Attacking The Tomahawk Backspin Serve

Table Tennis Service Return

Last updated 9 years ago

Paul Porter

Paul Porter Asked 9 years ago

Hello Alois and Jeff,

I play an opponent quite often who uses a tomahawk backspin serve that he serves from his forehand corner (he’s right-handed by the way).  More often than not, he serves long.  I’m attacking this serve as often as I can with varying degrees of success.  I was hoping you could clarify a couple things for me.  From trial and error, and the wisdom of Pingskills, I’ve come across a couple of solutions.

1. I attack this with a topspin stroke in which my stroke is quite vertical (to compensate for the backspin) and I turn my wrist back to account for the side spin.

2. I attack with a topspin stroke, but instead of turning my wrist back I pivot with my left leg and take a step back with my right leg to account for the side spin.

It feels quite weird sometimes when I use the first one and turn my wrist back, but I'm most successful doing thatSo my question is this.  Should I favor one method over the other or are they both valid techniques?  Also, are there any other variations on the topspin stroke that I could use to attack this serve?

Sorry to be so long winded.  Thanks for all your help.




Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 9 years ago

Hi Paul,

Firstly you are making the right decisions.  I would think the first method is preferable because it leaves you in more central position for the next ball.

For more power you can pivot with your waist more.

The other thing to do when the ball is coming in with that spin is you use your backhand.  With the backhand the wrist is already on the right angle to counter the spin.  This may take you out away from the table which is a downside but if you prefer the angle and the spin with your backhand then try it out.

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