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View Full Version : Holy crap, kick serve question!


Bergboy123
10-13-2011, 09:49 PM
Ok whoa, I just watched Rockandrolltennis's topspin serve video, read Luishcorreia's blog update about tennis, and watched those insane kick serves from ZPTennis on Youtube, and my brain exploded with fireworks as I realized something.

They all have this weird pronation with their wrists where after contact the face of the racket ends up pointing away from the server! WHAT?!? Call me anything you want, (not really :) ) but I have never even KNOWN about this! I have been practicing kick serves where I toss correctly, swing up at the ball from about 7 to 1ish, but I don't twist my wrist like that.

Please somebody explain this to me!

Bacterio
10-13-2011, 10:10 PM
I know exactly what you're talking about and I have no idea how to do it. I feel like if I could figure out what kind of swingpath/motion creates that at the finish, I might have a real kickserve.

Right now it's nothing more than a 2nd serve with good net clearance and a bit of topspin.

LeeD
10-14-2011, 10:38 AM
Face has to point away from server after contact. On every serve.
Twists, grip either conti or backhand side of conti, after contact, server shoiuld see the backside of his strings.
Normal.

dozu
10-14-2011, 10:55 AM
yes - it does look strange to untrained eyes isn't it?

we can blame the dinosaurs for this, as humans have these 2 strange forearm bones that have to rotate when the extend.... that's mind-blowing stuff!

so basically, without pronation, all you can do is to push the racket thru impact with not much speed.

or, you can try to really whip the racket without pronation, and then break your wrist in the follow thru...... but your brain is too smart to let you do that, otherwise your ancestors would have been long eliminated from the gene pool if they were that stupid.

so, there is the explanation lol.

TennisCJC
10-14-2011, 11:40 AM
Face has to point away from server after contact. On every serve.
Twists, grip either conti or backhand side of conti, after contact, server shoiuld see the backside of his strings.
Normal.

Absolutely right.

TennisCJC
10-14-2011, 11:48 AM
I understand pronation: racket has edge pointing at ball coming up out of backscratch, then forearm/palm rotate away from player, contact is made and forearm/palm continue to rotate away from player, after contact player should be able to see watch if he had one on and palm is pointing toward side fence.

What I struggle with is timing pronation. If I want to slice or kick the ball; I have the feeling that strings brush across (slice) or across/up (kick) the ball and then the wrist/forearm naturally pronates. If I force the pronation to happen sooner in the swing, it opens more string to the contact point and I get less brushing action.

Anyone have any clues/hints on timing pronation? It feels like my better spin serves have less degree or later pronation.

When I hit flater serves, I pronate sooner and get more of a slapping action and less brushing action.

LeeD
10-14-2011, 03:33 PM
Your last sentence says it all.
Change your grip to get the desired impact angle for the serve you want.
Another criteria is changing your timing and amount of pronation depending on what kind of serve you want.
Good players use both.

Mongolmike
10-14-2011, 06:55 PM
I was actually working on this today... I have an ok kick 2nd serve, but it is more of a topspin with a little kick. Today, when I added the pronation, it added a visual amount of kick. I wasn't as accurate (yet), but it helps bring the ball back to my right (returner's left).

I know many people do not pronate on any of their serves, so this may seem really strange to do on a kicker... but if you do know how to pronate, then doing it with a kicker is just a matter of timing IMO.

Bergboy123
10-14-2011, 10:09 PM
I still don't quite get this, I just tried it a little bit (not much because I had a match,) and when I tried this pronation the ball went flying to the right... :\

papa
10-15-2011, 06:14 AM
Well, you've really got to get the brushing up action which for many is difficult. Lee is certainly right in that racquets heads go away from the server after ball contact on all serves.

I use a phrase that seems to work with many - "racquet penetration into the court". With a kick serve the racquet doesn't go toward net as much (ie racquet penetration). So the movement of the racquet is "more" to the right and up - almost like you want to have it follow the baseline.

