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Ndragon
01-01-2018, 02:52 PM
I would like to ask what you focus on when receiving serve, or how you read it.
Do you watch the bat to ball contact? What if you can't see it properly or only just about last second?
Do you watch the flight of the ball? or the spin?
Or all of the above.

I have got back into TT few months now and have been doing mostly drills and training with a little multiball (at the very beginning and with celluloid balls). Played some games but with the same training partner and his serves aren't too good.
I have begun playing others again at my club a few weeks ago and now I am able to compete and play with some decent lvl players I am just losing so much from service receive alone whether outright or they get easy 3rd ball. So I am just trying to see what tactics people use to read serves better.

vvk1
01-01-2018, 03:49 PM
I try to concentrate on the flight of the ball over the table and to judge the amount of spin on the ball, almost to the point of ignoring everything else.

No matter how fast/hidden the point of contact is or whatever pre/post-contact deceptive motions the opponent uses physics takes over once the ball is in flight and over the table. If you train your brain to recognize the relationship between speed/spin and trajectory over the table, then your reaction will be automatic.

tropical
01-01-2018, 04:42 PM
I've seen 2100 players lost serve from 2700 players so easily because they could not react to the ball and read the spin correctly. As ITTF rules force players not to hide the serve it means contact of the ball is the most important, not the trajectory or flight of the ball. I think we should pay attention on how the opponent racket touches the ball then the flight will tell type of spin more accurately.

songdavid98
01-01-2018, 04:50 PM
I would like to ask what you focus on when receiving serve, or how you read it.
Do you watch the bat to ball contact? What if you can't see it properly or only just about last second?
Do you watch the flight of the ball? or the spin?
Or all of the above.

I have got back into TT few months now and have been doing mostly drills and training with a little multiball (at the very beginning and with celluloid balls). Played some games but with the same training partner and his serves aren't too good.
I have begun playing others again at my club a few weeks ago and now I am able to compete and play with some decent lvl players I am just losing so much from service receive alone whether outright or they get easy 3rd ball. So I am just trying to see what tactics people use to read serves better.

I look at all the above. Ball contact, flight path, and even looking at the ball spin in midair all helps.

Ball contact can be broken down, such as how fast the paddle is moving in relation to the ball (helps you figure out the amount of spin), and the paddle angle and direction of movement.

There are some other factors, such as how high the ball toss is, height of contact, etc.

***********

One general rule of thumb I have is: if it isn't obviously underspin, it probably isn't underspin. Underspin is probably the hardeset spin to create in terms of effort, and it is easily recognizable with how it makes the ball float in midair.

iammaru
01-01-2018, 05:07 PM
IMO, serve return is the hardest thing in table tennis. So many things to look at: arm/body motion (before, contact, after), contact, sound, speed, trajectory, etc. And you also need to memorize these details, so that the next time your opponent use that serve, you know what spin and how much. I believe that's how the pros read the deceptive serves. They may miss a couple of first serves, but then they memorize the details and next time they know what serve it is.

UpSideDownCarl
01-01-2018, 08:53 PM
Brett Clarke's TTEdge App, the receive of serve part, really helps you practice reading serves. Brett also has a section of his online course that is about watching video to learn to read serves better. The more you practice how to read the serves, the better you get at it, and the faster your brain processes the information you are seeing. Because a lot of it is about brain processing speed.

But when you are reading serves you do want to look at all information. Anything that gives you info that helps you see the spin faster is worth trying to use.

Ndragon
01-01-2018, 10:26 PM
Thanks for the replies. I'll check out that app. I think I just need to get used to playing games with others again and naturally my brain will start seeing it quicker.
Although I am thinking instead of trying to do it all at in one go, i'll focus more on 2 parts at a time.

yogi_bear
01-02-2018, 11:46 AM
a friend of mine who is a very skilled player once told me that reading serves can be really confusing but you can simplify it by practicing a lot of times observing the way the ball behaves when it bounces on your side of the table. it takes a lot practice but when you see the ball goes down with no curving, then it is underspin. if it jerks or has some sideway movement then it has sidespin.
in my opinion, always observe the point of contact in the ball when the server hits it. Brushing the ball always helps when receiving but it differs in point of contact depending on the spin given. Also, observing the logo of the ball if it is visible can tell you that the ball has no spin. It takes practice and experience.

suds79
01-02-2018, 03:54 PM
It's always a challenge and the hardest thing to master in the game... At least for me it is. Just takes years of practice.

Thankfully, or maybe this is a bad thing, I would say most players I run into I would say are not very good servers. There are a lot of players out there who like to simply use their setup points and/or just put the ball in play. Vs these people? No problem.

But every now & then you will run into someone, who you might not be as familiar with, who just gives you fits. I have one guy at club like this. Maybe he has super fast hands but for the life of me, I cannot tell on his pendulum serve if he's doing side/back, pure side, or side/top a lot of times. Needless to say, it gives me trouble. His hand motion is so fast I just can't tell.

But, this has been good practice for me to focus on watching the ball to try to actually see the spin. I use to primarily look at their motion. But I am trying to see the ball more.

That being said, here are some some overall tips I think that help when you're simply baffled by someone's serve.



