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Finster
01-15-2012, 08:10 PM
I have spent a long time trying to learn the kick serve. Its my holy grail. I've scoured the internet, read books, looked at all youtube videos on the subject, yet the kick serve eludes me. Here are the things I've been trying to do:

1) hit up and out
2) toss more to the left
3) get under the ball more
4) hit lower or when the ball is falling
5) Concentrate on hitting the ball higher
6) end with your arm in a "u" position

Despite trying all of this stuff, my "kick" serve flutters and turns into a weeny short ball with no kick no matter how fast I try to swing my racquet. If you've heard of these components, then tell me what I'm missing. Sorry no video to post

Fearsome Forehand
01-15-2012, 08:16 PM
What grip are you using? Eastern BH is preferable to impart the most spin. Might take some getting used to but as it closes the racket face more than a Continental, it will impart more spin all else equal.

What is the trajectory of your serve net clearance-wise? It should have a nice arc on it and clear the net by a large margin.

Posting a video would be a good idea because then the rest of us can berate you. :)

Sounds like you have the all right ideas theory-wise but something in your execution is wanting.

It is contrarian to a degree but it sounds to me like you are hitting too much up and not enough out so you have no weight/heaviness on your poofster kick serve. If your toss is in fact way left, you should be getting beau coup top spin. The ball should be directly over your head minimum and even more left if you are trying to impart twist as opposed to pure top spin. Maybe try tossing a bit more forward into the court and see what that does for you. Hard to say without seeing your motion.

Also make sure you are pointing the racket head at the ground, butt cap to the sky in your take back, the deep throwing position. This allows you to bring a lot of racket head speed at impact so if you are hitting the ball with an upward racket path you should be able to generate heavy spin.

TimothyO
01-15-2012, 09:09 PM
- eastern backhand has worked best for me

- toss closer to a point above your head...while practicing on a sunny day the sun's position forced me to toss almost directly above rather in front...it was a revelation!

- hit hard UP on the ball with your non hitting arm and shoulder fully extended up towards the ball and your racket drop deep behind your back...I find that I hit harder on my kick/second serve than my flat/first serve to maximize spin

- your power should come from unwinding your core up and into the ball, not from arming it. Your shoulder turn should drive the racket up to contact. Keep your arm very relaxed for max head speed which maxes your spin.

If you're not doing a full ahoulder turn/cartwheel then you might get that whispy serve result which is all spin and no thrust.

user92626
01-15-2012, 09:13 PM
Can you join the other thread, about kick serve follow through, where other posters provided photos and more details and then you can filter them through your own understanding? What have you understood and what are you missing?

Finster
01-15-2012, 09:18 PM
- eastern backhand has worked best for me

- toss closer to a point above your head...while practicing on a sunny day the sun's position forced me to toss almost directly above rather in front...it was a revelation!

- hit hard UP on the ball with your non hitting arm and shoulder fully extended up towards the ball and your racket drop deep behind your back...I find that I hit harder on my kick/second serve than my flat/first serve to maximize spin

- your power should come from unwinding your core up and into the ball, not from arming it. Your shoulder turn should drive the racket up to contact. Keep your arm very relaxed for max head speed which maxes your spin.

If you're not doing a full ahoulder turn/cartwheel then you might get that whispy serve result which is all spin and no thrust.


Great points. I'm using a true continental grip, same as the first serve. I've tried unwinding by staying sideways for a bit longer. I've also tried to deepen my racquet drop. If my technical understanding is correct then I'm obviously missing something on execution. Keep the advice coming; gives me more to think about and work on.

