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Return spinny topspin tomahawk serve

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    Posted: 01/12/2018 at 9:56am
Hi my usatt rating is around 1500 and I need some help on how best to return a spinny topspin tomahawk serve. Most of the times I block it and am able to return it easily against similarly ranked players. However I am playing a player who is around 1900 rated and has a very spinny long tomahawk serve which even when I block flies out of the table. Thanks for your help.



Edited by pacificspice - 01/12/2018 at 9:56am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AndiHL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 9:59am
Don't just block sidespin serves. Try a topspin!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 10:12am
These are just some very general points that may be worth thinking about. They work for me, but I'm not very good at knowing what I'm doing, so what I'm saying might not be what I actually end up doing!!

Try topspin the ball as it's dropping (so after the peak of the bounce). If a player constantly does long serves, it might be easier for you if you stand a little further back than your usual ready position. Just be prepared to step in a little more. Waiting for it to drop a little helps because the spin on the ball goes down a bit, and since it's lower, the side/topspin won't be as likely to fly off the table (since the ball is already lower).

Try topspin the inside or outside of the ball (depending on the direction of the spin) a little to counteract the side spin. You only need to go a bit on the inside or outside and it should be enough. Most the time I think the side spin is what's causing the ball to fly out more so than the topspin. If you're not sure which, just play around with it. You'll figure it out and your body will remember it with time.

Good luck!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vanjr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 11:22am
If you are right handed and server is also right handed use your backhand. Let the ball curve into your blade and topsin it back.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 1:22pm
Reading the amount of spin on the ball is critical. You are just not used to reading the racket head speed and quality of contact on the ball from a higher level player and probably do not close your racket enough to adjust.   I get a similar reaction from some players who push my backspin serves and wonder why the push that works against other people isn't working against my serve.

It is better to topspin or do a spinny motion of some sort against long serves as using blocking strokes require you to read the spin and compensate perfectly with the angle.   And if you can't read the amount of spin your racket will likely be too open or closed to control the ball. Your block likely just needs to be more closed or to adjust more for the sidespin to keep the ball on the table. But like I said accepting the need to adjust to the spin on a serve at a level you don't usually play against us a challenge.   That is why coaching tends to help as dealing with a higher quality ball forces you to change.
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 2:24pm
Not a long term solution, but a trick to use in the  short term.

Aim your return at the net tape.  If it still goes long aim at the middle of the net.  If you eventually start hitting where you are aiming then start aiming for the table.  The first time I ever hit with Heavyspin I had to aim at the bottom of the net to block his loops back on the table.

Eventually you will just start making the adjustments automatically without having to do the fake aim point thing.  

One other thing to consider is how the sidespin can add distance to your return.  If you are trying to hit the ball back in the direction the sidespin will take it the ball gets a little extra boost from the spin so you need to close racket angle even more than you might think.  If you aim the opposite direction the sidespin is going to take the ball, then you do not get the extra jump forward.

Mark -  I am not a TT coach but I play one on the internet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sunny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 2:34pm
Tomahawk serve can vary in spins, there are four types you can use:
1. Full topspin where the ball is contacted on top of the ball while serving. Ball will jump up when it reaches your side
2. Full side top where ball is contacted on side of the ball this is more of what you will face it will have lot of side spin and top spin. Side spin will make it go out. Normally if the serve lands on the middle of the table you can counter towards backhand or block it towards backhand. Forehand gets little risky as it may go out if spin is higher
3. Side spin/chop - where one can add chop to it and you block it it will go into the net
4. Chop - where action is tomahawk but spin is chop.

The serve gets more variation depending upon where the serve lands, on baseline or very short is the best, if it lands in the middle it weakens in its affect. Further complication is where it is served, backhand, middle or forehand, besides short or long.

So most important part is understanding what spin was imparted, watch closely and then adjust your stroke. If it is going out shorten your stroke and take it to the other side so it lands on the table. If it is going in the net because of chop in it you know how to handle chop and topspin.