Is the serve slow or fast? If the serve is coming at you quick, a lot of times I find it's either top or side/top. Feel free to punish them on this with an attack. Hard to serve a backspin ball very fast. I find a lot of slower, maybe floating serves tend to have some backspin on them.
I will let the ball drop a bit (I'm talking below the table on long serves) if I'm stumped on the spin. I feel it gives more time for the spin to cool down, more for me to read the spin of the ball, and if the ball is low, well, I have to pick it up with a soft loop to get it over the net anyways. Regardless if it's pure side or say side/back. Lastly, a long serve you probably should loop anyways so that's why the soft loop on mostly anything long is my preferred service receive. That being said, I'm not fond of always giving someone the same look every time so I'm trying to add in the rare fish or chop vs these serves. Just be sure to take a few steps back off the table in those situations and be ready to counter loop their incoming 3rd ball attack.
I am finding I like to take serve well off the table. Again, more time to read the serve. If they try to drop a short serve on me, I'm quick enough to get in and push. Not too many people can do a really good short 2 bouncer serve with top on it. And if you do run into someone who can? Then just be aware of it. They have to be careful about using that serve too often since it can be easily flipped for a winner.



These pointers are not service receive rules or goals. A lot of them apply to when you're not really sure what's on the ball which in itself is a bad thing. However, if it ever happens to you, give it a go. Maybe it can help.

GabrielO_TT
01-02-2018, 04:19 PM
Coincidentally, I happen to run into a similar situation, but it was for match preparation. A fellow enthusiast advised me to forget about technique and focus on the reaction the ball has on the racket during a match (In simple words, he said "look at the point where the ball makes contact with the racket," but I understood what he was trying to say). It's quite funny how I did this and quickly knew what to do when I ran into difficult-to-read serves and match play in general. Of course, this should and will take a lot of practice to familiarize yourself with variations of serves and how to react, and people with other types of rubber will have different ways of reading the serve, but generally speaking, I guess the best way to prepare for a serve is by looking at the way the ball reacts from the racket, including what everyone above has mentioned.

I would also like to add that everyone's serve will be different: some will definitely have more spin than others and will be trickier to determine the spin the ball has. To overcome this, I simply expose myself to these serves more and try to study them and learn how to return them. It's pretty much trial and error and takes experience to learn return of serve so extensively. This might not be the best reference, as no one you might encounter every day might be at this level, but good practice would be to know what spin the server makes in professional matches, whether professionals in your club or looking at videos of good Chinese servers... You get what I mean. Trying to see how professionals react and the thinking that they do towards different variations of serves and match play usually helps me out when you are essentially trying to do what they do effectively.

Ilia Minkin
01-02-2018, 05:52 PM
The most transformative receive advice (also from TTEdge) I ever got was to always wait for the ball to come long and try to loop preferably with FH heavy spin. The thing is only very good players can serve short and low consistently under pressure. So at amateur level most serves are either intentionally long, or half-long. It has many implications:

1) Often players are not used to opponents looping lousy serves. So if they eventually encounter one, they get under a huge pressure which forces them to miss next shots or even serves as they attempt to serve tighter

2) If you attempt to loop heavily, it gives higher margin for error than if you push/flick. If you misread the serve a bit, there is a chance that your own spin will override the misjudgement.

3) Puts you in the driving seat from the get-go

At first it is not easy to do and attempting to be that aggressive (consistently aggressive though) costs points, games and matches. But as you get better, you will see the results. Once I sticked to this mindset, I started to view almost every match as an excercise in looping serves.

Ndragon
01-02-2018, 06:02 PM
The most transformative receive advice (also from TTEdge) I ever got was to always wait for the ball to come long and try to loop preferably with FH heavy spin. The thing is only very good players can serve short and low consistently under pressure. So at amateur level most serves are either intentionally long, or half-long. It has many implications:

1) Often players are not used to opponents looping lousy serves. So if they eventually encounter one, they get under a huge pressure which forces them to miss next shots or even serves as they attempt to serve tighter

2) If you attempt to loop heavily, it gives higher margin for error than if you push/flick. If you misread the serve a bit, there is a chance that your own spin will override the misjudgement.

3) Puts you in the driving seat from the get-go

At first it is not easy to do and attempting to be that aggressive (consistently aggressive though) costs points, games and matches. But as you get better, you will see the results. Once I sticked to this mindset, I started to view almost every match as an excercise in looping serves.

oooooh I like this! I will definitely bare this in mind

Ilia Minkin
01-02-2018, 06:11 PM
Forgot to add another point:

4) In TT we have lots of shots that we can use for receive: flicks, pushes, loops, bananas and strawberries. It is hard to be good at them all unless you are a pro. But it is on every player's list to develop a good FH. And if your FH is good and you know that you can use it against, say, 75% of serves it makes you feel much, much more confident and calm when receiving. Because it does not matter if your short push/flick is not good, you won't need it much.

NextLevel
01-02-2018, 06:35 PM
If someone serves to the short forehand from the backhand corner, the serve is usually short and high or long and loopable. I just wait for the ball to come long or ttry to flick it at first. It is when they prove that they can get it short with quality that I then start trying to push. Or maybe that they can play behind it when I flick. Serving short with quality down the line is difficult. Especially if the serve is not backspin.

Lightzy
01-02-2018, 08:25 PM
Spin is important but I'd go out on a limb and say that the most important thing you should be reading quickly isnt the spin but rather if the serve is short or long.

I think you should always try to return serves agressively.

A long serve you should learn to topspin back, which makes the spin on the serve not very important, and actually turns it to your advantage..
Whereas with a short serve you need to quickly get your right leg under the table and your whole body leaning onto the table to flick (also ignoring most spin) or return with a very short touch. And you have to do this *very* quickly or you'll miss the ideal contact or still be moving when you contact the ball which will destroy your shot.

