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Thirteen
02-02-2009, 05:48 AM
Hi guys, quick question.

I strain my rotator cuff from time to time, and recently i realise its only on my kick serves. I thought about this and watched a few replays of pro serves and realised that it might have been caused by my attempts to follow through in a manner i thought was "correct".

Am I right to say that the reason the follow through for a kick serve LOOKS at the side of your body is because your shoulders are less parallel to the net than on a flat serve? i.e. for a flat serve, you contact the ball with your shoulders parallel to the net, with a kick serve, your shoulders are like, say, 45 degrees to the net when you contact the ball. Your follow through is still FORWARDS, but because of the angle of your shoulders, it looks to the side?

I say this because all this while I thought my arm was supposed to come down sideways, parallel to my shoulders rather than ~90degrees.

Kevo
02-02-2009, 07:13 AM
Am I right to say that the reason the follow through for a kick serve LOOKS at the side of your body is because your shoulders are less parallel to the net than on a flat serve?

It's because you swing at the ball with a different direction, and different timing. The shoulders are quite similar, but the swing is more out to the side, so instead of the racquet extending forward after contact it extends out at around 45 degrees or so. This makes it noticeably more to the side. Try to get the right follow through by swinging in a path that carries your arm in that direction. Also keep in mind that there is a lot of pronation on a kick serve as well, so that makes it look like the swing is even farther out to the side. Pay attention to the hand in relation to the racquet when you look at the videos.

Thirteen
02-02-2009, 07:14 AM
Picture speaks a thousand words, so here's two thousand:

http://img443.imageshack.us/img443/363/kickxj1.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img443.imageshack.us/img443/kickxj1.jpg/1/w980.png (http://g.imageshack.us/img443/kickxj1.jpg/1/)

Got this off fyb's youtube...

Thirteen
02-02-2009, 07:16 AM
It's because you swing at the ball with a different direction, and different timing. The shoulders are quite similar, but the swing is more out to the side, so instead of the racquet extending forward after contact it extends out at around 45 degrees or so. This makes it noticeably more to the side. Try to get the right follow through by swinging in a path that carries your arm in that direction. Also keep in mind that there is a lot of pronation on a kick serve as well, so that makes it look like the swing is even farther out to the side. Pay attention to the hand in relation to the racquet when you look at the videos.

Looking at the picture above, am I right to say that if I pronate on the kick serve the same as I would on a flat serve, the ball would fly to the side fence?

Kevo
02-02-2009, 07:30 AM
Great pics. Notice that the shoulders in the flat serve are already farther around than in the kick. Also notice that the racquet in the kick serve is not as extended as in the flat serve.

Also, think about what will happen after these frames. In the flat serve, the arm will continue forward, the racquet will continue to pronate, and the shoulders will finish their rotation in the follow through. This will mean that the racquet winds up fairly quickly in front and then around the side of the body.

In the kick serve, the racquet, arm, and shoulders are all behind where the flat serve frame is at. The racquet will continue to pronate and extend outward from the hand. The arm will continue forward and out into the court as the shoulders continue to rotate as they did on the flat serve. This will make the whole follow through motion appear much more out to the side than the flat serve. Also look at the angle of the racquet into the court as the ball is struck. The fundamental elements are the same as in the flat serve, they are just applied with different timing and a different angle of attack on the ball. The follow through in both cases is a result of what is going on up to contact.

Thirteen
02-02-2009, 07:40 AM
Great pics. Notice that the shoulders in the flat serve are already farther around than in the kick. Also notice that the racquet in the kick serve is not as extended as in the flat serve.

Also, think about what will happen after these frames. In the flat serve, the arm will continue forward, the racquet will continue to pronate, and the shoulders will finish their rotation in the follow through. This will mean that the racquet winds up fairly quickly in front and then around the side of the body.

