anyone tried the 11 to 5 "Rafter kicker"?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Rozroz, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    9,201
    anyone tried the 11 to 4 "Rafter kicker"?

    i just saw this FYB new video with Rafter.
    i needed some new ideas for a safe & effective 1st, cause my flats % is low, and my serve generally hasn't got much speed.
    so i tried to improvise in mid match with this "11 to 5 sort of a kick serve".
    i probably didn't succeed much but still managed to put some different spin on the ball cause my opponent had at least 6-7 missed hits (totally out).
    for a first try i'm pleased ;)
    anyone else using it?
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  2. Ducker

    Ducker Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Messages:
    326
    you mean 5 to 11?
     
  3. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,849
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    ^^^i sure hope so :D
     
  4. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,847
    Location:
    San Diego
    No, he means 11-5.
    Watch the will/rafter video. Will does clear it up mid-vid though.
     
  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    This is what I was talking about in the other thread:

    I watched the first of a series of serve videos today. It was sent to me from FYB for free, and what Will has done is to get Pat Rafter to demonstrate how he serves and what is in his head and how the serve feels to him. If he wants to carve a slice, he visualizes an exaggerated carving, though the dwell time does not really allow that. If the toss is not perfect, he makes micro adjustments to his motion to compensate. He basically uses the second serve for both serves. He strives to make the returner hit "outside the stencil," meaning not on the sweetzone, by making the ball spin and move in such a away that it is always eluding the racket.

    Will intervenes from time to time to make a point.
     
  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    http://www.patrafterserve.com/fe/46400-kickin-it-with-pat

    (around 7:22. If you cannot access it, Will might be able to help you)

    No, he means 11 to 4.

    He uses 11-4 for first serve (probably what we would call a top-slice), and 10-2 for a second serve.

    This goes way back to the days in which I pioneered the idea that many first serves were hit down. I had explained that top spin can be generated in two ways: hitting up from the "front" side or hitting down from the "back" side. As usual, there were the people who called me names for saying topspin can be generated by hitting down.

    It is gratifying that pros are finally collaborating what I had said.
     
  7. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    9,201
    oops, sorry. 11 to 4.
    i sort of got the idea concentrating on hitting the area of 9/11 to 3/5,
    and for me i got a new spin, while NOT tossing for a kicker above my head, but a little forward as in a flatter.
    he will go to more details on the toss in the next video on Monday.
    it works for my lame serves anyway ;)
     
  8. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    You didn't invent hitting down on top spin? Everyone has been doing that. Its a mental cue that I've heard coaches use since I was a kid. Its all a part of feeling a different way to carve the stroke. You give yourself way too much credit.
     
  9. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    Why it bothered so many people when I first pioneered the idea (other than those who just wanted to be negative) was that they could not follow how you can hit down from 11. Sure you can hit down from 1, but then you are on the back side of the ball. Can you turn a globe in a direction away from you by pressing down on the 80th latitude? No.

    The secret is the dwell time and deformation of the ball.

    The same dwell time and deformation that comes into play when a pro appears to be hitting up on the ball at the apex but the ball comes down a degree below the horizontal.

    The same dwell time and deformation which makes any spin possible. A perfectly rigid flat plane cannot put any spin on a perfectly rigid sphere, because they can always meet only tangentially at a point, and no force can be transmitted from the plane to the sphere.
     
  10. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,849
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    Yeah...did you also watch the next bit where Will states that what Pat is saying isn't the physics it's the feeling, the way Pat describes it is as he feels it, which is likely not what actually happens at the contact (Will says as much in the video)?!
     
  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    Yes, and it was in my first post if you had bothered to read it:

    If he wants to carve a slice, he visualizes an exaggerated carving, though the dwell time does not really allow that.

    The carving for a while is not physically possible, but hitting down is. They are two separate things.
     
  12. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,849
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    ^^^The way I understood what Pat was saying, even when he was talking about going from 11-4, was that he was talking about pulling the racquet across the ball and carving it - therefore it would equally apply to your dwell time theory. At no point did he talk about hitting down on the ball or demonstrate it either.

    However, if it helps you to think about hitting down on the ball then by all means go for it.
     
  13. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    I'm not sure even if the physics your trying to use is correct. The main point is that I have personally had a coach in 1990 ? tell me to imagine hitting down on the kick serve as I was carving the shot. You didn't discover it. Possibly because ttw is so science and minutia based on technique from the rec experts you were scoffed at.

    Your own explanation is too much physics. That's not what players like rafter is describing. He is describing the feel of the ball. I seriously doubt he is actually hitting 11-4. I believe your mistaken to think so literally.
     
