Returning serves can be difficult. Part of the challenge is to work out what spin is on the ball. In this video, I explain how to read service spin. At the end of the video, I do some of my serves. See if you can work out what spin I’m putting on the ball.


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  1. Thanks for your great videos, I find adding any spin very difficult I need some pro one to one coaching at my club either that or I’m just st rubbish at TT?! 😂

  2. This is most helpful video, together with the one on returning backspins, bumping me to semi final in company double game ^^
    The downside is that as I am consistent returning backspins, my opponents start to serve me more low long top spins as their beginner partners have trouble returning my pushes…What do I do now? Can you make a video on how to return low long serves, either top or back spins? I try to topspin back but can’t get over net some times. Have trouble chopping back with such low angle also…

  3. Hey Tom. Thank you so much. Can you please tell me how to read the serve placement? I try reading the spin like you suggested, but if I can't read the placement, I am not able to receive it on my BH or FH in time. Kindly help.

  4. I really liked the drill at the end. It would be cool to see another test given where the server tries to make it as difficult as possible to read the spin. Great content though, keep it up!

  5. Most of the players cover the ball with their bodies and I can't really read the serve. Any other tips aside from reading through how the ball travels? Coz its hard if its a fast ball

  6. Dear Tom !
    Thank you very much for your interpretation !
    Let me tell you some remarks . A sidespin serve need not to kick up sideways , a sidespin can be done almost straight ahead.
    So to do you have to pull the bat nearly paralell with the endline of the table when sidespin serve generated.
    And at 5:42 what does it mean "…. backhand side topspin serve …" What are you getting at ?
    It is a topsin serve with with the backhand side of the bat or something very special ?
    Why did you omit the Corkscrew spin serve ?

  7. I generally get the spin but cant guess where ball will go. Sometimes i just swing the bat and completely miss the ball.

  8. Hi coach,
    Is there a good mysterious reason why I saw a lot of players touching their side of the table near the net?

  9. The final looks to me like (at least at first glance) a back spin serve. Then you said it's top spin so i looked at it again and kind of see your point but it's really not obvious to me and a bit confusing. Would you mind explaining a bit more or create a tutorial for it please. Thank you.

  10. You can make a top spin serve using the underspin stroke. All you have to do is as u complete the underspin stroke in service, at the last point of contact, pull back the paddle.

  11. 5:43 why is that topspin and not backspin serve? The racket went from up to down when I watched at 0.5 speed?
    EDIT: Nevermind. As I watch closer, the racket actually goes from bottom to top, but the backhand gave an illusion

  12. Number 10 was a quite deceptive one. I watched it about 50 times to spot the tiny difference between back- and topspin…

  13. Your vids are my favorite so far. They definitely suit my learning style. Additionally, the sound quality and pace are great…not too long and boring, but not too short either. You hit all the points needed.
    P.S. You're topspin serve that appears to be a backspin serve until the last second where you brush upward, looks so good and doesn't look extremely difficult to learn. I have a tourney coming up in March and I'm determined to add that one to my serves before then. Thanks!


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