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View Full Version : Making my 2nd serve into a weapon-help/advice


Ballinbob
01-11-2009, 12:52 PM
Alright guys, here's the deal

I've been taking private lessons and my coach has helped me out with consistency on my first serve. So now I have a first serve that's around 100mph that I can get in 55-60% of the time and I'm happy with it. However, I want to develop my 2nd serve into something I can really hurt my opponent with. My serve is the best part of my game and I want to maximize its potential, so I decided I wanted to start hitting more aggressive 2nd serves.

I use a kick serve right now and it's been working out fine. I don't really double fault that much and I have some good spin on it, but I was thinking of switching my 2nd serve to a more aggressive topspin-slice serve. I tried it out today and my topslice serve was going much faster than my kick and the spin wasn't bad either. It definitely was not as consistent as my kick serve, but I figured if I practiced this serve then maybe this would be a better option than my kick? I like the pace I get on it and with some practice I think I may be able to get it down. If I got this down I'm sure I would start getting more 2nd serve aces (not that I get any now lol) and it would put my opponent under pressure.

What do you guys think? Should I just keep developing my kick serve or practice this harder/faster slice?

Thanks

oneguy21
01-11-2009, 01:10 PM
Isn't a topspin-slice serve a kick serve as well? I always thought thre were three kick serves: topspin, topspin-slice, and twist.

But anyway, how does your topspin-slice serve behave? Does it curve to the left and kick to the right? If so, its a twist serve. A special kind of topspin-slice serve. This serve can be quite effective, since your opponent can be thrown off easily. It's a good serve to have in your repertoire, but you should still use the topspin serve as your default second serve.

My advice is practice both and use each in the right situations.

Ballinbob
01-11-2009, 01:23 PM
A topspin slice travels the same way as a slice serve but with a higher bounce because of the topspin. So its the opposite of an American Twist serve basically. I am comfortable hitting both serves, but my topspin serve is more consistent. I liked the idea of the topspin slice b/c I can hit it like 10-15mph an hour faster than a topspin serve. My topspin serve isn't necessarily bad, but it puts me in a neutral position instead of an advantageous situation (which is what I want).

I was thinking with more practice this top-slice serve could really turn into something that could hurt my opponents.

edit-check this page out oneguy

http://www.operationdoubles.com/how_hit_topspin_slice_serve.htm

oneguy21
01-11-2009, 01:37 PM
Well if a topspin-slice helps you put yourself in a more offensive position, practice it until it becomes as consistent as your normal topspin serve.

BU-Tennis
01-11-2009, 01:38 PM
The simple answer is that you should try and develop all of these serves. It would be awesome if you could crack the topspin-slice serve but if that's all you use your opponent will find a rhythm and be able to be aggressive on the return. You have to be able to switch up the serve. If i had a choice between a hard flat serve that goes 125 consistently or the ability to hit all of the serves at only 100 i think i would choose the latter.

There is a lot of downtime in tennis practice so whenever you're bored go down and practice all kinds of serves.

Ballinbob
01-11-2009, 01:45 PM
I guess I could just practice both and use the topspin slice when I'm up 40-15 or 40-0 on my service games. I just don't see how a kick serve can be a weapon though, I don't know anyone who has a kick serve that really hurt their opponent. I have no trouble returning these serves at all because they're just so slow. Do you really need alot of twist action on your topspin serve to make the most out of it? My kick serve bounces straight up and doesn't break off right. It kicks up and everything (like 5-6ft), but it doesnt break off.

Does the twist action really make that much of a difference? I'm so confused now lol, I want to just a pick a serve and work on it. Too many options

LeeD
01-11-2009, 02:44 PM
I'd think, rightie to rightie, against a 2 hander, twist can be used as a wide surprise, but basically it comes back at you with topspin.
A top/slice is excellent for out wide or up the middle (depending on court) and stays lower than kick/slice.
For twist, the toss has to be behind the head, so you brush up and out towards the sideline, imparting a bounce that's... twisted out wide, really high, to a right hander's backhand.
I need all those serves to hold at my level, so I hope you work on all of them, and during a match, you just have more different weapons to employ to catch your opponent by a little bit of surprise.
A true second serve has to be easy 48 out of 50, placed to backhand or forehand.

