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View Full Version : Faster Kick serve

Fastwhiteboy08
06-03-2005, 04:04 PM
I just picked up a kick serve a couple weeks ago, and I can hit it with a ton of topspin, i just cant make it go faster! it usually just goes fairly slow and fairly high. what should i do??

peripatetic
06-03-2005, 10:21 PM
Flatten it out. The momentum of your arm/racquet combo is being transferred into the ball when you hit it. Momentum is mass * velocity. Now velocity in this case gets divided into two things: the rotational velocity of the ball (spin), and the forward velocity of the ball ('pace.') For any given serve/server, with the same ball, this total number, i.e. the momentum, is finite. So, if you are putting a lot of spin on the ball, then much of the velocity with which you're hitting it is getting transferred into rotational velocity. That means that the forward velocity/pace goes down as spin goes up. If you want to reverse this and increase forward velocity, then spin must go down.

Translation of this physics info: if you want your serve to have more pace, then you have to put less spin on it. Thing is, the point of the kicker is not to hit it with pace, it's a) to hit it with enough spin to really bounce high and quick, or 'kick'; and b) it's to give the ball more clearance over the net and a higher chance of landing within the service line. Regarding a) above, if you reduce your spin, you won't get as great an effect, and you'll be hitting with more pace, but less than if you just hit a flat serve. Regarding b) above, if you reduce the spin and flatten your serve, you're also going to make it less reliable in clearing the net and landing in. You ask me, you're going to end up with the worst of both, effectively rendering the serve kind of useless: the returner will not be overwhelmed by the pace; the spin won't cause him/her as much difficulty, so they'll be better able to hit it cleanly and possibly with more pace on it; and, it will adversely affect your consistency.

You say you're hitting the serve with 'a ton of topspin'; if you're doing this with consistency, then let it be. Time to go and work on the hard, flat first serve. A good friend of mine, who had the best serve of anyone I've ever known personally (hit it around 115-120 pretty consistently) had learned his kicker first, and then from that, he had learned his flat, 1st serve. Rather than working to speed up his kicker, he learned to incorporate a tiny 'squeeze' of topspin into his flat serve, I think mainly with his wrist action. This made his ball kind of skid or maybe slide, rather than bounce. All I know is that it actually seemed to fly up off the bounce faster than it approached the bounce--whenever I did manage to get my racquet on the ball (usually the frame), it just hurt. I think that might be a better approach, esp. since you've got a good feel for the spin.

Good luck, wish I could hit the kicker consistently; alas, the body sometimes lags behind the mind.

Kana Himezaki
06-03-2005, 10:26 PM
Peripatetic's post was good. ^^ I'll try to keep it simple.

When serving, there is always a tradeoff between spin and pace. It sounds like you're brushing up the ball too much, and not enough snapping/pronating over and through the ball.

It might also be your contact point in the toss. Allowing the ball to drop a bit makes it much easier to brush up against and produce topspin. However, the lower height lowers the pace.

For basic corrections, simply try hitting it a little higher, and remembering to always snap/pronate over and through the ball. Please post on any updates. :D

Peripatetic - Your friend has a nice serve. O.O I wish mine would do that. XD

TwistServe
06-03-2005, 10:53 PM
It is true that there are tradeoffs between spin and pace but many players have kickers that run 80-90MPH. I would not advise you to flatten out your kickserve. Instead, put as much spin as possible while going forward. The best kickers are the ones that have a combination of the racquet going up and forward! There is no such thing as brushing up too much. How do you think you get monster 6 foot kickers that clear then net by a mear 2 feet? You want to brush up the SAME amount, but you also want to go forward. Also, do not snap.. that's for a flat serve.. do not purposely pronate, that'll just flatten out the ball as well. When your kickserve travels in the air and looks like an egg, then you can flatten out the ball to get faster serves.. Until then, you haven't even reached the potential of a real kickserve which means no need to flatten out anything as you can still add plenty of pace with the current motion.

To put it in terms that's easy to understand:

Lets say your current swing goes up by one foot and forward by 3 inches. The other posters are advising you to go forward by one foot and up by 8 inches thereby reducing your spin... What you need to do is still go up by one foot, but also go forward by one foot.. It's like a diagnal.

Also, if you make contact with the ball higher, you have a better chance to get penetration. Additionally the continental grip is prefered over the backhand grip for penetration. When you make contact with the baller lower, you really cant go forward as much.

Lastly just experiment.. I've been practicing kickserves about 4 times a week for almost the past year. It takes a while...But I'm betting in a few more months you'll be able to hit a much faster kick serve and it'll have more spin then what you're doing right now.

supersmash
06-04-2005, 12:47 PM
roddick has a 130 kick. that freak.

peripatetic
06-04-2005, 01:18 PM
Let me clarify: I wasn't actually advocating flattening out the serve, merely trying to point out that the poster has the hard part out of the way, namely, getting good, consistent topspin on the serve. I don't disagree with any of the other posters, as I myself have merely been working on getting decent spin for quite a long time. I also agree that any forward momentum you can generate with your body will help increase the pace. I just don't think that you should try and swing differently and thereby sacrifice spin. The above advice sounds sound :) to me.

