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Table Tennis / Ping-Pong Basic Strokes - FH Tomahawk Sidespin Serve

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Ready Position
Photo of FH Tomahawk Sidespin Serve - Ready Position

Ready Position

(c) 2007 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc
In this tutorial, we will be looking at how to perform a forehand tomahawk topspin/sidespin serve in table tennis/ ping-pong. As a more advanced serve, the idea is to prevent the receiver from making a strong attack against the serve, and hopefully force a weak return instead that can be third ball attacked.

View the Forehand Tomahawk Sidespin Serve Video - 720x576 pixels version. (7.4MB); 640x480 pixels version. (3.7MB); 320x240 pixels version. (2MB)

Points to look for:

  • The serve is called a tomahawk serve because the movement of the bat resembles the way American Indians were shown waving their tomahawks in movies.
  • This serve is performed from anywhere along the endline, depending on the preferences of the server. The sidespin on the ball will tend to make the receiver's return go towards the server's forehand side.
  • The free hand is flat, stationary, and above the playing surface and behind the endline.
  • The bottom three fingers of the racket hand have been loosened, to allow the bat to be moved more freely when serving. This makes it easier to put more varieties of spin on the ball.
  • The serve will be mainly sidespin, with smaller amounts of topspin or backspin used to make to make it more difficult for the receiver to judge the correct amount and type of spin on the ball.
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