Id suggest to first practice short serve short return and then short serve backhand flick and then tackle long serves which are a bit trickier because of shorter reaction time.

NextLevel
01-02-2018, 08:36 PM
Spin is important but I'd go out on a limb and say that the most important thing you should be reading quickly isnt the spin but rather if the serve is short or long.

I think you should always try to return serves agressively.

A long serve you should learn to topspin back, which makes the spin on the serve not very important, and actually turns it to your advantage..
Whereas with a short serve you need to quickly get your right leg under the table and your whole body leaning onto the table to flick (also ignoring most spin) or return with a very short touch. And you have to do this *very* quickly or you'll miss the ideal contact or still be moving when you contact the ball which will destroy your shot.

Id suggest to first practice short serve short return and then short serve backhand flick and then tackle long serves which are a bit trickier because of shorter reaction time.


Why tackle short serves first since you are hardly going to see them in a match at the level most of us play at?

GabrielO_TT
01-02-2018, 09:20 PM
I was taught to always expect long serves; You can always move inwards to the table in time if its a short serve, but not backwards away from the table if it's a long serve.

Ndragon
01-02-2018, 09:59 PM
A lot of interesting pointers. The part about always expecting the serve long I will also keep in mind.
I will re read through this thread before I go to my session tomorrow :)

Ndragon
01-02-2018, 10:47 PM
Oh wow that TTedge app seems really good. Is it worth paying for the entire thing?
I really found myself watching the flight of the ball and being correct most of the time. But if I watched the contact I failed a lot lol

NextLevel
01-02-2018, 11:16 PM
I was taught to always expect long serves; You can always move inwards to the table in time if its a short serve, but not backwards away from the table if it's a long serve.

This is what unless taught as well. Unfortunately it seems to me that some of us like to dispense advice without ever discussing our qualifications so that advice can be placed in context.

NextLevel
01-02-2018, 11:18 PM
Oh wow that TTedge app seems really good. Is it worth paying for the entire thing?
I really found myself watching the flight of the ball and being correct most of the time. But if I watched the contact I failed a lot lol
Yes. It costs less than an hour of cheap coaching.

TTFrenzy
01-02-2018, 11:45 PM
I would like to ask what you focus on when receiving serve, or how you read it.
Do you watch the bat to ball contact? What if you can't see it properly or only just about last second?
Do you watch the flight of the ball? or the spin?
Or all of the above.

I have got back into TT few months now and have been doing mostly drills and training with a little multiball (at the very beginning and with celluloid balls). Played some games but with the same training partner and his serves aren't too good.
I have begun playing others again at my club a few weeks ago and now I am able to compete and play with some decent lvl players I am just losing so much from service receive alone whether outright or they get easy 3rd ball. So I am just trying to see what tactics people use to read serves better.

1.Focus on the ball peripheral vision does the rest and gives you hints when the server is predictable. Try to understand how he is serving, very few players are good servers because it is mostly about talent creativity and fantasy.

2. Check where the ball is touching the paddle, I focus very much on that and I take a ''snapshot'' of the contact point which makes me decide immediately what to do with the serve.

3. Focus on sound, extremely crucial also to ''feel' the amount of spin imparted , close your eyes or turn your back when ur training mate is serving and try to guess how much spin there is on the ball (practice full underspin to no spin variations)

Those 3 are fundamental, after u master those then it is a mater of how comfortable and familiar u are with the opponent and his routines

Lightzy
01-03-2018, 12:07 AM
Why tackle short serves first since you are hardly going to see them in a match at the level most of us play at?

I think it is better to start with short serves because it makes you develop good habits which are also necessary in the rest of the game and which are easier to develop when practicing short-serve-return techniques. Most importantly getting your whole body in position quickly, not moving your 'structure' forward during the shot or ur ball goes out or in the net. Also leaning into the table which improves pushes a lot in general and forces low body position. It also gives very very defined goal in the return; to have the ball land an inch behind the net etc, and it's very fun in training to have very clearly defined goals like this, which really aren't very hard to achieve.

I think if you start with fast long serves first it's not as easy to build these good habits, but I suppose yes it is personal preference ultimately. Learning to be measured and precise with body movement when you have fast balls coming at you is harder, I think.

NextLevel
01-03-2018, 01:05 AM
I think it is better to start with short serves because it makes you develop good habits which are also necessary in the rest of the game and which are easier to develop when practicing short-serve-return techniques. Most importantly getting your whole body in position quickly, not moving your 'structure' forward during the shot or ur ball goes out or in the net. Also leaning into the table which improves pushes a lot in general and forces low body position. It also gives very very defined goal in the return; to have the ball land an inch behind the net etc, and it's very fun in training to have very clearly defined goals like this, which really aren't very hard to achieve.

I think if you start with fast long serves first it's not as easy to build these good habits, but I suppose yes it is personal preference ultimately. Learning to be measured and precise with body movement when you have fast balls coming at you is harder, I think.


What level.have you played or coached at? Is this how your coach taught it to you? Just curious.

Lightzy
01-03-2018, 02:24 AM
What level.have you played or coached at? Is this how your coach taught it to you? Just curious.

I think arguments should be judged only on their own merit and so i dont answer that. Also it is a matter of privacy.
If I volunteered that information it would color your consideration of my words and I dont think thats good.

If you can consider what i write as it is and discuss or argue against it i am always willing, out of love for the sport.
I'm sorry if that does not satisfy you

NextLevel
01-03-2018, 02:51 AM
I think arguments should be judged only on their own merit and so i dont answer that. Also it is a matter of privacy.
If I volunteered that information it would color your consideration of my words and I dont think thats good.

