Pace on the kick serve

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by dknotty, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    680
    I can do a decent kick serve however I can't hit a pacy kick serve (as soon as I try and add pace I hit the serve long).

    How does one go about adding pace to a kick serve, while preserving the kick?
     
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,243
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Tons of practice, to gradually increase ball speed while not losing too much pure spin.
    I like to maintain, for most players, IF they can serve a dead flat first serve around 100mph, their fastest topspin serves go in around 85, their SAFE second serve topspin go in 70, while their highest kicking most effective TWIST serves go in at 60 mph.
    That's how it seems to me.
     
    #2
  3. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,327
    Location:
    colorado
    For me, I just toss more in front and that seems to do the trick. But Lee is right, it'll take a lot of practice to get the right balance of pace and spin.
     
    #3
  4. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,143
    Assuming you aren't going to post a video of your kick serve, I can only give you general tips. In addition, a kick serve goes a good 20-30 mph slower than a flat serve. So if you can hit your flat serve at 100 mph, don't expect to be hitting 85 mph kick serves. That being said, here are some keys to hitting a kick serve with decent pace.

    1. Hit up on the ball! Your swing to contact needs to be nearly vertical, with the ball toss directly over your head.
    2. Don't go overboard with the brushing from 7 to 1 concept. This idea works for some people, but others take it too literally. Another way to think of a kick serve is as a topspin slice serve, or an upward slice serve. You have to spin the ball, heavily. Hitting up but flat will not help.
    3. If you want the ball to kick 6 feet up, you must clear the net by at least 3 feet. Simple physics. You may be losing the kick when you try to serve with pace because you're failing to clear the net by enough.
    4. You don't need to aim for the service line. A few feet inside the service line will suffice. The whole point of a kick serve is to give you margin for error. Don't blow it by aiming for the line.
    5. To get the ball to go in, follow through on the right side of your body until the racket has reached waist level, at which point you can bring it to the left. This is also known as following through parallel to the baseline.
    6. Do not swing parallel to the baseline. Follow through parallel to the baseline. The swing to contact is directly up at the ball.

    Follow these steps, including a strong trophy position and a fluid, whippy swing, and you will be able to swing with all you've got and still hit a proper kick serve.
     
    #4
  5. Tonyr1967

    Tonyr1967 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    143
    Try tossing slightly into the court and lean into the serve (still hitting your normal kicker motion)
     
    #5
  6. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    680
    Thanks for the tips guys, I'll work on moving the toss forward and just practicing lots and lots.

    I think my flat serve is around 85-95mph at the moment - I'm working on getting it better with the help of a coach. Most of the improvements to my flat serve flow into the kick serve as well so its all work in progress. Each improvement adds a bit to the mph I think.

    Question - is a 100mph serve with good placement a good serve at the 4.0-4.5 level?
     
    #6
  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,243
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    100 flat is OK.
    100 top/slice is very good.
    100 twist is 5.5 material.
     
    #7
  8. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    680
    How about placement LeeD?

    A 100mph serve right into your hit zone is lousy but a 90mph serve into the corners or a on the outside line a foot up from the baseline is a killer.

    What is a twist serve?
     
    #8
  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,243
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    At 4.0, you need placement left and right, and into the body.
    Without it, just hitting IN, you are barely 3.5.
     
    #9
  10. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    680
    What is a twist serve?
     
    #10
  11. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,143
    Um, Lee, 100 twist is ATP material. Andy Murray's twists rarely break 90.
     
    #11
  12. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,372
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    TW University (see above this page) reference on the kick serve pace & spin.

    Physics of the Tennis Kick Serve, Rod Cross
    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/kickserve.php

    I believe that Cross concluded that a good kick serve should be between 80-100 MPH. Also, interestingly, that the high bounce comes from the angle of impact to the court and not so much directly from a spin-rate court-surface interaction. Check that....

    Does anyone have a reference with some pace & spin measurements for pro servers in matches?
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
    #12
  13. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,143
    Player M 1sts 1stAvg 2nds 2ndAvg
    John Isner 4 313 124.5 125 106.2
    Andy Roddick 5 249 122.1 118 100.5
    Tomas Berdych 3 85 120.3 71 95.0
    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 5 289 119.7 206 90.6
    Marin Cilic 3 125 118.7 121 86.3
    Janko Tipsarevic 3 148 116.5 84 90.5
    Roger Federer 6 355 115.6 186 94.6
    Juan Martin Del Potro 3 180 114.5 96 88.2
    Julien Benneteau 3 177 114.0 86 89.9
    Tommy Haas 3 211 113.9 124 94.1
    Novak Djokovic 7 421 113.7 226 91.4

    Player M 1sts 1stAvg 2nds 2ndAvg
    Andy Murray 6 338 112.6 204 85.2
    Mardy Fish 4 231 112.4 165 88.0
    David Nalbandian 3 165 112.3 125 96.1
    David Ferrer 3 128 112.2 74 88.9
    Rafael Nadal 7 435 110.5 176 84.5
    Juan Monaco 3 167 109.4 70 90.4
    Gilles Simon 3 235 108.3 179 81.6
    Fernando Verdasco 3 175 107.3 72 92.6
    Alex Bogomolov Jr. 3 264 103.1 96 89.1
    Donald Young 4 213 101.9 111 80.6
     
    #13
  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,243
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    My (3.5-4.0) highest bouncing best kick serves go in around 65mph.
    I know two guys, 4.5-5.0, who can twist around 95-100mph.
    Maybe it's not only the speed of twist serves that allow a player to make higher levels. Some other shots are needed.
     