Ballinbob
01-11-2009, 03:02 PM
I wonder what Sampras used for his 2nd serve, he got a ton of 2nd serve aces. Anyway, so if my topspin serves just bounces straight up then its probably worth my time developing the twist? I don't know, if a twist will get me more missed returns and will take my 2nd serve to the next level then I'll just go work on that and save the topspin slice for when I'm up in my service games. I guess Ill have to experiment though. A twist has some nasty spin but a topslice can be hit so hard

schwuller
01-11-2009, 04:35 PM
ballinbob - this is really such a SMART question to be asking. i would hate to play a person that thinks this way!
pete sampras has a second serve with an average spin rate of 4500 rpm. advancestennis.com said they recorded it at up to 5300 rpm. his average second serve speed was about 95 mph. that is a seriously heavy ball! it is not just the speed, but the rotation, the spin, that caused so much damage on his second serve.
his first serve averages 127 mph and 2800 rpm now.
his second serve elements are the same as his first. its not a completely different motion or stroke. he does toss farther to the left, and make contact farther to the left, than on his firsts. but that is just to trade pace for spin. in fact, tennisplayer.net says that is the ONLY technical difference between his first and second, and that is the key, or A key, to his consistency. it is not two different shot, but the same shot, with a left toss, causing less pace and more spin. he treats both as offensive weapons.

Ballinbob
01-11-2009, 05:19 PM
Thanks for the info schwuller. I think I'm going to stick with the topspin slice serve and learn to hit it out wide and jam my opponent with it. If I can mix the placement with it then my opponent will have trouble grooving himself to the serve. The twist serve is great, but I want my 2nd serve to be a monster. I'll be hitting 70-75mph hour 2nd serves vs 60-65, and that I think will take my 2nd serve to a whole new level. I'll start hitting 2nd serve aces and i'll be unbreakable. The thing I'm scared about is that this serve might affect my 1st serve. I always go for a big 1st serve because im confident in my 2nd serve, and if this serve isn't consistent then i'll be too cautious on my 1st serve. I think its just a matter of practice though, i'll keep working on it

Failed
01-12-2009, 04:03 AM
Thanks for the info schwuller. I think I'm going to stick with the topspin slice serve and learn to hit it out wide and jam my opponent with it. If I can mix the placement with it then my opponent will have trouble grooving himself to the serve. The twist serve is great, but I want my 2nd serve to be a monster. I'll be hitting 70-75mph hour 2nd serves vs 60-65, and that I think will take my 2nd serve to a whole new level. I'll start hitting 2nd serve aces and i'll be unbreakable. The thing I'm scared about is that this serve might affect my 1st serve. I always go for a big 1st serve because im confident in my 2nd serve, and if this serve isn't consistent then i'll be too cautious on my 1st serve. I think its just a matter of practice though, i'll keep working on it

:) Remember its all about %. If you can win more points off by using a more risky second serve, than you lose double faulting its worth the trade. I'd say keep on practising your kick serve and then learn to hit the topspin slice from the same posture as you hit your kick serve, maybe try tossing the ball behind your head but into the court. Your opponent can't see the difference because it seems to him as if you were hitting a kicker. Suddenly when his prepared to hit the ball from his backhand but your serve suddenly curves into his body or wide to his forehand side with bigger pace.

What I do is when I see that my opponent is getting used to my twists is that I start serving topspin-slice. This usually earns me a few free points when I start doing that.

mikeler
01-12-2009, 05:36 AM
Bob,

I'm glad to hear you are taking some lessons. It is definitely worth practicing this new type of 2nd serve. There are a few guys in my rotation that would rather have the harder 2nd serve so they can use my pace against me. Then there are other opponents that will just blast my slower twist serve. These guys get a heavy dose of the faster topspin 2nd serve. I do double fault more with the faster serve, but depending on the opponent, it is sometimes necessary.

fuzz nation
01-12-2009, 05:43 AM
I think it's a huge luxury to be able to be aggressive with a second serve. Having a couple of different types of spinners that I can land with confidence on my 2nd ball gives me plenty of options and when I have that variety to work with as a server, I'm less predictable. Just remember that those 2nd serves have to go in!

I learned an important lesson from some of my pals after a heavy summer of singles and doubles a couple of years back. They convinced me that my spinners and kickers were such hell raisers that I shouldn't be over-using my heater, even though it's around the same consistency as yours. After thinking it over, I embraced more variety for my 1st serve and it's been really beneficial for my game. More of my first serves are landing and even though I'm not gunning for as many aces or free points, I'm starting more points with the initiative - I'm more in control.

My point is that you look to be taking a productive approach to your second serve, but you can consider these same ideas for your first serve, too. Your description of your first ball makes it sound like you always smack that flat heater and if that's the case, you'd be doing me a favor if I was your opponent. All I'd need against your first serve, if it goes in, is a block return which I'm pretty good with. If you added a lot more variety to your serving, that would leave me guessing a bit more on how to set up. Get as many types of serves in your arsenal as you can rely on and you'll have more options against better players.

fuzz nation
01-12-2009, 06:30 AM
Forgot to mention - I go to net a lot and my flat serve isn't terribly useful for when I serve and volley. It doesn't give me as much time to move forward and when I'm serving in a doubles format, I barely even use it at all. The spinners and kickers are a lot more reliable and they induce plenty of weak returns for me. Actually, when I'm serving well, I'll only need to hit a few second serves through the course of a set and in either singles or doubles, I don't expect to double fault more than once or maybe twice through an entire match.

