The “easy shot” to return is the regular bounce, mid-court, to your forehand. But what about when you get one of those “funky” bounces because of the spin put on the ball?
It is surprising to me how some players are unaware of the spin on the ball as it comes over the net towards them; and then are not prepared when the ball is not where they thought it would be. There are two keys for me: first, is the trajectory of your opponent’s racquet when they strike the ball and the second is the sound the ball makes coming off their strings.
To be successful in handling the next shot, I believe you need to stay on the balls of your feet and be ready to move to where the spin takes the ball.
- Jimmy Parker’s underhanded serve – an effective surprise weapon of this multiple gold ball winner not only comes over the net very short in the box, but it usually has significant side spin on the ball. So you have to not only run in, but sideways as well.
- Willy Hoffmann’s underspin backhand – if you have played any serious ping pong/table tennis, you know the impact your opponent’s spin can have on your racquet face. The same holds true vs. an opponent like Willy when he dramatically undercuts the ball and you are trying to volley it back. You have to take into account the effect the spin will have on your racquet face.
- Miss-Hit Backspin – Perhaps the most difficult one to spot is your opponent’s miss hit which lands in the short court; but when you set up to hit it, the backspin brings it a foot or two closer to the net.
Warn Your Partner?
This is a question to which I do not know the best answer… if you are playing doubles and the miss hit, with big backspin is coming to your partner, should you yell to them “Watch the spin!” or will that end up being more distracting than the spin itself?
What do you think of that and handling spin in general?
Know someone who should read this? Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com
My Book: if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page to go to Amazon.com, look at the list of places under “My Book” on the bar above, or ask me what clubs are carrying it!