Is a Kick Serve Really 7 to 1?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by hacker_101, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. hacker_101

    hacker_101 New User

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    Hi,

    The 7 to 1 swing path for a kick serve looks really steep. Maybe I gotta work on my flexibility. lol.

    To me it looks like the swing path is (left to right - ACROSS the ball) (not as much UP) as people advocate. It looks like 8 to 2 at best. Or is this just an illusion??

    Look at Figure 1 in the below link. (8 to 2?)
    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/kickserve.php

    Videos below...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8RGuB1Wj_E

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uz1SdKCl2Q&feature=related

    Sorry if this has been asked before but I couldn't find anything on this.
     
    #1
  2. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Across the ball is slice. You need to hit up on the ball to generate topspin. 8 to 2 works as well in a spin serve, it just matters how much kick you want when the ball bounces. I personally like a little bit of both (8 to 2).
     
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  3. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    It really is steep. PP is correct, you vary the angle to mix top and side spin. I'm a righty and when I want to break the ball away from an opponent I'll hit more 8/2...the ball will break to my left/opponent's right.

    If I absolutely need a serve to land in I'll toss more directly above my head and hit more straight up. The ball will rise and then dive hard into the court flattening out and bouncing high.

    Maximum head speed and a grip closer to eastern back hand will enhance the spin effect (I actually swing faster/harder on my kick serve than my first serve to generate more spin).

    I didn't realize how important it is to toss high and hit truly "up" until one day while practicing serves into the sun. The sun's angle forced me to toss higher and hit up more. BINGO! I learned a real kick serve. :)

    EDIT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkAj6MmwxHw

    At about 1:34 in the video above you'll see just how extreme the contact point can be. And one more thing...you should make contact with the ball after letting it drop lower than a flat serve. It can make a huge difference in the spin generated. The toss, contact point, extreme grip, and swing speed for a kick serve all feel very awkward at first!
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
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  4. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Is the clock face in the vertical plane or as the server sees it?

    I get confused with these 'clock' numbers because of the server's viewing angle.

    When the server looks up at the ball his viewing direction to the ball is say 60-80° up from horizontal. Now, does the '7 to 1' or the '2 to 8' description refer to what he sees as if he were looking up at a clock face (tilted 30-10° to horizontal) OR do some/most people understand the clock face to be in the vertical plane?

    I'm uncertain when trying to apply '7 to 1', etc.
     
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  5. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    no. just hold the tennis ball in your hand and look at it like a clock face. thats all it is.

    Fuzzy yellow balls is a nice resource for describing this I think.
     
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  6. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Then you would say that the clock face is strictly vertical?

    If during a kick serve the ball is directly over the head - server viewing straight up at ~90° to horizontal then the server would be trying to strike from 7 to 1 or 8 to 2 on the back of the ball. He would not be seeing it very well as he viewing the clock face edgeon. So that would be a conceptual description not to be used for what the server sees?

    I think that I have had problems mixing what I'm seeing with the conceptual description.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
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  7. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Draw a clock on a piece of paper. trace from 7 to 2. That is the swing path.

    Now what could help you get this better is you are always hitting the back of the ball. So if your toss is right over your head, you are still hitting the back of the ball and not starting at the underside.

    You could start with a slice. The path is 9 to 3. You want to hit across the back of the ball.
     
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  8. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

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    The clock face is across the back of the ball as if you had a camera mounted about 3ft above and behind the server, not from your own point of view under the ball.

    And yes, hitting up on the back of the ball to generate topspin is much harder from a service motion than from say, a forehand motion. It takes lots of practice to start doing it consistently (took me at least 3 months). I make sure my racket head drops down into a true 'backscratch' position so I can really hit up on the back of the ball. Also helps if I toss a little to the left of a point above my head.
     
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  9. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I found this works when I helped some folks with this issue.

    Using a Sharpie write a the number 12 on a tennis ball. No write the number 6 on the opposite Side of the ball. Then write 3 and 9 midway between 12 and 6 on opposing sides of the ball. Thin of 12 being the north pole, 6 the south pole, 3 east, and 9 west.

    Now hold the ball up in the air to your front with 12/north pole up, 6/sout pole on the bottom, 3 point to your right and 9 to your left.

    As you move the ball around more to your left or right and closer or father keep this orientation.

    You'll notice that if the ball is close and directly above you a proper swing would be across the face of the ball from 6 to 12.

    Hold the ball more to the right and to the front a swing will be from 7 or 8 to 1 or 2.
     
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  10. ho

    ho Semi-Pro

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    Actually the kick serve is toss the ball to your left and behind you:
    When you toss the ball to your left and behind you, you have to arch more
    When you have to arch more, your chest will face the side fence
    When you face the side fence, your racket path will be from 7 to 1.

    To make it easier, stand with your feet point to the right net post
    When you do that, racket path will be from you to the right net post.(7 to 1)
     
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  11. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I suspect, when I hit good high bouncing twists, my torso faces upwards about 30 degrees off vert, and faces slightly BEHIND the baseline I"m standing atop.
     
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  13. Zachol82

    Zachol82 Professional

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    I go from 5 to 8 and then finally to 2. That's right, it's a legit twist.
     
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  14. Pete Player

    Pete Player New User

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    I read this Physicks of kickserve-article.

