Lefty Serve

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by kevhen, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Played a strong 4.0 lefty with a kick (to the right) serve, nasty slice serve, and good old hard flat serve last night. It took me 3 return games before I got more than one or two even back per return game.

    Since he could serve up the T or outwide, I couldn't cheat in either direction except maybe about 6 inches to the left since his serves tend to curve a little bit to the left.

    Instead of hunkering down on the baseline like I usually do, I took a step back to give myself time to react to his confusing spins. Most of my shots early went off to the right or long on both my forehand and backhand sides, so I started aiming for the left of the court with my returns with more and more success.

    We played 3 sets and he broke me 3 times (all in the second set) and I broke him 4 times, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

    How does everyone else deal with a good lefty server? Many of my returns felt weak but he didn't attack them as much as I thought he would. My main advantage was serving out wide to his backhand from the deuce court and then dropshotting to his forehand since his footspeed was average. Good match, but too many UEs and sort of ugly as a slicer vs lefty match should be ugly.
     
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  2. Gaurav Singh

    Gaurav Singh New User

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    Dealing with a lefty serve is annoying especially if you have a one handed backhand. However lefties normally tend to serve with a lot of slice out wide to the backhand on both sides. I would suggest standing further out towards the backhand side on both sides, thus encouraging the lefty to serve to the fourhand side, which he is not that comfortable with.

    I have a one handed backhand and have recently played a lefty just like u with a slice serve. It really was hard for me as he kept serving To my backhand. and all I could do was chip it back only to see the ball go short to his fourhand (especially on the ad side where if you return crosscourt like coaches tell u to, its to the lefties fourhand, and if its short kiss goodbye).

    My advice would be to strengthen ur serves and returns, and be patient.

    Damn lefties
     
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  3. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I had to keep telling myself to be patient especially when he would hit his slower kick serve as a first serve and I would swing too early and shank it off, catching the bottom edge of my frame as it moved to my right on my backhand side. But then he would hit a slice moving away left and I would also shank it right having to lunge out for it. Luckily when he served hard, I had no problems, since there was less spin on the ball and blocking back big serves is one of my strengths.

    Anyone else play with a lefty who has both the slice and American twist kick serve?
     
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  4. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    LOL,

    I played a guy the other day (I am lefthanded). He was a good 4.5 player. I have already mentioned that when I hit a twist serve, it shoots out in the air as if it is going out. The spin then takes over as it slows down in the air and makes it really take a sharp curve back in the court toward the outside line. When the returner takes the bait positionin his body imporperly to handle the serve and thinking it was going out anyway, the ball lands sharply on the court shoots the other direction.

    Literally, the returner swung twice and missed the ball by a foot both sideways and over his racquet. We laughed because he does not play many lefties at all. He just shook his head.

    I have already told Tim Tennis about this as it is a site to see. Sometimes I even stare at it as it moves around in the air in an oblong shape and then tortures returners. I would hate to return it, my partner hates to return it, as well as others.

    I have no clue why I can get so much torque and spin except for the following which I hope helps your serve ( I realize this post isn't about serves).

    1. I practiced and practiced (when I was learning tennis) hitting slow loopy balls from the fence while landing the ball in the service box. My goal was to brush the ball so much that I could see a radical bounce from the spin.

    2. When I got the spin I wanted I started to add pace.

    3. I do not hold back on racquet head speed on the second serve. The same effort for my first serve goes into my second serve in a different way.

    4. I really try to go upward and extend to the ball. No "half-arm" serves. I consider a "half-arm" serve a failed serve even if it went in. I view this from the stand-point of potential.

    5. I keep my head up and only bring it down after I see the blur of my arm go by which is after contact.

    6. I practiced - a lot. Boring serve practice.

    The bottom-line to lefties, you got to play them more often to get used to the spin coming in a different way.
     
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  5. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yes, by the third set we were starting to have decent rallies and I was getting most of my returns back, but on big points he would usually come with a lot of lefty spin on the serve and most of the time I would oblige with an error. If only there were more lefties to play against!

    Oh, I completely whiffed on just one return so not too bad.
     
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  6. vin

    vin Professional

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    Man, even a righty with a serve like that is trouble! I played a guy in a tournament that hit a twist serve to my forehand side and after the bounce, it was on my backhand side. All I could do was catch it with my left hand because I was already lined up to hit a forehand. The hard part about returning this guys serve was that he didn't get the good spin every time and sometimes it would twist a lot more than others.

    BB, so what does serving from the back fence promote? Hitting up on the ball more with more spin to bring it back down? I'll have to give it a try.
     
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  7. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, it promotes hitting slow, high, loopy serves that land in the service box. Just loop them high and see if you can get the ball to bounce the way you expect it to. It is NOT an emphasis on power. It IS an emphasis on brushing the ball and FEELING the spin you create on the ball. It is an emphasis on figuring out the grip adjustment and the angle of the racquet hitting the ball to create that torque you need for the desired spin.

    QUESTION: Can anyone tell the posters here how to tell when a twist serve is coming? If you know it is coming, you will not be susceptable to a misread and therefore move in the wrong way to put yourself in an awkward position to return the serve.
     
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  8. ChrisNC

    ChrisNC Semi-Pro

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    If you play against the same person enough, you can generally tell which serve they're going for. That is, unless they are the type that can hit any of their serves from very similar tosses. A guy I play with has a decent twist serve, but I can always tell it's coming because the toss is totally different.

