Return any spin serve in Table Tennis in sleep after reading this

It is not too much to say that if someone controls spin controls table tennis. Knowing how to return spin serves in table tennis will give you a tremendous advantage over your opponent.

We are going to talk about different table tennis spin types, how to return, and recognize them with ease. Make sure you read the whole article carefully so that you can play against any spin during the game.

Table Tennis Spin Type List (Summary of Characteristics)

Spin type list

  • Downward spin
  • Upward spin
  • Lateral spin
  • No spin(knuckles)
  • Gyroscopic spin

There are five major types of spin in table tennis. It is possible to break it down more finely, such as upper right side up, lower left side down, etc., but I’ve listed the five types of horizontal spin here.

The following is a quick summary of the characteristics of the five types of spin and how to return them.

Downward spin

Main types of hits

  • Tsutsuki
  • Cut
  • Downward spinning serve


  • When the racket hits the ball with a downward spinning ball, the ball goes down.
  • Speed is slow.
  • Specializing in defensive ball.

Spin in the opposite direction of the ball’s direction of travel is a downward rotation. In golf and tennis, it’s also called backspin. In table tennis, tsutsuki and cuts are the downward rotation.

One of the greatest characteristics of the downward spin is that when it hits the racket, the ball goes down.

If you let it bounce on the table, it will try to come back towards you. It’s not the speedy kind, so it’s a spin that’s primarily used for defensive rather than offensive purposes.

However, a ball with a strong downward spin can also invite the opponent to make a mistake.

How to return

  • Return in a downward turn
  • Return with an upturn over the opponent’s downturn.
  • Aim just after the bounce (little effect of rotation)
  • Stay low and keep your face close to the surface of the ball you’re hitting.
  • The more rotation, the better.

If you hit the ball in a downward rotation, the ball will fall down if you hit the racket as it is. Therefore, it is not possible to return the ball in a downward spin by hitting it as you would during a rally.

Therefore, it is necessary to return the ball with a downward spin or an upward spin that exceeds the amount of the opponent’s spin as described above.

For example, the opponent’s downward spinning serve is responded to with a tsutsuki (downward spinning). If it’s a floating sweet ball, drive it back (upward rotation).

Either way, you need to put on a spin that will not be outdone by your opponent’s rotation. If you’re beaten by your opponent’s turn, the ball will go down and hit the net.

The first spin you learn when you start playing table tennis is the downward rotation.

If you don’t remember the downward rotation, it won’t be a match. The way you deal with your opponent’s under-spin serve is also under-spin tsutsuki.

What kind of hit should you use to return?

Try to keep an eye on the length of your serve and decide whether you want to hit a drive or a tsutsuki.

If I may add one more thing, try to hit a drive with a volume of rotation that will not be outdone by the opponent’s downward rotation. If you lose to the opponent’s rotation, you end up in the net.

If you miss your drive when you receive, you can reduce the number of misses and stabilize the ball by hitting it in a loop with a lot of rotation.

The flick is more difficult.
An effective way to attack a short serve is to flick it. However, I don’t recommend flicking the ball back on the lower spinning serve.

This is because the flick is highly influenced by the rotation and can easily lead to mistakes.

The flick doesn’t work well with the downward rotation because it’s hit with the face of the racket up.

One of the common mistake patterns that beginners and intermediate players tend to fall into is to “force a flick to pay off the lower serve”.

Upward spin

If you hit a standing racket against an upward spin serve, the ball will bounce upwards. It can go over or, at best, it can be a chance ball for the opponent.

When returning an upward spinning serve, the ball must be held down with the face of the racket facing down. The most common way to return a call is “drive” or “flick”.

Main types of hits

  • Drive
  • Smash
  • Upper spin serve


  • The kind that specializes in attacks.
  • When the racket hits the ball with an upward spinning ball, the ball flies upward.

Upward spin is also called topspin (forward rotation). As the name implies, the ball is spinning in the direction it is going. A downward spin is a type of spin in the opposite direction.

An offensive hit such as a smash or drive will be an up-spin. The ball stretches out to accelerate after the bounce. As a result, the speed is faster than other types of rotation.

It can be said that he has the exact opposite characteristics to the defensive down rotation.

How to return

  • Play with a racket down face
  • Hit it hard

If you hit the racket against the ball in upward rotation, the ball will fly upward. For this reason, the basic rule is to hold the ball and return the ball with the racket angled slightly downward.