  14. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    That is not correct. A kick serve is hit up. Your coach should have asked to imagine hitting up, as it is actually hit up.

    Pat uses the term kick serve for his top-slice serve, and he is also probably wrong.
     
  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    Yes, that is the difficult part to comprehend. 11 to 4 includes 2 pieces: 11 to 12 and 12 to 4. What is probably happening is what I have always said - during the dwell time, the racket carves over the ball, going uppish in the first segment and finishing downish.

    Why that is important is because (as I had explained many times) is that if the ball is truly hit up at the swing speed of the pros, then it would fly up and across the length of the court, gravity and topspin (air drag) not-withstanding. It is the falling arc of the racket at the end of the dwell time that prevents this from happening.

    In the end, I would anytime trust what a proven player says over what a coach says. A coach who has never hit an advanced shot in his life just cannot visualize the dynamics of such things as he has no feel for the real thing.
     
  16. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,666
    Location:
    Here and There
    I guess after 25,000+ posts, sh*t really gets to your head.
     
  17. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    4,611
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I can't remember who said it in the thread, but when Rather says he hits at 11-4, he is talking about a top-slice. And he's really talking about "carving" the ball.

    But all of these descriptions are more "feel-based" from him. That's all.

    And before we call out Rafter as not being able to create a "kick" from a top/slice serve... let us all remember that this guy is a PRO level player. His serve was probably the second most lethal part of his game.

    This guy generates such amazing racquet head speed and has such great technique that his top/slice serve behaves like a "kick" serve.

    Also, we should remember that Pat Rafter was probably one of the only professional players to serve with nearly an Eastern grip. You might call it an "Extreme Continental" grip. I'm sure his serve grip also generated very "strange" action on his ball.
     
  18. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,849
    Location:
    A green and pleasant land
    But apparently you can?!?!?!?

    Oh... and what about the coach who taught Rafter those serves?!?!?
     
  19. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    He was describing the kick serve when I tossed far into the court. Not the rec stand in one place and let it hit your head loopy slow kick serve. He was trying to get me to hit the ball hard with kick. The up is a given. I understood what a kick serve was. He wanted to get more pace into the shot. It is all feel based. Its not science. That's the point you miss.
     
  20. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,847
    Location:
    San Diego
    that's what i meant when i said 'will clears it up mid-vid'
     
  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    Another thing that is often said and was said here is that hitting across somehow changes the notion of up and down. No. There were people who claimed that by hitting up and across you could in fact get the ball to be hit down, and they played with various images in their head trying to justify it. No - across has nothing to do with it. Across and up will be up and across and down will be down. Hitting across the face of the ball does not change up and down.
     
  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    Well, it wasn't you, so I will wait for him to post.
     
  23. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    Wow. Just too much ego here
     
  24. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,336
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    the 1st serve kick serve* the OP and Rafter are talking about is how i usually hit my first serve. It's good even at non-pro level.

    Troubles people because there is spin (topspin and sidespin) with the pace so guys who usually block back first serves find it difficult to adjust and end up mishitting or not directing it properly, at the same time it's fast enough (feels heavy with all the spin) for them not to move in on it and attack. You'll get mishits, floaters and easy balls to the middle of the court as returns. Juicy for the aggressive player. Probably not ideal for players who prefer to grind it out behind the baseline (if you don't put away the return you will be at the net/in court). You won't get many aces unless your opponents are bad movers.

    My actual 2nd serve is more traditional, where the ball actually kicks up and forward (topspin) so it is both safe and not easily attackable. But it is a neutral serve where i don't get as many free points.

    For players who are particularly good returners, I'll sometimes use the 1st serve type kick serve as my 2nd serve, just to keep them honest and make them think twice about coming in to attack my 2nd serve. It's a safer option than trying to hit a flat serve as 2nd serve to discipline them. They also don't expect it as much, they expect the variation on 2nd serve to be a slice serve.


    P.S. "top-slice" is a meaningless TTW-ism as slice is underspin/backspin whereas topspin is forward-spin. You can't have both, what people are talking about is topspin/sidespin.

    P.P.S.
    Imagine a coach had given the description that Rafter had given. Many TTW folks would be ridiculing him for not being correct with his physics, etc... Hilarious!



    * You don't hit down on the ball.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  25. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,666
    Location:
    Here and There
    Yup, its that time again where this meme has become appropriate...

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,847
    Location:
    San Diego
    Sigh..

    You've had a good run but I'm afraid I'm now going to have to put you in the 'doesn't know what they are talking about' group.
     