10sLifer
01-15-2012, 10:27 PM
I have spent a long time trying to learn the kick serve. Its my holy grail. I've scoured the internet, read books, looked at all youtube videos on the subject, yet the kick serve eludes me. Here are the things I've been trying to do:

1) hit up and out
2) toss more to the left
3) get under the ball more
4) hit lower or when the ball is falling
5) Concentrate on hitting the ball higher
6) end with your arm in a "u" position

Despite trying all of this stuff, my "kick" serve flutters and turns into a weeny short ball with no kick no matter how fast I try to swing my racquet. If you've heard of these components, then tell me what I'm missing. Sorry no video to post

Although I do not recommend or teach the kick serve (unless a waiver of liability is signed). Here are my tips. Your contact is definitely lower. Although your body should be at full extension the racquet head will be lower, almost perpendicular with the hand. Remember the kick serve is just an inverted forehand, the same thing has to happen you have to brush low to high. The racquet can't contact at full extension and have room to go up. Also be sure to keep the body sideways, block the body more than a flat serve. This will help the racquet travel more to the side of the ball and not at it. Good luck and god save you rotator cuff.

rkelley
01-16-2012, 07:16 AM
I have spent a long time trying to learn the kick serve. Its my holy grail. I've scoured the internet, read books, looked at all youtube videos on the subject, yet the kick serve eludes me. Here are the things I've been trying to do:

1) hit up and out
2) toss more to the left
3) get under the ball more
4) hit lower or when the ball is falling
5) Concentrate on hitting the ball higher
6) end with your arm in a "u" position

Despite trying all of this stuff, my "kick" serve flutters and turns into a weeny short ball with no kick no matter how fast I try to swing my racquet. If you've heard of these components, then tell me what I'm missing. Sorry no video to post

When you say "kick" serve, do you mean a pure topspin, a top/slice, or an American twist serve that slices in the normal way and then bouces back out the other way?

mucat
01-16-2012, 11:39 AM
Although I do not recommend or teach the kick serve (unless a waiver of liability is signed). Here are my tips. Your contact is definitely lower. Although your body should be at full extension the racquet head will be lower, almost perpendicular with the hand. Remember the kick serve is just an inverted forehand, the same thing has to happen you have to brush low to high. The racquet can't contact at full extension and have room to go up. Also be sure to keep the body sideways, block the body more than a flat serve. This will help the racquet travel more to the side of the ball and not at it. Good luck and god save you rotator cuff.

IMO, that's very important for understanding how it works.

Xizel
01-16-2012, 12:13 PM
Being able to swing fast with at least a medium swingweight (~330) in general. You can have the technique, but you still need the physical capability.

mntlblok
01-17-2012, 05:30 AM
Remember the kick serve is just an inverted forehand, the same thing has to happen you have to brush low to high.

*Excellent*! Might add that it is like a "cross-court", topspin forehand - where you want to brush up on the "side" of the ball, not just the "back" of it.

Kevin

LeeD
01-17-2012, 12:36 PM
If you don't have massive up and outwards swingspeed, you need consistent depth and placement into the long serving court, with a HIGH net clearance to get the high bounce.
Toss behind your head to find the correct toss location to get the twist effect. For a regular high bouncing kick, toss above your head. You're doing most everything else correctly, but are you looking for a twist or a high bouncing kick?

Funbun
01-17-2012, 03:36 PM
Have you tried throwing a football before? It's VERY close to the same motion, except you have a racquet in your hand and you're trying to throw the ball REALLY high up.

Think about the same motion quarterbacks use when they throw those lob passes. However, for the serve, your entire body goes into it, cartwheeling through the serve.

Additionally, you have to loosen up your grip when doing any serve. You will be able to tell if you have loosened up if you naturally pronate your arm after the brush up contact with the ball.

Finster
01-17-2012, 06:56 PM
If you don't have massive up and outwards swingspeed, you need consistent depth and placement into the long serving court, with a HIGH net clearance to get the high bounce.
Toss behind your head to find the correct toss location to get the twist effect. For a regular high bouncing kick, toss above your head. You're doing most everything else correctly, but are you looking for a twist or a high bouncing kick?

Looking for a high kick, better if its a twist kick. Whenever I toss behind my head, I end up hitting it out. I can't seem to get the brush when its behind my head. I've instead been tossing still forward (tho not as much as first serve) and getting under the ball. One poster suggested that maybe I'm "arming" the ball too much. That's another thing to try: to get the power and racquet speed more from a leg drive than trying to swing hard and fast. I also can't get the hang of the inverted "U" finish with my arm and the racquet pronation which I'm told should be a natural finish without effort if I'm doing everything else correctly. Thanks for the comments!

