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View Full Version : What serve do you use for your second serve?


late start!
02-11-2009, 09:14 PM
I was just wondering what serve everyone uses for their second serve. I am kind of undecided between a slice serve or a kick serve.

RoddickAce
02-11-2009, 09:18 PM
Well, usually a kick serve for consistency, but a slice serve here and there for variety.

NamRanger
02-11-2009, 09:19 PM
Use what you have more confidence in and what you can get in with a high percentage, without it being attacked consistently.


However, I highly suggest you work on the kick serve if it isn't consistent. It's a great second serve to use. The slice is still an excellent 2nd serve, especially as a change up in the ad court (I am assuming you are a right handed player).

Commando Tennis Shorts
02-11-2009, 10:07 PM
Of course you want to mix it up so you don't become predictable. However, as a general rule, you usually want to mix your first serve up between slice serves and flat serves, while your second serve is usually a kick serve...with exceptions, of course.

Of course, mixing it up is never a bad thing. Anything to keep your opponent guessing while still keeping you consistent.

NamRanger
02-11-2009, 10:09 PM
Of course you want to mix it up so you don't become predictable. However, as a general rule, you usually want to mix your first serve up between slice serves and flat serves, while your second serve is usually a kick serve...with exceptions, of course.

Of course, mixing it up is never a bad thing. Anything to keep your opponent guessing while still keeping you consistent.



At upper level tennis, one of the great change ups for the 2nd serve is the kick slice. Federer and Sampras are great examples of players who use this type of serve.



Federer / Sampras will toss the ball so it appears they will hit a kick serve. However, they pronate slightly differently (ever so slightly) and actually hit a kick / slice serve, or a topspin slice serve. Excellent change up, and can be used as consistent first serve if you are having trouble with your percentage.

Commando Tennis Shorts
02-11-2009, 10:16 PM
At upper level tennis, one of the great change ups for the 2nd serve is the kick slice. Federer and Sampras are great examples of players who use this type of serve.



Federer / Sampras will toss the ball so it appears they will hit a kick serve. However, they pronate slightly differently (ever so slightly) and actually hit a kick / slice serve, or a topspin slice serve. Excellent change up, and can be used as consistent first serve if you are having trouble with your percentage.

Good call

(10 char.)

Kirko
02-12-2009, 12:04 AM
I was just wondering what serve everyone uses for their second serve. I am kind of undecided between a slice serve or a kick serve.

I use the american twist its like a kick serve.

Bud
02-12-2009, 02:19 AM
Some sort of topspin/kick or slice.

Rorsach
02-12-2009, 02:40 AM
The same as my first serve, an underhanded one.
To do anything else results in pain and agony in my shoulder.

:(

raiden031
02-12-2009, 02:52 AM
I always hit either a topspin serve or twist serve, but mainly a topspin serve because I am not as good at executing the twist serve and save it for like 40-0 scenarios.

Nickk
02-12-2009, 03:04 AM
The same as my first serve, an underhanded one.
To do anything else results in pain and agony in my shoulder.

:(

Damn...sorry to hear that.


BTW, nice avatar. Next month right!

halalula1234
02-12-2009, 03:11 AM
usually kick and slice once every now and then to mix it up

tennisdad65
02-12-2009, 08:19 AM
At upper level tennis, one of the great change ups for the 2nd serve is the kick slice. Federer and Sampras are great examples of players who use this type of serve.

Federer / Sampras will toss the ball so it appears they will hit a kick serve. However, they pronate slightly differently (ever so slightly) and actually hit a kick / slice serve, or a topspin slice serve. Excellent change up, and can be used as consistent first serve if you are having trouble with your percentage.

Interesting.. I remember seeing Fed hitting his second serve out wide on the deuce court, with the same toss. It never occurred to me that it was just a (earlier?) pronation effect. I thought he did this by changing his swingpath a bit. I wondered why he did it because it seemed like a riskier 2nd serve. On the other hand, it got the receiver off the court to begin with..

wihamilton
02-12-2009, 08:23 AM
I was just wondering what serve everyone uses for their second serve. I am kind of undecided between a slice serve or a kick serve.