    #14
  15. psv255

    psv255 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    968
    Location:
    NY
    I've been told if you master the crosscourt between-the-legs topspin dropshot you're a lock for 6.0 GOAThood
     
    #15
  16. psv255

    psv255 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    968
    Location:
    NY
    The only way you can add pace while keeping the same amount of kick is thru adding racquet head speed. What you're asking is another variation of "how can I hit my serve harder?"
    If you want quicker results, you can try tossing the ball out in front of you more, but make sure to still get under it when you swing.
     
    #16
  17. Andy Murray is a 5.5.
     
    #17
  18. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    11,181
    Location:
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    A twist serve is a type of kick serve. A twist serve will curve in once direction prior to the bounce (due to side spin) but then kick off in the other direction (due to the presence of spiral spin). Many topspin kick serves or topspin-slice kick serves will not change direction on the bounce as dramatically as a true twist serve -- but they may straighten out a bit rather than follow the pre-bounce trajectory. Here is Roger hitting a great twist serve on the deuce side (more common on the ad side for righties):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM1P2ej4YtY

    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
    #18
  19. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,143
    [​IMG]
     
    #19
  20. [​IMG]
     
    #20
  21. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Messages:
    1,453
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    If you want a pacy kick serve, you need to sacrifice a bit of topspin. A kick serve that is short and slow is a sitter asking to be attacked.
    Don't hit up on the ball too much, but rather toss in the same area as your flat serve, and hit the ball with a left to right swing and good forward power (if you're right handed). The amount of topspin, slice and kick will vary depending on your racket face of contact, and exact location of the toss but variety is good. Some of them will have good slice and no kick at all, some will have good kick. The more you practice, the better control you'll have obviously.
     
    #21
  22. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Messages:
    12,540
    Location:
    Mar del Plata, Argentina
    100 twist is ELITE material.
    Roddick, Lopez, Federer, Karlovic material.
    Bestial servers (Raonic, Janowicz, Isner) are doing 105-110 twists.
     
    #22
  23. PoisonSky

    PoisonSky New User

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Messages:
    45
    What's spiral spin? What's the difference between hitting a twist serve and a topspin-slice, when apparently both just involve brushing 8 to 2? All my kick serves spin to the left in the air then bounce further to the left (I'm right handed), although I don't really get very much RHS
     
    #23
  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,243
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Arc to the left, bounce left is a top/slice or slice serve.
    A good twist arcs thru the air to the left, then bounces well out to the RIGHT.
    For right handed servers.
     
    #24
  25. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,372
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    In discussing the serves, what do you think of the forearm-racket angles for the topspin and slice serve as shown in these Toly composite pictures.

    Do you think that the topspin serve should always have a different forearm-racket angle? Like the angle shown?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
    #25
  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,243
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    NO, not like the pics.
    For SamStosur, exactly like the pic.
    For another player, they can use varying angles or the same angle.
    What WORKS is what counts.
     
    #26
  27. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,143
    Well, topspin serves would have an angle more tilted than slice serves since you hit more up on a topspin serve, but as Lee says, this angle may vary a little for different players.
     
    #27
  28. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,002
    I'd call them extremely close ball tosses... ts serve is hit bottom to top. with full arm extension their must be a sharp angle. and closed shoulders.

    I think a pacey, rec "kick" serve is fodder. Concentrate solely on "kick" You'll need every bit. Forget speed. An inch of rec kick isn't worth any loss in mph. It's all about depth and kick.
     
    #28
  29. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,372
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    From Toly post
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=361610

    [​IMG]

    Let's say the forearm-racket angle, β, at impact on average is

    1) ~ 40° (or other) for the kick or topspin serves

    2) ~ 20° for the slice or flat serves

    that would be interesting to know. It might show what goes on to hit up on a ball.

    Does anyone have an opinion on the forearm-racket angles for the kick, topspin, slice and flat serves. Any stats or references?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
    #29
  30. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    11,181
    Location:
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    Spiral spin is a Z-axis spin = the spin axis is in the same direction as the flight of the ball. The spin that we observe for badminton shuttles or for a forward pass in American football is spiral spin (or spiralspin). TW physicist has also referred to it as gyrospin on this website; however, in his book Technical Tennis, her refers to it as spiralspin. Ping pong players often refer to this type of spin as corkscrew spin (or corkspin).

    [​IMG]

    The spins that are more familiar to tennis players are X-axis spins (topspin and underspin) and sidespins (Y-axis spins). The spin axis for the types of spins are perpendicular to the flight of the ball and have an associated Magnus force (or Magnus effect). It is this Magnus force that is responsible for the left/right or up/down deviations in the trajectory of the ball -- they create the curves in the flight of the ball (aside from that up/down curves due to gravity).

    Spiralspin, whose axis is in line (parallel) to the trajectory, does not have any associated Magnus force and does not cause any left/right (or up/down) deviations in the trajectory. Think again of badminton shuttles, football passes, bullets and other projectiles with spiralspin (but no other spin types). None of these object will curve left or right in flight unless acted on by a cross wind. The same is true for the spiral spin on a tennis ball (or a ping pong ball).

    While spiral spin has no effect on the flight of the ball, it has a very distinct on the bounce of the ball. (Y-axis side spin has absolutely no effect on the bounce direction). A clockwise spiral spin will cause the ball to bounce to the right whereas a CCW spiralspin causes the ball to kick off to the left.

    The difference between a regular topspin-slice serve and a twist serve is where the ball is contacted. That 8 to 2 brush for the topspin-slice is applied directly to the back of the ball. A right-hander will brush the ball a bit to the left side of the ball for a twist serve in order to increase the amount of spiral spin generated.

    From Technical Tennis (Rod Cross), here is an image that shows the relative contact locations for ball spins with and w/o spiralspin: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v623/soulcutterx13/Spiralspin.jpg
    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
    #30

Share This Page