I recently had a practise with a friend where I concentratied on the position adopted after serving both short heavy backspin and long fast serves. I found your video on this very useful and have used this style now when playing competitive games. As a right hander serving from the left hand side of the table and facing at right angles to the table I adopt a crouch position with my right leg roughly 18 inches behind the left and use the body rotation to get into position for the return. This takes me square to the table but when I stretch out my playing arm the bat can touch the end of the table, giving me little room for manoeuvre. On a short serve this is ok but with a fast serve the topspin return comes back so quickly that it is difficult to play any stroke other than a block.
I found that by putting a little more pressure on my left foot and pushing harder on the floor after the serve I produced a light skipping step which keeps me on my toes and finishes in the crouched position ready for the return. In this position when I stretch out the bat it is approximately 5 inches from the end of the table. This does not seem a lot but it gives me enough time to be able to return the opponents reply with a counter topspin stroke, after which I can move further back from or closer to the table if necessary.
I am unsure whether to use this technique for serving both long and short or use the original method for short serves only which can take me closer to the net for a short return.If I can disguise the sevice action well enough, using both methods could give me an advantage.
I would be interested in your thoughts.
Ok the second method you mentioned and talked about here seems like it’s most suitable as you can adapt to both types of returns. If it’s long and fast you have enough time and don’t get forced into a block and if it is a short return a small step in will get you there.
It’s important to have a stance when serving and recovering that doesn’t need to change depending on what serve you do. That way you can build the consistency and muscle memory with the movement and it will become natural.
I would also say you mentioned getting to a low crouched position, this is one of the most important things to being able to adapt to different returns after serves, so really focus in that as well as keeping that 5 inch space at the end of the table to give you the best chance for a positive follow-up shot!
All the best, Dan
Sound advice. It makes sense to keep things simple and develop muscle memory for only 1 movement so I will concentrate on that.
I look forward to seeing your new videos.