I feel my game has developed significantly since joining the Academy Howwever there are two aspects which I will need to develop. The first is a low underspin/sisespin serve to my backhand played by a left hander which lands berween the net and the bottom of the table, kicking fiercely and taking me round the side of the table in an attempt to return it. The second is a high fast topspin/sidespin ball, again played by a left hander to my backhand which kicks to the side and is too high to block and catches me out when playing a fast rally. Should I just lob to try and get the ball back on the table and hope for another chance or is there an alternative?
Hey Alex, that’s great to hear you’ve improved a lot since joining the Academy, that’s what we want to help everyone do here! So with both of these situations it sounds like a cade of having confidence with your backhand topspin and having a clear shot in your mind to avoid getting stuck in 2 minds. The best option on both of these shots is a backhand topspin shot brushing the ball well to counter act the spin on the ball, of course you will have to brush upwards more against the sidespin/backspin and right over the top when playing against the topspin/sidespin.
The problem with playing a lob is that you will be on the back foot and it’s hard to get back into the point from there. It’s important to try to get confident playing a topspin shot against these types of serve/ shots. One thing that will help is waiting for the ball and taking your time on these shots, so perhaps a small step back from the table to create time and space for a more relaxed topspin shot. Often these types of balls miss because the shot is tense and rushed. I have found a lot recently when working on my own backhand how important it is to be relaxed and get a soft contact on the ball to add control.
So focus on waiting for the ball, having a small pause before hitting and really trying to add your own topspin to the ball which makes the incoming spin much less reactive. Watching our video on returning long tricky serves I think will help here too: https://tabletennisdailyacademy.com/videos/return-tricky-long-sidespin-serves/