LeeD
01-17-2012, 07:12 PM
You might try massive archer's bow during the trophy stage, which translates to swinging UPwards and outwards during the forward swing.
If you hit too flat, use more pronation, and/or more backhand grip, to brush the ball upwards and outwards.
Not great for my old back, it's necessary for a really high bouncing twist serve. Some top players toss normally, but move their body in under the toss so the relative position is the same as a toss behind one's head. Best to toss behind your head some, but also so it lands at the baseline.

NLBwell
01-17-2012, 10:04 PM
Try to hit the ball about 40 feet into the air and have the spin bring the ball into the proper service box. Pretty hard to do and you might hit the ball off the frame over the fence a lot, but just keep trying and you will get the feel of it.

charliefedererer
01-18-2012, 06:33 AM
Listen to LeeD to get that power in your kick.

"try massive archer's bow during the trophy stage, which translates to swinging UPwards and outwards during the forward swing"

Nick Bollettieri-Sonic Serve.wmv http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajoZ0f7hw-A

But notice in every twist serve there is a bigger component of coiling, than in your flat serve. The "serve doctor" explains this in this video:
Serve Doctor's Simplified Spring-loaded Serve Technique http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixx-MCC7D88
(The whole video is good in describing the hip and shoulder rotation involved in the "flat" and then at 3:56 the "topspin second serve" with these comments about a big shoulder wind apt for your kick serve as well. Note that you don't have to use the limited jump in this video for your serve - just incorporate the "winding of the shoulder and hip springs" into your serve.)

Will Hamilton of Fuzzy Yellow Balls completely agrees with this nice video demonstration:
How to Perform the Kick Serve Step 2/4 http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Perform-the-Kick-Serve-Step-24-165867441



If you don't have a big enough "pop" on your serve, you likely aren't following Lee's advice about "use more pronation".

Coach McCraw explains a good exercise to really develop pronation, which is absolutely essential in a good "flat" or "kick" serve:
McCraw explaining a serve pronation exercise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iONY6fcqZGg




And LeeD is right on in describing that the direction you swing your arm is very much different than in your first serve - "brush the ball upwards and outwards".
Kick Serve Swing and Pronate Direction http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Perform-the-Kick-Serve-Step-38-165866025
[Also note in this video the tip that you let the ball fall fall slightly more so that the "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."]
The direction of your swing on your kick serve is so so different, that your elbow never (or just barely) crosses the baseline as you swing out to the side fence (yet still pronate just as aggressively as in your "flat" serve).
Follow through of the Kick Serve http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Perform-the-Kick-Serve-Step--44-165867017



Put it all together and soon you will be "serving like a girl" using your kick to pull your opponent wide for an easy put away winner into the open court:
Sam Stosur's Wicked Kick Serve http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnqYduBcmNQ
[If it looks like Samantha could pin you in 5 seconds, maybe a little conditioning is in order to add pop to your serve as well -
Complete, Annual Tennis Weight Training Program
http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/tennis-weight-training.html ]

[And as 10sLifer posts above, unless you are doing the Throwers 10 Shoulder Exercise Program http://www.muhlenberg.edu/pdf/main/athletics/athletic_training/throwers10.pdf , you are going to shred your rotator cuff in short order if you are practicing your kick serve enough for it to be a good one.]

Power Player
01-18-2012, 06:45 AM
Charlie..how many of those exercises in the throwers 10 PDF do you need to do? I could see myself doing 5-8 of them, but to dedicate a workout day to that seems like something I would not be doing.

maggmaster
01-18-2012, 07:16 AM
Do them all, but not heavy, they can be done in addition to your strength work. I usually do them after my strength work with very light weights every day, one day a week i will do them with a heavier weight for actual strength gains.

