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  1. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #1

    Help on reading serve?

    Im fine at receiving serve from good players who can clearly generate spin. I can push their underspin, or drive their topspin.Â

    But i struggle against lower level players. They are apparently Trying to make underspin, but actually doesnt spin much so my push pops up too high.Â

    Then next time i overcompensate and dump the ball into the net.Â

    Or i try to loop their serve, but there is no spin and my shot goes long.Â

    Any advice against these junk serves?Â
    Â

  2. Lycanthrope is offline
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    #2
    Lower level players may not intend to do this, but those service are still service deception.

    If they are really lower level players who can't serve proper backspin, then you simply treat it as no spin. But things are not that simple, a low level player may be very good at service.

    So, it is a big topic.

    If you just want to win the guy, then simply push the ball high to him with a little backspin and down the line. He won't be able to kill the ball in many cases.
    Last edited by Lycanthrope; 09-21-2021 at 09:49 AM.

  3. vvk1 is offline
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    #3
    First, stop calling these serves "junk serves". You are after all struggling with them - these so called lower level players might even be serving like that on purpose to exploit your weakness against these serves.

    Second, when pushing such no-spin serves, try gently contacting the ball on the left or right side instead of digging under the ball.

    Finally, do not loop these serve like they are loaded with underspin. Close the bat angle a bit to keep the ball on the table.

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  4. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by vvk1
    First, stop calling these serves "junk serves". You are after all struggling with them - these so called lower level players might even be serving like that on purpose to exploit your weakness against these serves.

    Second, when pushing such no-spin serves, try gently contacting the ball on the left or right side instead of digging under the ball.

    Finally, do not loop these serve like they are loaded with underspin. Close the bat angle a bit to keep the ball on the table.

    Its not as simple as every ball comes with no spin. Some come with slight spin, some with no spin. The player himself doesnt seem to know what spin he is imparting. Its random and unpredictable.

    Its like a when somebody just smashes all the buttons at the arcade fighting game and ends up winning. Those players are hard to beat.

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  5. Lazer is offline
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang

    Its random and unpredictable.

    Sounds like a perfect serve...

    Cheers
    L-zr

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  6. Funk Fu Master is offline
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    #6
    This is what works for me ..

    For short no-spin serves, I simply push the ball back with an FH action a bit similar to a tomahawk serve - The face of the blade only a bit open, pushing my forehand forewords, with a slight snap of the wrist..

    Technically, the best way to return short, no-spin serves, is to flip it, but I can't manage this stroke.

    If the serve is long to my FH then, I do the following..
    1. 😂
    2. Drive fast & hard... with closed racquet angle, moderate brush, forward stroke..
    3. Easy Point..



  7. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #7
    Yep. If the serve has random spin and you keep getting fooled, it might actually be a higher level serve. No good player will just keep putting the same amount of spin on the ball and make it so it is easy to read.

    Best suggestion is to practice reading serves.

    There is an app called Table Tennis Edge where there is a game where you get to practice reading serves. It actually helps. TTEdge, on their website has a section with video of players serving for you to practice reading serves as well. When you are waiting at your club and not playing, watching the players serves and trying to read them will help.

    Higher level serves are actually about deception, not about more spin. A good player will be able to load spin on the ball on their serves. But they will also be able to make something look pretty close to the same with a totally different kind or level of spin. A dead ball serve that looks like it is loaded is a high level serve.

    Ma Lin lived by Spin/No Spin serves and he had amazing serves.

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  8. vvk1 is offline
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang

    Its not as simple as every ball comes with no spin. Some come with slight spin, some with no spin. The player himself doesnt seem to know what spin he is imparting. Its random and unpredictable.

    Its like a when somebody just smashes all the buttons at the arcade fighting game and ends up winning. Those players are hard to beat.

    Sounds like you're only able to "read" the spin on the serve if you recognize the serve action. And so you're having difficulties with the kinds of serves you describe - which have no "clear" spin generation.

    Ask someone to do different types of serves to you, same serve a few times in a row. Observe and try to remember how the ball travels over the table, how it accelerates or slows down or floats, which side it curves towards, whether the ball logo is visible for each type of serve. Then try to learn to react to serves not by looking at the serve action but by observing what the ball does on the table. This will improve your ability to read serves even against unfamiliar players who do not "clearly" generate spin.

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  9. Attitude is offline
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    #9
    If you want to read serves you need to hard focus on the racket angle and movement in the moment the ball is touched by it. Learn to ignore the rest.
    It might help to check if your opponent is able to use his wrist during his play. If not his abilities to serve with huge amount of spin is roughly limited especially with pendulum serves.

    If i play against players below my level i usually try to copy backhand orientated players like FZD or Lin Gaoyuan and hit all of their serves with a similar flick. In that moment i admire how fast they transition their backhand to their forehand side, but from time to time i am kinda able to do the same.

    And another tip: If the ball is slowly coming your way you can focus on the ball rotation by observing the writing on the ball. This should help at least with newer balls on which the writing is clearly to see.

  10. Brs is offline
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    #10
    Are these all long serves? Why are you pushing them? Just loop them with a focus on spin, not trying to kill the ball. Aim for the center of the table if you need to. If you do that it won't matter if they have a little spin or none at all.