  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    Exactly. Coaches trying to second-guess pros who are at least 10X better than them.

    Nah, just kidding. Ash does know a thing or two.
     
  28. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,954
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I saw the same vid. I've tried to imitate this as closely as I'm able to (which probably isn't very close at all), but it hurts my hand (specifically, around the top of my thumb pad feels strained).

    Obviously, I'm doing something quite wrongly. So I'm not messing with it any more. Unless somebody can speculate an explanation as to what I'm doing wrong that causes the stress/strain, and how to do it correctly (or at least painlessly).
     
  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    "You" is the key here. Who is you? Do you know yourself? Are you just the material body which will be gone after you die, or is there a deeper eternal reality underneath?

    You may think you are not hitting down, but in the 1 to 5 ms dwell time as the strings climb up and down the peak, you may not consciously know what is going on between the strings and the ball.

    BTW, top-slice is not a meaningless term. The slice refers to the serving slice, not the groundstroke slice, so it is not the underhand slice you are thinking about.
     
  30. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,847
    Location:
    San Diego
    You don't actually try to make the head carve around the ball during dwell time.
    You hit the ball at 11 and the follow through goes across and down. when you do this correctly it actually feels like you are hitting down on the ball and carving it but physically that is not what is happening.
    So I'm guessing is that you are trying to literally do what should be 'felt'.
     
  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    It is a matter of visualization. Like the 1 handed BH flick, which can look as if the ball really follows the curve of the hand, but the ball is long gone. The carving visualization is similar. "Right and around the ball" as a coach tells her (rightie) students here in the club.

    What cheetah is saying is that the ball is actually hit up at 11, but the rapid follow through bringing the frame down gives the appearance of hitting down. It is not that unreconcilable with what I am saying if the follow through is also said to include part of the dwell time, but definitely they are not the same if taken literally.
     
  32. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,954
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Thanks Cheetah. I must think about this, try to visualize and then shadow stroke it, and then maybe some more trial and error experimentation on court.

    Would love to be able to approximate something like a Rafter serve. Not likely though. He arches, bends, and then explodes into the ball in a way that I probably couldn't do even when I was young and healthy.

    Also, there seems to me to be something unique about Rafter's service motion that I can't quite identify.
     
  33. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,954
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Ok, thanks sureshs.
     
  34. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    4,611
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    "Top-slice" is a serve that has more sidespin (slice) component than topspin. It still kicks up (but not as high as a full kick serve) and curves in the direction of the serve.

    It is not a TTW-ism. There are references to this serve all over the place.
     
  35. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,336
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    really? i've played a lot of squash. most shots are slice, i.e. underspin. When someone says slice do you automatically think side spin?

    could be just that i'm not used to the terminology. Is it a USA vs. UK difference in English?

    or is top-slice like spiral-spin?

    English is not my first language. I'm sure it's easier to demonstrate in person.
     
  36. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    Messages:
    1,280
    Location:
    San Jose, California
    What is physically happeninf between the types of kick serves that Rafter is describing?


    I understand the "brushing from 8 to 2" concept.

    But I don't understand what Rafter means by "hitting from 11 to 5" on his first serve kick.

    How do those two serves differ? Don't see how topspin is generated by swinging from 11 to 5. :confused:
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  37. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,336
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    My understanding is taht the racquet face is closed at contact so you get topspin... the difference is that the 11 to 5 type also gives you a bit of sidespin....

    this is just my understanding.. read disclaimer below!
     
  38. jstout

    jstout New User

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    22
    With just watching the video and imagining the feel looking in the mirror.

    I think he means at 11-5 your racquet will swing upward and during the upward extension the feeling of down towards 5 actually creates an arc across the ball (not a straight downward line). The arcing motion will add in more sidespin to the serve.

    The 8-2 is more of hitting underneath and upward producing a higher arching ball of the strings of a typical kick serve.
     
  39. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,847
    Location:
    San Diego
    Ok. Slice serve can be hit with top, under spin or side spin. Typical slice serve is 9-3 swing path aka side spin as u said that curves towards deuce alley for righty. Top slice serve is that serve plus a top spin component added. Top slice is not a new term.

    watch the virtualtennisacademy videos. heath has a good vid called 'the first serve' where he teaches a top slice serve.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
  40. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    Hold your car's steering wheel with the left hand at 8 and move it up till 10. Then, hold it with the right hand at 11 and move it till 1. Both will produce the same (clockwise) rotation of the same amount.