    And I found it intresting that they say that higher throw will help. I have foud out myself as a youngster, that the best bounces produced was, when the serve was hit on the upslope of the ball, not while it was already falling.
     
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  15. Pete Player

    Pete Player New User

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    No edit?

    Seems so, and also, when the throw is way in front, so you'll have to jump forward when swinging on the ball.
     
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  16. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Good advice. I have also found this to be true and it works great for me
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
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  17. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    (You can only edit after your 50th post.)

    Why would hitting it on the "upslope" help. The racket motion is probably more important. Do you think it bites the ball more hit going up?

    Can you find some pro videos where they hit on the 'up slope' not falling.

    I think these are kick serves of Stosur's.

    https://vimeo.com/40449753

    https://vimeo.com/40449544

    It seemed to me that her racket might be closed and she is leaning forward but I can't be sure from this camera angle.
     
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  18. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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  19. Alejandro Lanza

    Alejandro Lanza Rookie

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    So, her racquet doesn't necessarily end up in her left side when kick serving right?
     
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  20. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Some more video of Stosur's kick serve. Arm stays on right side also on these.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnqYduBcmNQ

    A website that demo's the kick serve says both to the right for a RH serve or can continue follow through to left. I believe but don't know that most RH servers follow through reaching the left side.

    http://tennis.about.com/od/serve/ss/servetwistsbs_9.htm

    I watched the instruction on this site one day and tried it out that night with my blocktime group. It worked great. Easy come, easy go, I have not been able to reproduce the effectiveness of the kick serve that night ever since.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
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  21. Alejandro Lanza

    Alejandro Lanza Rookie

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    Very cool, thx Chas!
     
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  22. Pete Player

    Pete Player New User

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    (Odd policy, especially, when one is writing on foreighn language.)

    Anyway, I aggree on the racket motion aspect, but...

    My understanding on the upslope-idea come only from juvenile experience, while practising against a garage wall (three months 8 to 12 hrs a day - serve only).

    If the throw is forward and you hit it well forward your body and the base line (without foot fault ofcourse being airborne), the racket will more automatically find the ball from behind, low left (right hander) and sort of wrap the strings around the ball like capsized lob-shot.

    On the other hand, if you wait for the ball to fall, you'll need to hit it more upwards, I think. When you chase the ball from behind on the upslope, you'll have it allready going towards the service square - sort of.

    I'm not that much into tennis, that I could find any video clips on that, but as I recall some of the best fast ball servers from the 80's did just that.
     
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  23. Pete Player

    Pete Player New User

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    Analogue to the idea of hitting on the upslope would propably be explained by an experiment.

    Put a plane about racket head high when your arm is extended fully. Then tilt that some so, the front edge is more forward than the back. Then toss a ball underneath that plane and look, which way it bounces. Forward and down, right. The direction ofcourse varies by the tilt angle of the plane and the speed the ball is hitting the plane.

    Then put the plane the other way around and let the tossed ball hit the upper surface of that plane. The ball is now bouncing vertical or only slightly upwards and forward.

    When the basic bounce is already towards the target I think it will help to produce more both speed and also top-spin on the ball.

    However it is a lot more difficult to time the swing onto a upward flying ball than it is with a falling ball. The hit window is way bigger when you hit it from underneath the ball.
     
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  24. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Balls bouncing off of planes are similar to light reflecting off a plane surface such as a piece of window glass. To define the 'direction' of a plane surface a perpendicular line is constructed on the surface. When balls bounce the rule is - "The angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection." The angle of incidence is measured from the perpendicular line and the angle of reflection also. This works for elastic reflections in mechanics as well as light reflecting from a plane surface like a piece of glass. The tennis ball bouncing on a hard surface is close to elastic for this type of estimate.

    The two angles that you say the ball will bounce - up or down etc. - depends on the angle of the plane. Try estimating the angles with the rule.

    The rule "The angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection." applies to many situations in tennis. It is used by less skilled players more often when they angle the racket face with little motion and reflect volleys at angles given by the rule. But the racket also moves laterally during impact. A tennis racket with string distortion and complex motion - maybe rotating during impact - can deviate from the rule a lot. I am having a lot of trouble with the concept of axially rotating the hitting arm during impact for the kick serve - the motion is very complex as the posted Stosur video shows.

    Here is a forum discussion on hitting the serve 'on the rise'.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/archive/index.php/t-63444.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
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  25. winks

    winks Rookie

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    Sam has a great serve and certainly some good kick to it!

    I think it's odd that JPMcLenna (the poster of that youtube video) mentions John McEnroe as someone noted for his wicked kick serve. what :confused:

    Here is another video of kick serve technique I remember liking....

    Naomi's Sick Kick
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
    #25
  26. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    I don't think this is a question about the mechanics of swinging 7 to 1 to hit a kick or topspin serve. If I asked you how to create topspin on your forehand, you would say swing from 6 to 12, although most just say swing from low to high. Now when you are serving, it really doesn't change. You need to swing from 6 to 12 or 7 to 1. That should make sense that the swing path should be similar for both a topspin forehand and a topspin serve.

    So the real question is how do I swing from 6 to 12 on my serve? Most people with flat serves can't fathom how to do this, so they think we (the people who can serve with topspin) have some secret recipe that we aren't telling. Or there is something different that we are doing to get that topspin. But nope. The racket is moving from low to high in both instances (serve and forehand).
     
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