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treblings 05-02-2013 05:03 AM

question about ball toss for kick serve
 
heres the situation and im asking for everybodys opinion.

i have an 18 year old female with a very good serve for an amateur.
she plays league matches, local tournaments, trains twice a week.
we measured her flat first serve at about 100mph and she has a very efficient slice serve. shes a lefty btw
she has had problems with consistency of her ball toss and she sometimes mixes some topspin in with the slice serve.
at least some of the time, i suspect that comes as a byproduct of the ball toss not being where she wants it.
i would like her to develop a kick serve, and im thinking of trying to work on that without her having to change her toss too much.
my reasons for that. im happy that she found some consistency with her normal ball toss and dont want to complicate things.
also i think it would add disguise to her serve, if you cant read the kick because of the ball toss.
id like to hear your thoughts.

btw, she doesnt want me to put a video of her serve action here in this forum, and i respect that of course

USArmyTennis 05-02-2013 05:33 AM

I personally can hit a kick or twist from the 12 o'clock without a problem. I think you should teach her how to kick by tossing the ball back towards the 11 though. The proper form needs to be taught for her to understand the motion of swinging with the shoulder up across the ball to create the spin. After she understands the motion required to hit a heavy topspin serve you can work on recreating that motion from a similar ball toss to her first serve. You really don't have to change her ball toss to make a good kick if you aren't set on the disguise part of it. I teach people to release the toss slightly later with the same motion to allow the ball to travel further behind the body.

Lukhas 05-02-2013 07:12 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHY8PwZTe24
Something like this?

treblings 05-02-2013 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by USArmyTennis (Post 7382201)
I personally can hit a kick or twist from the 12 o'clock without a problem. I think you should teach her how to kick by tossing the ball back towards the 11 though. The proper form needs to be taught for her to understand the motion of swinging with the shoulder up across the ball to create the spin. After she understands the motion required to hit a heavy topspin serve you can work on recreating that motion from a similar ball toss to her first serve. You really don't have to change her ball toss to make a good kick if you aren't set on the disguise part of it. I teach people to release the toss slightly later with the same motion to allow the ball to travel further behind the body.

thanks, your points are well taken.
my idea is to work with her over the next weeks and see what works for her
and report that in this thread.

treblings 05-02-2013 10:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukhas (Post 7382383)

i agree with Mauro that the ball toss should be inside the court and not behind you. you just dont get enough pace on your kick serve if you throw the ball behind you.
i just wonder how much you need to throw the ball behind your head to produce a good kick serve

toly 05-02-2013 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by treblings (Post 7382899)
i just wonder how much you need to throw the ball behind your head to produce a good kick serve

Lefty Sam Stosur kick serve


treblings 05-02-2013 11:42 AM

thanks toly...great photo series:)
i have to look into some Stosur videos

mightyrick 05-02-2013 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by treblings (Post 7382899)
i agree with Mauro that the ball toss should be inside the court and not behind you. you just dont get enough pace on your kick serve if you throw the ball behind you.
i just wonder how much you need to throw the ball behind your head to produce a good kick serve

Yeah, you're onto something here. This is where I like what Rafter says about the toss and making an "unpredictable" serve.

I myself have toss-consistency problems on the second serve sometimes. Especially if it's late in a match and I'm tired. But even if my toss is off a little bit... the serve can still be pretty effective. Instead of a more kicking serve with pace, it turns into a top-slice with less pace but breaks to the side.

I've gotten to the point now that on the second serve... as long as my motion and racquet head speed are decent... good things are going to happen. The toss doesn't matter as much as long as it is somewhere in the vicinity of 11 o'clock to 1 o'clock.

SystemicAnomaly 05-02-2013 12:03 PM

Have you seen the new Patrick Rafter serve video series with Will Hamilton (FYB)? Pat recommends a kick serve for both 1st and 2nd serves. He hits the first serve faster than the 2nd (which has more spin), so the former does not kick as much as the 2nd. You can adopt a similar toss if you adopt this strategy.

OTOH, a lefty will probably also want a wicked slice serve on the ad side (it might be a bit too risky on the deuce side for some lefties). A twist/kick serve on the deuce side for a lefty can be quite a weapon. Check out the Serve Doctor with this lefty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds6CZ4qCXD4

I would not be overly concerned if the 2nd serve toss is somewhat different fomr the first. In general, everyone expects the 1st serve to be different than the first most of the time. Even great servers like Pete Sampras has talked about using 2 different tosses. But then the difference between his 2 tosses is probably subtler than the average player. Federer appears to use a wider arc on his toss and intercepts it at different places for different types of serve.

I would say that it is more much important to disguise the placement of a serve rather than the type of serve. Keep this in mind when considering toss options.

treblings 05-02-2013 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mightyrick (Post 7382987)
Yeah, you're onto something here. This is where I like what Rafter says about the toss and making an "unpredictable" serve.