If I'm playing singles and staying back at the baseline, I'll use an occasional first serve heater, but I've found that some better players can easily punch those serves right back at me and leave me on my heels in a hurry. Variety is key!

LeeD
01-12-2009, 07:57 AM
Excellent advice from all above.

mike53
01-12-2009, 08:03 AM
I just don't see how a kick serve can be a weapon though, I don't know anyone who has a kick serve that really hurt their opponent.
How about this guy? That has to hurt ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDUHcAwOp5E

skiracer55
01-12-2009, 09:01 AM
I guess I could just practice both and use the topspin slice when I'm up 40-15 or 40-0 on my service games. I just don't see how a kick serve can be a weapon though, I don't know anyone who has a kick serve that really hurt their opponent. I have no trouble returning these serves at all because they're just so slow. Do you really need alot of twist action on your topspin serve to make the most out of it? My kick serve bounces straight up and doesn't break off right. It kicks up and everything (like 5-6ft), but it doesnt break off.

Does the twist action really make that much of a difference? I'm so confused now lol, I want to just a pick a serve and work on it. Too many options

...ever watch some video of Edberg's kick serve, first or second? Or Pat Rafter's? For both of them, the kick serve was good enough for them to S&V on both first and second serves. I guess the only thing I can say is that there are kick serves and there are kick serves. One thing I realized this last summer (my coach has spent a lot of time working with me on a heavy kick serve) is that you hit a kick serve just as hard as any other serve...it's just a slightly different motion so you get more kick. If your kick serve is a helium ball that sits up and quacks like a duck...well, ya gotta get some more heaviness into it. One other thing, one of the best kick serves, IMHO, is a heavy ball that you hit right at your opponent's right hip (assuming he's a righty). A lot of times, I don't bother with angles on a second serve, because I want to make sure the damned thing goes in. Surprisingly enough, a heavy kicker right down the middle of the box is often the best second serve...

Ballinbob
01-12-2009, 09:28 AM
^^Here’s the thing though; both Rafter and Edberg had volleys as their main weapon not their serves. Their serves were good but returnable and they used their volleying skills to win points not really their serves. My kick serve doesn’t sit up for my opponent at all, and I don’t have a problem with this serve. I was just thinking one day that since my serve really is the best part of my game, it might be wise to switch to a much faster second serve and work on that. I mean look at Sampras, the guy was a beast when it came to 2nd serves. I want to have that kind of confidence when it comes to my serve.

Fuzz thanks for your input on this. I know that spin serves are good an all, but if you vary the placement on your flat serve then it’s not so easy to block back. I mean if you’re serving to their forehand the whole match then it’s different, but a flat serve is a killer when you can place it. And when your as fast as I am, you can come behind any serve..doesnt matter if its flat or not lol. I’m a different type of S&Ver... I just bomb my serves and either come in behind it, smack a forehand into the corner and come behind it, or hit a drop shot and come in. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve when serving and don’t really stick to one thing.

So maybe it would smart to use my kick serve as my primary 2nd serve and then when I’m like 40-0 or 40-15 I’ll hit a harder topslice serve to surprise them. I think I might take some spin off my kick serve and try and hit through it more for the added pace, but I’m not sure yet. I think the best thing to do is post a vid of my 2nd serve and see what you guys think about my kick/slice serves. When I posted my 1st serves I got a lot of advice and Mike’s tip alone got my serve going 5-10mph faster.

Thanks guys

NamRanger
01-12-2009, 09:36 AM
^^Hereís the thing though; both Rafter and Edberg had volleys as their main weapon not their serves. Their serves were good but returnable and they used their volleying skills to win points not really their serves. My kick serve doesnít sit up for my opponent at all, and I donít have a problem with this serve. I was just thinking one day that since my serve really is the best part of my game, it might be wise to switch to a much faster second serve and work on that. I mean look at Sampras, the guy was a beast when it came to 2nd serves. I want to have that kind of confidence when it comes to my serve.

Fuzz thanks for your input on this. I know that spin serves are good an all, but if you vary the placement on your flat serve then itís not so easy to block back. I mean if youíre serving to their forehand the whole match then itís different, but a flat serve is a killer when you can place it. And when your as fast as I am, you can come behind any serve..doesnt matter if its flat or not lol. Iím a different type of S&Ver... I just bomb my serves and either come in behind it, smack a forehand into the corner and come behind it, or hit a drop shot and come in. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve when serving and donít really stick to one thing.

So maybe it would smart to use my kick serve as my primary 2nd serve and then when Iím like 40-0 or 40-15 Iíll hit a harder topslice serve to surprise them. I think I might take some spin off my kick serve and try and hit through it more for the added pace, but Iím not sure yet. I think the best thing to do is post a vid of my 2nd serve and see what you guys think about my kick/slice serves. When I posted my 1st serves I got a lot of advice and Mikeís tip alone got my serve going 5-10mph faster.