In the kick serve, the racquet, arm, and shoulders are all behind where the flat serve frame is at. The racquet will continue to pronate and extend outward from the hand. The arm will continue forward and out into the court as the shoulders continue to rotate as they did on the flat serve. This will make the whole follow through motion appear much more out to the side than the flat serve. Also look at the angle of the racquet into the court as the ball is struck. The fundamental elements are the same as in the flat serve, they are just applied with different timing and a different angle of attack on the ball. The follow through in both cases is a result of what is going on up to contact.

In the kick serve, the

I think I get what you mean. From my opponent's POV, my arm is swinging out to the side, but from my POV, because I'm more sideways than on a flat serve, my arm is more or less swining forward, out in front, instead of sideways, like a bird flapping its wings?

Kevo
02-02-2009, 07:43 AM
Looking at the picture above, am I right to say that if I pronate on the kick serve the same as I would on a flat serve, the ball would fly to the side fence?

Probably something like that. I think that frame is slightly after contact. The timing is critical. You still need your racquet face to point in the direction of travel of the ball at contact with pronation on the flat or kick serve. I'm sure if you were late hitting the ball with your flat serve pronation it would probably go into the fence too.

For me the pronation happens along a different timeline in the kick serve. I can't really go all at once with it like I can on a flat serve. It kind of flows into the extension and helps with that, and then finishes after contact. At least that's my perception of it. You can also just pronate after contact on the follow through to start with and then try to add in the pre-contact pronation once your comfortable with the swing.

tennisdad65
02-02-2009, 08:07 AM
Picture speaks a thousand words, so here's two thousand:
.....
Got this off fyb's youtube...

great pics.. those guys sure know how to make presentations.

yes, if you pronate too early on the kick you will send it wide right (righties) and not get nice spin/brush on it. Some folks like to talk about matching gears for the kick serve.. i.e. forced pronation on contact, but I could never get this to work reliably. For me, pronation on the kick happens way after contact as a natural consequence of the follow through.

On my flat I actually begin my pronation a bit late so that I am presenting an angled (slice) face to the ball on contact.. This results in a much slower serve, but it is more reliable and it stays fairly low.

Djokovicfan4life
02-02-2009, 12:08 PM
I could be wrong, but I believe that beginning your forward swing with your hitting hand BEHIND your head is a critical aspect of the kick serve. This allows for this more up and out motion (as I like to call it) to occur more naturally. Also remember that topspin is created by swinging low to high, so to get good action on it you've got to take the ball at a lower contact point than you would for the flat or slice serves. Be sure to maintain the same elasticity in the wrist that you would use for a first serve. Most players tend to tighten up on second serves and hit them with a much firmer wrist, which essentially kills the potential for the racquet head speed that is necessary for a high kicking second serve.

Matt

a_2c+
02-02-2009, 04:57 PM
be careful where u follow through... i've hit my shins when going for the heavy-speedy kicker... :-P

tennisdad65
02-02-2009, 06:27 PM
be careful where u follow through... i've hit my shins when going for the heavy-speedy kicker... :-P

I have hit my shin on flat and slice follow throughs.. never with a kicker. :)

Djokovicfan4life
02-03-2009, 02:27 AM
I have hit my shin on flat and slice follow throughs.. never with a kicker. :)

Yeah, I was gonna say, that is one MASSIVE follow through if you're smacking your leg on a kick serve, which of course promotes a more up and out swing path.

Racer41c
02-03-2009, 08:54 AM
Looking at the picture above, am I right to say that if I pronate on the kick serve the same as I would on a flat serve, the ball would fly to the side fence?

One of the keys to the kick is the pronation. I found a great pete samparas kick serve breakdown, which really shows the fundamentals. I have it printed out and read it now and again.

For me, the keys are: Keep the shoulder back, snap at the top, pronate completly, don't try to hit too hard.

tennisdad65
02-03-2009, 09:21 AM
One of the keys to the kick is the pronation. I found a great pete samparas kick serve breakdown, which really shows the fundamentals. I have it printed out and read it now and again...

Please share this :). I have seen a few sampras first serve breakdown articles, but not a breakdown of his kick serve.