I think an excellent drill, some get tired of me mentioning this, is to have the player go "outside" the court. From about 8 - 10 feet away (with the net to your front), try to serve up and over the fence and keep the ball to your side of the net. You'll quickly see the benefits because its not so easy to do. Try it if you haven't and see if you can do 10 balls in a row.

onehandbh
10-15-2011, 10:34 AM
For most people if you do the following and the ball goes in, it will naturally
happen.

1) keep your body relaxed throughout the motion
2) hold a continental grip or one slightly toward the backhand grip
3) swing up with the edge of the racquet facing forward as you approach
the ball (hard to explain, but maybe the video link below will make it more
clear)
3) brush up and out (to your right) to hit the ball

If you do all of the above and your serve goes in, you must have
pronated to some degree otherwise the serve would have hit the edge
of your racquet and gone way to the

To me, it's sort of an unconscious byproduct of the motion. I was curious
to see my pronation so I took a slow motion video of my serve.
It's hard to see at regular speed, so I slowed the video down. It's kind of
hard to see from the angle I shot at but, but it was a topspin serve that
cleared the net by quite a bit.

serve :
http://www.youtube.com/onehandbh#p/c/87F0C85ECE631F82/2/p_C-H4G8tV8

same serve in slow motion:
http://www.youtube.com/onehandbh#p/c/87F0C85ECE631F82/3/bfFv9ACCdT8

downs_chris
10-15-2011, 02:15 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksdP_cocKWA

i didn't realize this until today, but i play with this guy regularly...haha - his kicker can definitely get above my head...i have to take it way way early to have a chance at a decent return...on the ad side, he'll push me way off the court, then have a ton of open space to hit winners...

Funbun
10-15-2011, 03:30 PM
Wait, shouldn't the racquet face away from the court no matter what serve you do?

I mean, you practically can't tell the difference between the serves the pros do on the tour (until you lose the point). The motions are very similar.

papa
10-15-2011, 04:10 PM
Wait, shouldn't the racquet face away from the court no matter what serve you do?

.....................

Who said that?

Manus Domini
10-15-2011, 06:55 PM
My instructor told me to hit the ball like my racquet's path forms a rainbow. Creates a pretty good idea of the swing path imo

charliefedererer
10-19-2011, 08:58 AM
Will Hamilton of Fuzzy Yellow Balls has a great video series on the kick serve emphasizing the location of the toss, greater winding of the shoulders, a different swing path more across the ball, and hitting the ball a little lower:

Tennis Serve: Kick Serve Step 3 - How to Swing and Pronate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgZZhATk8AY

Tennis Serve: Kick Serve Step 2 - Shoulder Turn http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfwJqFaBEVs&feature=relmfu

Tennis Kick Serve - Kick Serve Step 1 - Toss
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkAj6MmwxHw&feature=relmfu

Tennis Kick Serve Progressions: Step 4: Full Motion
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQEpn7spU8o&feature=related

Bergboy123
10-21-2011, 02:32 PM
Ok guys, I read all your comments and tried out a lot of different things.

I found and tried this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1RTixZhir4

I started very slow, and pretty much developed this pronation that the video has, from the service line.

And so now, I try it from the baseline, with a full swing and full service motion, and it's not working.

I get the buttcap facing upwards after a serve (still not quite natural, but I'm getting there,) but it doesn't have any effect on my kick serve. As a matter of fact, when I do this, it tends to be only a flat serve.

So that's where I get back to my first question. How the heck do pronation and kick/twist serves go together???

toly
10-21-2011, 03:00 PM
So that's where I get back to my first question. How the heck do pronation and kick/twist serves go together???
You should understand, the power (translational motion of the ball) we provide by properly using arm pronation and any spin is done by wrist ulnar deviation. There should be very good coordination between these two motions. That’s why the serve is so difficult to learn.:confused:

charliefedererer
10-21-2011, 09:25 PM
Ok guys, I read all your comments and tried out a lot of different things.

