Returning serves training camp

In this training camp you will learn how to return all of your opponent’s serves. For many players, returning serves is the most challenging aspect of table tennis. But it doesn’t have to be a big weakness of your game. By getting the basics right – reading spin, simplifying your shot selection and applying pressure – you can make returning serves a big strength, which will win you more points. We will show you a simple method for returning many more serves and also work on more advanced receives – adding more speed and spin to put your opponent on the back foot. The training camp is essential for any player who wants to massively improve at returning serves!

  • Date: Wednesday 15 January to Friday 17 January 2025
  • Venue: Cambridge University Sports Centre, Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge, CB3 0AS
  • Start / finish time: 10am-4pm each day
  • Coaches: Tom Lodziak + two guest coaches (TBC)
  • Participants: Maximum of 16 players per day
  • Cost: £70 per day
  • BOOKING FORM – Sign up to this training camp


Here’s what to expect from the training camp…

Wednesday 15 January

  • 10am-10.15am – Warm-up
  • 10.15am-12.30pm – A simple method for returning serves … Learn how to return any table tennis serve by using only four basic shots.
  • 12.30pm-1.15pm – Lunch
  • 1.15pm-3.45pm – Reading spin … Learn how to read your opponent’s service spin and consistently get your returns back on the table.
  • 3.45pm-4pm – Debrief / stretches

Thursday 16 January

  • 10am-10.15am – Warm-up
  • 10.15am-12.30pm – Attacking your opponents serves … Learn how to return backspin serves with flicks and loops and learn how to return topspin serves with drives and topspins. 
  • 12.30pm-1.15pm – Lunch
  • 1.15pm-3.45pm – Returning sidespin serves … Learn how to return any sidespin serve. You will learn how to counter the spin and control where you return the ball on the table.
  • 3.45pm-4pm – Debrief / stretches

Friday 17 January

  • 10am-10.15am – Warm-up
  • 10.15am-12.30pm – Return of serve strategy … Learn how to develop a winning return of serve strategy. We’ll show you how to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses and put the ball where your opponent doesn’t want it!
  • 12.30pm-1.15pm – Lunch
  • 1.15pm-3.45pm – Receive drills and match-play … We’ll show you a few return of serve drills you can do in your training. And we’ll finish the day with some matches where you can apply your learning from the training camp.
  • 3.45pm-4pm – Debrief / stretches

The coaching team

The coaching team for this training camp will be:

Lead coach – Tom Lodziak
Tom is a full-time table tennis coach, based in Cambridge. As well as face to face coaching Tom has a popular coaching YouTube channel and is the author of Spin: Tips and Tactics to Win at table Tennis. Tom competes in the top division of the Cambridge league and veteran tournaments around the country.

Support coach 1 – TBC

Support coach 2 – TBC

Who is this training camp suitable for?

This training camp is suitable for players who are already competing at a local league level or in amateur tournaments. At a minimum you should be able to serve confidently and be competent playing a forehand push, backhand push, forehand drive and backhand drive. 

This training camp is not suitable for complete beginners. If you are unsure whether this training camp is suitable for you, please email me with more information about your playing standard and I will advise.

Training camp format

There will be a maximum of 16 players per day on this training camp. The big benefit of attending a smaller sized training camp is that you get lots of feedback from the coaching team. 

There will be a mixture of demonstrations, drills and match-play exercises. There will also be opportunities for you to set your own exercises and work on the skills which are really important to you. The coaching team will observe you play and give technical and tactical feedback.

You will get the opportunity to play with different people throughout the training camp – usually a mixture of players from around the UK and also players from other countries. You will experience a positive coaching environment, joined by like-minded table tennis enthusiasts!

Venue + accommodation

This training camp will take place at Cambridge University Sports Centre, Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge, CB3 0AS.

There will be eight good quality tables and high quality training balls.

The sports centre has a small car park (free of charge) and modern changing facilities. The sports centre sells basic refreshments and also has free water dispensers to fill up water bottles. 

If you require accommodation, please take a look at this accommodation guide, which gives lots of affordable options.

Visit Cambridge

If you live in another part of the UK (or another country), you could combine this training camp with some sightseeing of Cambridge in the evenings. There is always plenty to do in the picturesque university city. Find out what’s on in Cambridge on the Visit Cambridge website. 

How to book

If you would like to join this training camp, please complete this online booking form.

There is some booking flexibility. If you can’t attend all the days, just select the days you would like to attend on the booking form.

The cost is £70 per day. Please note that lunch is not provided. You will need to bring food and drink with you.

When I receive your booking form, I will then confirm your place by email and give you information on how to pay. 

If you want any more information before you book, then please email me –

Can’t make this date?

If you can’t make this particular training camp, there are other training camps available. Take a look at the full list here

Alternatively, you may be interested in attending one of my group coaching days.

If you would like to be notified of future training camps, then please complete this very short expression of interest form.