Lefty kick serve! $$$

LeeD
02-12-2009, 08:24 AM
Mix it up for sure...
But the foundation SECOND serve is a topspin, usually with a flavor of slice. It's the one EVERY good player can hit 48 out of 50 times.
When you own that serve, you can mix speeds and spins, placements and depth changes.
Then you add the kick/twist for variety to keep your opponent off balance.
But a topspin serve is the easiest to get IN every time, so you should consider working on that serve FIRST for your second serve, and go on to more advanced second serves after you have mastered the topspin serve.
The forward spin stroke of a topspin serve is easier and quicker to master than the up and outwards stroke of the kick/twist serves.

Nellie
02-12-2009, 09:15 AM
I kick serve about 90% of time on serves. However, if I am playing someone with a monster 2 handed backhand or a lefty, I will need to go to a slice serve to keep the ball down and away from their strong stroke.

Gorecki
02-12-2009, 09:24 AM
usually kick... sometimes i go nuts and try a flat down the T just like if i was going for the first...

mozzer
02-12-2009, 09:26 AM
Some sort of topspin/kick or slice.
Ditto. I feel like my serves dont kick, but i do sometimes get comments about the kick. I guess my technique just varies on my 2nd serve. Really wish i could have a good kick serve though.

mikeler
02-12-2009, 10:03 AM
Mostly twist serves if I play another righty. Slice/kick serve if I'm playing a lefty.

jmverdugo
02-12-2009, 10:16 AM
topspin/kick serve, which ever comes out from my racket :). and sometimes slices down the T.

soyizgood
02-12-2009, 10:19 AM
Slice serve is the one I trust more. I also use a kick-slice hybrid as I can toss it in front of me and brush in a kick serve motion. Ball lands in using a kick trajectory but ball bounces low instead.

SlapShot
02-12-2009, 10:21 AM
Kick serve. I can place it well 95% of the time, and it has enough kick to keep most people from teeing off on it. Occasionally, I'll throw in a slice, but my slice is a lower % serve. I'll use it at 40-love, but not at deuce.

MNPlayer
02-12-2009, 10:57 AM
The longer I play, the more emphasis I have started putting on placement of the serve, especially 2nd serve. This is way more important that the type of serve you use, as long as you can get it in the box, IMHO. Particularly for players like me with pokey 2nd serves. :)

Priorities:
1) get it in
2) get it deep
3) get it to the side you want, usually backhand
4) put some crazy spin on there with kick or slice

NamRanger
02-12-2009, 11:40 AM
Interesting.. I remember seeing Fed hitting his second serve out wide on the deuce court, with the same toss. It never occurred to me that it was just a (earlier?) pronation effect. I thought he did this by changing his swingpath a bit. I wondered why he did it because it seemed like a riskier 2nd serve. On the other hand, it got the receiver off the court to begin with..


By changing the swing path, you also change the moment you pronate. It's sorta confusing to explain. You do pronate the same, it's just that when you pronate and where you pronate is different.

cohinr
02-12-2009, 12:10 PM
if im 40-0 up

and my 1st serve was a fault i would try for a flat serve

but normally i will use kick serve for the consi.

tennisdad65
02-13-2009, 08:44 AM
My serving stance is like Fed's. For my second serve, I mainly use a forward and out topspin serve (kinda like nadals) . About 25% of the time, I will throw in a kick motion very similar to Feds, but my toss is at 12-12:30, so there is not much twist action at all.

And no... I did not copy Nadal and Fed. I've had these serves since the early 90s :)

saram
02-13-2009, 09:40 AM
I usually go with a body serve--especially in doubles.

AlphaCDjkr
02-13-2009, 12:14 PM
I stick with the popular kick serve.. although when I can afford to take a risk, I'll randomly use an underhanded backspin-sidespin drop shot-esque serve on the ad side, and a lot of times it either gets me an easy winner off people I've never done it before, or I'll make the people who do recognize it hit a sharp crosscourt (which they ALWAYS do). Except I always expect it, so I can get a easy winner by passing the net player on his right.

skiracer55
02-13-2009, 12:27 PM
...usually a kick, sometimes something else, as in maybe a slice. For example, if I see that somebody hates slice serves, that's all they're going to see, first and second, until they get the joke.