Thanks guys



Right now you are clearly dominating players with inferior return games. Common problem among junior players until you reach an upper level, where junior level tennis just sky rockets and all of a sudden your flat bombs are no longer working.



What Fuzzy is implicating is that against a good returner, a flat serve for a S&V tactic isn't going to work very well, as soon as you hit the serve, a good returner will read it and send it back and use all the pace you sent to him against you, usually a low and skidding return.



When you use a heavy spin serve with decent amounts of pace on it, you force your opponent to hit outside of their strike zone, which usually results in weaker and shorter balls. Not only that, you also force them to move, which is especially useful for players who like to stand farther back on the return. And finally, it also gives you more time to move in behind the serve and get into position.



The lack of pace from a spin serve means the opponent has to generate his own pace and fight against the weight of the ball due to the spin. This is hard to do, especially at an amateur level where many of us are abit too lazy to go condition ourselves every day. This usually will result in plenty of errors and less work for you.

Jonny S&V
01-12-2009, 09:40 AM
^^Hereís the thing though; both Rafter and Edberg had volleys as their main weapon not their serves. Their serves were good but returnable and they used their volleying skills to win points not really their serves. My kick serve doesnít sit up for my opponent at all, and I donít have a problem with this serve. I was just thinking one day that since my serve really is the best part of my game, it might be wise to switch to a much faster second serve and work on that. I mean look at Sampras, the guy was a beast when it came to 2nd serves. I want to have that kind of confidence when it comes to my serve.

Fuzz thanks for your input on this. I know that spin serves are good an all, but if you vary the placement on your flat serve then itís not so easy to block back. I mean if youíre serving to their forehand the whole match then itís different, but a flat serve is a killer when you can place it. And when your as fast as I am, you can come behind any serve..doesnt matter if its flat or not lol. Iím a different type of S&Ver... I just bomb my serves and either come in behind it, smack a forehand into the corner and come behind it, or hit a drop shot and come in. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve when serving and donít really stick to one thing.

So maybe it would smart to use my kick serve as my primary 2nd serve and then when Iím like 40-0 or 40-15 Iíll hit a harder topslice serve to surprise them. I think I might take some spin off my kick serve and try and hit through it more for the added pace, but Iím not sure yet. I think the best thing to do is post a vid of my 2nd serve and see what you guys think about my kick/slice serves. When I posted my 1st serves I got a lot of advice and Mikeís tip alone got my serve going 5-10mph faster.

Thanks guys

Well, since our threads tend to coincide, I suppose I should comment. :)

I would work on increasing the pace on kick serves if anything, swing even harder. After watching Rafter hit a 122 mph kick serve against Agassi at in the 2000 Wimby SF, I'd rather face the 135 mph heater that Roddick can hit.

LeeD
01-12-2009, 09:53 AM
Yes, a semi fast serve with motion is harder to return than a flat max speed ball, for sure.
But for a guy who's now hitting 100 flat, not JSV, a good kicker would come in around 70 mph at best. Speed there is not the most important. Pure deep placement IS. You kick twist to move your opponent out of his hitting zone.
You top/slice to get IN your second serve.
You try for speed on your first, with placement all 3 spots.
That's general rule. You can be the exception, but you're in the minority.
Remember, all the serves can be weapons if the returner is not expecting it. Hitting ONE second serve sets up your opponent, just like hitting a couple of first serves.
Most fun to bounce a twist (I'm lefty), up overhead to a 6'6" big forehand hitting opponent. He might smack my normal serves back faster than I can hit it, but that high kicker away from this forehand is great variety.

mikeler
01-12-2009, 09:54 AM
NamRanger makes some good points. I played a former college player one time. The guy was a huge lefty with a monster first serve. I asked him if his serve had ever been clocked and he said that he'd gotten it clocked at over 130 MPH. The first few bombs he served were tough to handle, but after that, I was not having problems with that serve provided he did not ace me. He noticed that I was not having problems with his big serve anymore and started hitting lefty twist serves to my righty forehand. Those serves were absolutely brutal to deal with. Luckily this guy did not have much of a game besides his serve, so I could just float balls back and be OK in the point.

LeeD
01-12-2009, 10:04 AM
Hey, was I that guy...?
Exactly, If you moonballed deep returns to me most times, I'd fall apart.
If you crush a hard topspin 85mph return to me, I'd get inspired and play mostly pretty well.
It's called the "southpaw syndrome". Lots of lefties are naturals, ability and hand eye. Lots of them get bored really easily. I got bored really easily, even in important semi's and finals.
Funny ding... and losing or winning has absolutely nothing to do with it.

skiracer55
01-12-2009, 11:08 AM
^^Hereís the thing though; both Rafter and Edberg had volleys as their main weapon not their serves. Their serves were good but returnable and they used their volleying skills to win points not really their serves. My kick serve doesnít sit up for my opponent at all, and I donít have a problem with this serve. I was just thinking one day that since my serve really is the best part of my game, it might be wise to switch to a much faster second serve and work on that. I mean look at Sampras, the guy was a beast when it came to 2nd serves. I want to have that kind of confidence when it comes to my serve.