Limpinhitter
01-18-2012, 07:33 AM
I have spent a long time trying to learn the kick serve. Its my holy grail. I've scoured the internet, read books, looked at all youtube videos on the subject, yet the kick serve eludes me. Here are the things I've been trying to do:

1) hit up and out
2) toss more to the left
3) get under the ball more
4) hit lower or when the ball is falling
5) Concentrate on hitting the ball higher
6) end with your arm in a "u" position

Despite trying all of this stuff, my "kick" serve flutters and turns into a weeny short ball with no kick no matter how fast I try to swing my racquet. If you've heard of these components, then tell me what I'm missing. Sorry no video to post

Sometimes a video is worth a thousand words or 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQEpn7spU8o&feature=relmfu

PS: It's the high arch of the ball path and steep trajectory down to the court that creates the kick. The topspin is what brings it down sharply in to the box. Practice by clearing the net by 5-6 feet. As you get the hang of it, pick up the pace and bring the arch down to 4+ feet.

thug the bunny
01-18-2012, 10:12 AM
This post brings up something I've been wondering for a while - what's the difference between an E backhand grip, a regular E grip, and conti grip? I believe I'm using a conti for my serves.

Nellie
01-18-2012, 10:31 AM
The problem I see is people making too much impact and not enough brushing up at the ball.

Try this sometime with dead balls (that you don't mind losing). With a western forehand grip, try launching balls into space using a service motion. The kick serve is the same motion except that you rotate the grip to close the face of the racquet (i.e., swing the edge and not face of the racquet at the ball) and only brush up with the back of the ball. You know you have a kick serve when you launch balls by mishitting the ball with the frame.

arche3
01-18-2012, 10:32 AM
This post brings up something I've been wondering for a while - what's the difference between an E backhand grip, a regular E grip, and conti grip? I believe I'm using a conti for my serves.

E backhand 1st knuckle on top bevel.
E grip 1st knuckle on 3rd bevel. (if you use this for serves its called a pancake)
Conti 1st knuckle on 2nd bevel.

thug the bunny
01-18-2012, 10:51 AM
Ahhhh, thanks arche. I had thought the conti was as far as anyone would rotate the hand onto the top of the handle..

Seems like it may be hard to generate much forward momentum (tons of spin though) with the EBH?

LeeD
01-18-2012, 01:27 PM
OK...
Conti without pronation is a spin slice serve.\
Conti with pronation can hit a flat serve.
EBH without pronation is an extreme spin serve with little ball speed.
EBH WITH pronation is a normal second serve with lots of spin and slow/moderate pace.

charliefedererer
01-18-2012, 07:56 PM
Charlie..how many of those exercises in the throwers 10 PDF do you need to do? I could see myself doing 5-8 of them, but to dedicate a workout day to that seems like something I would not be doing.

Maggmaster seems to have already answered your question.

There are potentially some shortcuts. If you bench press, you don't have to do do pushups, if you do dips you don't have to do press-ups and you can do bent over rows without laying on a board,

Also I often do pulley work with weights rather than use the elastic tubing when in the gym.

Having dumbells and elastic tubing at home means I can start my day with at least one set of reps early in the morning as part of a dynamic warm up to start the day along with stretching. Also it's easy to do them at the end of the day before a set of stretching before bedtime. If I get bored doing my "homework" or watching something on TV I can easily do a set. I can do reps during the brief time between HIIT sessions on an exercise bike or in between doing lunges.

Because they are really accessory exercise and not big strength exercises, I'll usually do them at the end of my lifting workouts. Compared to squats, deadlifts and the bench they seem to take such little effort that it does seem hard to believe they are worthwhile. But they really are, particularly to work the shoulder through its wide range of motion.

Power Player
01-18-2012, 08:08 PM
I may buy some 10 pound dumbbells just to d them then. Thanks!

ARON
01-18-2012, 11:27 PM
The cue I use to hit a kick serve is to make the brushing/mishit sound. This means you are putting spin on the ball rather than pace.

If the serve sounds too clean (like a flat serve), you are hitting through the ball too much, instead of brushing up.