But a good heavy kicker, right down the middle of the box as a body serve, is hard to beat. One thing to note: there are kickers and then there are kickers. My current coach, who is about 6' 4" and 225 pounds, has a huge kicker. The thing damned near knocks the racket out of your hands. I don't have his size, but he's insisted on having me beef up my kick serve, both in terms of pace and spin. One of the things he is teaching me is that in some ways, you actually hit your second kick serve harder than a first flat or slice serve. If you want it to be effective, it's not an easy, swing through stroke, otherwise you'll serve up a helium ball and get pulverized.

And it's paying off. I still have a ways to go to get it wired, but any more, I don't get hurt on my second serve, and I get a surprising amount of shank errors on the return...

Kaptain Karl
02-13-2009, 12:31 PM
Kick or Slice. I'm confident in both so I vary between them.

I'm known for my 2nd Serve. I keep it deep and I can hit my targets (wide, jam or T).

How many 2nd serves can you get ON TARGET (not just "in") out of 20? If you cannot get more than 15 of 20 on target, you need to work on your 2nd Serve more.

And skiracer55 is correct. You actually should hit your spin serves with more ... energy ... than your flat serves. And 2nd serves (spin) with even more energy than 1st (spin) serves.

- KK

LeeD
02-13-2009, 12:46 PM
Yeah, I'd say I swing about one third faster for my topspin second serve, but lose out maybe one third of the pace.
But for my kick serves, maybe barely faster than my first serve swing, for maybe 1/2 the ball speed. Can't really tell, of course, but MY kicks go really slow, kick off to the left really far, and usually get up around 6' at the baseline. I'm lefty.
And yes, easy placement within 2' sidewise of what I choose every time, when I'm serving seriously. For second serves.
First serves, usually closer than 2' sideways, but depth becomes more a variable, so it's only maybe 50% when I hit hard.

crystal_clear
02-13-2009, 01:21 PM
I tried to do the kick serve but not easy. So I tried to put the ball on the receiver's weaker side.

Lotto
02-13-2009, 02:06 PM
Whatever I feel like to be honest. If I'm feeling brave and confident I'll up the 2nd serve and go for a wide slice with a bit of topspin for that extra bit of safety. So basically a slice topspin. Normally a kick though. Twist I haven't gotten down yet, it's still under construction.

Kaptain Karl
02-13-2009, 02:09 PM
I think of "Twist" and "Kick" being the same (American Twist) serve. How do you distinguish them?

- KK

NamRanger
02-13-2009, 02:12 PM
I think of "Twist" and "Kick" being the same (American Twist) serve. How do you distinguish them?

- KK


The kick has a more vertical component to it, while the twist has a more horizontal component to it. The twist serve bounces away from you, while the kick has more topspin and tends to jump higher.

Lotto
02-13-2009, 02:15 PM
Well, from an article I read on tennis player there are three different types of "kick":

Chris Lewitt wrote two articles on tennis player about it. He said the three types are:


Slice Topspin: "What I call SliceTopspin bounces high but (from the server's perspective) also has a right-to-left movement after the bounce.Players will use this serve less frequently than the True Topspin, typically when hitting second serves down the T in the ad court, or into the body or out wide in the deuce court. The advantage here compared to the True Topspin, is that the ball fades or curves away from the returner (or in the case of a body serve, jams the returner). This serve is a must to hit effective second serves against left handers." .

True Topspin: "What I call True Topspin bounces high and straight ahead. This serve is the most basic kick serve and most players will use it for the second serve a large percentage of the time, especially on hard courts. When well executed this serve is heavy and difficult to deal with because it can bounce well above the returner's preferred contact height. "


Twist: "The third topspin variation is the Twist. What I call Twist bounces high but actually moves from the server's left to his right. Typically it is hit to the returner's backhand, especially in the ad court, where it kicks high away from the player after the bounce. This serve is used to pull the returner out of position, force him to take additional steps to the ball, and play a contact point at shoulder level or even higher. It is used most often on clay, but can also be extremely effective on hard courts--especially gritty or high-rebound hard courts--when hit with the right combination of speed and spin. "
That's basically Lewitt's explanation of the three types of topspin or kick serves and then of course you have your normal flat serve and slice serve.

Ballinbob
02-13-2009, 02:28 PM
I use an american twist serve for both my first and second serves. Love this serve

Kaptain Karl
02-13-2009, 02:36 PM
Thanks, Lotto. I think it's a "regional thing." Where I grew up Kick = American Twist.