Fuzz thanks for your input on this. I know that spin serves are good an all, but if you vary the placement on your flat serve then itís not so easy to block back. I mean if youíre serving to their forehand the whole match then itís different, but a flat serve is a killer when you can place it. And when your as fast as I am, you can come behind any serve..doesnt matter if its flat or not lol. Iím a different type of S&Ver... I just bomb my serves and either come in behind it, smack a forehand into the corner and come behind it, or hit a drop shot and come in. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve when serving and donít really stick to one thing.

So maybe it would smart to use my kick serve as my primary 2nd serve and then when Iím like 40-0 or 40-15 Iíll hit a harder topslice serve to surprise them. I think I might take some spin off my kick serve and try and hit through it more for the added pace, but Iím not sure yet. I think the best thing to do is post a vid of my 2nd serve and see what you guys think about my kick/slice serves. When I posted my 1st serves I got a lot of advice and Mikeís tip alone got my serve going 5-10mph faster.

Thanks guys


...if you hit a second serve winner, fine. Pat yourself on the back. What you ought to be doing is striving to put yourself in the driver's seat so that you can start the point in your favor...whether it's serving and volleying, hitting big groundies, or whatever. The minimum you're trying to do, however, is to make sure the other guy doesn't gain an immediate advantage, which means you have to play his game, not yours. You've already sort of answered your question, which is if you have more than one second serve, you're more dangerous...which is a characteristic of 5.0 players and above. The best way to find out if it works is...go try it out!

sinned
01-12-2009, 12:19 PM
To hit an effective its about placement. I don't see others hitting 2nd serve aces often, but i hit at least 2 a set and my second is more of a topspin then a kick most the time because i try to place it more than give it a major kick.

I'd practice hitting the tee with a kick and super wide...it keeps them on their feet

Bungalo Bill
01-12-2009, 12:47 PM
Alright guys, here's the deal

I've been taking private lessons and my coach has helped me out with consistency on my first serve. So now I have a first serve that's around 100mph that I can get in 55-60% of the time and I'm happy with it. However, I want to develop my 2nd serve into something I can really hurt my opponent with. My serve is the best part of my game and I want to maximize its potential, so I decided I wanted to start hitting more aggressive 2nd serves.

I use a kick serve right now and it's been working out fine. I don't really double fault that much and I have some good spin on it, but I was thinking of switching my 2nd serve to a more aggressive topspin-slice serve. I tried it out today and my topslice serve was going much faster than my kick and the spin wasn't bad either. It definitely was not as consistent as my kick serve, but I figured if I practiced this serve then maybe this would be a better option than my kick? I like the pace I get on it and with some practice I think I may be able to get it down. If I got this down I'm sure I would start getting more 2nd serve aces (not that I get any now lol) and it would put my opponent under pressure.

What do you guys think? Should I just keep developing my kick serve or practice this harder/faster slice?

Thanks

If you want to make your second serve a weapon, I would suggest improving your first serve further. You should develop more than just speed for your first serve. Placement is also very important and unless you can place that serve on a dime, you should continue developing it.

As far as your second serve, it never hurts to know different serves. I my serve arsenal, I can twist it, slice it, topspin it, or topspin slice it. I also have a very good "flat" serve. Obviously, without playing as much as I used to, my placement has become narrower and not as wide as it used to be.

I think you should practicing both the spin serves you suggested as well as your first serve.

Bungalo Bill
01-12-2009, 12:56 PM
Yes, a semi fast serve with motion is harder to return than a flat max speed ball, for sure.

This is not true in all cases. Some people have trouble with the flat serve and can hit a spin serve well.

You kick twist to move your opponent out of his hitting zone.
You top/slice to get IN your second serve.
You try for speed on your first, with placement all 3 spots.

Really? I am supposed to just get my serve in with my top/slice serve? I am not suppose to try to get them out of position also? Just get it in?

That's general rule. You can be the exception, but you're in the minority.

LOL

Remember, all the serves can be weapons if the returner is not expecting it. Hitting ONE second serve sets up your opponent, just like hitting a couple of first serves.

;)

Most fun to bounce a twist (I'm lefty), up overhead to a 6'6" big forehand hitting opponent. He might smack my normal serves back faster than I can hit it, but that high kicker away from this forehand is great variety.

