How do you add pace to kick serve?

#1
Thanks to many helpful instructional videos on the YouTube, I think I now have a good handle on kick serve. The key for me was to remain sideways as long as possible.

The problem, though, is that my kick serve has so little pace, while it really has a high net clearance and high bounce.

How do you add pace to kick serve?
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#2
Thanks to many helpful instructional videos on the YouTube, I think I now have a good handle on kick serve. The key for me was to remain sideways as long as possible.

The problem, though, is that my kick serve has so little pace, while it really has a high net clearance and high bounce.

How do you add pace to kick serve?
Easy. Hit little bit more through the ball, adjust as needed.
 
#4
Thanks to many helpful instructional videos on the YouTube, I think I now have a good handle on kick serve. The key for me was to remain sideways as long as possible.

The problem, though, is that my kick serve has so little pace, while it really has a high net clearance and high bounce.

How do you add pace to kick serve?
You have an unknown serving technique. About 60% or more of active tennis players use a Waiter's Tray technique. I don't see how a WT can hit a kick serve but a WT can hit a slice serve. My estimate is that less that 20% of players have a high level technique.?

First determine your serving technique using high speed video.

For the kick serve, high speed videos don't show ATP servers staying sideways to impact. They do stay more sideways. I've posted videos, gifs, and overhead pictures showing details of the racket path for the kick serve.

In words, the elbow extends rapidly and when the elbow is near straight, the racket continues up at the wrist as internal shoulder rotation (ISR) increases racket head speed. The racket continuing up rapidly after the arm is near straight is what gives the increased topspin of the kick serve for a high level serve. See timing details and angles in videos. For the flat and slice serves the ball is impacted nearer the highest point that the racket will reach; the kick serve is impacted lower in the motion (the player could jump higher also). Also the near straight arm is at a different angle for the kick serve vs the slice and flat serves. Most descriptions I read talk around these motions, they're hidden, and I have not seen an accurate description or videos. Study this sequence in high speed videos and always remember it is a 3D motion shown by a 2D camera.

High level kick serve. Watch the shadows at the elbow as the near straight arm rotates from ISR.

To do stop action single frame click Vimeo, click full screen, hold down the SHIFT KEY and use the ARROW KEYS.

Rec player with effective kick serve. He said that an instructor taught him the kick serve. It may be more of a top spin serve in this video as I don't see a clear bounce to the side.

Three reasons that the pace could be low.
1) No ISR
2) Little ISR
3) Late ISR
4) others

For any technique using ISR, if you literally 'stay sideways' for the kick serve that will be less effective for stretching the ISR muscles and would reduce pace.

Staying sideways may be useful as a progression when learning the kick serve.?

For rec players with unknown techniques hitting kick serves - there is very little accurate information or high speed videos showing technique.

Basically interpreting the words, 'stay sideways' is not enough of an instruction or description and is misleading regarding the high level kick serve.

Unfortunately, only videos taken from above clearly show the upper body orientation at impact and those videos are rare.
 
Last edited:
#6
more racquet speed equals more power.
Easy. Hit little bit more through the ball, adjust as needed.
Not so easy. Non elite players typically need to generate a lot of RHS just to get the serve to kick up (unless they are hitting “lob” kick serve). Players usually employ a high RHS to hit a fast serve or to put a lot of spin on the ball. Difficult for many players to generate sufficient RHS to do both. Elite players can often do it, but not so easy for mere mortals.

Efforts to put more speed/power on the serve will often diminish the amt of kick.
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#8
Not so easy. Non elite players typically need to generate a lot of RHS just to get the serve to kick up (unless they are hitting “lob” kick serve). Players usually employ a high RHS to hit a fast serve or to put a lot of spin on the ball. Difficult for many players to generate sufficient RHS to do both. Elite players can often do it, but not so easy for mere mortals.

Efforts to put more speed/power on the serve will often diminish the amt of kick.
It's about getting the right mix of RHS, racket face and swingpath angle at contact. The only way to achieve it is trial and error, developing that feel.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#12
Not so easy. Non elite players typically need to generate a lot of RHS just to get the serve to kick up (unless they are hitting “lob” kick serve). Players usually employ a high RHS to hit a fast serve or to put a lot of spin on the ball. Difficult for many players to generate sufficient RHS to do both. Elite players can often do it, but not so easy for mere mortals.

