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kickingbird
03-20-2004, 06:39 PM
Hi, thanks for considering to read this post.

[everything I mention hereon is from your perspective, ie., imagine you are hitting the ball and you are right handed]

OK, so I can hit a twist serve no problem but my question is, how exactly is this kind of a serve possible? It curves to the left before jumping up to the right. Which means, the direction of the spin on the ball is different to the direction that the ball was travelling.

Before I move on I'd like to mention the 'inside out' slice backhand, a shot that Federer often uses down the line- it initially looks like it is going right, but then curves to the left. From what I understand this is done by letting the hitting side of the stringbed of the racquet face the left, and with this you are able to hit the right hand side of the ball. Your swing will be an emphasised left to right, up to down swing, which I believe, produces friction making the ball travel to the right. The spin on the ball is going from left to right, which eventually makes the ball curve to the left.

So in order to hit a ball that travels in a different direction to the direction of the spin on the ball, you have to use friction.. or something like that. The ball will tend to go in the direction of where the racquet face is facing, but if you swing through in the other direction it will create friction and yeah... I feel really uncomfortable using these physics terminology but anyway, that's what I think.

SO, if this is true, how does this occur in a twist serve? We've all heard of the instructions on how to hit the ball (clockface, from 7 o'clock brush to 1 o'clock, etc.) but what exactly is happening?

Let's say I hit a twist serve from the Ad court that lands in the backhand corner of the opponent's service box, and after the bounce it jumps distinctly to the right. All right, you're going to hate me for asking these questions...

Q1) Which part of the ball did I hit? Here is the ball: O
Where did I hit? Often people say 'hit the bottom left', but this isn't possible unless the racquet face was open, or facing upwards. Which leads to the next 2 questions:

Q2) In what position was the racquet on contact with the ball? What I mean by that is, was the racquet standing up (like you see on display at the shops), or was it tilted, horizontal?

Q3) Where was the racquet face facing on contact? Was it facing to the left, square to the net, to the right? Up, down, forwards?

Q4) What would the swing direction look like if you looked at it from directly above me?

I know that many of you would think "I don't know what exactly is happening, but I don't worry about it and just do it". But sometimes it's better to understand what's happening. For instance, I have a Video cassette player. I didn't know how it worked and I didn't know what was happening inside, but I could watch videos so it was ok and I didn't have to worry about it. But one day it broke and the cassette got jammed. What did I do? Well, I could've taken it to a reparist, but instead I tried to check out what was happening inside by myself and I was able to fix it. OK that was a stupid story and I admit it but anyway the bottom line is:

If I know what exactly is happening when I hit a twist serve I'd know how to improve it and repair any problems I encounter. So please, help!

kickingbird
03-20-2004, 06:46 PM
OK upon reading what I just typed up I noticed that it was very confusing as to what I was getting at, especially with the Federer bh slice example. I guess what I was trying to say was that even though the racquet face was facing LEFT, the ball travelled RIGHT. The actual direction of the ball and the spin on the ball are the same... kind of. Which makes the twist serve even more of a mystery.

So it would be really great if any of you could maybe just ignore everything I typed up and answered the 4 questions instead... Thank you!

moonshine
03-20-2004, 09:43 PM
Q1 - You are hitting on the upper right side of the ball.
Q2 - It is tilted.
Q3 - The raquet is facing to the left and scraping the upper right side of the ball.
Q4 - left to right

Think of a kick serve like a topspin forehand. If you hit with topspin, the ball kicks up due to friction at contact with the court surface. If you take the same ball and turn it on its axis 45 degrees, you will get a ball that curves left and kicks to the right. The curve is the "dip" from the topspin. The kick is the same kick you get from the topspin, just slanted to the right.

Bungalo Bill
03-21-2004, 03:06 AM
I think Kickingbird your overthinking this serve.

All you need to do is go and try and hit some of them. Do a search for a twist serve and you will find your answers.

I would suggest practicing it slowly. Jut hit it over to the other side of the court. Dont worry about getting it in the service box. Just watch how it behaves after the bounce.

I have a very good twist serve I use as a lefty on certain occasions. The way I learned it was by just what I descirbed above. I can also add a little twist on my first serve. A very tight spin with pace. I learned how to do this by hitting a lot of slow exaggerated serves. Relax, let out your breath and light the ball on fire.

paulfreda
04-12-2006, 12:14 AM
Kickingbird
Did you ever learn how to hit this twist serve ?

I liked your 4 questions.

Today I made some progress by choking down on the handle to get more speed in the racquet head. But I still cannot get the reverse direction bounce.
Grrrrrrr

travlerajm
04-12-2006, 01:15 AM
It's not that complicated. Some people on this board have posted confusing information about the spin axis that doesn't seem physically possible. It's actually very simple, and simple to understand:

The spin axis is still perpendicular to the direction of travel, just like with any type of spin shot in tennis. The main difference between a twist serve that kicks to the right and the "topspin slice" serve kicks to the left is the amount of topspin.

The more topspin on the serve, the more it will grab the ground when it bounces. The more it grabs the ground, the more it will have a tendency to bounce right instead of left.

The reason why some people associate the twist serve with a toss more to the left is because the more left the toss, the more topspin can be put on the ball.

Some keys to hitting a twist serve with a ridiculous kick to the right:

1) Toss way to the left - your racquet should be closer to horizontal than to vertical at the point of contact.

