What Should You Do When You Just Can’t Return Your Opponent’s Service
Quite scary isn’t it?
Now this is something almost all table tennis players should have experienced.
You get in to any match with an opponent that could be stronger than you, same level as you, or weaker than you. As the match progresses, you notice that you’re slowly being scored point after point because your opponent catches your number 1 receiving weakness that he/she kept on exploiting.
Let’s assume that the 1st set is over and you both already have a clearer picture of the overall strengths and weaknesses of your opponent.
Start of 2nd set:
Your opponent starts serving. Score: 0-2. (from 2 service aces because you weren’t able to return properly)
You fight real hard to gain back 2 points. Score: 2-2.
Your opponent serves something similar. Score: 2-4.
You fight real hard to gain another point but made an unforced error on your 2nd opportunity. Score: 3-5.
Your opponent serves the same serve from the start of the set. Score: 3-7.
You use your emergency tactics to try to gain back the lost grounds and it proved to be successful. Score: 5-7.
Your opponent served the same thing again. Score: 5-9.
You tried using the emergency serve but it didn’t work its charm this time. Score: 6-10.
Your opponent takes the set with 1 more service ace. Score: 6-11.
Frustrating but quite familiar scenario isn’t it?
You must be thinking to yourself: “If I can just get that D@#% service, I should be able to beat this guy easily!”
Although beating your opponent easily could be debated upon, you will surely have a much easier time winning when you can return your opponent’s service.
Given that scenario above, what is the best strategy? You could just play really safe and try your best to return the ball safely without caring for quality (it could be really high and become a chance ball for your opponent) or just give up on trying to receive it properly and just count on luck to miraculously help you return the ball.
But one powerful solution and strategy in that scenario is to just attack the ball. Now you might think that’s a crazy suggestion since you’re already bleeding points from missing so many receives. But just attacking your opponent’s service is actually one very good strategy.
Here are the reasons why:
Even if you have a 1/5 or 20% chance of getting your offensive receive in, it’s still better than playing safe and not getting all receives in a set.
Once you successfully return the receivewith a powerful attack, your opponent will surely think twice before making that serve again since he’ll think you already got it. 50-50 percent chance of facing the dreaded service again.
It is a huge confidence booster to be able to return the service that really troubled you and especially when it comes in a powerful attack.
Now, next time you’re in that scenario, just try to attack the service aggressively and hope that it can turn your situation around.