Cheers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LUCKYLOOP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 2:36pm

If your having serve return problems just put long pips on your backhand, less thinking for you more for them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote larrytt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 3:00pm
Here's my article, Returning the Tomahawk Serve (or a Lefty Pendulum Serve). This is more for returning them when they are breaking away on the forehand side. 
-Larry Hodges


Edited by larrytt - 01/12/2018 at 5:54pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote smackman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 3:43pm
number 1 is hit the ball to his backhand if he is a right hander, 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GSOM_GSOM11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 5:18pm
Close your paddle and play a fast 'thin' loop over the top of the ball. Do it fast with your wrist. Take some risks, at first you will miss, but then you will figure it out. A good reason to learn BH counterlooping 😀
The skill acquired will help you put away a wide variety of balls fed to your bh, either flat or spinny.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lightzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 7:20pm
Yeah it's a tough one to get right. If they also serve it low to the net especially.

I suggest watching dina/bernardette games to see how their opponents return their tomahawks best


Edited by Lightzy - 01/12/2018 at 9:21pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote liXiao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 8:12pm
Originally posted by pacificspice pacificspice wrote:

Hi my usatt rating is around 1500 and I need some help on how best to return a spinny topspin tomahawk serve. Most of the times I block it and am able to return it easily against similarly ranked players. However I am playing a player who is around 1900 rated and has a very spinny long tomahawk serve which even when I block flies out of the table. Thanks for your help.


If its flying off the table, close the angle of your blade, that is all. People are making this way more complicated than it needs to be.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cole_ely Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2018 at 10:57pm
Maybe he's not coming forcefully through the shot and is trying to touch block.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fatt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/13/2018 at 12:11am

Looks like we have more and more interest in serves, return of serves and even 3rd ball; the Bermuda triangle we'll lose ourselves into if we do not understand 80% of our energy needs to be allocated there.
I've read here and there that in matches of all levels, 80% of the points are not going past the 4th ball meaning that in 80% of the cases, half our strokes are either a serve or a return of serve. Question: why would people spend 80% of their time looping and drilling then? I like when coaches train their customers playing points with a serious serve from either side followed by whatever routine. 
I enjoyed seeing those 2 threads side by side, underlining the importance of serve return; it's mytt awareness at its best thank you for the reminder.

Most important stroke? serve! and 2nd most important stroke? serve return --> it's like saying "I love upi": too often and it loses its magic; every once in a while it feels so good.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lightzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/13/2018 at 3:35am
fatt, hah, I felt the same seeing that. It's a shame some people don't believe the veracity of these numbers because of how unappealing they are.
My coach a while back was the deputy national champion and he made sure I understand that the right frame of mind is that 50% of all shots in TT, even in the highest levels he played, will be point-enders (either mistakes or winners), and so knowing how to play safely is the most important thing. Just putting the ball on the table first of all is the most important thing. To know how to put the ball on the table when faced with everything from a fast topspin serve, a high underspin ball, a short pendulum that leaves the table sideways close to the net... Just to put the ball on the table weakly and safely. No use of actual power was allowed until this was accomplished satisfactorily. Only using spin to land the ball.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote firetack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/13/2018 at 3:38am
I use Tomahawk serves for about 50% of the time,the returns with the most sucsess seem to be from opponent loopdriving aggressively, tentative pushing fails more often than not
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/13/2018 at 12:40pm
Too many possible things going on and the server could be changing things up. A player 4 levels higher than another SHOULD be troubling the receiver on serve, it is natural for that level.

One thing the OP could do is make a conscious effort to STEP TO THE BALL and take it off the bounce with a very loose grip at impact and a very short lower arm movement with a tiny wrist. Taking off the bounce will minimize the reaction off the rubber as will the loose grip, this gives the best margin for error, which is mighty this if one takes the ball later passively.

When you get that close to the ball, you unconsciously see it better and make adjustments. You may not succeed at first, but what the heck, OP was failing anyway. Making a habit out of stepping to the ball is good, both in serve and in all other areas of shot readiness.
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