If you can consider what i write as it is and discuss or argue against it i am always willing, out of love for the sport.
I'm sorry if that does not satisfy you

Understood. I think in general that giving TT advice needs a certain level of experience and lots of things people say should take into account the level of the person they are giving advice too. Too often, I have read many internet experts give lots of advice without being willing to share how they arrived at this advice.

I think that your level will and should color my consideration of your advice. My level is 2000 USATT and I don't pretend or profess to seriously coach players above that level. A lot of my experience is mostly of value because I improved mostly as an adult and I have insight into the challenges that an adult learner faces which are not quite the same as those faced by someone who played this game as junior. That said, my game and style has a lot of limitations for a variety of reasons and I cannot pretend to know everything though I have worked with high level coaches.

A lot of what you write doesn't sound like the kinds of insights that come from someone who has seriously tried to help other people, especially adults, improve. I could be quite wrong, but that is my impression. That's why I am asking what I am asking. Good coaches disagree all the time, but it helps to know that the person you are disagree with is a coach.

Arguments being judged on their own merits makes it sound like TT is the kind of sport where all advice is correct without regard for the specific player. I think experience coaching disabuses one of such notions. One begins to realize that given the limitations of players who do not train a certain way, level and style appropriate advice is very important.

Lightzy
01-03-2018, 03:12 AM
Then we are entirely in agreement.
There is a lot of advice out there, and specifically in threads where people are actively soliciting advice i think it is worthwhile to share what you can. But of course some advice may be entirely unhelpful for a specific person while good for another.

I think my advice here was suitable for the level of the question and im sure it is good in general but of course it is hard to understand without a coach to guide and scrutinize the exact execution of it. Just saying "return the ball short" doesnt magically hone the skill.
And of course i have no idea, perhaps the player is older and with knee problems etc and cant execute it. So the advice is general.

Thats the nature of such a forum i think. It is somewhat non specific. Unless everyone record themselves and share it is impossible to be exact but privacy is a concern shared by many, and ultimately, if many of us answer a question, it is likely that the person with the question will end up with some advice that suits him.

NextLevel
01-03-2018, 03:29 AM
Then we are entirely in agreement.
There is a lot of advice out there, and specifically in threads where people are actively soliciting advice i think it is worthwhile to share what you can. But of course some advice may be entirely unhelpful for a specific person while good for another.

I think my advice here was suitable for the level of the question and im sure it is good in general but of course it is hard to understand without a coach to guide and scrutinize the exact execution of it. Just saying "return the ball short" doesnt magically hone the skill.
And of course i have no idea, perhaps the player is older and with knee problems etc and cant execute it. So the advice is general.

Thats the nature of such a forum i think. It is somewhat non specific. Unless everyone record themselves and share it is impossible to be exact but privacy is a concern shared by many, and ultimately, if many of us answer a question, it is likely that the person with the question will end up with some advice that suits him.

I doubt we are entirely in agreement when you post advice that I have never heard a good coach recommend and consider it level appropriate for a player who I am fairly sure is below my playing level.

Wanting to maintain privacy is fine but it makes no sense to be so quick to offer advice to people if you are not willing to at least share some of the experience that supports it. There are players on this forum that many of us have never seen play before and whose names most of us will never know but who at least have provided enough evidence of their level of play for us to be confident that their background supports the advice they give. You have often given a lot of advice that I have considered dubious and usually it's not a big deal unless you continue to do it and at some point, people start taking people like you seriously (as I once did when I first got on the internet) without being able to tell when someone actually had insight into what solves their problems. People like you provided advice that sent me the wrong way and had me debating stupidly with my coaches sometimes. Later when I found out their level of play, I realized why.

In any case, feel free to continue to offer advice. But I am very doubtful that you really know what you are talking about when you write a lot of the things you write.

Lightzy
01-03-2018, 03:38 AM
Perhaps we have known different coaches and obviously we have different methodologies. I however have no need to criticize yours.
Like I said, if you find something in specific dubious you can ask about it if you want and I will explain my meaning regarding the matter itself.
I have no wish to pander to the antagonistic facet of your postings though i am fine with your doubts.

UpSideDownCarl
01-03-2018, 04:45 AM
It is true. There are often times when someone on the forums is making posts offering information and advice and trying to make it sound like they know what they are talking about. And then you see footage of them playing and it is kind of embarrassing that the person was even trying to give technique or training advice.

Sometimes, when someone has posted footage of themselves playing TT, and then they are giving advice on technique and training skills, the way they present is much more careful and they are much more mindful of considering the person they are giving advice to, than when someone is going out of their way to not show footage of their own play while trying to give advice to others.

UpSideDownCarl
01-03-2018, 05:19 AM
Hey, just for comedy NextLevel: SmashFan's methods for training were totally crazy. When he would train, all he would ever train was flipping everything:

Short serve->Flip wide angle->attack the flip like it is your third ball attack->counterloop rally->back to top. :)

Not many people would have gotten so good from his training. But he sure did. hahaha.

This coach from Jamaica (Chinese Jamaican), Erol Young, was SmashFan's coach. That was how he trained people. Every so often someone would get good and jump in level from how he trained. But most people went sideways or backwards.

When he was younger Erol trained Tahl and Dave Fernandez. Back when those guys were juvenile delinquents. hahaha.