If a player that is 6' 6" is allowing your little mediocre kicker to go over his head, this person has no clue how to move to that ball. And if he smacks your normal serves back faster than you are hitting them, it tells me:

1. You dont place your serves well.

2. You have a slow first serve.

3. You are hitting right into his zone.

Bungalo Bill
01-12-2009, 12:59 PM
Hey, was I that guy...?
Exactly, If you moonballed deep returns to me most times, I'd fall apart.
If you crush a hard topspin 85mph return to me, I'd get inspired and play mostly pretty well.
It's called the "southpaw syndrome".

It is? Never heard of it and I am a lefty. Can you point me to this source?

Jim A
01-12-2009, 01:32 PM
Most of the time I play in-house singles/doubles/drop-in, I focus on hitting 2nd serves.

I'll move around the backline, aim for different spots, try to hit deep and use some newer motions (more topspin,etc) as my 1st and know I have my usual 2nd to back it up.

It's rare that I hit a hard flat serve in any of these situations, knowing that if I can win or be competitive purely while using 2nd's and serving smart (into the body, out wide, backhand) then it bodes well when I finally start playing some tournaments

Ballinbob
01-12-2009, 01:49 PM
Thanks to all of you:)

BB, I can definitely not place my flat serve very well. I get the thing in, but I don't really aim it. I'll have to work on placement for sure with it. In the vid I posted you'll see that my serve goes all over the place, and while it may seem like i'm aiming it im not lol...it just goes where it wants to go.

NamRanger, you made some good points. I'll work on my spin serves more then for sure, as I S&V alot and I want to keep with this style of play. So at the higher levels flat serves don't work so well for S&Vers because the ball comes back faster right? I win the vast majority of my service games but my return isn't that great so I struggle to break serve. I only use my kick serve for 2nd serves, but after what everybody has been saying it looks like this is a good serve for a S&Ver.

Johhny...a 122mph kicker??? That's crazy lol. I need to get out of the highschool mentality of hit the ball hard haha... I don't like my kick serve because it isn't fast and that's the wrong way to think about it. It's a consistent serve and kicks and all, but I don't like it because its so much slower than my flat. Even though this is a normal thing (for a flat to be faster than a spin serve) it still bothers me for some reason.

-------------
Anyway, I like to take things 1 step at a time, so I think for now I'm going to work on getting more pace on my kick serve. Do you guys think this is a good idea? I mean if I S&V alot then I figured I should master this first right?

And I know there have been a million threads on kick serves, but to get more pace on a kick serve you should try and maximize the use of your body+swing fast+pronate+brush up on the ball in the right way+leg drive...right? I've got the kick serve down but maybe I missed something on adding pace that I didn't know, so if there's something missing out of the above please tell me.

Once again thanks!!

Jonny S&V
01-12-2009, 01:56 PM
Thanks to all of you:)

Jonny...a 122mph kicker??? That's crazy lol. I need to get out of the highschool mentality of hit the ball hard haha... I don't like my kick serve because it isn't fast and that's the wrong way to think about it. It's a consistent serve and kicks and all, but I don't like it because its so much slower than my flat. Even though this is a normal thing (for a flat to be faster than a spin serve) it still bothers me for some reason.

We all get into that. We all get the amazing feeling after hitting a hard flat ace, and it's addicting. It's nice that to have the hard flat one when I need it, but it becomes that much more surprising when, after my opponent has been fighting off 80-85 mph kick/twist serves that I suddenly toss down a 105 mph serve up the middle for an ace. That thing seems like a 125 serve after you play me. :twisted:

Work on variety on first serves, but don't neglect the second serve as a push. Get it in, but it can't be a sitter (the definition of a sitter is up to the user of the serve).

LeeD
01-12-2009, 01:58 PM
For BungBill.....
Yes, my flat serve is a piece of cake to a guy once ranked under 300 in the world, especially since I can't place it exactly where I want it.
But my counter to you having this guy move in and take my twist on the rise is that I can slice, top, or twist into the body at will, middle of the service court, and I can flat wide either side, or into the body by taking a bit of pace off my swing !!
See, that's what I've been saying. We all need all the various spin serves, in addition to some flatties both sides and into the body.
EVERY serve should be hit with authority and direction, depth and placement. You have the time to think WHERE and how to hit the serve, be it first or second.
It's the only shot that I hit that I can take my time and decide what to do. Everything else, I'm scrambling to stay in the point.
Now consider... this 6'6" rightie is maybe two whole levels ahead of me. If I can take him out of his comfort zone, it's a victory for me.

Ballinbob
01-12-2009, 02:10 PM
Work on variety on first serves, but don't neglect the second serve as a push. Get it in, but it can't be a sitter (the definition of a sitter is up to the user of the serve).

Alright will do. My kick serve has a big arc to it and its a safe serve, but man I need to up the pace on that thing.. And your right about the variety with first serves. Even at the 3.5/highschool level I'm getting people that can groove into my flat serve and start blocking them back..An since this is my only first serve I try and serve it harder and harder which never works. I'm going to start throwing in kick serves for 1st serves just so I can avoid that situation. Hopefully that will allow me to still use my flat serve as a weapon...

