Returning heavy topspin serves - short and long kick serve

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Hi Guys,

I am a double sided looper and play an aggressive spin game with inverted rubbers.

However, I really struggle returning very heavy topspin balls to my backhand, both short and long.

I try to brush over the top, but I find that many balls go long despite my best efforts, or they are returned very weekly allowing the server to follow up with a topsin winner. I am literally loosing matches solely due to this weakness when players realise this. (yikes, we are only as good as our worst shot!)

I am wondering if there is a better way to return this then trying to counter loop or flick over the top!?

Can you please be specific about how the racket contacts the ball, how you grip it and how you swing it.

Hope someone is clever enough to help - I am looking for multiple options!
 
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Contact how? Brushing loop - soft hand, firm hand or a driving shot?
Easiest to start would be brush looping. If it's going long, just aim lower. When I first practiced attacking topspin serves to my BH, I was surprised at how low I needed to aim. It was almost like I'm aiming into the net, but later on it became natural. Pendulum topspins serves are pretty easy to receive this way. Reverse topspin serves are harder, because it's a bit harder to get good contact with the ball unless you want to send everything to the opponent's FH side. I'm personally still working on how to reliably loop at least the long ones to the opponent's BH side. I can do that now against relatively slow ones, but against fast long ones I'm still having some trouble, though I don't expect that'll remain the case for too much longer since that should be just a relatively small adjustment in timing.
 
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Hi Guys,

I am a double sided looper and play an aggressive spin game with inverted rubbers.

However, I really struggle returning very heavy topspin balls to my backhand, both short and long.

I try to brush over the top, but I find that many balls go long despite my best efforts, or they are returned very weekly allowing the server to follow up with a topsin winner. I am literally loosing matches solely due to this weakness when players realise this. (yikes, we are only as good as our worst shot!)

I am wondering if there is a better way to return this then trying to counter loop or flick over the top!?

Can you please be specific about how the racket contacts the ball, how you grip it and how you swing it.

Hope someone is clever enough to help - I am looking for multiple options!
The main reason to do a heavy topspin serve to a double-sided looper (typically their backhand) is to force a rally from the outset and strongly counter-attack their relatively safe return of the serve. So, assuming you cannot loop kill the serve, you should try varying placement and/or playing a different shot.

First of all, keep the ball on the table. It's a heavy topspin serve already you don't need to add to much to it. Try just guiding it where you want it to go.

Some options:
* Standard advice - try flicking into the middle (opponent's elbow) . They will need to move to play a strong shot and could expose one of table corners for you to play the next shot
* Try flicking to wide forehand or backhand - this could be very effective if you can delay it a bit till they start to step around to play a forehand 3rd ball too soon.
* Try hitting the ball flatter or punch it. This changes the trajectory of the ball and some people really don't like such faster/flatter/less spinny balls.
* Sometimes it's worth to just firmly chop(-block) the ball with the bat almost perpendicular to the table - it can surprise your opponents and give them something to think about.

Good luck!
 
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The main reason to do a heavy topspin serve to a double-sided looper (typically their backhand) is to force a rally from the outset and strongly counter-attack their relatively safe return of the serve. So, assuming you cannot loop kill the serve, you should try varying placement and/or playing a different shot.

First of all, keep the ball on the table. It's a heavy topspin serve already you don't need to add to much to it. Try just guiding it where you want it to go.

Some options:
* Standard advice - try flicking into the middle (opponent's elbow) . They will need to move to play a strong shot and could expose one of table corners for you to play the next shot
* Try flicking to wide forehand or backhand - this could be very effective if you can delay it a bit till they start to step around to play a forehand 3rd ball too soon.
* Try hitting the ball flatter or punch it. This changes the trajectory of the ball and some people really don't like such faster/flatter/less spinny balls.
* Sometimes it's worth to just firmly chop(-block) the ball with the bat almost perpendicular to the table - it can surprise your opponents and give them something to think about.

Good luck!
Thanks so much - I have to try the punch especially - seems tricky option.
 
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Easiest to start would be brush looping. If it's going long, just aim lower. When I first practiced attacking topspin serves to my BH, I was surprised at how low I needed to aim. It was almost like I'm aiming into the net, but later on it became natural. Pendulum topspins serves are pretty easy to receive this way. Reverse topspin serves are harder, because it's a bit harder to get good contact with the ball unless you want to send everything to the opponent's FH side. I'm personally still working on how to reliably loop at least the long ones to the opponent's BH side. I can do that now against relatively slow ones, but against fast long ones I'm still having some trouble, though I don't expect that'll remain the case for too much longer since that should be just a relatively small adjustment in timing

Given how tricky this is, I wonder why we don't all do more of these serves - I think Darko Jorgic does a lot of these - great way to dampen an attacking flicker like fan zhen dong!
 
