even if you think your return was crap. After all, defense and fishing is fun :p

In short, understand, practice, be positive and have fun.

Random tips:
- what the opponent doesn't like is not what you don't like. Take credit for the opponent's mistakes. Probably it wasn't just a silly unforced error.
- do not just push. Larry Hodges has a great tip on that, make it a memorable push. For instance, push deep and spinny to the backhand corner or to the cross-over point, or fake it and float it. It's incredible how many points you can score from a push if you put your heart into it, even at a good amateur level. Why? Because people don't focus on your push action as much as on your serve action: it's just a push. So set them up over the course of the game with heavy spin - no spin pushes. If you're lucky, they'll discard the first mistakes as flukes. You can really shake their confidence by making them miss their strong shots. At the very best level, look at Ma Long vs. FZD for a great example of how to give trouble to an attack monster.
- Keep them guessing. Variation is key, but at the same time don't forget to hammer what they don't like.
- depending on where and how you take the ball, a side-spin or side-topspin serve for instance can be no spin to you, and you can drop those short in the same manner.

09-09-2017, 11:57 AM
Is M1 your FH and S2 BH and with which rubber you make more mistakes receiving serves?
My advice is to prefer S2 for receiving serves - it's more controlable and spiny with slower balls at closer distance. M1 needs more power to control spin and speed.

09-09-2017, 01:59 PM
How long have you been playing table tennis seriously?

09-09-2017, 05:09 PM
Ritchie and Talbon have already posted some decent information.

Brett Clarke's videos for you to watch and try to read serves are excellent. His app and the serving part of the app also actually helps you read the serves faster and better.

But having someone serve to you and you just trying to receive over and over is really what you need to do most: Serve receive drills is what they are called.

Most people would not want to only be doing the serving because practicing the receive is very valuable. So doing Serve & Receive drills is also good for you to do.

If you are doing them with someone who is higher level than you, you can have them show you ways to receive the serves you are having trouble with.

One more thing: video yourself and watch the videos. It will help you see and improve mistakes. If you posted video to the forum people would be able to help you more. But, just viewing footage of yourself playing will help you see things and improve.

Sent from The Subterranean Workshop by Telepathy

09-10-2017, 06:30 AM
The crucial thing on your list is number 2 - reading service spin. If you can't read the service spin, you have no chance of returning well. This will make you nervous for your matches, as you probably feel you have a lack of control.

Receiving is difficult and it does take a lot of practice (and a long time) to get good at. So there is no simple solution which is going to solve your issues. It is something every table tennis player has gone through - so you are not alone.

First step is trying to understand service spin better. As mentioned above Brett Clarke's videos are good. I have a video on reading service spin, which you may find useful - http://www.tabletenniscoach.me.uk/video-read-service-spin/

Even though players can have very different (and unusual) service actions, they can't invent new spins. It's either going to be backspin, sidespin, topspin, no spin or variations of this, e.g. side-back, side-top. So don't get too distracted with the service action. Really focus on the contact point of the serve and how the ball moves to work out what spin it is. My video above explains this in a bit more detail.

Then get someone to keep serving at you. Don't even bother to return the ball at first. Just focus on the serve and call out what spin is on the ball. When you start to get this right most of the time, then you can try returning the serves.

Of course, you may need someone's help to tell you how best to return each serve - but this is a huge topic (too much for me to cover here). Your best option is to get a coach or an experienced player to give you some 1-to-1 advice.

09-10-2017, 08:43 AM
Get a load of people to serve to you in practice :) You will learn. Maybe hire a coach for this part.