    As you are moving it from 11 to 1, your hand appears to go up and come down. Do it fast enough and there is a blurring, meaning if someone asks you did you move it up or down, you are not too sure (and your palm itself may span the region from 11 to 12, making a precise location moot to talk about). Now, assume the wheel can even flatten under your pressure, and it becomes even less clear. That is what is happening in the dwell time of the deformable strings with the deformable ball at the apex of the swing.
     
  41. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,687
    Your confusion is that slice has two definitions in tennis. When referring to ground strokes, slice means underspin. When referring to serves, slice means side-spin.

    Of course, the terms could be changed for more clarity. However, a topspin slice serve is well understood in English tennis terminology to mean a serve that curves to the side and has topspin. It is differentiated from a kick serve which doesn't have much side spin and the twist serve. A bigger problem is that often kick and twist are used interchangeably these days to mean a serve that looks like it has topspin slice but then bounces straight or even the opposite direction of the hooking in the air.
     
  42. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    9,201
    i gotta add that one of my right back muscles doesn't really like the different move.. i need to get used to it, hope it's not a "looking for trouble" serve ;)
     
  43. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,336
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    thanks. that clears things up nicely.
     
  44. jackcrawford

    jackcrawford Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    835
    Excellent post. Don't have the book in front of me, but Laver advised in the early '70's to hit a topspin forehand by rolling over the ball so that the strings not contacting the ball would be facing the sky as the ball left the frame. This is not what happens, of course, but it is the feeling that helped him. Terms like ulnar deviation and initial impact minus .002 seconds are fun to explore for those interested in kinesiology or physics, but most elite athletes neither give or take advice of this nature.
     
  45. arche3

    arche3 Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,389
    I'm really concerned / curious as to why a lot of ttw posters think the physics dissertations help tennis skills on court. When these same posters are at best 3.5 level singles players. It might be over thinking imo when pro players like rafter talk about feel and not angle of attack and the square of the jib jab.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  46. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,666
    Location:
    Here and There
    arche, what I find curious is how sureshs is in EVERY thread pretty much on the Tennis Tips forum, and not just 1 or 2 posts but the main guy driving it along. So you start wondering, do I really wanna post something and have sureshs dissect and analyze what I wrote with his high intellect or do I wanna remain a sane person and just lurk?
     
  47. chunlimeyers

    chunlimeyers Rookie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2004
    Messages:
    162
    I would like to thank Pat and Will for making that video. I picked it up INSTANTLY and now have Rafters serve! Thanks to Relinquis for the only real dude on this forum that gets it. He might be describing it not exact, but he did show how he can use it for a second serve also.

    For those that aren't getting it... It a)might be a tall man serve(I am 6 foot 2), or you can try b) you have to hit it almost like a first flat serve. Meaning, the toss has to be hit HIGH and then PULLED DOWN. So, yes, for a lot of you with a good kick serve, the exact OPPOSITE that you have learned. Also, the start of it is almost like a flat serve but watch Pat as he explains his racket path and follow through, those are most key. And realize, as Pat also says, it is NOT a kick serve. Just a wicked spin serve that bounds and with the spin string I have makes some crazy bounces off the court after it hits!

    Luckily my kick serve sucks and I hate arching my back.. Again, if you do any of this, it really won't work, because you will not be getting your body high enough to pull down with your arm and body.

    I also have the "master series" matches recorded on my dvr and watched him serve against McEnroe. He used his 10 to 2 second serve not only for his second serve, but used more of this swing path to serve wide on the deuce side(I think Mac picked up on that and then started to pass him on that serve). The 11 to 4(I use 12 to swing path) serve was either an ace or a service winner or easy volley nearly every time for Pat(he even snuck it in occasionally as a second serve on Mac). And, he was, though I might not have all the series, undefeated in the episodes I have(even beat Pete Sampras relatively easily.)

    I love this serve because now, with the same toss and position, i can mix up my first super flat serve with now a safer and more unpredictable for opponent spin serve so they can't get timed on my big flat one!(though Pats serve has plenty O pace also, which I love about it the most!)

    And finally, Pat did mention that if you can still not do his serve, just go from 8 to 1(which never worked for me).
     
  48. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    9,201
    pretty much my experience :) ^^^^
    even if it doesn't have much power, it's enough to throw the opponent of balance every now and then.
    now to learn how to add the pace.
     
  49. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    That's awesome thanks for sharing!

    Re: height, you don't have to be tall to make this work. I'm 5'8" and have no problem using all the swing directions Pat talked about.

    - Will
     
  50. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    9,201
    thanks again for your video Will. i replied you on the video page but somehow cannot find my reply :(
    i was interested in what you'd say.
     

Share This Page