Exploring the Tomahawk Serve

Perhaps you have no interest in developing a tomahawk serve. I know a few players who I play on a regular basis who have a version of this serve. Coincidentally, they have some of the most deceptive serves I face. Maybe developing this serve is worth the time and effort. Of the professional players that I observed, most notably Ding Ning, I saw that she was actually doing a reverse tomahawk most of the time. If you get really good at tomahawks your opponents may have a hard time telling which side of the racket you used. Kenta Matsudaira does both versions. 

My own interest in this serve began with a desire to add a dose of deception that my standard serves seemed to be lacking. Having developed most of my serves around a pendulum serve, I didn’t have any quality serves that curved left. Since I typically serve from the middle of the table, a reverse pendulum didn’t seem like a good option. It does seem like doing a really good tomahawk serve will take more of a physical effort. Getting low looks to be essential. Other than the energy that is required, the basic serve doesn’t seem too difficult. With slight variations, all types of underspin and topspin serves can be produced, all with varying amounts of sidespin. Of course, you never know how good a serve is until you try it out on quality opposition. It does allow for an option that could compliment established service patterns. Another possibility is to set up for a tomahawk serve, and change to a sidespin pendulum serve at the last second. Serves sometimes improve with practice and experience. Other times you need a new approach. You may need a tomahawk.

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