Efforts to put more speed/power on the serve will often diminish the amt of kick.
Then you need to work on improving ur efficiency and getting more RHS.

Changing something like swingpath or racquetface or forward toss or whatever like some said will improve pace sure... bit you will lose spin as a result, if you want to at least maintain spin and add pace or even add both then the only solution is faster RHS.
 
#13
For me, the aha moment was when I started tilting my body (hips mainly to get that cliche “bow”). It definitely gave me more pace. However, my serve started to go into the net.

It took a while of adjusting toss depth and contact point until I got the same reliability, while getting more pace. Effectively, you need to visualize hitting the ball from inside the court and toss the ball there, while still “back” enough (whatever you want to call the kick serve toss location relative to the head in terms of left/right) to brush up and hit a kick.

For me this was a progression of more than a year to get to a reliable kick serve I could place, where I wanted, to hitting it aggressively, with pace too, all under match conditions as a second serve. Some of my opponents now consider my second serve harder to deal with than the first.

Next step is to increase the kick height and change of direction from left to right after the bounce.
 
#14
For me, the aha moment was when I started tilting my body (hips mainly to get that cliche “bow”). It definitely gave me more pace. However, my serve started to go into the net.

It took a while of adjusting toss depth and contact point until I got the same reliability, while getting more pace. Effectively, you need to visualize hitting the ball from inside the court and toss the ball there, while still “back” enough (whatever you want to call the kick serve toss location relative to the head in terms of left/right) to brush up and hit a kick.

For me this was a progression of more than a year to get to a reliable kick serve I could place, where I wanted, to hitting it aggressively, with pace too, all under match conditions as a second serve. Some of my opponents now consider my second serve harder to deal with than the first.

Next step is to increase the kick height and change of direction from left to right after the bounce.
I have a decent first serve which goes in like 60% of the time. Whereas in my second serve I am at Stage 1 right now where I can usually place my topspin(there aint no kick there yet) serve to where I want to. What I do these days in casual matches is that I only do a topspin serve and no flat-first serves. It helps me practice my topspin serve and it also pushed me to improve my overall game since I am not ending the point with a great serve.

Is this a good strategy? Or should I continue practising both first and second serves as the pros do? How did you practice your serves? And do you use the slice at all or not?
 
#15
I have a decent first serve which goes in like 60% of the time. Whereas in my second serve I am at Stage 1 right now where I can usually place my topspin(there aint no kick there yet) serve to where I want to. What I do these days in casual matches is that I only do a topspin serve and no flat-first serves. It helps me practice my topspin serve and it also pushed me to improve my overall game since I am not ending the point with a great serve.

Is this a good strategy? Or should I continue practising both first and second serves as the pros do? How did you practice your serves? And do you use the slice at all or not?
The way I did it (emphasis on I, as everyone is different), was to play an aggressive second serve and a second serve for a looong time. There was a phase, where I resorted to a bh grip to teach myself to aggressively pronate on the kick serve. This added some pace, when I went back to continental and taught me that you can use pronation to get that left to right spin, which yields the kick.
I think it took me like 4 months of only second serves, before I started feeling it was secure enough to have a first. Nowadays, with the added pace, I can actually hit a pretty aggressive kick first serve with a high percentage. I only go for the flat as a change up or if I see my opponent is good enough that they don’t have enough problems returning.

Regarding slice, I am still a rookie. I can get the ball to the corner on the deuce side, but I don’t get that curve that you see in good slice servers or even the curve I get on my kick. I sometimes resort to a top/slice instead, as the motion seems more natural for me. I had a coach drill me and he has advocated tossing exaggeratedly to the right and also exaggerating the carving motion. Sometimes it works, but can’t rely on it yet. I’d have to really dedicate myself to the slice serve for a while, like I did with the kick, to get the results I want, which I am not willing to do right now.

I was lucky enough that I got about 7hrs of matches per week for more than 5months (doubles mostly, which was all the practice I needed
 
Top