When I took my lessons (2 of em) my coach and I worked on put away shots, because I get alot of easy balls after I serve and I miss them for some reason. So now he's developed my forehand into something big and if i can ensure weak returns on both 1st and 2nd serves I can use my forehand to finish the point. Now that I know what to do I think all there's left to do is practice and post a vid so you guys can help with my kick serve.

Jonny S&V
01-12-2009, 02:13 PM
Alright will do. My kick serve has a big arc to it and its a safe serve, but man I need to up the pace on that thing.. And your right about the variety with first serves. Even at the 3.5/highschool level I'm getting people that can groove into my flat serve and start blocking them back..An since this is my only first serve I try and serve it harder and harder which never works. I'm going to start throwing in kick serves for 1st serves just so I can avoid that situation. Hopefully that will allow me to still use my flat serve as a weapon...

When I took my lessons (2 of em) my coach and I worked on put away shots, because I get alot of easy balls after I serve and I miss them for some reason. So now he's developed my forehand into something big and if i can ensure weak returns on both 1st and 2nd serves I can use my forehand to finish the point. Now that I know what to do I think all there's left to do is practice and post a vid so you guys can help with my kick serve.

Nice, make sure to practice the backhand return. At our level, guy's see the one-handed backhand and a little light goes off in their head saying 'HIT SERVE TO BACKHAND'. Even if it's a just a chip or a deep floater (which I think are the best type of returns, psychs guys out when they have to think of where to put the ball next), get it in! :)

Bungalo Bill
01-12-2009, 02:15 PM
Thanks to all of you:)

BB, I can definitely not place my flat serve very well. I get the thing in, but I don't really aim it. I'll have to work on placement for sure with it. In the vid I posted you'll see that my serve goes all over the place, and while it may seem like i'm aiming it im not lol...it just goes where it wants to go.

Then that should be something you work on. The point is, you shouldnt be satisfied with your first serve just because it has pace.

Bungalo Bill
01-12-2009, 02:18 PM
For BungBill.....
Yes, my flat serve is a piece of cake to a guy once ranked under 300 in the world, especially since I can't place it exactly where I want it.
But my counter to you having this guy move in and take my twist on the rise is that I can slice, top, or twist into the body at will, middle of the service court, and I can flat wide either side, or into the body by taking a bit of pace off my swing !!

Whatever. I am not talking about moving in like he is chipping the return.

See, that's what I've been saying. We all need all the various spin serves, in addition to some flatties both sides and into the body.
EVERY serve should be hit with authority and direction, depth and placement. You have the time to think WHERE and how to hit the serve, be it first or second.
It's the only shot that I hit that I can take my time and decide what to do. Everything else, I'm scrambling to stay in the point.
Now consider... this 6'6" rightie is maybe two whole levels ahead of me. If I can take him out of his comfort zone, it's a victory for me.

Wow. :shock:

Ballinbob
01-12-2009, 02:26 PM
Nice, make sure to practice the backhand return.

I know exactly what you mean... My backhand return is garbage lol. I usually just practice serves by myself because nobody will come to hit with me b/c of the freezing weather. Everyone thinks I'm crazy that I still play in December, they think i should take a 2 month break until the weather gets better haha.Point is nobody can hit with me during this time of the year:(

Then that should be something you work on. The point is, you shouldnt be satisfied with your first serve just because it has pace.

I know, and I'll have to pay that more attention. I'll add that to my list of things to work on. I'll need to get a new sheet of paper soon because its almost full lol. I'm just happy with my 1st serve right now because I hit the 100mph mark that's all. i know it still needs alot of work but just happy because of that. Plus I have this thing in me that pace is everything and I overhit on alot of shots (not just serves). It seems like all highschoolers have it haha, they just hit hard and dont think.

edit-lee wtf is the point your trying to make here with all your rambling....?And would it kill you to type in paragraphs ??

Bungalo Bill
01-12-2009, 02:35 PM
I know, and I'll have to pay that more attention. I'll add that to my list of things to work on.

For your first serve, placement is IMO equal to pace. Over time a returner can get used to your pace more than they can get used to your ability to place the ball. Add spin to that and your serve is a major weapon in your game and should win you a lot of service points.

When I say winning service points, I don't mean aces, what I mean is it challenges the returner because he has to not only handle your pace, but needs to move well to handle your placement. A returner that has to handle pace, placement, and spin can be in for a long day against your serve because you can do so many things.

I'll need to get a new sheet of paper soon because its almost full lol. I'm just happy with my 1st serve right now because I hit the 100mph mark that's all.

And that is fine. You are happy with the pace you are able to derive from your first serve. Now, work on placement.

edit-lee wtf is the point your trying to make here with all your rambling....?

He just doesnt realize what he is writing. He will.