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  11. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #11
    The reason I refer to them as "junk" is because the player has poor and inconsistent strokes in every department of his game. Its this very inconsistency that makes the serves so hard to receive. He is not TRYING to vary his serve, he is trying to make as much spin as possible (which is logically optimal). But he is just bad at it that sometimes it comes at 30% spin, 5% spin, 70% spin. Im trying to read the bounce, spin and stroke. For short balls, I push or flick them. If I push a 5% ball, it will go high. If I flick a 70% ball that I think is a 30%, it goes into the net.Â

    For long serves, I do try to loop them. But again, if its a 70% serve that I see as a 30%, it goes into the net. Then next time I try to adjust and loop higher. If its a 5% serve that I see as a 30%, it goes long.Â

    Keep in mind there is just 1 or 2 seconds for my to read and decide what stroke to play. I just cant process fast enough whether its a 5, 30, or 70 serve. If I had more time, I know I could receive his serves very well, because they actually are just not spinny at all. Its all about my own unforced errors.Â

  12. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    ....he is trying to make as much spin as possible (which is logically optimal).

    The flaw in the thinking is that as much spin as possible is actually not optimal, logically or otherwise. If you can vary the spin, you will get your opponent to mess up.

    Again, Ma Lin's bread and butter was Spin/No Spin. With that method, all you have to do is load spin once in a while and then give serves that look the same but have less or no spin.

    But, perhaps you are talking about a level that is low enough where there is not this kind of control of spin. If you have trouble with what you claim to be describing, it really should not take long to handle it. And Brs has a good point. If the person whose serves are giving you trouble is as bad as you claim, all his serves would probably be long.

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    #13
    Simply focus on what i just said and practise with that in mind. Even reading serves is something you have to get used to, and it is not so easy because everyone does it kinda differently.
    But doing it more frequently lets you get used to it and in result getting better at reading and returning serves.

  14. johnh is offline
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    #14
    My thoughts are, that you should pay suitable concentration to their delivery. You should be able to determine how much spin they impart. With no spin or little spin short serve, you can quite quickly dispose of the ball with forehand flick, or soft touch over net. And long serve just make sure your technique is correct and place the ball. If the player can’t serve well good chance they don’t move their feet also.


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  15. Hasna Haura Hayfa is offline
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    #15
    is there a video on how to get the service of a high level player?

    I often find it difficult to reverse the service of mid to high level players, because they are very good at cheating, sometimes underspin to the right, sometimes to the left and sometimes empty.

  16. Gozo is offline
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    #16
    At my side here, I have issues with illegal serves. Many of my club mates especially old / veteran uncles, remnants from the speed-glue and 38mm celluloid era will serve no toss ball, hidden serves etc. It is not that they do that on purpose, but old habit dies hard. One may call them out, but after one or two serve later, they will go back to the old habit. Sigh, I just go along and just have fun.

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  17. Der_Echte is offline
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    #17
    One thing players early on never learn are what the GO POINTS for them are given what they want to do.

    If it is a short push, start moving soon after serve makes first bounce on servers side.

    If it is banana flip, wait until ball reaches net for safe impact when ball is falling.

    Sent from my SM-N970U using Tapatalk

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    Last edited by Der_Echte; 09-22-2021 at 09:41 PM.
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  18. Funk Fu Master is offline
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Gozo
    At my side here, I have issues with illegal serves. Many of my club mates especially old / veteran uncles, remnants from the speed-glue and 38mm celluloid era will serve no toss ball, hidden serves etc. It is not that they do that on purpose, but old habit dies hard. One may call them out, but after one or two serve later, they will go back to the old habit. Sigh, I just go along and just have fun.

    I face these issues, almost every single time I play .. Yes, it's mostly the oldies ..some of them will quite literally flick the ball, right off their palm.. Upon requesting them to toss the ball, they'll oblige, but just for the next couple of serves, and revert back to no-toss (especially if the score is something like 8-9 or 9-10) ...

    Anyway, I can tolerate the no-toss serve .. can't expect an old dog to learn new tricks .. However, ever so often, I'll come across a young-cat with some really funky serve action, ..The ball toss is kosher, but the blade surface ,and ball are no where to be seen at the point of contact ..This really gets my goat every single time .. But, if I point it out to them, then I come across as someone who pulls lame excuses..

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  19. Lycanthrope is offline
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Hasna Haura Hayfa
    is there a video on how to get the service of a high level player?

    I often find it difficult to reverse the service of mid to high level players, because they are very good at cheating, sometimes underspin to the right, sometimes to the left and sometimes empty.

    They apply service deception on you, it means you are at a level close to them. They don't have fun for doing service deception on someone really below their level.


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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Funk Fu Master

    I face these issues, almost every single time I play .. Yes, it's mostly the oldies ..some of them will quite literally flick the ball, right off their palm.. Upon requesting them to toss the ball, they'll oblige, but just for the next couple of serves, and revert back to no-toss (especially if the score is something like 8-9 or 9-10) ...

    Anyway, I can tolerate the no-toss serve .. can't expect an old dog to learn new tricks .. However, ever so often, I'll come across a young-cat with some really funky serve action, ..The ball toss is kosher, but the blade surface ,and ball are no where to be seen at the point of contact ..This really gets my goat every single time .. But, if I point it out to them, then I come across as someone who pulls lame excuses..

    You guys, don't get me started for the sake of the forum. 😁


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