The journey to the kick serve

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by wishsong, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. wishsong

    wishsong New User

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    I can hit a pretty fast flat and slice, just that my slice is sometimes weird, but the thing is I can do both of them and get them in. I'm still improving the speed, but I want to learn a kick. I've watched some videos, but all of the pronation and above my head is too much to think about while trying to learn it. So how did you guys learn it? My coach tells me to just throw it behind you and hit it as late as you can. I've gotten the spin right once in a while, but no kick :(
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Practice, of course.
    Yes, throw it behind your head some, then allow the toss to drop OR, hit the ball at a LOWER point than your slice or flat serves.
    Your swing should be upwards, not towards the target, to impart topspin but more to give a high arc over the net, coupled with the topspin, the balls arcs down forcefully, and bounces up above shoulder heights to your opponent. Tall guys can make it bounce well overhead to most opponents...except other tall guys, of course.
    Try to swing as fast as you can control, aim the ball like 5' over the net, try to bounce it near the service line, and it will kick if everything else is correct.
     
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  3. oneguy21

    oneguy21 Banned

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    It might help tossing the ball to the left (if you're a righty) and slightly behind you. Then, use the racquet head to brush up on the ball. Swing it as fast or faster than you would when you hit a first serve. This will generate the necessary spin to bring the ball down and make it kick up.

    Also, try to aim the ball a little above the net. You're net clearance should be about 3 feet.

    A higher toss helps too because it's easier to brush up on a ball that's coming down.

    Keep practicing.
     
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  4. m27

    m27 Banned

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    I'm going to get crucified for saying this, but I don't think you need to change your toss for a kick serve; just jump forward more. The end result is the same - you make contact with the ball further back - but you're not telegraphing the kick serve to your opponent.
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Agree if you're comparing your topspin second serve with a kick serve to the same spot.
    BUT, there's the twist. That one, the toss is farther back behind you (not away from the net), and the ball arcs somewhat normal, but KICKS in the opposite direction. Yes, the opponent can see your different toss. But he's also watching the ball, you, and trying to judge the amount of kick to get his racket into play.
    Now maybe I can juggle and walk, but I can't juggle, walk, and recite poetry at the same time.
     
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  6. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I got a question about this serve too. How much to the left should your toss be and do you need a big back-bend to do this serve? My kick serve isn't bad, but I get tired quickly doing this serve and I think its because I exaggarate the toss and backbend....

    Anyway, what's the rule with these things?
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Depends....
    Some guys twist a serve with barely any torso bend, like the vid of the 6'2" guy basically blasting a twist up high to the opponents backhand.
    Other guys arc waaaaay back and brush up on the ball, imparting a slow, hugely arcing ball that bounces up pretty high.
    Both can be effective. The opponent sometimes can return fast balls, but totally fall apart trying to impart pace on slow moving, fast spinners.
    Then again, if the body starts to tire, then use your normal kicker early, then KNOW you will abandon it later in matches, use the other serves. When you give them the kicker/twist early, they will always have to keep it in mind on each of your serves, so you add doubt to their mental stability.
     
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  8. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    This sounds EXACTLY like my serve lol. It works for me though, I guess I just need to get used to it
     
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  9. oneguy21

    oneguy21 Banned

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    You're right. Tossing in the same spot will help you achieve a more consistent toss, but for someone who is just learning the kick serve a slightly altered toss may help them generate the topspin.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, there's waay more than one way to hit a tennis ball effectively enough to win matches.
    I'd love to have that guys fast moving AmericanTwist serve, but I don't.
    I mentioned a practice partner of mine who won A tournaments and was #2 one year out of high school at a Div11 college. He had the slowest moving twist serve possible, but it kicked about 6'6" high and landed on the deep corners, always taking the returner well two feet out of the doubles court.
    Now some would say to just step in and crank up the top forehand. NOPE. This guy, with the same motion, could twist it into your body no matter where you stood, making you look foolish if you step inside the baseline. And he was lefty, and he was 6'2" with super long arms, and a 7'8" wingspan.
     
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  11. wishsong

    wishsong New User

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    So I pronate, then brush up? And should the toss be ahead of me (towards the net), right next to me, or behind me (away from the net)?
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Problem with advice about where to toss is that we don't know how much movement YOU have into the court during the service motion.
    Contact point of kick should be somewhere right above your head, opposite side of the hitting arm. That is NOT an absolute, but a starting point.
    Watch vid of that guy who hits a twist with speed and placement. Try to copy that. If you can't like me, then toss it over your head and brush up swinging fast, so the ball arcs well above the netcord and drops hard bouncing high.
     
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  13. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    Disclaimer: My kick serve still sucks, but I have spent 5-6 hours a week on it for the past 6 months :), so I have some experience:

    I doubt you can pronate first and get a nice brush on the ball. I primarily concentrate on looking up, brushing up and getting the timing on the brush. pronation for me happens at the end of my follow through when my arm is back down at shoulder to chest height. I hold my racquet fairly loosely for the kick serve and basically throw the racquet edge at the ball. If I hold it tightly, I tend to hit it fat and the serve goes long.

    Some folks advice on this forum, that you start pronating at contact i.e. pronate to get a 'Matching gear' effect.. I have had no success with this at all for a second serve. i.e. It is fairly unreliable for me. You do get more bite and kick with this matching gear effect, but I am not comfortable at all using it for my second serve.

    Regarding the toss: I like my toss to drop down and hit my left shoulder. Just less stress on my body and I tend to get better results than tossing at 11 (i.e. behind me)..

    just my experience .. may not be sound advice so do not kill me for it :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
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  14. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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  15. ryangoring

    ryangoring Professional

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  16. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    Here are a couple of items that really helped me a lot.

    1) focus on hitting up at the ball and brushing with the side of the racquet. Do not worry about putting pace on the serve - that will follow. You will lead with the eadge of the frame. If the ball hits the strings pretty flush and goes way long, you grip/motion is off. If you are catching the frame and hitting the ball out by a million miles, you almost have it.

    2) stay sideways longer. the biggest problem people have is that they are rotating the shoulders too early and then trying to brush up on the ball after their chest is already turned. To imagine the stroke pattern, realize the racquet need to go up behind the back of ball. Flatten your hand, put it behind your head and extend from the elbow to see what direction the hand is moving. Visualize that your hand needs to be moving up and behind the ball at the moment of contact. If you turn your shoulders too early, you will end up brush up the side and not back of the ball.
     
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  17. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    my link is to the progression series as opposed to the fundamental series all done by wil hamilton. great source of info .each is a different approach to the topic
     
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