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View Full Version : Adding top spin to a flat serve?


jeefreak
09-20-2005, 04:44 PM
for your flat serve, are you trying to add some top spin to it as well? i notice the pros, on their first serve, it bounces high as *****. when i serve my flat serves, the real fast ones always stay low and moderate pace will bounce up to about 5ft when it reaches the baseline. the balls never hit the fence on the first bounce (about 8ft away). how do these pros get their first serve to bounce so effin high?

JackRabbit
09-20-2005, 04:47 PM
An analysis was done and no, most of the spin on a "flat" serve is sidespin. They bounce higher because their contact point is higher, they have good followthroughs, and serve very fast. They are also quite a bit taller than you also. For example, someone who is 6'6 will be able to hit the fence even on a slow serve whereas someone who is shorter will have to hit the ball harder. Hope this helps!

jeefreak
09-20-2005, 04:48 PM
helps alot, thanks.. i'm barely reaching 5'5", my peak filipino height :(

dakels
09-20-2005, 07:53 PM
on hardcourt topspin does not jump up as high as one may think on a hard serve (100mph+). Rather topspin in this case will make the ball jump in to the opponent faster while also giving it a bit more height. Slower topspin serves will often jump higher due to its higher trajectory over the net. Slow surfaces like har-tru or clay will also make a topspin ball jump higher.

Sidespin will make the ball usually skid and slide making the ball not kick up as high.

Topspin serving comes from bringing the head of the racquet low behind your head/shoulder and striking UP and through the ball. Often a heavy topspin serve is alot slower then your speed potential with a flatter serve but the topspin can be more reliable to get in the court. Another big advantage of a topspin serve is that it kicks up into your opponent often making them hit on the rise which is much more difficult then a flatter serve. Also serving away from your opponent will make the ball bounce away from them much faster. In many cases people can return a 100mph flat serve much easier then a well placed 80mph heavy spin serve.

Marius_Hancu
09-21-2005, 02:39 AM
the pronation when correctly executed will add lots of action on all your serves

check the thread on it given in my posting
Kick Serve
in the Sticky thread at the top of this forum
(esp the opinions of Sonicdeviant)

JackRabbit
09-21-2005, 11:45 AM
Just a minor correction, it's not the sidespin that makes the ball 'skid' low, it's the underspin. Sidespin just makes it jump to the side.

Rickson
09-21-2005, 12:36 PM
for your flat serve, are you trying to add some top spin to it as well? i notice the pros, on their first serve, it bounces high as *****. when i serve my flat serves, the real fast ones always stay low and moderate pace will bounce up to about 5ft when it reaches the baseline. the balls never hit the fence on the first bounce (about 8ft away). how do these pros get their first serve to bounce so effin high?
I don't need a kick serve to reach the fence in one bounce. I just swing fast at the ball. The distance from the baseline to the fence is around 20 feet away where I play. If the distance is a mere 8 feet, you should hit the fence easily, but you'll have very limited room to take on high bouncing balls that land deep. Are you sure it's only 8 feet away? Did you mean the first bounce lands 8 feet from the fence? I didn't know what you meant by 8 feet away.

jeefreak
09-22-2005, 05:50 PM
i wrote the distance wrong.. baseline to fence is 18ft.. but i'm not talking about a kick serve.. just a "flat" serve with high bounce

GrahamIsSuper
09-22-2005, 06:04 PM
Just a minor correction, it's not the sidespin that makes the ball 'skid' low, it's the underspin. Sidespin just makes it jump to the side.

Minor correction of the correction. Sidespin, or "slice", on a serve basically does the same thing as a "slice" groundstroke. Since the ball is coming in from a higher vector, the more-so diagonal side/underspin will make the ball A) stay low and b) curve outside. It is definitely possible to skid a sidespin/slice serve, no problemo. If you could hit an underspin serve, i'd be impressed, as ive only ever seen one person who was able to do it with any consistency at all.

You would have to hit straight down the back side of the ball in order to hit underspin on a serve. It shall forever be known as the "old man serve".