Kick_It
01-13-2009, 12:57 PM
If I were you, I'd focus on consistency first, placement second, then power/kicks/spins third. I'll try to give a slightly different perspective to reinforce what BB and others wrote:

1) Consistency - should be a given. If you can't start the point, you can't win it. First serves too - I'm not saying serve 50 MPH puff-balls, more that the more first serves you get in, more that you get a couple advantages:

a) Most returners presume the 1st serve is the tougher one so go for a weaker return - many better players go for strong returns against 2nd serves.

b) You gain more control in the point and start dictating earlier if you get your 1st serve in.

2) Placement. I'd focus on placement of your serves and being able to hit multiple different targets (left corner, middle of service box, right corner, and out wide (all with some margin for error)) with both 1st and 2nd serves on both deuce and ad side - consistently - so you can hit different targets when needed.

It's great if you can hit a 120Mph serve, even better if you can do so more than 5 out of 10 attempts - but that won't help much if you do the same thing all the time - especially if the guy can return it. You give someone 20 different looks at a serve - most people will figure it out; great ones will figure it out much sooner than most. you might get lucky and play someone who simply can't answer your one good serve, but most people will eventually come up with an answer.

If you can mix up the placement and keep the returner guessing - you'll have a much easier time holding serve.

There are few returners who are awesome at reacting to a mix of serves against all 4 targets I mentioned on both deuce and ad sides. Most people are used to one or two different serve types, especially one to their weak side.

I've aced multiple opponents with 70 Mph 2nd serves because I can place them well - which really helps if you can do it when the need arises.

Once you've mastered above 2 - then add speed and spins to the mix.

Bungalo Bill
01-14-2009, 10:53 AM
An example on placement and why you should practice it just as much as you wanting to hit the ball harder or with more spin. Placement is huge for your serve.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41247000/jpg/_41247271_federer_serve_gonzalez416.jpg

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41247000/jpg/_41247277_federer_2nd_gonzalez416.jpg

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41247000/jpg/_41247273_federer_2nd_ferrero416.jpg

Note the serve strategy on Ferrero vs. Gonzalez on the second serve. The point is you need to practice serve placement so you can mix it up with different players to give you a higher chance in winning the point. Most club players can not serve in a span this wide this consistently. Most club players have a much narrower placement span for their serves. Which then increases the pressure on the server to challenge the returner with more spin, pace, or both.

A few things to note in this analysis:

1. There are more first serves made than second serves. Which probably means his first serve was working.

2. The placement for the first serve was much wider than the second serve.

3. Second serves were goingo to the backhand on Gonzalez at different depths and most likely spins. Rarely did Federer serve to the forehand in this case which as we know Gonzalez could crush. However, Federers first serve was going to the Forehand of Gonzalez. Federer served to the forehand of Gonzalez in the AD court perhaps because the ball was in the middle of the court, reducing the angles Gonzalez could rip a ball through.

Anything else you guys can learn from this?

Ballinbob
01-14-2009, 01:49 PM
^^Haha that's really interesting, nice find there. I like it how Fed serves to the Gonzo backhand like 95% of the time lol..His forehand is scary though.

I went out and tried placing my kick serve and its just naturally going to the backhand. The times I'm hitting it over to the forehand are just accidents. Also, I tried slicing through my first serves more and I noticed alot more were going in. They werern't as fast, but the % went drastically up when I sliced through them. I think I'm going to start using that as my first serve, as the consistency is alot better and I feel like I can control the thing. Still gotta work on the kick to the forehand though... That's been a pain in the as$ so far.

Bungalo Bill
01-14-2009, 02:24 PM
^^Haha that's really interesting, nice find there. I like it how Fed serves to the Gonzo backhand like 95% of the time lol..His forehand is scary though.

I went out and tried placing my kick serve and its just naturally going to the backhand. The times I'm hitting it over to the forehand are just accidents. Also, I tried slicing through my first serves more and I noticed alot more were going in. They werern't as fast, but the % went drastically up when I sliced through them. I think I'm going to start using that as my first serve, as the consistency is alot better and I feel like I can control the thing. Still gotta work on the kick to the forehand though... That's been a pain in the as$ so far.

Keep working on it. :)

mikeler
01-14-2009, 09:50 PM
^^Haha that's really interesting, nice find there. I like it how Fed serves to the Gonzo backhand like 95% of the time lol..His forehand is scary though.

I went out and tried placing my kick serve and its just naturally going to the backhand. The times I'm hitting it over to the forehand are just accidents. Also, I tried slicing through my first serves more and I noticed alot more were going in. They werern't as fast, but the % went drastically up when I sliced through them. I think I'm going to start using that as my first serve, as the consistency is alot better and I feel like I can control the thing. Still gotta work on the kick to the forehand though... That's been a pain in the as$ so far.


Play more lefties. After they punish your kicker with a few forehands, you'll learn real quick how to get it over to their backhand.