Back pain from Top Spin Serve

hyperthom007

New User
Recently I started learning how to second sereve using top spin. I can get the ball in now most of the time but at the price of me having back ache everytime after practice session.
I am wondering if I am doing it wrongly or this is just the normal price to pay for top spin serves.
 

bad_call

Legend
TS serves do take a toll on the back. still good to use them time and again unless they really hurt your back.
 

gzhpcu

Professional
The safest way to hit a topsin serve and avoid back pain is to emphasize vigorous leg extension, rather than back arching and flexion. Bend your knees more...
 

ramseszerg

Professional
The safest way to hit a topsin serve and avoid back pain is to emphasize vigorous leg extension, rather than back arching and flexion. Bend your knees more...
But you can't brush up on the ball without looking up, and you can't look up without arching back.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Should not arch the back very much at all. If you bend your knees sufficiently, you can lay your upper body back with only moderate back arch. One key to this is let your heels come off the ground when you bend your knees.
 

ramseszerg

Professional
Thanks for the tip. I need to strengthen my legs to do that though.. For now I will just take advantage of being young and arch my back lol..
 

bad_call

Legend
Should not arch the back very much at all. If you bend your knees sufficiently, you can lay your upper body back with only moderate back arch. One key to this is let your heels come off the ground when you bend your knees.
i do this but still get a bit of lower back pain after playing. aging doesn't help.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
^ I had some lower back issues in my early 30s but now, 25 yrs later, it is not a problem at all. Perhaps your technique is flawed or something else is contributing to the back issues.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I'm in that boat where I feel like I can work good topspin into my serve if my legs are making a contribution. I'm not suggesting that anyone join a gym, but I'm always much better off in my shoulders and core if I give them some moderate exercise twice a week - nothing dramatic. A few pushups, crunches, a couple of yoga stances/positions, etc. can be really simple to work into the daily or weekly schedule.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Topspin serves are not kick serves.
For topspin serves, you don't need to arch your back much, as your toss can be slightly over the hitting side.
For twist/kick serves, the toss generally lands the ball back over your head, so a really arched back is needed.
If you back doesn't like the constant arching, try some sliced serves, some tops, then some kicks to actually excercise your back with different movements on each of the spin serves.
Forget the twist if it hurts your back.... I only employ it one out of 5 second serves for variety. The other second serves are just plain topspins which are tossed out towards the hitting side.
 

Thirteen

New User
I don't know if this applies to you, but I noticed I get back pains if I try to serve a topspin serve from an "open" type stance e.g Rafter, Edberg. If you look at their serves, their body tends to face the net more than say, Federer or Sampras, and as a result, they have to use an exteme back bend to compensate for it.

On the other hand, if you use a closed platform type of stance, then your body is already in a natural position to swing forward towards the side fence (swing "sideways" when viewed from front) and therefore you don't have to use your back as much.
 

bad_call

Legend
^ I had some lower back issues in my early 30s but now, 25 yrs later, it is not a problem at all. Perhaps your technique is flawed or something else is contributing to the back issues.
WHAT??? might be some technique but more likely conditioning...being old and overweight doesn't help. didn't have these aches 20 years ago.
 

bad_call

Legend
Topspin serves are not kick serves.
For topspin serves, you don't need to arch your back much, as your toss can be slightly over the hitting side.
For twist/kick serves, the toss generally lands the ball back over your head, so a really arched back is needed.
If you back doesn't like the constant arching, try some sliced serves, some tops, then some kicks to actually excercise your back with different movements on each of the spin serves.
Forget the twist if it hurts your back.... I only employ it one out of 5 second serves for variety. The other second serves are just plain topspins which are tossed out towards the hitting side.
these are what i'm hitting...kick serves not topspin. my bad.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
these are what i'm hitting...kick serves not topspin. my bad.
Not really your bad at all. There appears to be no real standard on how these various terms are used -- even in tennis articles, magazines & web sites. Many sources use the terminology the very same way that LeeD does. Many others use the terms somewhat differently. Some will say that any serve with a strong topspin component is a kick serve. Operation Doubles, myself and others have 2 generalized flavors of kick serves -- topspin kicks and twist kicks. The latter has a stronger spiral spin component which causes it to have more side bounce. Ppl often use too much back arch when attempting this type of serve.

Types of Serves - terminology

.
 

tennisdad65

Hall of Fame
Nice pic. reminds me of beckers stance. but few recreational players in our 40s-50s can come close to doing this without stressing our knees and achilles.

I get my body 'tilt' for a twist by:
1) using a sideward stance like Fed
2) wide platform stance with back foot about 18 inches behind front foot. This allows my back leg to support my body. My right heel feels some stress and I have to flex / strengthen my achilles/calf.
3) tilt my right shoulder down when I look up at the ball.

with this technique, all the stress is on the right calf/heel and your back obliques.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Nice pic. reminds me of beckers stance. but few recreational players in our 40s-50s can come close to doing this without stressing our knees and achilles...
It reminds you of Boris Becker because it is Boris Becker -- it's from his web site and is actually his logo for his line of tennis racquets & equipment.

BTW, I'm in my late 50s now and have arthritic knees and issues with my right heel & Achilles tendon. However, I do not have any issues with achieving a similar stance/pose.
 

tennisdad65

Hall of Fame
this is my stance :)
No stress on the knees but less leg drive up. no stress on the back either.

My toss is always 12 OClock. I just change the toss location into the court for different serves.
Twist action toss is on my left ear, so it does not twist much but gives the kick/safety. Topspin toss is about 6-8 inches in, and topspin slice toss is about 12-15 inches in.. I rarely hit it flat (18+ inches in).

 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Even tho' the Becker silhouette doesn't show it (because of the perspective), Boris's feet are really not together at all.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGJ-XHZkpek


this is my stance :) ...

Are both feet adjacent to the baseline (with a that much separation)? If so, that can be a problem. Try orienting your feet like Becker, Sampras, Federer, or Djoko for a platform stance. If you want something more like a pinpoint stance take a look at Roddick (who has a somewhat wide pinpoint or a very narrow platform). Another variation of the pinpoint can be seen in this video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4wj4lV6UDs
.
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
I have pulled my adominal 4 times in two years hitting a topspin/kick serve and have had to do a lot of core work to prevent further injuries as I get older. Of course, your technique could be bad and could always ask a pro to take a look. Most will look at you without cost, and then charge you to fix the problem.
 
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