Der_Echte
01-03-2018, 06:55 AM
Sometimes, forum members are just enthusiastic to contribute, whether they are at a level or not, it is a fact, I was in that boat too, enthusiastically writing posts when I was barely USA average club level.

Xylit
01-03-2018, 09:26 AM
I would like to ask what you focus on when receiving serve, or how you read it.
There are over a dozen criteria you could focus on to get an idea about the incoming service. While it could be helpful to actually focus on single criteria for learning purposes, advanced players usually don't do that anymore but more have a good eye for the service as a whole thing. They perceive critical points automatically and unconsciously. I only have a look at single criteria when I am confronted with a service where my receive failed in an unexpected way multiple times.

- you can have a look at the server's position to get an idea about possible angles
- the higher the ball toss the more spin is possible in theory. however, this is only valid for good players. beginners don't have the timing you need to serve a high ball toss with quality. never follow the ball toss with your eyes.
- contact point ball-racket should be a main criteria to have a look at. Where does he hit the ball (gives you an idea of possible spin)? How much does the handle move (gives you an idea of amount of spin)? What is his service grip (amount of spin / possible services)? Which parts of his racket are visible to you as a receiver (possible spin variation)? etc.
- Position of the server's ellbow could give you a hint about incoming spin. If it is low it should be very hard to serve with topspin for example.
- contact ball-table on the server's side. Gives you an idea about length, spin, angle etc. The ball's bounce gives you more insight to that. Also socond bounce on your half of the table.
- You could have a look at the ball's stamp to get an idea about amount of spin and possibly even spin variation.

And a few things more.

Ndragon
01-03-2018, 10:37 AM
I would like to ask what you focus on when receiving serve, or how you read it.
Do you watch the bat to ball contact? What if you can't see it properly or only just about last second?
Do you watch the flight of the ball? or the spin?
Or all of the above.

Ultimately I was/am asking what YOU personally focus on so it doesn't matter too much what lvl of player you are. I get everyone's points and I thank each and everyone of you for the tips and replies.

I am not new to TT but I have been out the game for so long and haven't put any time or effort into this part of the game yet and for the first time I found myself stuck and a bit frustrated for losing 4-6 points purely on service receive, fair play the opponents were of a Premier local league standard which right now is not my lvl. Although it was never a strong point in my game anyway.

I put my youtube link up in the status thing above my picture if anyone wants to have a look. It was back in 2011 though and I believe I stopped playing then or in 2012 can't remember. What I can say is my open game is actually better than this now, and the opening spin ups faster, I can actually BH loop now too lol. But it should give you a grasp on my lvl of play

RidTheKid
01-03-2018, 11:31 AM
Great post. I couldn't have said it better myself even though I like to think it :D


There are over a dozen criteria you could focus on to get an idea about the incoming service. While it could be helpful to actually focus on single criteria for learning purposes, advanced players usually don't do that anymore but more have a good eye for the service as a whole thing. They perceive critical points automatically and unconsciously. I only have a look at single criteria when I am confronted with a service where my receive failed in an unexpected way multiple times.

- you can have a look at the server's position to get an idea about possible angles
- the higher the ball toss the more spin is possible in theory. however, this is only valid for good players. beginners don't have the timing you need to serve a high ball toss with quality. never follow the ball toss with your eyes.
- contact point ball-racket should be a main criteria to have a look at. Where does he hit the ball (gives you an idea of possible spin)? How much does the handle move (gives you an idea of amount of spin)? What is his service grip (amount of spin / possible services)? Which parts of his racket are visible to you as a receiver (possible spin variation)? etc.
- Position of the server's ellbow could give you a hint about incoming spin. If it is low it should be very hard to serve with topspin for example.
- contact ball-table on the server's side. Gives you an idea about length, spin, angle etc. The ball's bounce gives you more insight to that. Also socond bounce on your half of the table.
- You could have a look at the ball's stamp to get an idea about amount of spin and possibly even spin variation.

And a few things more.

6Finger
01-04-2018, 09:52 AM
From what I figured so far on OP question there are 2 ways on receiving service.
For example lets take Ma Long and Zhang Jike.
1st method -Ma Long will mostly try to neutralize the incoming spinn and make a good placement on the table.
2nd method -Zhang Jike would mostly try to attack every serve to the extent that would even receive with banana in deep FH corner.

So for the 1st method its quite easy to explain, all one needs is really focus only on contact point and nothing else, the toss or the after motion,
and then touch the ball in exactly same space where server contacted it.
If its
underspinn, just under the ball obviously,
sidespinn, on the side that server touched
topspinn, close the racket angle
and all of the combinations of top 3 side-under, side-top and so on.
Of course you still need to judge the amount of spinn and read the contact point and react in time so its not that easy as I wrote it but sure helps a lot.

There is really good video of this method demonstrated by Oh Sang Eun posted by Der_Echte and translated form korean in ooak forum,
Oh Sang says its like acting as a mirror, thats a concept that was easy for me to remember.

For the 2nd method one obviously still need to figure out contact point, predict the flight path, react in time, and attack with GREATER spinn than that one that was produced by server. This obviously needs far greater skill and much more training....

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There is a video of a top Chinese female coach on ITTF youtube chanel where she touches the subject,
I was reminded of it by UpSideDownCarl's comment on SmashFan's training.

She claims that coaches in China at very early age decide on one's receiving tactics based on their feeling for the ball, and are coached from the begining to either calm&place the ball like Ma Long or atack like Zhang Jike.