SageOfDeath
09-22-2005, 06:15 PM
Minor correction of the correction. Sidespin, or "slice", on a serve basically does the same thing as a "slice" groundstroke. Since the ball is coming in from a higher vector, the more-so diagonal side/underspin will make the ball A) stay low and b) curve outside. It is definitely possible to skid a sidespin/slice serve, no problemo. If you could hit an underspin serve, i'd be impressed, as ive only ever seen one person who was able to do it with any consistency at all.

You would have to hit straight down the back side of the ball in order to hit underspin on a serve. It shall forever be known as the "old man serve".

Yea on a slice for a serve you come to the side of the ball which makes it curve and skid low. If you get mostly underspin, something is wrong.

Burt Turkoglu
09-23-2005, 04:26 AM
helps alot, thanks.. i'm barely reaching 5'5", my peak height :(
Take steroids....

dakels
09-23-2005, 01:12 PM
Most common form of underspin is someone pulling down at the point of contact. It's not really a good form but it doesn't mean it can't be effective. I have seen someone very tall (6'5") strike the ball very flat with a slight underspin. Because he struck the ball very straight and slightly dropped his shoulder and opened his wrist the ball would have a slight underspin. He still hit the ball about 120-130mph but it was not as effective IMO as a ball with a little more sidespin or topspin. The slight underspin motion made the ball sit up easier. We eventually corrected his motion to get more wrist over the ball and put a mild topspin or slice into the serve. Worked very well and gave him more court surface to play with.

jeefreak
09-23-2005, 05:03 PM
with your descriptions, it sounds like i'm putting more underspin on my serve then... for topspin, i'll need to start to pronate?

dakels
09-23-2005, 08:06 PM
with your descriptions, it sounds like i'm putting more underspin on my serve then... for topspin, i'll need to start to pronate?
I don't know what you are doing on your final point of contact. Just because you pull your shoulder in doesnt mean you are underspinning a ball. Honestly I do that now too which is terrible (because of a shoulder injury). My poor serve went from 110 with heavy spin to 90 with mild spin due to bursa injury. I still get some topspin on my service though because of the action of my wrist at point of contact.

With any service advice, I never really recommend changing your service motion unless:

A: It's painful or causes recurring pain/strain (of course you want to change it).
B: It's not a good serve.
C: You are looking to improve an action such as more pace, spin, etc.

While C seems kinda weird to say, I swear there are people who keep trying to do a "prettier" serve when their old serve was much more effective and comfortable for them.

Anyways, if you want more topspin on your serve and you are pulling your shoulder down and pulling your wrist in, then the obvious answer is to do the opposite. For the first part of the shoulder/elbow dropping, make sure you practice extending all the way out. For the wrist you need strike up through th eball and turn the wrist over.

For this I make my students do half service motions. Basically start with your arm and racquet up, short toss and strike the ball with just your arm. Do NOT over hit the ball. Just get familiar with a full arm motion through the ball. Make sure to keep the motion very simple, do not get your whole body involved yet. Just keep hitting the ball, remember to strike at your arm's full reach, full extension.

For topspin, (eastern/backhand/continental grip), bend your elbow so your racquet is behind your head, and strike up and through the ball. Practice this at first with the simple motion as well. Both arms up, ball in 1 hand, racquet in other, pronate the wrist, toss, strike through while turning the wrist over.

BTW about the wrist pronation, I am not sure I know what others mean in this case for a topspin serve. You do not need to bring your wrist that far back for a topspin serve. While it can help to coc-k (they sensored c-ock lol) your wrist back a bit to open up your racquet face, you have to make sure to close it as your swing through the ball. Honestly I do not think it's necessary to over emphasize this maybe others do. You will have a good wrist motion from the natural swing and follow through when done properly. Make sure you get the feeling of the racquet head weight swinging through.

As you get more comfortable practicing this and seeing a good result. Start to incorporate this into your full service motion. As you get more comfortable with it, you will learn to bend low and jump up through the ball, strike the ball harder, comfortable follow through, and changing your ball toss to change your final position for the return. Generally you toss a topspin serve more behind you over your head then a traditional serve which you should be tossing into the court more, but if you have a very good agressive jump into the court, you can toss it into the court more.

hope this made some sense... kinda wrote while on the phone :)

Marius_Hancu
09-24-2005, 04:15 PM
Some of you might want to check this thread out:

how did sampras get such spin on first serve?
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=46407