How to Return a Table Tennis Serve | Ping Pong


My name is Tahl Leibovitz and I’m here at
SPiN, New York. I am a professional table tennis player who
has been competing internationally since 1995. I am here today to speak to you about the
intermediate and beginner aspects of the Olympic sport of table tennis. I’m going to demonstrate how to return a service
in table tennis. One of the most under-practiced skills in
table tennis is serve return. Even at the highest levels in the United States
we never see players practicing serve return. One of the things we have to know is the difference
between the two types of serve return in regard to distance. We have the short service where people serve
short and the ball bounces at least twice on the table and we have the long service
whenit’s one bounce. Now when the player serves one bounce and
the bounce is long we need to attack that service. That means we either need to smash it or spin
it. So if we have our opponent serve a long service
we need try to start and attack the ball becauseit’s long. Now what we do when we try use more of our
body and the reason is that when we’re off the table we need to be able to use more of
our body. When we’re on the table we use more of our
forearms and our risk. With the long service we do the same, the
back hand stroke. Now the other thing that is really important
is we have to watch the players contact because when the player serves they sometimes contact
under the ball, they sometimes contact on the side. So here that’s side under, side top. So what’s really important, when the player
goes underneath the ball we have to try to go underneath the ball; when the player goes
on top of the ball we need to try to go on top of the ball. The other thing that’s important is when the
player moves their racket toward one side we need to move toward the other side. So if I see my player moving this way I want
to move my racket that way. So that’s also very important. And the final thing is the short service. When the ball is short you need to move your
forearm and your wrist. My opponent is serving a short service I just
use my, I just touch the ball, very short. I can do many other things, I can try to flip
if I want. But the main key in service return is watching
were your opponent touches the ball. Are they contacting underneath? Are they contacting on the top? Are they contacting on the side? The other thing is you have to watch the speed
of the ball. When somebody serves under spin, it is very
hard to make the ball go travel fast,it’s not going to go on the table. Usually if you see your opponent serving and
the ball goes slow, most of the time it is under spin, not all of the time but most of
the time. So try to pay attention to the speed of the
ball and the contact. And that’s the service return.

65 thoughts on “How to Return a Table Tennis Serve | Ping Pong

  1. He's a para-olympian. His body hasn't developed like the average human's, so naturally his technique looks off. Like you said, though, he's a monster at the table.

  2. lol ever seen thomas keinath that dude is in the top 100 for years and his technique is truly ugly but beauty isn't everything i guess

  3. LOL he cant even hold a bat propally and he saids hes professional, professional my ass hes fcken shit has to technique

  4. The purpose of this video was not to bring out this man's limitations (not that he has any), but to merely help the beginner/intermediate players improve their game. I cannot understand why those who feel insecure have to make a big deal out of the little stuff. Could it be that they are in serious need of therapy? I think so….I mean who cares if pro does things that others don't agree with? I sure as hell don't and I sleep good at night.

  5. Well, this fellow is Tahl Leibovitz, a WORLD CLASS table tennis player who competes in Paralympic Games for the United States. In table tennis, the severity of disability is divided into 10 classes with number 10 being least severe. Classes 1-5 competes in a wheelchair, classes 6-10 competes in a standing position.
    Tahl stands at 5'4" and bone tumors on most areas of his body including his playing arm

  6. The reason I said world class is because he won a Gold Medal in 1996 and a Bronze Medal in 2004 Paralympic Games. Calling himself "professional" is just being modest if not demeaning.

  7. I dont care what others say but your advice make sense to me. I should keep them in mind when I play Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom Tahl!

  8. Nice of him to post the video, but I agree completely with Eaglibrium. Grip is all wrong. The forehand hit: follow through is WAY too long and leaves him out of balance. I could go on, but you get the point. I think he's one of those players who gets by despite his technique rather than because of it.

  9. when you r about to recieve .. if it bounce first at my court into the opponent's court.. is that considred ?? (sorry for my bad english) pls help…

  10. Tahl's a great coach and should be admired for not letting being saddled with a deleterious physical situation get him down.  I am on one of the USTTA committees and I have worked with TL.  He's a top flight person

  11. can any one who knows about table tennis say who is the winner here … THREE CHAMPIONS IN SAME CLUB….MELION JAN DENNIS ….. MELION WIN JAN 2 -0 ,,JAN WIN DENNIS 2-1 ,,,,,,DENNIS WIN MELION 2-0 WHO IS THE WINNER FOR THE CLUB…

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