Alternatively, it can be returned by hitting hard enough to avoid being affected by the rotation.

The only thing you should not do with the ball in the upper spin is to return it in the lower rotation, such as a tsutsuki. If you return the ball in a downward spin with the face up, the ball will fly upward.

What kind of hit should you use to return?

When you drive back, you need to keep your paddle face downward and hit well. If you hit the ball in a looping manner, as in the case of a downward rotation, it will lead to an over miss.

For the drive against the upward rotation, the face should be struck more downward and nearly horizontal. The angle of the racket is more important than the amount of rotation. It requires more hitting than a speed drive.

Also, the apex of the batted ball is ideal. By hitting the apex, it is easier to get into the opponent’s court from an angle.

Sum up

  • Strike with face down
  • Pay more attention to the angle of the surface than the amount of rotation
  • hit at the top of the ball

For a short upturned serve, such as a two-bang on the table, try to return it with a flick.

The trick to returning them is almost the same as driving them. Hit with the face down, as if it were a drape, and hit at the top. These two things are the point.

Place the racket on the ball with the racket facing down. By turning the wrist firmly, you will be able to hit the ball more strongly. You can also control the direction by swinging the racket to the side.

The course to aim for is the fore or middle. The reason for this is that it is easy to use the wrist and hit it hard.

Sum up

  • Strike with face down.
  • Hit at the top of the ball
  • Go for the fore or the middle.

Tsutsuki is strictly prohibited.
As for the upward spin, it is strictly forbidden to make a stop. It’s hard to use the stop when the ball is stretched out like an upward spinning ball.

Because if you hit the ball with a twitch, there is a high chance that the ball will float and you will be hit hard on the third ball.

Lateral rotation

Main types of hits

  • Curved drive (upper left lateral rotation).
  • Shoot drive (upper right lateral rotation).
  • side-rotating serve


  • When the racket hits the ball with a sideways rotation, the ball bends sideways.
  • Use it when you want to make a change in the development of the game

A side roll is played by rubbing the side of the ball and hitting it. The ball is rotated laterally in relation to its direction of travel.

A ball with a pure lateral spin is something you don’t often hit during a rally. It’s mainly used when serving.

However, you can occasionally use things like curve drives that combine lateral spin with upward rotation, even during a rally.

Lateral spin can be combined with upper and lower spin to create various types of rotation. Each type has its own characteristics.

The following is a list of the different types of horizontal rotation.

List of types

  • Right lateral upward rotation
  • Left lateral upward rotation
  • Right lateral rotation
  • Left lateral rotation
  • Lower right rotation
  • Lower left rotation

There are two types of pure lateral rotation: “right lateral” and “left lateral”. However, if you combine the two types of rotation, “Up” and “Down”, you can play quite a lot of different types.

Each one has different characteristics and the return method is also different for each type.

How to return

Identify the spin and adjust the angle of the racket to match the rotation.

When the racket hits the ball in a lateral rotation, the ball flies laterally. In the case of left lateral rotation, the ball will fly to the right.

For this reason, the angle of the racket should be slightly inward and the ball should fly straight.

If you are spinning right, the ball will fly to the left, so it is easier to return the ball if the racket is angled outward.

You need to match the angle of the racket to the type of rotation. In order to do so, it is essential to first identify the type of spin of your opponent.

It’s also a struggle to discern the type of rotation. You can’t keep up with what you’re thinking in your head. You have to get used to it anyway until you can look at your opponent’s form and get a sense of which spin it is.

What kind of hit should you use to return?

Return to the fore with a long Tsutsuki

The theory is that if you want to return with a tsutsuki (downward rotation), you should return long and deep.

Tilt the face of the racket to either the left or right to absorb the opponent’s spin and return the ball. The point is to rotate the ball from top to bottom.

If you put up a face and twit, the ball will float. Therefore, the face of the racket should be upright and cut from the top to the bottom before returning the ball.

Two more ways

There are also two ways to receive against a side-rotating serve, “flow in order” and “return in reverse“. In the following, I’ll use an example of a receive against a right-rotating serve.

To “flow in order“, open the racket to the right and hold the ball. Tilt your wrists to the right, without moving your wrists, and swing your arms for impact.

It is also called “sinking” because it returns to the right with the right spin.

To return the ball the other way, hold the racket face up and face left. Keep your upper body close to the ball at the same angle.