    But, in general, watch for a toss that is behind them enough that it forces the back arch
     
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  9. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    The twist serve does seem to come slower than other serves but I haven't noticed the service motion being all that different to detect it coming early on, but it does seem to come from a strong swing with alot of brush up and not that much pace behind it. I haven't duplicated it myself unfortunately but I think I still need more brush up and to find the right hitting angle to get that twist kick going. I need to practice serving slow and up until I find it.
     
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  10. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    So maybe I need to toss the ball back farther, but it still seems from observation that the twist toss is still just right of the head but maybe a little farther back than for other serves?
     
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  11. bcaz

    bcaz Professional

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    Yeah, you should see it coming -- toss more vertical or behind ... grip change to backhand or extreme backhand ... and many guys resort to short-arming the ball a bit.

    I'm lefty and my serve can be tough on righties ... Kev, I must say your original post is a might disingenuous ... you start by whining about how tough this guy's serve was and how you could barely get your stick on the ball, and in virtually the same breath you matter-of factly report you broke him four times and whipped him. Congratulations for being so great and surmounting such tremendous odds.
     
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  12. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Sorry if sounding that way. He did hold 10/14 while I held 11/14. The match was very close and I consider him an equal. If we played again it could easily go the other way. Luckily my serve came on in the third set after being broken 3 times in the second. It did take some time to get used to returning a good serving lefty having not played one with a big serve in a couple of years. The other two lefties I have played since then did not have big serves but both went 3 sets with one a win and the other a loss. Lefties are a tough matchup since I like to pick on my opponent's backhand side but that is a lefty's forehand so it takes a little rewiring before I start pushing balls to the lefty's backhand side.
     
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  13. PugArePeopleToo

    PugArePeopleToo Rookie

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    My regular hitting partner is a left handed S&Ver without the flat bomb. He has a nasty slice serve and a decent kick serve. I found that if I take one step back to receive his serve, I am actually worse off because the spin will have a greater effect and he has a little more time to get to the net. What I do is I started at the base line and split steps into the court and make an aggressive return with a compacted stroke. If the serve is wide to either side, I can do pretty well. The one I have the most trouble with is when the serve is right into my right rib cage. Another thing I did is I try to have a serious slice serve and twist serve myself. Lefties don't like to handle those any more than us righties.
     
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  14. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Luckily my lefty opponent didn' t S&V because my returns were very weak despite being well behind the baseline anyway. He was jamming and confusing me enough anyway. I think I would have made even more errors if I would have moved in and take the ball sooner, and he had the big flat serve too he would have brought that into the body had I moved in.

    yes, I don't think he liked my slice serve out to his backhand. I need to practice and try to develop a twist serve, but it looks like it's going rain all day here.
     
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  15. vin

    vin Professional

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    Continental or eastern forehand? :D

    If you're able to hit a decent kicker (regardless of twist) with an eastern forehand grip, that would be something to see!
     
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  16. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    Actually its not too hard.. I can hit a kicker with an eastern, continental, and eastern backhand.. As long as you have similar swing path, the different angle of the ball will make it spin differently..
    Just takes time to adjust to the grip
     
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  17. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Please either use an Eastern BACKHAND grip or a continental grip. It places the hand and wrist in a more natural position.

    The toss is probably most important as it goes over your right shoulder and behind your head. When you arch your back you can see you are in a perfect position to hit 7-1 or 8-2 for the twist. Dont make it anymore harder on your body then it should be.
     
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  18. vin

    vin Professional

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    Doh! :shock: Even though I was joking, I knew I shouldn't have brought it up.
     
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  19. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yes, continental twist serves! I only use Eastern for flat up-the-T serves.
     
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  20. PugArePeopleToo

    PugArePeopleToo Rookie

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    Bungalo Bill, regarding how to tell when a twist serve is coming. For me, when I see an arching back and a behind the head ball toss, I know a kicker or a twister is coming. However, I still don't know how to read the intended location of the serve. Can you please give me some pointers as how I can quickly decide if a serve, be it slice, twist or flat serve, is coming to my forehand, backhand or into my body? Thanks.
     
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  21. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    It is not as hard as you think to be ready and move properly to return the American Twist serve. There is a graphic showing the tossing places for certain serves. That is one clue. The other clue is the way the racquet is coming into the ball. If they are moving the face upward mainly, you prepare for topspin. But the key is everytime you get set to return you have to think about what the server is about to do!

    At lower levels of play you dont see the twist serve much and when you play someone that does have the serve - you get messed up only because you are not concentrating on the server and the serve that is coming toward you. So 90% of handling the American Twist serve (or any serve) is mental rather then physical.

    The good news is the server can't sneak a twist serve on you. You pretty much have to be daydreaming or thinking of something else to miss the signals before the serve is hit. It's so obvious what's coming. The server tosses the ball well over his head, arches his back, bends his knees ready for an exaggerated brush of the racket face up and across the back of the ball. Rarely do you come across a player that can disguise an American Twist serve.

    As with most returns of serve, emulate Andre Agassi by combining the shoulder turn and backswing into one compact movement. It's usually advisable to take kick serves on the rise. Step in to meet the ball and position yourself to in front of where you think it is going to bounce. Try and allow for the twist on the bounce and take the ball between waist and shoulder height with a smooth, short stroke.

    The Twist is actually an easy serve to learn. Returning the American twist can be just as easy once you know it's coming.

    The server's preparation gives the serve away. When you see the ball toss over the head and the arched back and the deep knee-bend, you know the ball is going to break to your left after it bounces (assuming the server is right-handed).

    On another recent post, I mentioned the return of serve is mainly foot/eye coordination. If you can get set properly and allow for the twisting bounce you should be well prepared to hit it back solidly.
     
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