(Video) How to improve your 3rd ball attack

One way to win more points, and generally raise your level, is to get really good at 3rd ball attacks.

This is where serve, your opponent returns and you attack the next ball. Sometimes this may be a winner, but not necessarily.

Basically, it’s your opportunity put your opponent under pressure and take control of the rally.

In this coaching video, I explain some of the key aspects of 3rd ball attack, including:

  • expecting your serve to be returned;
  • understand how your serve is likely to be returned;
  • working out your attacking options;
  • ball placement.


Video length: 08:40

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About Tom Lodziak

I’m a table tennis coach based in Cambridge in the UK. As well as coaching I also write table tennis articles and make table tennis videos. Read more about me.

2 thoughts on “(Video) How to improve your 3rd ball attack

  1. Tom,
    I just finished watching your recent post on improving 3rd ball attack. Super info, and I especially liked the emphasis on Always Expect Your Serve to be Returned, and where/how it likely may be returned. Very clear presentation. Could you please “amplify” the return of a serve with heavy sidespin. For example, if I serve with heavy clockwise rotation to receiver’s FH, where will it likely be returned AND importantly what spin will I likely see coming back? Ditto for heavy CCW spin to receiver’s BH. Any general rule??

    Thank you.

    Caesar Primus

    • So in general, if you serve CW spin to receiver’s FH, the ball will want to kick towards your backhand. But, because you are serving to FH, the receiver may compensate and aim more towards your FH. So if it is a passive return, the ball will likely land somewhere between BH corner and middle of table. If your opponent likes to topspin or flick, it may also be returned to FH corner. For CCW spin to receiver’s BH, the ball will want to kick towards your forehand. Again, this is ‘in general’. A lot depends on your opponent and how he/she likes to return serves.

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