The No-Spin Push

By Carl Danner

Some opponents load up deep pushes with underspin and challenge you to do something about it. They hope you will either push the ball back deep for them to dig into again (or attack), or that you will try to open weakly and either miss the shot or offer up a weak loop that can easily be smashed.

Here is another option. Against a very spinny push, learn to push back without any spin at all. You can do this by opening up your racket and simply letting the ball shoot back at the other side of the table — propelled by the underspin already on it. If you can deliver this no-spin push short, it is an even better shot.

This play can do several things for you. First, it takes pressure off your game by offering a third option to trying to push it back spinny, or a difficult loop opening. Second, the lack of spin on the ball will complicate your opponent’s life because it is not so easy to push this back again with spin, or to loop strongly. Indeed, it you can place this shot short and low over the net, it’s difficult to do much of anything offensive with the next ball. Even better, many opponents will try to lift the return and perhaps set you up to drive the next shot with some force.