Serve return advice?

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Here's a video I took today of me practicing serve return. A couple things, everytime I seem to instinctively default to a sorta short banana flick to return this serve. I can't really get much pace on my return. Any advice on how I'm returning serve?

Also, this person in particular just push-blocks the ball to my backhand every single time. It's very uncomfortable and I really can't do much with his ball. The ball doesn't have topspin, its almost like a flat no-spin ball, so its very uncomfortable for me to deal with. You can see that I can't do much with this ball in the rally.
 
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Here's a video I took today of me practicing serve return. A couple things, everytime I seem to instinctively default to a sorta short banana flick to return this serve. I can't really get much pace on my return. Any advice on how I'm returning serve?

Also, this person in particular just push-blocks the ball to my backhand every single time. It's very uncomfortable and I really can't do much with his ball. The ball doesn't have topspin, its almost like a flat no-spin ball, so its very uncomfortable for me to deal with. You can see that I can't do much with this ball in the rally.
Generally, banana flicks are used when the serve is short and you don't have enough room to just topspin the ball. Since you are putting sidespin on the ball, you lose some energy that could have been converted into topspin and/or speed of the ball.

It seems that your practice partner serves are long enough i.e. they seldom bounces twice on the table. That means you don't need the banana flicks, you can just topspin it directly since you have room to do a bigger swing. You can also use more of your body weight instead of mainly relying on your forearm like the banana flick. Check out what Fan Zhendong does in this video:

 
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Im trying to put my tripod to use, so heres bonus video of a short match i played. This guy is a level lower than me, but he is hyper aggressive so his matches are quite interesting. When he strings today 3 or 4 smashes, he can steal some games.

by just watching the first three minutes of that it does not seem like he is really a level lower than you.
you can open up all day, but if you always open up to the location where he is already standing then it is way to easy to block it and it seems that your follow up is lacking the power to trouble him at all.

Combined with him hitting some smashes casually, simply because his style does not look that secure and he does not loop very often does not mean that he is a level lower if it results in you getting smashed over and over again.

You got the potential to threaten him easly by changing the angles that you open up with or open up more powerful (since he does not put heavy backspin on the ball in the first place). What i saw was you not making him move much.
 
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Generally, banana flicks are used when the serve is short and you don't have enough room to just topspin the ball. Since you are putting sidespin on the ball, you lose some energy that could have been converted into topspin and/or speed of the ball.

It seems that your practice partner serves are long enough i.e. they seldom bounces twice on the table. That means you don't need the banana flicks, you can just topspin it directly since you have room to do a bigger swing. You can also use more of your body weight instead of mainly relying on your forearm like the banana flick. Check out what Fan Zhendong does in this video:

But the ball is very low. And its very spinny
 
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by just watching the first three minutes of that it does not seem like he is really a level lower than you.
you can open up all day, but if you always open up to the location where he is already standing then it is way to easy to block it and it seems that your follow up is lacking the power to trouble him at all.

Combined with him hitting some smashes casually, simply because his style does not look that secure and he does not loop very often does not mean that he is a level lower if it results in you getting smashed over and over again.

You got the potential to threaten him easly by changing the angles that you open up with or open up more powerful (since he does not put heavy backspin on the ball in the first place). What i saw was you not making him move much.
He definitely looks a level below. A key thing separating intermediate players and low level players is the ability to open up vs backspin. Michael can do it on both wings, his opponent can't. In fact, if Michael doesn't soft loop to the middle of the table his opponent can't really do anything threatening to him. He can occasionally pivot and hit a soft loop coming to the BH side and can't protect his wide FH at all, that's why he has no chance against Michael.
 
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But the ball is very low. And its very spinny
While it doesn't seem super spinny, but when it goes barely out of the table sometimes you don't have a lot of room for backswing. Personally I don't think there's much more that you can do right now. Those serves are long and high enough to drive it back, but you don't really have a BH drive game yet so a soft opening loop, whether over the table or not, is probably the best option.
 
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He definitely looks a level below. A key thing separating intermediate players and low level players is the ability to open up vs backspin. Michael can do it on both wings, his opponent can't. In fact, if Michael doesn't soft loop to the middle of the table his opponent can't really do anything threatening to him. He can occasionally pivot and hit a soft loop coming to the BH side and can't protect his wide FH at all, that's why he has no chance against Michael.
Good eye. Weve been playing some games the pastt week. He doesnt win too many games off me, but I enjoy the change of pace playing against his unique aggressive style. A lot of guys do nothing but push.

I think our lifetime score is like 30 games to 5 games.
 