I found and tried this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1RTixZhir4

I started very slow, and pretty much developed this pronation that the video has, from the service line.

And so now, I try it from the baseline, with a full swing and full service motion, and it's not working.

I get the buttcap facing upwards after a serve (still not quite natural, but I'm getting there,) but it doesn't have any effect on my kick serve. As a matter of fact, when I do this, it tends to be only a flat serve.

So that's where I get back to my first question. How the heck do pronation and kick/twist serves go together???

"The direction you swing and pronate when you make contact with the tennis ball is another element / factor that separates the kick serve from the flat serve. When you hit a flat serve, you’re trying to swing through the ball – you want to “slap it,” or hit it clean. On a kick serve, now what you’re trying to do is swing up and across the tennis ball. That means you have to swing in a different direction. By swinging up and across the back of the tennis ball, you’ll put spin on it. That will pull the ball into the service box and cause it to “bounce funny,” or kick to the side.

In the video we compare the direction you swing when you hit a flat and a kick serve. We have Frank split screened. The serve to the left is Frank’s kick and the one to the right is the flat. First, let’s watch his flat serve. When he winds up and swings his arm is moving into the court. However, on the kick serve, when he swings his arm and the racket are moving across the tennis ball. When we play these clips together it should be clear that his arm is moving in a different direction on his kick serve than it is on his flat serve. He’s swinging more across the tennis ball.

Let’s look at Frank’s contact points because this next point is critical. The directions his tennis racket strings are facing when he hits the ball are more or less the same. The strings are facing the direction he wants to hit the tennis ball. Even though he’s swinging in different directions his strings are facing where he wants the tennis ball to go. This is key.

I’m going to take a moment to expand upon this last point because it’s really, really important. You want your strings to be facing the same direction when you hit the tennis ball regardless of which serve you are hitting. However, your arm is moving in a different direction on a kick serve than it is on a flat serve. That means you have to time your pronation differently on a kick serve so that your strings are facing the right direction at contact. In the video I show how this works. If I am trying to get my palm to face the camera, the timing of my pronation is different when I swing to my side versus straight at the camera. That same concept applies to a kick serve and a flat serve. You have to time your pronation so that your strings are facing the same direction at contact regardless of what direction your arm is moving prior to hitting the tennis ball.

Finally, let’s compare Oliver’s kick serve and flat serve side by side. His kick serve is to the left and his flat serve to the right. We’ll use this split screen to see how the brushing action of the kick serve is different from the solid contact of a flat serve. On a flat serve, Oliver swings pretty much straight through the tennis ball and hits it square. On the kick serve, he swings up and across the tennis ball. He doesn’t hit the ball “cleanly” because he’s trying to put spin on the ball.

If we compare Oliver’s respective contact points, you’ll notice that his contact point on the kick serve is slightly lower than on a flat serve. Probably by several inches (but not more). The reason he lets the ball drop is because he has to be able to swing up on the ball to generate some topspin."
- How to Swing and Pronate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgZZhATk8AY

papa
10-22-2011, 05:08 AM
"The direction you swing and pronate when you make contact with the tennis ball is another element / factor that separates the kick serve from the flat serve. When you hit a flat serve, you’re trying to swing through the ball – you want to “slap it,” or hit it clean. On a kick serve, now what you’re trying to do is swing up and across the tennis ball. That means you have to swing in a different direction. By swinging up and across the back of the tennis ball, you’ll put spin on it. That will pull the ball into the service box and cause it to “bounce funny,” or kick to the side.

In the video we compare the direction you swing when you hit a flat and a kick serve. We have Frank split screened. The serve to the left is Frank’s kick and the one to the right is the flat. First, let’s watch his flat serve. When he winds up and swings his arm is moving into the court. However, on the kick serve, when he swings his arm and the racket are moving across the tennis ball. When we play these clips together it should be clear that his arm is moving in a different direction on his kick serve than it is on his flat serve. He’s swinging more across the tennis ball.