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All of the above answers are wrong lol, it almost shows that a lack of experience against really strong kicking topspin. I would happily serve fast long heavy topspin all day long if those are the responses lol.

Regardless of what ball comes you still have to brush mainly the back of the ball to ensure safety of the contact. It can be slightly on top but once you brush too much on the top it becomes a weak shot and also prone to errors. Too much brushing over the ball will result in you putting it long. If you simply borrow the spin without putting your own, it's also going to be a weak shot which is easily attacked, and also susceptible to eating the spin full on.

The answer is that you still have to do a BH topspin, except that the force has to be directed to the right side and even downwards once you make contact in order to shorten the trajectory. The feeling is like wiping the ball on the back side from 10 o clock all the way down to 3 o clock. Your followthrough cannot be forward because the ball already has a lot of spin and momentum, you need to go to the sides to shorten the trajectory.

Same goes with the short balls, you can do this BH topspin.

This will provide you with the tools to launch a very powerful, spinny yet secure BH topspin against heavy topspin.
 
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A good starting video to look at long serves might be from Seth Pech who did a video with a Cech champions league player a while back.

It'll give a pretty fair idea to work with. Take a look at the timestamp for kick service.

Links below.


Cheers
 
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If it's short and not too deep into BH (up to the middle of the BH half of the table) then I push these with my FH into short FH. One guy manages to push well with BH (I find this stroke complicated), but does this along the diagonal and it's an invitation for a chiquita.

If it's a long topspin then I do a short stroke BH drive: in my experience fast moderately spinning ball prevents the server from a strong attack (works on me as well). Or pivoting is a good option against a long pendulum.
 
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All of the above answers are wrong lol, it almost shows that a lack of experience against really strong kicking topspin. I would happily serve fast long heavy topspin all day long if those are the responses lol.

Regardless of what ball comes you still have to brush mainly the back of the ball to ensure safety of the contact. It can be slightly on top but once you brush too much on the top it becomes a weak shot and also prone to errors. Too much brushing over the ball will result in you putting it long. If you simply borrow the spin without putting your own, it's also going to be a weak shot which is easily attacked, and also susceptible to eating the spin full on.
Not meaning any disrespect to anyone, but I TOTALLY get where you are coming from.

Everyone keeps saying brush more over the top - it doesn't work for STRONG spin - it's long or if I control it, the ball is very weak.

You say:

"The answer is that you still have to do a BH topspin, except that the force has to be directed to the right side and even downwards once you make contact in order to shorten the trajectory. The feeling is like wiping the ball on the back side from 10 o clock all the way down to 3 o clock. Your followthrough cannot be forward because the ball already has a lot of spin and momentum, you need to go to the sides to shorten the trajectory."


I am struggling to understand this. Are you saying to go against the sidespin component with a fade (left to right brush) when it is a pendulum serve? Are you saying hit more sidespin back of ball? REally appreciate your insight - I think there is huge difference between how to handle topspin vs VERY HEAVY topspin.

RE: Blocking

I actually have similar problems blocking super heavy spin and wonder how I need to change it - less forward and brush maybe, more of a flat sinking contact rather then brushing contact maybe!?
 
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If it's short and not too deep into BH (up to the middle of the BH half of the table) then I push these with my FH into short FH. One guy manages to push well with BH (I find this stroke complicated), but does this along the diagonal and it's an invitation for a chiquita.

If it's a long topspin then I do a short stroke BH drive: in my experience fast moderately spinning ball prevents the server from a strong attack (works on me as well). Or pivoting is a good option against a long pendulum.

Thanks - I get the sense that a flatter drive contact is more controlled then trying to come over the top of the ball to control the spin!
 
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the problem with the kick serve is often that those who do it well also camouflage. if you're making mistakes (over miss most of the time) with it, it means your reaction is too slow and that your back angle is incorrect

At our amateur level, its better to anticipate a long serve rather than a short serve when receiving. Many players who want to serve short actually long (== the ball is not 2 bounces). the kick serve is just a bit faster. if the serve is short, there is always more time to react anyway, so expect a long serve, and get ready to attack any ball.

once you have this mindset, you have to imagine you're receiving with your BH the serve as if its a ball in the rally. so you must be with a wide stance, on your toes, knees bent forward, low body bent forward, and DON'T WAIT for the ball to go in your racket. if you're too upright, there is 80+% chance your bat angle is too open, even worse if you take the ball too late. so you should ALWAYS be, even if its gently, making action FORWARD, and try to time it at the top of bounce. Personally i try slightly after the top of the bounce.

Watch carefully the trajectory and height of the ball so you get the timing right.

the other big mistake is to be too close to the table. Once you understand you need to anticipate long serves and your upper body must be lower than what you're doing you soon realize you need to back off 5-10cms more from the table

also don't RUSH. you do have time. during a rally, you don't need to rush either. why rush when receiving ?

