USA Table Tennis

Tip of the Day - Returning Serves Short

By Larry Hodges | Dec. 03, 2013, 9 a.m. (ET)

Erica Wu

Olympian Erica Wu (USA) at the 2013 World Junior Championships


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Larry Hodges

Returning Serves Short

At the highest levels, the most common return of a short serve is a short push, even against a sidespin serve. At the lower levels, most players just push them deep, giving opponents the chance to loop. If you develop a short push, especially against backspin serves, you will disarm your opponents, and probably get pushed returns that you can loop.

The problem with returning serves short is that if you misread the serve even a little bit, you will make many mistakes and give the opponent a lot of easy pop-ups. In general, most players can’t really return serves short effectively until about the 2000 level but if you wait until you are 2000 before working on this, you’ll be years behind your peers. Why not start now? You may find it effective well before you reach that magic 2000 number and it might even help you reach it.

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