2) Yank the racquet down fast instead of letting gravity alone drop the racquet head. This will make use of the natural springiness of your muscles, so that the racquet springs back up into the ball. Also, this will allow you to get the racquet head much lower (the best servers get the racquet head down almost as low as the knees). By getting the racquet head low, you will have a longer distance with which to accelerate the racquet head up into the ball. Warning: always warm up by hitting at least 20 warmup serves before you incorporate the yank-down or else you could hurt your shoulder.

3) It's all about racquet head speed - swing as hard as you can. Your margin for error with this type of serve actually goes up the harder you swing due to the increased spin.

4) It works best with a low swingweight - so if your racquet has a high swingweight, you can try choking up 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch.

5) To get the really monster twist kicks, it really helps to have a thin-beam racquet. If your tweener twist is nice, just imagine what it what bounce like if you doubled your dwell time!

paulfreda
04-12-2006, 03:06 AM
Thanks for that informative post.
I suppose having a spin friendly racquet like the O3 Tour would help too.
An open string pattern for more spin, say 16x18.
But nothing substitutes for good technique.

My quest for a twist serve to add to my arsenal has done wonders to improve my topspin serve.

shindemac
04-12-2006, 03:19 AM
O god. NOt another twist thread. When I first came on this board, it was to find out more about the twist. I got maybe half-dozen responses, and now there are pages and pages of information. Just go out and do it! It makes no sense, but you'll get one to twist.

SCSI
04-12-2006, 06:09 AM
Interestingly, I have never seen anyone who is 5.0 or below hit good twist serves. I don't know what that means but it is an advanced technique for sure.

shindemac
04-12-2006, 06:36 AM
Yes, you won't master the twist until you become a 5.0 so good luck.

SCSI
04-12-2006, 07:34 AM
I don't understand the obessession regarding the twist serve. It is a great serve to have to keep the ball away from your opponents' forehand. But, at lower level, other serves such as topspin or slice serve may be just as effective.

thinkfacility
04-12-2006, 07:49 AM
Slice and Topspin both generally move and bounce towards the same direction, but twist bounces the opposite direction from where it's curving. It's just some miracle of physics that everyone wants to do :P

By the way, isn't this a really really old thread? I remember finding this thread on google cache, but it was in a much more basic looking formatting style.

Rickson
04-12-2006, 08:08 AM
Before I move on I'd like to mention the 'inside out' slice backhand, a shot that Federer often uses down the line- it initially looks like it is going right, but then curves to the left. From what I understand this is done by letting the hitting side of the stringbed of the racquet face the left, and with this you are able to hit the right hand side of the ball. Your swing will be an emphasised left to right, up to down swing, which I believe, produces friction making the ball travel to the right. The spin on the ball is going from left to right, which eventually makes the ball curve to the left.

I can't help you with the twist serve, but about the inside out slices: You should slice inside out the majority of the time because it gives the bounce extra emphasis to go right or left. The ball not only has backspin, it has some sidespin as well and the natural spin that occurs on a slice bh bounces to your opponen'ts right side or your left. The natural spin that occurs on an inside out fh slice bounces to your opponent's left or your right. If your IO slices are travelling in the opposite direction, you're definitely not hitting the ball properly for a slice. It's nearly impossible to spin the ball the other way on a slice anyway so remember, bh IO slice bounces to his right and a fh IO slice bounces to his left.

travlerajm
04-12-2006, 03:30 PM
There's no magic in the twist serve. You don't have to be a 5.0, but you do have to be strong enough to generate a lot of racquet head speed. Your serve won't kick to the right unless you get enough topspin.

Some advice to those who wonder if it's worth working on:

If you use a tweener or a widebody, it's generally better not to worry about the twist kick and focus on using the racquet head speed for pace and height of kick. In order to generate enough spin to get a good kick to the right with a widebody, you'll have to sacrifice pace too much. When you practice kick serves, pay attention to how high on the fence your ball hits after it bounces in the box. With a little timing and good weight transfer, anyone with decent racquet head speed should be able to get the serve to hit 6 to 7 feet up on the fence. If that sounds impossible, keep focusing on it, and you'll see measurable improvement.

If you use a thin-beam racquet, the equation changes - it's a lot easier to get the amount of spin into the range where the twist serve will jump unpredictablly enough that it's impossible for your opponent to take a full cut at it on the rise. So it's definitely worth it to focus a lot of your practice serve time on the twist.

shindemac
04-12-2006, 04:33 PM
What I meant was this is an advanced serve. It will be hard for a 2.5 or 3.0 to learn this serve.

ramseszerg
04-12-2006, 06:05 PM
Interestingly, I have never seen anyone who is 5.0 or below hit good twist serves. I don't know what that means but it is an advanced technique for sure.

you are only as good as your second serve..

travlerajm
04-12-2006, 07:48 PM
you are only as good as your second serve..

The truest axiom in tennis!

paulfreda
04-12-2006, 08:18 PM
You are only as good as your second serve.

The truest axiom in tennis!

I thought it was ........ get the ball back one more time than you do now and you will beat half the people who are beating you now.

Tomba
04-12-2006, 08:59 PM
How does the pronation work on the kick serve. By using a western backhand grip , you will naturally hit the top right side of the ball. Do you start pronating at contact?

DragonFly
04-12-2006, 11:38 PM
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