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But the ball is very low. And its very spinny
That's why I shared the FZD video. He gets super slow when he attack long backspin balls. If the ball is low, get yourself even lower (and try to hit it at the top of the bounce - it would rarely be lower than net height). The spin will take more practice to get used to.

Another key thing about backhand topspin is footwork. You really need to be in position to hit a good shot.
 
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He definitely looks a level below. A key thing separating intermediate players and low level players is the ability to open up vs backspin. Michael can do it on both wings, his opponent can't. In fact, if Michael doesn't soft loop to the middle of the table his opponent can't really do anything threatening to him. He can occasionally pivot and hit a soft loop coming to the BH side and can't protect his wide FH at all, that's why he has no chance against Michael.
Speaking of which, yesterday I also played a 2050-2100 player.

He won first 3 games. Then I won the next 3 games straight. If we had just considered it best of 5, we each would've won one set. Then he won the 7th game. Overall this was probably the best I have ever played against him or anybody else. I wish I had taken a video of it.

I really have trouble getting past his serve, but once we got into the rally, my FH loop and counter-loop was really winning the points.

Also playing this guy forces you to evolve. He loves to loop your serve directly. It forced me to make my serve lower and shorter, which I never even noticed before.
 
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Here's a video I took today of me practicing serve return. A couple things, everytime I seem to instinctively default to a sorta short banana flick to return this serve. I can't really get much pace on my return. Any advice on how I'm returning serve?

Also, this person in particular just push-blocks the ball to my backhand every single time. It's very uncomfortable and I really can't do much with his ball. The ball doesn't have topspin, its almost like a flat no-spin ball, so its very uncomfortable for me to deal with. You can see that I can't do much with this ball in the rally.

If the incoming ball is without back-spin, that is, coming with top-spin or dead ball, I'll hit the ball at the 11 o'clock position with a forward brushing motion. The ball goes back with much haste as can be seen in the above video. There is much wrist power employed. Do try it. Tell us how it goes.
 
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Speaking of which, yesterday I also played a 2050-2100 player.

He won first 3 games. Then I won the next 3 games straight. If we had just considered it best of 5, we each would've won one set. Then he won the 7th game. Overall this was probably the best I have ever played against him or anybody else. I wish I had taken a video of it.

I really have trouble getting past his serve, but once we got into the rally, my FH loop and counter-loop was really winning the points.

Also playing this guy forces you to evolve. He loves to loop your serve directly. It forced me to make my serve lower and shorter, which I never even noticed before.
What's your actual rating? If you can compete with 2100 player, and the opponent you played in the 2nd video can win 1 game out of every 6 game against you, he's probably 1700 which I have a hard time to believe...could be the effect of the camera though.

The result could be deceptive though. When I play against better players, I never get the first few games. After that they seem to have relaxed and then I could steal a game or two. But in actual competition I'd never be able to win any game because I'm already out by 0-3.
 
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What's your actual rating? If you can compete with 2100 player, and the opponent you played in the 2nd video can win 1 game out of every 6 game against you, he's probably 1700 which I have a hard time to believe...could be the effect of the camera though.

The result could be deceptive though. When I play against better players, I never get the first few games. After that they seem to have relaxed and then I could steal a game or two. But in actual competition I'd never be able to win any game because I'm already out by 0-3.
One thing I notice a lot is that I play to the level of my opponent. When I play lower level, I sorta play lower. I play higher when I feel I cant win points with my regular safer shots.

I posted my rating and round robin results in another thread. But right now it stands at 1823. But ive only ever played 1 RR, so i dont know how accurate it is yet. I need a few more matches to get evened out
 
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Speaking of which, yesterday I also played a 2050-2100 player.

He won first 3 games. Then I won the next 3 games straight. If we had just considered it best of 5, we each would've won one set. Then he won the 7th game. Overall this was probably the best I have ever played against him or anybody else. I wish I had taken a video of it.

I really have trouble getting past his serve, but once we got into the rally, my FH loop and counter-loop was really winning the points.

Also playing this guy forces you to evolve. He loves to loop your serve directly. It forced me to make my serve lower and shorter, which I never even noticed before.
Nice work! I definitely noticed your service issues. It's long, relatively slow, and not terribly well disguised, I'd attack all of them for sure.

My issue right now is people serving short topspins to my FH or long fast serves to my BH. I'm getting better with thr topspin serves, I can control the location well enough to not get a pre-prepared attack back, but the long fast serves to my BH is still troublesome. I just don't react fast enough to it, and when I start pivoting people start to go long fast to my FH side to keep me off balance.
 
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