Impact with a swing that glides in and out with the elbow bent. It’s called “return in reverse” because it’s returned in the left rotation against the right rotation.

Flicks work too.
A flick can also be effective against a side-rotating serve. A more aggressive response will allow you to take the lead in the ensuing developments.

No spin (knuckles)

Main types of hits

  • knuckle serve


  • There’s hardly any spin involved.
  • Mixing the knuckle serve with the lower spin serve works well

As the name implies, the knuckle (no-rotation) is a characteristic hitting ball that is almost free of rotation.

When rallying on a back soft rubber, you don’t often hit a knuckleball. However, those who use high grain or anti-rubber will use knuckles a lot.

One thing table tennis beginners should be aware of is a knuckle serve that looks like a downward rotation. If you think it’s a downward spin and return the ball in a downward rotation, the ball will float and you’ll miss.

A knuckle serve that you need to be aware of when you are receiving. However, it can be an effective weapon when you serve.

If you use the same form to make a downward spinning serve and knuckle serve, you can invite your opponent to make a mistake.

How to return

  • Identify the spin and hit at the right angle
  • It’s the same as the side-rotation, but the important thing is to check the rotation. The point to recognize is the sound at the time of hitting the ball.

A spinning ball makes a “ticking” sound, while a non-spinning knuckleball makes a “clunking” sound.

If you can identify the spin by the sound of the strike and adjust the angle, it is possible to return the ball.

The smash has an upward rotation, but it is more of a knuckle (no rotation) hit than a drive.

What kind of hit should you use to return?

For a knuckle serve, “Tsutsuki“, “hard hit“, and “flick” are common ways to return it.

Pushing low and twitching.
The ball will flop with a normal Tsutsuki. Push the ball forward instead of trying to scoop it from below.

The key is to return it with a low ballistic trajectory so that it doesn’t go high. If the ball goes too high, the opponent is going to hit you hard.

Hard hit/flick

If your opponent’s serve is completely out of knuckleball, you may want to attack with a hard hit or flick.

If you can control the opponent’s third ball attack or hit the course well, you can get a point.

Gyroscopic rotation

Gyroscopic spin is a different kind of spin from the one described above. This is a spin that is mainly used in serve. It’s very hard to receive, but it’s also very difficult to rotate.

A gyro-spin is a spin that is applied in a direction parallel to the direction of travel. It may be easier to understand if you consider that the horizontal spin is perpendicular to the direction of travel.

Gyro-spin has the characteristic of not bending on your own court, but sharply on your opponent’s court. The abruptness of change is a characteristic that makes it difficult to receive.

When comparing the gyro rotation of table tennis, the pistol bullet is often used as an example. While turning around, it will proceed in the direction of travel. It seems that even excavator drills are gyro-spin.

Table Tennis Return- How to Recognize the Spin

The important thing to remember is to get used to it. Experience is the most important part. Once you get used to it, your body will be able to judge it before your head does.

You will have to get used to it anyway. However, just practicing repetition in the dark will not be effective. The more points of discernment you have, the more experience you will gain.

There are six main points to look for when identifying spin. You don’t have to push everything at once.

Some people say that 1) and 2) alone are enough to judge. However, it’s true that the more criteria you use to judge, the more advantageous it will be.

(1) The angle of the racket ★★★★★★.
The first thing to look for is the angle of the racket. I gave it a star because it’s especially important.

The moment of impact when the racket hits the ball. At what angle is the racket in contact with the ball? If you can discern this angle, you can determine the type of spin.

If the surface of the racket is facing down, the upward rotation system. When the surface of the ball is facing up, it is a downward rotating system. Thus, you can determine the type of rotation by looking at the angle of the racket.

The most important thing is the angle of the racket at impact. In order to prevent the opponent from realizing the spin, the spinning side uses a fake motion to deceive the opponent.

On the take-back, even if the face of the ball is facing upward, it may be facing down only at the moment of impact.

Don’t be fooled by your opponent’s fakes and don’t miss the moment of impact.

2) The direction of the swing ★★★★★.
The second thing to look for is the direction of the swing. This one is also particularly important, so I gave it a star.

By looking at the direction of the swing from the take-back to the follow-through, you can discern the type of rotation.

For example, if the swing extends upward, it is an upward spin. If the swing is extended downward, it is a downward spin.

If you try to serve yourself, you’ll understand, but it should be difficult to apply a downward rotation on an upward swing or an upward rotation on a downward swing. The direction of the swing of the spin is fixed to some extent.