I myself have toss-consistency problems on the second serve sometimes. Especially if it's late in a match and I'm tired. But even if my toss is off a little bit... the serve can still be pretty effective. Instead of a more kicking serve with pace, it turns into a top-slice with less pace but breaks to the side.

I've gotten to the point now that on the second serve... as long as my motion and racquet head speed are decent... good things are going to happen. The toss doesn't matter as much as long as it is somewhere in the vicinity of 11 o'clock to 1 o'clock.

same here. if my toss differs, i react to it by changing the spin/slice that i put on the ball, usually works quite well.

treblings 05-02-2013 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SystemicAnomaly (Post 7382998)
Have you seen the new Patrick Rafter serve video series with Will Hamilton (FYB)? Pat recommends a kick serve for both 1st and 2nd serves. He hits the first serve faster than the 2nd (which has more spin), so the former does not kick as much as the 2nd. You can adopt a similar toss if you adopt this strategy.

OTOH, a lefty will probably also want a wicked slice serve on the ad side (it might be a bit too risky on the deuce side for some lefties). A twist/kick serve on the deuce side for a lefty can be quite a weapon. Check out the Serve Doctor with this lefty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds6CZ4qCXD4

I would not be overly concerned if the 2nd serve toss is somewhat different fomr the first. In general, everyone expects the 1st serve to be different than the first most of the time. Even great servers like Pete Sampras has talked about using 2 different tosses. But then the difference between his 2 tosses is probably subtler than the average player. Federer appears to use a wider arc on his toss and intercepts it at different places for different types of serve.

I would say that it is more much important to disguise the placement of a serve rather than the type of serve. Keep this in mind when considering toss options.

ive seen and liked the Rafter videos. they probably made me start this thread.
ive also seen the serve doctor video. i find it interesting that he recommends changing the grip rather then the toss to achieve more kick

SystemicAnomaly 05-02-2013 12:20 PM

^ I am also a lefty and can drive a lot of players crazy with my assortment of lefty spins. I will sometimes shift my grip more towards the Eastern BH. I find that I can more easily produce different results with such a grip change.

treblings 05-02-2013 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SystemicAnomaly (Post 7383029)
^ I am also a lefty and can drive a lot of players crazy with my assortment of lefty spins. I will sometimes shift my grip more towards the Eastern BH. I find that I can more easily produce different results with such a grip change.

i am a lefty myself.
my player has the kind of wicked slice that you talked about in your previous post. i can see her changing between slices and spins from the ad side to confuse opponents.
from the deuce side i would like her to develop more of a pure kick that drives her opponents out of the court.
i also like your comment about disguising placement

mightyrick 05-02-2013 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SystemicAnomaly (Post 7382998)
I would say that it is more much important to disguise the placement of a serve rather than the type of serve. Keep this in mind when considering toss options.

This is one of the more quote-worthy things I've read in awhile.

LeeD 05-02-2013 03:02 PM

Low toss, visualizing where you want the contact point to be, so the toss goes there.
Twists/kicks don't need to be tossed behind your head, but atop is just fine, with an up and out swingpath.
High net clearance is key, to get the higher bounce.
Change not only the toss location, but also the grip. All serves with conti, but more hammer for kick serves seems to work for me.

Relinquis 05-02-2013 04:50 PM

Vince Spadea suggest a 12 o'clock toss for all serves. just adjust your body and racquet face according to what serve you want.

http://youtu.be/cUSpsyNXEXE?t=11m21s

easier said than done, but is probably where you want to end up.

LeeD 05-02-2013 05:30 PM

Not sure Vince's suggestions are applicable to lower level WTA tennis.
Stosur is the only woman really hitting twist/kick serves. Every opponent knows she's hitting twist/kicks. Don't matter where she toss's the ball, whatsover.

Relinquis 05-02-2013 06:02 PM

key is variety... that's why Vince was good. He could do more than one thing. Stosur just hits a few different kinds of spin. the OP's student already has a flat serve. spin would be a big change-up.

treblings, what do you think of this kicker video? it's a bollettieri student and instructor. is this what you are trying to achieve?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds6CZ4qCXD4

LeeD 05-02-2013 06:11 PM

Her twists are very raw, and will probably get better with more practice.
Not only wide, but short and long. And while most do kick, a third twist, at least 20% just go slice on her.
Like mine on a bad twist serve day.
Remember, the twist is used either to come to net on the first serve, or as a SAFE second serve that NEEDS to be close to 95% IN IN IN.

LeeD 05-02-2013 06:16 PM

Oh, sorry, the part about needing to swing really fast to hit a short target..... no not true at all. While a slower swing can often bite the ball better and keep depth consistently deep in the service box, it's the PLACEMENT of the ball over the net that ultimately determines it's short depth in the opponent's service box. Place that ball 2" above the netcord, it will go short. Place that ball 3' above the netcord with the same swing, it goes deeper, of course.
While short wide placement is OK, a better serve is deep wide placement, allowing the twist effect to bounce overhead, and also 3' to the side.
A short placed twist serve is like a short placed groundstroke. While it can surprise an opponent once, it's easily solved and pummelled.


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