So maybe that the basis for SmashFan's training, maybe poor feeling for the ball or very good feeling for attacking the ball, or just coaches preference :D

Ndragon
01-04-2018, 11:14 AM
From what I figured so far on OP question there are 2 ways on receiving service.
For example lets take Ma Long and Zhang Jike.
1st method -Ma Long will mostly try to neutralize the incoming spinn and make a good placement on the table.
2nd method -Zhang Jike would mostly try to attack every serve to the extent that would even receive with banana in deep FH corner.

So for the 1st method its quite easy to explain, all one needs is really focus only on contact point and nothing else, the toss or the after motion,
and then touch the ball in exactly same space where server contacted it.
If its
underspinn, just under the ball obviously,
sidespinn, on the side that server touched
topspinn, close the racket angle
and all of the combinations of top 3 side-under, side-top and so on.
Of course you still need to judge the amount of spinn and read the contact point and react in time so its not that easy as I wrote it but sure helps a lot.

There is really good video of this method demonstrated by Oh Sang Eun posted by Der_Echte and translated form korean in ooak forum,
Oh Sang says its like acting as a mirror, thats a concept that was easy for me to remember.

For the 2nd method one obviously still need to figure out contact point, predict the flight path, react in time, and attack with GREATER spinn than that one that was produced by server. This obviously needs far greater skill and much more training....

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


There is a video of a top Chinese female coach on ITTF youtube chanel where she touches the subject,
I was reminded of it by UpSideDownCarl's comment on SmashFan's training.

She claims that coaches in China at very early age decide on one's receiving tactics based on their feeling for the ball, and are coached from the begining to either calm&place the ball like Ma Long or atack like Zhang Jike.

So maybe that the basis for SmashFan's training, maybe poor feeling for the ball or very good feeling for attacking the ball, or just coaches preference :D


This is a very interesting read. If you have a link to that video I would love to watch.
It is a very interesting way to judge it actually, if i think about myself I do like to touch a short serve short but with half long and long serves I always prefer to open the game up. So based on that information I should try and learn to open up short serves if possible too. I will give this a go in my next session.

Ndragon
01-04-2018, 11:22 AM
Yesterday I played with someone new and he agreed after some warm up to play games with 1 person serving the entire game. His serves were decent but I found after re reading all the tips and that TTedge app I was quickly able to adapt. I did find myself relying more on the flight of the ball, I tried to open absolutely everything that didn't bounce twice, also tried to open up on short serves too (not too much success though) only really working if serve was a little high.

All in all was very good and I learnt a lot and felt more comfortable and confident. I will focus more on bat-ball contact at some point as I can definitely feel I need to work on that.

But thanks for all the help

6Finger
01-04-2018, 12:28 PM
This is a very interesting read. If you have a link to that video I would love to watch.
It is a very interesting way to judge it actually, if i think about myself I do like to touch a short serve short but with half long and long serves I always prefer to open the game up. So based on that information I should try and learn to open up short serves if possible too. I will give this a go in my next session.

I think no matter how you receive serves you should attack every long serve, half long can be a bit tricky to judge (for me its an issue, and according to coaches for most) so should be more careful with those.
What I wrote is mostly concerning serves that bounce twice or more on the table.

EDIT:

I have found Der_Echte's post from ooak, forum http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18440

ill paste the translation here (hope he wont mind it)
Oh Sang Uhn discusses service return. He describes the standard ready position and optimal distance of .8 to 1.0 meters from table. He says to position your self (left foot of a right handed player) partially past the BH corner and a little more if your foot work is good. he recommends penholders to stand entirely past BH corner as their foot work and speed is good and it is desireable as a single sided penholder to use FH for every stroke possible.

EDIT: Oh, he says to stand closer to the center of the table as a right handed player facing a lefty serving.

Oh Sang uhn makes TWO revelations about service recieve in this vid.

1) The woman asks Oh S.U. "I have always wondered. How do you figure out how to read the incoming ball's spin and make the right stroke?" Oh Sang uhn responds with the simplest of answers. He say to imagine a mirror right next to the impact. He says to have the racket angled exactly like it would be in the mirror (if making a push return) and push right through the ball. Simple, yet effective. Of course, this means being able to see the exact moment of impact and it assumes the opponent is not using a hidden serve, eh? This applies to bottomspin serves. he shows a technique to deal with topspins by closing the blade some at impact.

So, how does one have a better chance to know the angle at impact? OSU has yet another revelation about this matter.

2) To better read the blade angle at impact, DO NOT watch the ball toss, no matter how high. PAY ATTENTION to the opponent's RACKET throughout the ball toss and backswing.

Wow, 2 simple to understand techniques that pros of rediculous high levels use, yet are easily applied by us amature players.

Cool Stuff.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzGUMlJhh4w&list=PLrQ0-jfHGOBUE2yJoLGjZ2kDmUuEn-4kp&index=26&t=56s

TTFrenzy
01-04-2018, 03:06 PM
I think it is better to start with short serves because it makes you develop good habits which are also necessary in the rest of the game and which are easier to develop when practicing short-serve-return techniques. Most importantly getting your whole body in position quickly, not moving your 'structure' forward during the shot or ur ball goes out or in the net. Also leaning into the table which improves pushes a lot in general and forces low body position. It also gives very very defined goal in the return; to have the ball land an inch behind the net etc, and it's very fun in training to have very clearly defined goals like this, which really aren't very hard to achieve.

I think if you start with fast long serves first it's not as easy to build these good habits, but I suppose yes it is personal preference ultimately. Learning to be measured and precise with body movement when you have fast balls coming at you is harder, I think.