Try to discern the direction of your swing and identify the type of spin.

(3) Swing speed
The third point to look at is the swing speed.

This is the point to judge the “amount of rotation”, not the type of rotation. Even if you can discern the type of spin, misjudging the amount of spin can lead to missed receptions.

The faster your swing speed, the more rotation you’ll have. Conversely, if your swing speed is fresh, you will rotate less.

When it comes to the amount of spin, the nature of the rubber or racket has a lot to do with it as well as the swing speed. As a result, the amount of spin varies from player to player, even at the same swing speed.

As you make several receptions, it’s important to figure out how much spin this player has.

The important thing is to gradually eliminate the error between your judgment and the actual amount of rotation. The point is how much you can correct when you make a mistake.

4) Trajectory of the ball.
The fourth point to look at is the trajectory of the ball.

Depending on the type and amount of spin, the trajectory of the ball will change. Figuring out this trajectory will lead to figuring out the spin. The following is a quick summary of the ball’s trajectory.

Downward Spin System
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Slowing down after the bounce.
It’s slow.

Upward spin system
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Accelerate after the bounce.
It’s fast.

Lateral spin system
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Bend after the bounce.
It flies like a spin.

The amount of spin is high.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
It flies low.

Small amount of rotation
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Soft and fluttering

5) Mark on the ball.
The fifth point to recognize is the mark on the ball.

The ping-pong ball has a one-point mark on it. You can tell how much the ball is turning by looking at this mark. However, this is difficult for beginners, so this is an advanced spotting technique for advanced players.

If the marks on the ball are flickering, the amount of rotation is not much. Conversely, if you can’t see the mark of the ball at all, it means it is spinning a lot.

(6) Takeback.
The sixth point to recognize is “take back”. You can predict the rotation by looking at the angle of the racket during the take-back.

If the tip of the racket on the take-back is diagonally downward, it is a lateral downward spin or lateral spin system.

If the surface of the racket is facing up, it is a downward spinning type. Conversely, if the surface of the ball is facing downward, it is often an upward spin system.

Must see for beginners! When you can’t differentiate the spin

As I wrote above, you need to get used to the idea of spin. It’s difficult to judge the perfect rotation overnight.

It’s possible to deal with spin even if you can’t discern it. Below are three useful ways to do so. The following techniques will help you deal with spin with your senses without using your head.

(1) Make the angle the same as the opponent’s racket face.
If you can’t see your opponent’s rotation, keep the angle the same as your opponent’s racket, like a mirror, to increase your chances of returning the ball.

If it’s a downward rotation, the opponent’s racket is facing up. you are going to face up too.

If it’s an upturn, the opponent’s racket is facing down. Your racket should also face down.

If it’s a lateral spin, the opponent’s racket is facing the side. Your racket should also turn sideways in the same direction.

If you move to reflexively mimic the actions of the opponent, you will be able to return without thinking too deeply.

(2) Aim in the opposite direction of the opponent’s swing.
This is an effective way to return the ball in the horizontal spinning system.

The ball flies in the direction of the opponent’s swing. Therefore, if you aim to return the ball in the opposite direction, the probability of making a mistake will be reduced.

For example, a back serve’s down-left lateral rotation would have the swing direction to the right as seen from the serving side. If you continue to return the ball, it will fly to the right.

Aiming in the opposite direction will prevent you from missing out.

If the opponent’s racket swings to the right, go for the left. If the opponent’s racket swings to the left, go for the right.

It is useful to remember automatically in this way. If you’re not sure how to recognize a lateral rotation, try to aim in the opposite direction of the opponent’s racket.

(3) Spin as much as possible.
You can’t discern the amount of rotation and you make mistakes. Being outplayed by your opponent’s rotation is the cause of your mistakes.

Swing so hard that you can’t lose against the opponent’s spin. By doing so, you can more or less counteract the effects of your opponent’s spin. If your swing is fast, the ball will be pulled in the direction of that swing.

It’s a somewhat heavy-handed approach, but it’s an effective one. Even if you are cutting, if you can make a fast swing that doesn’t lose to the opponent’s rotation, you can control the opponent’s rotation no matter how strong it is.


So, this was it. I would like to congratulate you on finishing this whole article. Now you are 50% there to return any spin serve in table tennis or to play against any spin while playing and the rest of 50 % depends on your practice and implementation.

Thank you for reading.

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