In other regions the three serves you describe carry the "kick" label. I just wondered if/how you made different distinctions.

- KK

LeeD
02-13-2009, 02:37 PM
Hope your lower back holds up :):)
I like the idea of employing every serve for second serves, for variety, to get the opponent always guessing, to keep it interesting.
But use what you want.

Ballinbob
02-13-2009, 02:47 PM
Hope your lower back holds up :):)
I like the idea of employing every serve for second serves, for variety, to get the opponent always guessing, to keep it interesting.
But use what you want.

Yeah my lower back kills me sometimes, that's the only bad part about this serve for me. I've learned to place it pretty well though and I think this serve is pretty effective at my level. I mean I can hit a pretty hard flat serve (and I do sometimes) but it seems like most people have alot more trouble with a heavy kick serve than a flat serve.

I love this serve though lol:)

LeeD
02-13-2009, 02:51 PM
I use the lefty American Twist out wide to your forehand maybe one in 10 second serves. If you have trouble returning it, I'll NOT hit there until I need the point, banking the info for later.
Normally hit topspin serves out wide to your forehand on second serves, so the variety is employed when I feel the need.
I can also topspin slice my second serve out wide to your forehand, but that one slides into your body to jam you.
3 different second serves out wide to your forehand alone:):):)

Ballinbob
02-13-2009, 03:02 PM
wow haha looks like you have a good variety. I mean I can hit the twist serve and place it to forehand and backhand at will now, and that so far has been all the variety I need. I'll blast a couple flat serves here and there which adds some nice variety too. My serve is pretty good though, I can hit any serve proficiently, I just choose the twist serve or the other ones

LeeD
02-13-2009, 03:10 PM
Well, you know, it depends on WHO we're playing.
Sometimes I get to hit with Div1 singles players. I better be on my game.
Other times, I play with 3.0-3.5 old farts, and I don't need to think.
Most times, I play with equally adept (as me) 4.0 or 4.5 tournament players. They can handle any of my serves if they get to see it three times.
Yesterday, it was a former USTA NorCal # ONE 4.5, who became #7 5.0 the year after.... He's pretty practiced, playing 6 days a week and stringing rackets professionally 5 days a week, 5 hours each day.
Worse, he was former #4 for the same BATL B league team I played on as a #6 singles.
He used all his shots in 3 tight sets, as did I.

Ballinbob
02-13-2009, 03:17 PM
I agree 100% on that it depends on who you play. I can change it up if I want, but I just find that most people have trouble with heavy spin serves. If I play someone that likes high bouncing kick serves , I'll start hitting flat bombs for all my first serves and a heavily spun slice serve as my 2nd serve.

I'm one of those S&V players that relies on their serve more than their volleys lol. My volleys still have some technical problems but I usually get pretty easy balls when I follow my serve up to the net so I manage fine.

SoBad
02-13-2009, 03:19 PM
I just usually take a lot of pace off the second serve, so it's only 100-110mph but has a huge kick. That way it goes in 99% of the time and pushes the receiver at least 8-10 feet behind the baseline. I find it very effective.

Ballinbob
02-13-2009, 03:20 PM
I just usually take a lot of pace off the second serve, so it's only 100-110mph but has a huge kick. That way it goes in 99% of the time and pushes the receiver at least 8-10 feet behind the baseline. I find it very effective.

you have a 110mph kick serve? Good one

Where are you on the ATP tour, because Roddick/Karlovic/Sampras can't even hit a 110mph kick serve

LeeD
02-13-2009, 03:23 PM
Of course, all our dreams are pretty effective, in our dreams.:shock:
You can tell how real that post was by the "8-10 feet" behind the baseline.

Ballinbob
02-13-2009, 03:27 PM
well, considering I can hit 135mph forehands, maybe his post is believable...LOL!!:)

PS- No pro in the history in the sport can hit a kick serve like you described with that speed. Sorry to bust your bubble

Seacoast Stringer
02-15-2009, 04:57 PM
Thanks, Lotto. I think it's a "regional thing." Where I grew up Kick = American Twist.

In other regions the three serves you describe carry the "kick" label. I just wondered if/how you made different distinctions.

- KK

I agree with Lotto's reference and namranger's post. The "twist" serve is a variation of a kicker....more horizontal component and a more severe "directional" kick. I haven't seen this definition vary by region in my experiences.