Returning no spin serves

Ask the coachCategory: Tactics & match-playReturning no spin serves
Daniel asked 2 months ago

How do you return no spin serves in table tennis matches?

If I push, the ball goes too high and therefore the opponent can put the next ball away.
I am unable to flick the ball so are drives and topspin strokes the best option if the no spin serve is long?

If the no spin serve is short, is there any other good option other than flicking it, assuming that the push will go high?

1 Answers
Tom Lodziak Staff answered 1 month ago

You can return a no spin serve with a push, but you need to change the bat angle and stroke trajectory. 
If you open the bat angle too much and push under the ball, then your return will pop up high. But if you close the bat angle (make it more vertical) and push down the back of the ball, then your return will stay low over the net.
If it is a short no spin serve, you can also use a forehand flick or backhand flick to return the ball. As there is no spin on the serve, you don’t need to lift the ball too much. Your flick should be more ‘forwards’, than ‘up’. If it is a long no spin serve, then you can topspin (or even drive) the ball back. You could even chop long no spin serves – a good option for defensive players.
With a no spin serve, try to play an active shot and generate your own spin – whether backspin or topspin. Good luck!