View Full Version : Topspin serve, add court ... Hawaii, Gaines, BB, others

03-12-2004, 12:46 PM
1) When serving to the add court OUT WIDE with spin, is topspin the most likely spin? By likely spin, I don't mean the spin one would choose to impart, but the spin that would be most natural in this court position. If so, why?
2) When I hit topspin out wide, my ball doesn't kick very high, even though it does explode off the side of the court. I thought a true topspin serve was supposed to kick high. Is this the case?

-- lastly, do taller people, naturally get more kick from their topspin serves? and if you're small, like me, is there anything that can be done to get a higher kick?

Bungalo Bill
03-13-2004, 05:44 AM
I am assuming that you're right handed?

03-13-2004, 07:11 AM
BB: yes: right handed. I'll try to limit the questions in each post to something reasonable. I realize that you like to give careful answers to direct questions and it becomes harder to do that if someone is repetitious or not succinct. anyway, thanks for any help and don't worry if you can't or don't want to address some of these -- I'll try to search for past responses..

I just got back into tennis after a long hiatus and I have the opportunity to make some extra money teaching. I am a former high school/college player who needs to get back into the technical elements of the game, so I'm trying to re-learn all the information that has been out of my brain for a long time. This board has proved extremely helpful.

Hawaii 5.0
03-13-2004, 11:18 AM
Ok so the more natural spin for right handers is right to left regardless of the service angle or the court your hitting to becuase of the way we hit as well as natural pronation.I can't say that topspin is the most likely becuase it depends on the racquet path to determine the spin and trajectory.

To help clarify things here the topspin serve is just that a serve that's main bounce is up, but a kick serve is a serve that is angled wide and not only bounces up, but away, not to be confused with an america twist that corkscrews.

Taller people do not have more tospin,topspin is limited only by your racquet head speed and technique.The taller you are the more angle you have to work with into and around the court.I'm not that tall, but it's all about what you work on.

Eric Matuszewski
03-14-2004, 04:31 AM
Dear Altawolf,

I used to be frustrated with the same question, years ago. After watching some Pro's LIVE (camera angles off TV rarely show this, althought "Shot Spot" has helped) I noticed one thing that made alot of difference in getting the ball to bounce up HIGH.


You have to aim way higher over the net.
Exagerate the height of your net clearance as you add spin (you will lose pace, this is just the nature of the serve).

Try to hit the ball 8 feet over the net with heavy topspin just to get the feeling and learn to trust that the spin will bring the ball in. (this is just a drill).

From there you can make adjustments to find a comfortable blend of spin, height, and pace for your own style of play.

Balls bounce high because of the impacting angle with the court.

The steeper the ball comes at the court, the steeper the ball will leave the court.

The faster it is travelling when it hits the court at a given angle, the higher the ball will bounce.

This is why tall guys flat serves can even bounce high.

I've seen alot of shorter pro's that do the topspin serve exceptionally well. Watch some older Chang tapes, he should be a good model for you. (later parts of his career he tried to flatten it out alot more often)

Now go out there and have fun with it!

Bungalo Bill
03-15-2004, 08:15 AM

Eric has got it right. If you want a higher bounce you need more trajectory. The more straight down the ball hits the ground the higher the bounce, if you mix that with topspin it will bounce up high and towards the player quickly. The less trajectory the ball will shoot more.

I can only add and stress that the best way (and the least practiced way) is to spin your serves slowly. Very slowly. YOu only want to spin the ball real high in the air and let it come in the service box. This is a great time to see just wht it does. Play with the trajectory and see what you get. You will learn a lot.

The confusiing part of Hawaii's post is the American Twist serve vs. the Kick Serve vs. the Topspin serve. Of all the years I have been in tennis players always come up with a different way of explaining things.

Several years back, it was rather easy to tell which serve player meant. Not anymore. A kick serve to someone can be a completely different serve to you. Fortunately, if you say American Twist or Twist everyone should know what that means. It is the word "Kick" that has many different meanings and is used for different serves.

My preference is to call a spade a spade. A topspin serve is a topspin serve. A twist serve is a twist serve. A slice serve is a slice serve.

So I will stick with what I and others have grown to accept for the term "kick". Jeff Cooper is a person that I agree with in calling a spade a spade. http://tennis.about.com/library/weekly/aa050802.htm

Hawaii's definition sound more like a slice serve that had some topspin. I really dont care what terms we use - I just hope someday when commentators, teachers and players use terms that they are easily recognized and understood by all players.

03-15-2004, 10:20 AM
Great tips, Eric. I've been trying to bounce the ball higher at the returner and I'm going to try those things next time I play.

Hawaii 5.0
03-15-2004, 06:58 PM
I see that in my haste I may have sent @wright in the wrong direction, thanks for the clarification guys, next time I'll try and be more succinct and understandable.