Kana, you're right, his serve is insane. He aspired to go pro at age 16. Unfortunately, on the way to his senior prom, he was involved in a car wreck and fractured many bones in his hip and upper-femur areas, was wheelchair bound for most of his freshman year in college. Now, he still hits the hell out of the ball at age 28, but he begins to suffer severe aches and pains after no more than an hour of playing. Doesn't even really have a chance to warm up and really start enjoying the feeling of playing again. He also tells me that he's looking forward to the onset of early arthritis. Serious tragedy to someone as athletically-deficient as myself. I do enjoy watching him slam a few serves every few years, though, and he's definitely been a good resource for teaching me some tricks.

ShooterMcMarco
06-04-2005, 01:44 PM
my kickserve sucks. is it best to throw the ball on top of your head or a little over your head and to the left. even though its preference, i'd like to know how you guys do it. my serve ends up hitting the net. btw, i use an extreme continental

Grimjack
06-04-2005, 01:59 PM
my kickserve sucks. is it best to throw the ball on top of your head or a little over your head and to the left. even though its preference, i'd like to know how you guys do it. my serve ends up hitting the net. btw, i use an extreme continental

I toss for my kicker so that it would drop on my head if I were standing about half a meter into the court.

peripatetic
06-04-2005, 03:48 PM
My friend started by learning to toss it so it would hit his forehead if he didn't swing. He got me to do this a few times, but I wasn't limber enough to actually get my racquet on the ball consistently: ouch, tennis ball in the face. I think Grimjack's got it right.

One other thing that I find always helps, but is also hard for me to do: really hit up. Like you're trying to swing at the sun/sky. I forget to do this a lot, get into visualizing the actual trajectory of the ball, and my serve always flattens out a lot when I do this. It's kind of like the opposite of taking a nice golf swing, where you have to learn to swing as if you were trying to knock a huge divet out of the grass. It's also like if you imagine the handle of your racquet were a ball that you were throwing, you'd be aiming into the sky, and not at the back of the ball itself.

Bungalo Bill
06-04-2005, 04:15 PM
I just picked up a kick serve a couple weeks ago, and I can hit it with a ton of topspin, i just cant make it go faster! it usually just goes fairly slow and fairly high. what should i do??

Relax your shoulders and arm hit a tad more out towards the target. Takes practice whiteboy.

Thanatos
06-04-2005, 04:56 PM
What helps me sometimes is to; (1) keep my left shoulder up as long as possible, (2) lower the hip to spring upwards whipping through the ball, and (3) make to make sure I can see the ball hit my racket sweet spot. This helps me from looking down too early and hitting the net.

TennsDog
06-05-2005, 08:41 AM
When you get good spin down (the hardest part of a kick serve), keep the same general racket path, but toss the ball farther into the court and transfer your weight into your serve. This will force you to swing forward to the ball and thus add more forward velocity. If you keep the same racket path, you will still get the same spin and trojectory, it will just go faster. This is the biggest difference between my first and second serves. Same serve, I just toss the ball more into the court for first serves.

ShooterMcMarco
06-05-2005, 12:18 PM
I toss for my kicker so that it would drop on my head if I were standing about half a meter into the court.

i tried it yesterday and had very good results. the ball definitely had more veolicty and it was landing relatively deep in the box. thx grim.

Jonnyf
06-05-2005, 12:21 PM
i through the ball behind my head so it would bounce about 20 cm behind the back of my shoes

wfudeac
06-05-2005, 01:10 PM
I read on about.tennis.com that you have to hit the ball 6-8 inches lower than its peak. Do you hit it as it's still going up, or after it's peaked and beginning to fall?

TwistServe
06-05-2005, 01:11 PM
I read on about.tennis.com that you have to hit the ball 6-8 inches lower than its peak. Do you hit it as it's still going up, or after it's peaked and beginning to fall?

That would be complete preference and what you're comfortable with.

Jonnyf
06-05-2005, 01:12 PM
i hit it when it's just dropping

Thanatos
06-06-2005, 04:21 AM
When you get good spin down (the hardest part of a kick serve), keep the same general racket path, but toss the ball farther into the court and transfer your weight into your serve. This will force you to swing forward to the ball and thus add more forward velocity. If you keep the same racket path, you will still get the same spin and trojectory, it will just go faster. This is the biggest difference between my first and second serves. Same serve, I just toss the ball more into the court for first serves.

Good post. You are correct.

Tennis Ball Hitter
06-06-2005, 05:12 AM
My kick serve ball toss is behind my head ... it would not fall on my head.

Also, is there actually anyone here who can hit the ball on the way up (of the toss) on the serve, I would imagine thats quite hard to do.

My one tip for the kick serve is you have to really have to flick hard with your wrist and really throw your arm into it. When I started doing it, I used it for a second serve and I was very tentative with it which caused the serve to either lollipop in with little spin or it would be land short [befre the net].

Marius_Hancu
06-06-2005, 07:02 AM
many good pointers in this thread: