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I would like to explain the importance of a good serve return in table tennis. While your opponent is serving, you don’t have control of how they serve, so you must make the most out of what they give you. Your opponent will give you all sorts of spins and speeds that are all over the table. So, that is their advantage at the beginning of the point. Your advantage is being able to be in good placement for starting the point. So, with the advantage you have and if you know the spin on the ball, that will be enough to set you up with a good return.
Once you are confident in getting back all types of serves, you can work on putting the ball where it is tough for your opponent to return. I feel that one of the best places to return a serve is to your opponent’s middle. That shot will put them in a place where they feel uncomfortable and won’t be able to make an offensive shot.
Samson Dubina once gave me the best piece of advice about serve returns when he said, “The main objective of serve return is getting the ball on the table.”
So, making an amazing shot is great, but missing it 4 out of 5 times is not great.