Keep your strokes compact. the part of your arm between your shoulder and elbow should be as stable as possible

and stay relaxed. with good timing, you can make powerful and/or very spinny shots. if you are not relaxed you hit the ball, don't brush it, and its a poor quality shot, and it easier for it to go off the table too.
 
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All of the above answers are wrong lol, it almost shows that a lack of experience against really strong kicking topspin. I would happily serve fast long heavy topspin all day long if those are the responses lol.

Regardless of what ball comes you still have to brush mainly the back of the ball to ensure safety of the contact. It can be slightly on top but once you brush too much on the top it becomes a weak shot and also prone to errors. Too much brushing over the ball will result in you putting it long. If you simply borrow the spin without putting your own, it's also going to be a weak shot which is easily attacked, and also susceptible to eating the spin full on.

The answer is that you still have to do a BH topspin, except that the force has to be directed to the right side and even downwards once you make contact in order to shorten the trajectory. The feeling is like wiping the ball on the back side from 10 o clock all the way down to 3 o clock. Your followthrough cannot be forward because the ball already has a lot of spin and momentum, you need to go to the sides to shorten the trajectory.

Same goes with the short balls, you can do this BH topspin.

This will provide you with the tools to launch a very powerful, spinny yet secure BH topspin against heavy topspin.

First, the teaching by pros is, in fact, not to create too much force of your own against kickers or it'll easily go out. Instead you should use a relatively small movement and borrow the opponent's speed and spin. That's what's taught in Seth Pech's video and it's what's taught in Chinese videos as well. Literally the first thing Fang Bo talks about here is to borrow the incoming ball's power and use as little motion as possible.


Second, flicking short topspin is absolutely not the same as receiving kickers. You need to add a lot of power on flicks in general, or else the ball would be way too weak, and the only way to do so without going long is by really depressing your racket angle and maximize brushing over the top.

【接短上旋球,我们如何进行拧拉和挑打?-哔哩哔哩】 https://b23.tv/Ulr5xsG
 
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Not meaning any disrespect to anyone, but I TOTALLY get where you are coming from.

Everyone keeps saying brush more over the top - it doesn't work for STRONG spin - it's long or if I control it, the ball is very weak.

You say:

"The answer is that you still have to do a BH topspin, except that the force has to be directed to the right side and even downwards once you make contact in order to shorten the trajectory. The feeling is like wiping the ball on the back side from 10 o clock all the way down to 3 o clock. Your followthrough cannot be forward because the ball already has a lot of spin and momentum, you need to go to the sides to shorten the trajectory."


I am struggling to understand this. Are you saying to go against the sidespin component with a fade (left to right brush) when it is a pendulum serve? Are you saying hit more sidespin back of ball? REally appreciate your insight - I think there is huge difference between how to handle topspin vs VERY HEAVY topspin.

RE: Blocking

I actually have similar problems blocking super heavy spin and wonder how I need to change it - less forward and brush maybe, more of a flat sinking contact rather then brushing contact maybe!?
It is not a fade (youre doing a topspin still), but yes the feeling is a bit similar to doing a fade. Regardless of whether it's pendulum or reverse pendulum, as long as it's heavy topspin, it's very useful to direct the stroke to the right and downwards to control the heavy incoming topspin and momentum. You can see it very prominently in Fan Zhendong, Lin Shidong and Lin Yun Ju - they often finish their BH loops against heavy topspin to the right and very low (almost hip level). This concept also works if you want to counterloop heavy topspin with BH strongly.

This concept was taught by some ex CNT on Douyin but I couldn't find any youtube videos on it.
 
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First, the teaching by pros is, in fact, not to create too much force of your own against kickers or it'll easily go out. Instead you should use a relatively small movement and borrow the opponent's speed and spin. That's what's taught in Seth Pech's video and it's what's taught in Chinese videos as well. Literally the first thing Fang Bo talks about here is to borrow the incoming ball's power and use as little motion as possible.


Second, flicking short topspin is absolutely not the same as receiving kickers. You need to add a lot of power on flicks in general, or else the ball would be way too weak, and the only way to do so without going long is by really depressing your racket angle and maximize brushing over the top.

【接短上旋球,我们如何进行拧拉和挑打?-哔哩哔哩】 https://b23.tv/Ulr5xsG
Not saying that it doesnt work, its just not the most advanced way of BH receive. He's also doing basic tutorials, not advanced tutorials. In most WTT circuit games, you never see this passive way of receiving heavy topspin much, they will always spin the ball hard if anyone dares to serve long to their BH, and there are a few reasons for it.

If you only borrow the incoming topspin you can only do a weak shot - at a higher level everyone pounces on it. Even at my relatively low level, doing such a "borrowed spin" shot results in my opponent killing my topspin, vs if I actively spin the ball - even if its not a fast shot - they're the one who is in big trouble as they have to deal with my spin.
 
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