Let’s look at Frank’s contact points because this next point is critical. The directions his tennis racket strings are facing when he hits the ball are more or less the same. The strings are facing the direction he wants to hit the tennis ball. Even though he’s swinging in different directions his strings are facing where he wants the tennis ball to go. This is key.

I’m going to take a moment to expand upon this last point because it’s really, really important. You want your strings to be facing the same direction when you hit the tennis ball regardless of which serve you are hitting. However, your arm is moving in a different direction on a kick serve than it is on a flat serve. That means you have to time your pronation differently on a kick serve so that your strings are facing the right direction at contact. In the video I show how this works. If I am trying to get my palm to face the camera, the timing of my pronation is different when I swing to my side versus straight at the camera. That same concept applies to a kick serve and a flat serve. You have to time your pronation so that your strings are facing the same direction at contact regardless of what direction your arm is moving prior to hitting the tennis ball.

Finally, let’s compare Oliver’s kick serve and flat serve side by side. His kick serve is to the left and his flat serve to the right. We’ll use this split screen to see how the brushing action of the kick serve is different from the solid contact of a flat serve. On a flat serve, Oliver swings pretty much straight through the tennis ball and hits it square. On the kick serve, he swings up and across the tennis ball. He doesn’t hit the ball “cleanly” because he’s trying to put spin on the ball.

If we compare Oliver’s respective contact points, you’ll notice that his contact point on the kick serve is slightly lower than on a flat serve. Probably by several inches (but not more). The reason he lets the ball drop is because he has to be able to swing up on the ball to generate some topspin."
- How to Swing and Pronate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgZZhATk8AY

Always enjoy his posts - well thought out and presented.

I happen to use the phrase "racquet penetration into the court" working on the kick which "generally" gets the point across but I like his wording also.

luishcorreia
10-25-2011, 08:48 AM
Ok whoa, I just watched Rockandrolltennis's topspin serve video, read Luishcorreia's blog update about tennis, and watched those insane kick serves from ZPTennis on Youtube, and my brain exploded with fireworks as I realized something.

They all have this weird pronation with their wrists where after contact the face of the racket ends up pointing away from the server! WHAT?!? Call me anything you want, (not really :) ) but I have never even KNOWN about this! I have been practicing kick serves where I toss correctly, swing up at the ball from about 7 to 1ish, but I don't twist my wrist like that.

Please somebody explain this to me!

Hi.

Thank you for representing :)

The post I think you are talking about is this one:
http://online-tennis-blog.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-stella-got-her-kick-back.html

I consciously do not feel that pronation you are talking about. What I do is not only brush up the back of the ball from 7 do 1 o'clock, for topspin, but I also try to impart a bit ot side spin to make the ball move away from the opponent (especially on the add side).

What I "feel" is almost like my racquet finishes more to the right, as if I where trowing it to the right net post. Of course that after that the racquet will come around and finish on the left side of my body.

This video is great and it«s the one I found that best explains this.
http://online-tennis.blogspot.com/2011/10/american-twist.html

It's really not that difficult to learn. Just start out very slowly..and one important thing is to feel that ball leaving your racquet in an upward trajectory.

luishcorreia
10-25-2011, 08:51 AM
Ok guys, I read all your comments and tried out a lot of different things.

I found and tried this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1RTixZhir4

I started very slow, and pretty much developed this pronation that the video has, from the service line.

And so now, I try it from the baseline, with a full swing and full service motion, and it's not working.

I get the buttcap facing upwards after a serve (still not quite natural, but I'm getting there,) but it doesn't have any effect on my kick serve. As a matter of fact, when I do this, it tends to be only a flat serve.

So that's where I get back to my first question. How the heck do pronation and kick/twist serves go together???

A guy on tour that really does this well is Ivo Karlovic.

Even for his size, he really used a relaxed wrist and finished with the racquet point down..just a huge wrist snap...for a huge serve.