View Full Version : How to get pace on kick serve?

02-29-2004, 04:40 AM
How can one generate power on a kick serve? The racquet brushes up on the ball at 7 to 1 O'clock and the ball is tossed slightly behind your head. With these two factors, how could one possibly snap the wrist for a more powerful shot. I've been trying this for years and can't quite seem to get it right. Any suggestions/tips is appreciated. Thanks.

02-29-2004, 10:15 AM
choke up on the handle ; the only way I know to get power on it.

02-29-2004, 10:19 AM
In my experience, you don't necessarily need to toss the ball behind your head -- just toss it less in front of you than you normally would.

02-29-2004, 10:23 AM
Try hitting the ball a little further in front. Also try less 'brushing' and more hitting through the ball. I can hit a decently hard kick serve, but when I don't have these two things in order, the serves are weak.

I've never heard of choking up for more power. In fact, I thought the opposite is true. I hold the racquet with the heel off my hand off of the grip with my pinky finger at the bottom of the grip. I think that choking up gets the handle more in the way of wrist movement. It's worth a try though. As Rick Macci says, players who experiment are often better players.


02-29-2004, 02:17 PM
I choke up on the racquet to get more spin, something I often do on second serves. This absolutely reduces power, for me at least.

02-29-2004, 03:02 PM
racquet head speed is what will make you serve have more pace, power and spin, so just brush the ball with more racquet speed

02-29-2004, 03:22 PM
It's all about head speed. Try putting some lead tape under your grip. It will make the racket more head light.

Plus keep your arm very relaxed--don't muscle it. Keep it very fluid, but explosive.

02-29-2004, 03:23 PM
Hit the ball more flush for power, cut it more for spin. Same basic body motion, a slight change in the wrist angle is all that's necessary.

BTW, the swing on my second serve is as hard, if not harder, than my first serve. The difference is that the momentum on my first serve is transferred mostly into velocity (pace), while the momentum on the second serve is transferred mostly to rotation (spin). If you have a reliable serving motion and good command of spin serves, there is really no reason to choke up on a racket-- you can "kill" the ball with spin, and rarely double fault. IMHO.

02-29-2004, 03:32 PM
Racquet head speed is key. You hit this serve as hard if not harder than a flat serve and let the spin bring the ball in to the court. The key to speed is the wrist snap--pronation. This is what gives you torque and accelerates the racquet head through the ball.

02-29-2004, 04:52 PM
Just my personal story...
I decided to move up to medium powered tweener frames
(eg. Babolat PD, Wilson Surge) because of 2 main reasons;
1). I can't generate good pace if I want nasty spins on all strokes including serves.
2). I just hit 40. (I concluded #2 is the reasons for #1
and I don't blame myself for that, I blame my racquet
for that... :-> ).

In other words, I'm getting more powered frames
to inject more spins (with no more pace than now...)

02-29-2004, 06:23 PM
Thanks for all your great replies. :)
I have tried all of these suggestions and still cannot generate power for a kick serve. I have a strong flat serve, that don't really bounce, so I want a kick serve for a change of pace.

Choking up on the handle- I tried this and it really made no difference. In fact moving the hand above the butt cap sort of impeds the natural movement of the racquet once the contact is made.

Hit slightly in front- if I hit in front, then there is no kick to the ball, just a side spin. It is also difficult to brush up on the ball if is not above or behind your head.

Hit with more racquet speed- this only produces more spin, not necessarily more pace.

I think the key may be my inability to snap the wrist, but I still can't figure out how the snap can be done if one is to brush up on the ball.

02-29-2004, 06:31 PM
An easy way to learn the wrist snap is to stand inside the service line and "serve" into deuce/add court. (If your partner stands on the opposite side and receives serve, this makes for a good drill.) To make this ball hit "in," you have to snap your wrist. And watch the action on the ball once you do snap/pronate your wrist. Now move back a couple of steps and do the same thing. Do this 'til you get to the baseline.
The wrist snap comes at the end of the motion and before the follow through. This is the lever action that adds the speed. As I've gotten better w/ this serve, I've gone to a full eastern BACKHAND grip and toss the ball slightly behind my head and to the left (I'm a righty). I've added a better knee bend/back arch/shoulder turn so I'm sighting up at the ball--the ball would now hit me in the head if I were able to freeze this position. I swing up at the ball, as the ball is falling toward me then snap the wrist and follow through on the right side. The wrist snap is the same regardless of serve--practice as above.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words. . . check out the Rafter serve:


02-29-2004, 06:47 PM
Swing speed is crucial for spin. It will also increase your pace.
You don't want to swinging fast from start to go.
Till the time you get into back scratch motion, you are going very slow. And once you go up for the swing, you want to swing fast.
It's just like groundies.

BUT what's probably lacking is weight transfer, the main source of power. You want to use the legs (esp for kick serve), and use hip stretch. You can swing as hard as you want, but if you lack these elements, your serve will never be heavy.

03-01-2004, 04:36 AM
Hit slightly in front- if I hit in front, then there is no kick to the ball, just a side spin. It is also difficult to brush up on the ball if is not above or behind your head.

Instead of 'brushing' from 7 to 1, try contacting the ball at 1 or 2 o'clock as you would 3 o'clock for a slice serve. This will allow for you to hit further in front and still get plenty of kick.

Also take a look at the recent thread on pronation.

03-02-2004, 02:14 PM
Try hitting with the wind to the ad court (if you're a righty). There's nothing like it when you kick it out wide with mega spin in the wind.

It's all about head speed (and wind speed).

03-03-2004, 10:13 AM
Just one tip:

Lay your wrist back at the point of contact with the ball. Some people call this "keeping the wrist open". Too often, players have a closed position, which doesn't restrict the generation of spin, but which results in much less contact with the ball. You need to have both the brushing up and enough contact in order to generate pace and spin. Try doing this to practice: do your regular service motion without following through. In other words, don't try to get the ball in the service box. Just swing up and through the ball. If your wrist is open enough at the point of contact, the ball should hit the backstop/fence pretty high up on the fly--at least above the head of an opponent of average height. This will give you an idea of what it feels like to have your wrist open at the point of contact. After that, try to get the serve in the box while preserving that contact point.

Hope this helps and let us know how it works out.

03-03-2004, 10:26 AM
racket speed, knee bend, wrist snap.

03-03-2004, 01:12 PM
I have two kick serves. One is slow and one is hard. The slow one I toss over and left of my head. It bounces a little bit funny and is like a good changeup.

My other kicker is in the 90's, maybe even 100mph and I toss to the right and out in front, similar to my flat 110 mph serve. My flat serve toss is like 6 inches higher for full extension of the arm but otherwise is similar to my power kick serve toss.

The 4.0 guys are all saying I have a 5.0 level serve now. And I do, from what I have watched of the 5.0 guys around here, except my placement is not 5.0 level. I can get about 70% of these hard kickers in since they really dip in with all the topspin on them.

I use a full continental grip too. I may experiment with a semi-continental grip where you can hit a little bit harder but with a little less spin so less consistency too.

Good luck with hitting the hard kicker. I switched to continental and then practiced for 6 months before finding the right toss and motion and groove. But now I have it. Good luck with finding it yourself.