I think it depends on the approach every coach or player has. I always train and prepare my mates to always be ready for a fast shopt, whether it is a serve/receive push,block or topspin near the endline . Those kind of shots are the worst case scenario for every player thats why after u make ur shot u must be ready for a fast ball, balls near the net and semi long are balls that u have comfortable time to react. This kind of training for me is fundamental cause you combine body balance,ready position,shot linkage and many more all in one. of course if ur ball lands extremely close to the net and low, it is rather unlikely u will get a fast quality shot to your endline so again its a win win scenario that you dont need to worry about. Now practicing short serves is a good way to practice feeling and neutralize the spin. There is no good and bad training regime, a good coach or good player must find the training routine that fits him in order to achieve maximum improvement according to what his goals are.

NextLevel
01-04-2018, 04:20 PM
Yesterday I played with someone new and he agreed after some warm up to play games with 1 person serving the entire game. His serves were decent but I found after re reading all the tips and that TTedge app I was quickly able to adapt. I did find myself relying more on the flight of the ball, I tried to open absolutely everything that didn't bounce twice, also tried to open up on short serves too (not too much success though) only really working if serve was a little high.

All in all was very good and I learnt a lot and felt more comfortable and confident. I will focus more on bat-ball contact at some point as I can definitely feel I need to work on that.

But thanks for all the help

For what it's worth, serve return was one of the worst aspects of my game and in some ways, it is generally below my overall playing level even now. I tend to only be able to play someone if they have basic serves or their serves are mostly the same spin (and in that case, mostly backspin). I play better vs backspin than I do vs topspin. And a lot of this is simply down to when I started and how my first serious coach educated me on handling spin. Unfortunately, he was a chopper who used LP on his backhand so while he gave me a good push, he didn't really address adjusting to spin, in part because his game wasn't designed to go in the same direction as mine.

So I formed a bad habit of pushing every serve at first, which worked in matches at first because I had a heavy push and most players at my level didn't do so well at attacking backspin when I first started playing. But as my opponents developed higher levels of spin on their serves and better attacking skills, this no longer worked. But my instincts were already badly formed. I had heard the advice about matching the serving angle, but it hurt me more than it helped because people would serve deceptive side topspin serves with open racket angles and it would mess me up completely.

So Brett (TTEdge) would watch my matches and wonder why I pushed so many topspin serves and I told him that it was two fold - the bigger problem was that I wasn't trained to read them, and the biggest problem was that if I read them, I didn't have a great strategy for dealing with them. So every time I asked him to teach serve return, he told me that it was a waste of time if you couldn't read the spin and that if you read the spin on a serve well, your options for returning it were pretty much infinite. So he told me to wait until the TTEdge app was formed.

The app massively improved my ability to focus on subtle racket angle changes and contact. Many people say things like that the app is limited and when the serves run out, you can't use it anymore etc. But for me, the key is to focus on contact and the way the ball comes off. Look at racket, position before contact, position at contact, position, after contact (the swing trajectory is important for establishing the spin as different things happen if the ball is hit with an angle etc.

But over time, you find too that some people hide the serve - this is when focusing on the ball flight is very important. It was even more important during the hidden serve era and you won't find many people who played seriously during the hidden serve era complaining on and on about serve return. I still don't know how to do this naturally, but I do notice that some serves look *funky* and I realize that they are not the same spin as the other serve that I put into the net, so I don't treat the *funky* ball the same way.

Quality of return is really the issue with serve return. But that is a whole nother topic.

Sometimes, jerking elbows, where the racket starts, looking at where on the racket the ball was contacted, looking at whether they are using pips or inverted, compensating more for sidespin than for topspin - these are things you get with practice and experience, sometimes even subconsciously. Sometimes, the best servers use these subconscious cues to deceive you. Someone who played LGL in his hidden serve heyday said that all the serves came with all the wrong spins.

The last thing I learned over time is something I stress to someone who is losing badly to a good server - continue to probe and realize that if it is a best of 5, your brain will adapt over time, so don't let how badly you are doing returning his serves affect your ability to win on yours. I lost badly to a penhold server at the NA Teams in 2014 (and we had played a few times, he was rapidly improving but the main thing was that I always struggled with his serves) and then I was pissed that I couldn't return his serves. Then I went home and watched the video - I noticed that my return of his serves got better and better throughout the match, and that what really did me in was my inability to play properly behind my own serves. Then I Watched my higher rated club mate play him at a tournament the next month - my clubmate lost the first game unable to return his serves. Then my club mate wins the next game at 9. Then wins the next two games easily and the last game at zero.

So I played the penholder at Nationals the next month in Vegas and I lost the first game again. But this time, I didn't panic and I won the next 3. He assumed I had seriously studied the video of how he served so I returned them better, but the truth was that I just realized that he was a good server, but that he was not such a good player that I needed to play out of my skin to win - I just needed to play well behind my serves and then let my brain adjust and return his serves better in time.

So the main thing is that practice watching the server. It will get better with time and practice. But don't let issues returning serves get to you - if someone is serving so well that you can't read their serves over the course of 3 games, it is usually (though with rare exceptions) someone you wouldn't beat if you could return their serves over the course of 3 games.

Der_Echte
01-04-2018, 05:32 PM
The serve return issues NL talks about are real and he is right, a good server with a follow attack is real tough, you gotta fight fire with fire on your end.

I got by NL in one of my NYC missions on 4 things... my serves troubled him, I had a good attack, his serves troubled me only a tad less, and I pushed a lot of his serves purposely, I could push heavy and vary spin and fall back on blocking.

My sneaky short or talk long top spin serves got me out of trouble time and time again.

I am a certified whimp on serve receive often... so I decide to stay safe, push, keep it on Table at all costs, make it quality if possible and chance spins depth placement pace... then block and hope.

Confidence is a wonderful thing, but when aggressive and also when playing it safe.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

Der_Echte
01-04-2018, 05:38 PM
The feedback NL provided from that night and the other one was exactly what he just said in his recent long post about serve receive. The results came down to serve receive issues... who fared a little worse.

Serve receive is so under emphasized, but has a huge say in the outcome of a match. It seems many players under practice this. NL in his recent vids found a great coach. What she is doing is gunna raise his level 1.5 levels in 6 to 12 months or I eat my hat.

His vids with coach look like he is getting macho man tt training, but coach is helping his return approach and execution in a big way that will impact his match performance HUGELY down the road.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

Ndragon
01-04-2018, 09:06 PM
Yeah you're definitely right. The people I was losing so many points to on service both were very very good, 1 had more variants but over time I did adapt a little, just not enough to get a game. Also when the game did open up I didn't win enough of the points to earn a victory. Although I did win at least 50% of them. So it's a good sign of potential

Der_Echte
01-05-2018, 07:27 AM
Damn 6Fingers, you used the Wayback Machine to find that 5 yr old post of mine from OOAK.

Too bad Dennis TT World forum and about.com forum went under, I got a lot of zany posts from those two forums too.

Lightzy
01-05-2018, 08:35 PM
I think it depends on the approach every coach or player has. I always train and prepare my mates to always be ready for a fast shopt, whether it is a serve/receive push,block or topspin near the endline . Those kind of shots are the worst case scenario for every player thats why after u make ur shot u must be ready for a fast ball, balls near the net and semi long are balls that u have comfortable time to react. This kind of training for me is fundamental cause you combine body balance,ready position,shot linkage and many more all in one. of course if ur ball lands extremely close to the net and low, it is rather unlikely u will get a fast quality shot to your endline so again its a win win scenario that you dont need to worry about. Now practicing short serves is a good way to practice feeling and neutralize the spin. There is no good and bad training regime, a good coach or good player must find the training routine that fits him in order to achieve maximum improvement according to what his goals are.


I think if you teach how to strawberry flick a short serve, it's the same technique for mid-long serve and even long serve which is why I prefer to go with flick first.
At first with short serve because that's how you learn to move your body quickly in position and stop moving it before the flick, and then when there's confidence in the flick, serve a bit longer and a bit longer.

I think this is the best approach because otherwise you have 2 options mainly: Either teach to chop back a long slightly underspin serve (the most common in clubs), which is terrible and habit-forming because it is easy, or to teach how to topspin it back, which is a very difficult thing to learn because it requires too much coordination and feel for topspin to begin with, and especially since you have to do it with the ball speeding towards you, which is not a problem with short serves where you have a lot of time to position and orient and learn.

This, I think, is the best approach, but then I am me and others are not me.


BTW there is a third option I didn't mention which does exactly what you said: to return a very fast ball right to the edge of the table (From a short serve). You do this by raising your whole arm and coming down straight, brushing the ball downwards fast when it's at the top of the jump and putting a lot of backspin on a fast shallow long ball. It wins a lot of points sometimes because you can return a fast shallow backspin ball right to their body when they don't expect but it wont work more than once or twice in a game unless you're very good at it and the ball is very shallow and fast with lots of backspin. If you're not good at it it can be inconsistent and just like an easy chop to topspin back. I do not know what this shot is called in english.

NextLevel
01-05-2018, 09:07 PM
I think if you teach how to strawberry flick a short serve, it's the same technique for mid-long serve and even long serve which is why I prefer to go with flick first.
At first with short serve because that's how you learn to move your body quickly in position and stop moving it before the flick, and then when there's confidence in the flick, serve a bit longer and a bit longer.

I think this is the best approach because otherwise you have 2 options mainly: Either teach to chop back a long slightly underspin serve (the most common in clubs), which is terrible and habit-forming because it is easy, or to teach how to topspin it back, which is a very difficult thing to learn because it requires too much coordination and feel for topspin to begin with, and especially since you have to do it with the ball speeding towards you, which is not a problem with short serves where you have a lot of time to position and orient and learn.

This, I think, is the best approach, but then I am me and others are not me.


BTW there is a third option I didn't mention which does exactly what you said: to return a very fast ball right to the edge of the table (From a short serve). You do this by raising your whole arm and coming down straight, brushing the ball downwards fast when it's at the top of the jump and putting a lot of backspin on a fast shallow long ball. It wins a lot of points sometimes because you can return a fast shallow backspin ball right to their body when they don't expect but it wont work more than once or twice in a game unless you're very good at it and the ball is very shallow and fast with lots of backspin. If you're not good at it it can be inconsistent and just like an easy chop to topspin back. I do not know what this shot is called in english.It's okay, the OP has spoken and said he wanted all opinions on anything serve related, not just how to interpret serves, you are free to write whatever you want. Others who read what you wrote can come to their own conclusion because unless you mistyped a lot of stuff in this response, mine are quite unchanged. Maybe a strawberry flick is the shot around which many people build their serve return strategy - just not me or any coach I have worked with.

tropical
01-05-2018, 09:24 PM
I think little kids start with long serve as they can't return too short serve anyway.