kick serve/american twist..any help?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by fire_eaters, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. fire_eaters

    fire_eaters New User

    Jun 30, 2009
    i am so frustrated with this serve right now. i would love to have this in my game more than anything but i just cant seem to grasp it!! one tennis pro at my club can hit it, and he served at me the other day...the thing looked like a slice serve coming in but when it hit the court instead of being like a slice and sliding away from me, the thing hit the court and jetted off towards my face!! right now i have NOTHING for a second serve..maybe a slow slice..but it just sucks. ive talked to the guy i take lessons with about hitting a kicker/twist and since he doesnt know how to hit one really he doesnt think its a big deal for me to have in my arsenal. but i disagree with him. i NEED it in my arsenal. Im a 3.5 player right now and i will be playing for a D3 college in the spring. im 20 years old and i feel i have alot of room to grow as a player. the kicker/twist serve is something i just have no idea where to start with..when ever i try, it just seems to act like a normal slice serve. i hold my racket with the face pointing up a little bit like your suppose to do, and i try to toss the ball a little over my head and brush up and out on the ball..but maybe someone here has some good intructions that i can try. thanks

    -fire eaters
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  3. fire_eaters

    fire_eaters New User

    Jun 30, 2009
    hmm thats interesting, but that isnt a kick/twist serve...thats for topspin. the kicker is suppose to jet off in a different direction right?
  4. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

    Dec 2, 2009
  5. tennisguyak

    tennisguyak Semi-Pro

    Aug 6, 2008
  6. topher.juan

    topher.juan Rookie

    Sep 6, 2008
    This idea made my kick/twist serve really jump and change direction. When you swing at the ball point your chest at the ball and use a throwing motion UPWARDS, do not think about hitting the ball forwards, imagine that you're throwing your racquet up at the back of the ball (slicing it with the edge of your racquet, very vicious angle). Of course getting placement over your head and to the left a little, but give that thought a try, I would always try to hit up the back of the ball, but when I thought about the throwing motion this way, for whatever reason, it dramatically changed the serve.
  7. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

    Sep 28, 2009
    No... You DON'T need it in your arsenal. The kicker is HIGHLY overrated. Especially at the 3.5 level, your focus should be developing a mastery of spin, ANY SPIN (except underspin). And while you're trying to master spin on the serve, you should focus on using a consistent spin serve as your second serve where you accelerate the racket through contact while being able to place it to either side of the service box at will (no need to hit lines or tag corners yet).

    As you get to the upper 4.0 level, you want a second serve that really jumps off the court. It's not so much about pace as it is placement and action. Pace is nice, but focus on placement and the action the spin gives it. It doesn't matter how high you get it as long as it's above your opponent's shoulders when they make contact with the ball. If you can get it over their head, then you're progressing well, but the target height should the above the shoulders of the returner. If you don't get it higher than that, a 4.5+ returner will rip those for winners because that's right in the strike zone of their biggest drives. Placement will also help limit the amount of pace the returner can hit with, and is actually more important than action, but I want you to try and master both.

    Once you get to the solid 4.5 level, you want something AT LEAST head high, consistently well placed, and with some solid pace. You can cheat on the pace, but cheating on the other two will get you killed, especially placement.

    At the 5.0+ level, it's the same thing, only you need to do it at a higher level than before and keep building up on it.

    If anything, I've always been far more aggressive with the spin and placement on my serve as opposed to the pace. If someone step in, I'll try to kick it even higher so that they're still making contact outside their strike zone or I'll try to stretch them. If they step back, then I don't have to go for as much, but I'll try to use more angle and follow it to the net. In the latter scenario, I don't even need that much spin and action because they're already behind the baseline which is what I originally wanted. I won't go for less spin, but I won't be forced to try and produce more.

    A high kicking topspin serve or a hard topspin serve both work well as second serves. Sampras exclusively used hard, well placed, topspin serves as second serves and they won him 7 Wimbledons, 5 US Opens, and 2 Australian Opens! Federer uses high-kicking, well placed, kick serves to win him his slams. The big similarity is the placement. Federer got more kick on his second serves, but Sampras still got a LOT of spin on his as well as an insane amount of pace for a second serve (while retaining astounding consistency), which gave him the deadliest second serve in the game's history.

    Really, you can get away for a long time with nothing but a high-bouncing, well placed, topspin serve as a second serve. There is no need for a true kicker unless you're like Federer and can consistently place it well on the wide sideline on the ad court.

    And on a sidenote, D3 accepts 3.5 players?! Dang... I'm going to hate playing at the community college then... :? At least I get to mess with people using nothing but kickers to the backhand. XD But yeah, 3.5 players have a surprising amount of difficulty returning kickers. I think it's mainly due to their stiff and flatfooted footwork. I remember 2 guys swung and missed consistently because they were too stiff in both their strokes and footwork. Those who stay light on their feet and make adjustments have no problems with kickers.
  8. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

    May 29, 2009
    Clearwater, Florida
    Juan, I really like your description. Here is a tip I just wrote for my weekly newsletter:

    What's The Problem?
    The difference between first and second serves
    Most amateur players don't have an appreciable difference in technique between the first and second serves, just resorting to lowering the speed of their delivery.
    A lot has been said about snapping the wrist at the pro level for the second serve, but I have found that most tennis amateurs and even many tennis teachers interpret this snap as a forward movement of the wrist, rather than across the ball. When errors and double faults accumulate, the player tends to push the ball at much slower speeds and the serve is a sit-up for the opponent.

    The Optimal Solution
    The serve wrist snap defined

    To learn a second serve that usually troubles opponents, take a look at some of the top pros. The racquet accelerates as much as the first serve on the second delivery, but in a different direction.
    First of all, let's clarify what is thought of on a first serve: a flat or flatter serve.
    You may hit a first serve flat, but none of the pros hit the first serve flat. Only flatter than their second serve. Most of the top ranked players today have an average of 2,000 RPM or more on their first delivery. One player that was documented in this regard was Pete Sampras, one of the best servers of all time: first serve around 3,000 RPM, second serve sometimes above 5,000 RPM. His racquet head moved sometimes faster on the second serve than on the first.
    How could he strike the ball with a faster racquet speed on the second serve and still maintain his safety?
    The answer is spin! Spin curves the ball into the court much more pronouncedly than gravity alone, thereby allowing you a higher clearance over the net.
    How is this remarkable spin serve (which has been called topspin serve and/or American Twist) achieved? Snap your wrist! But here comes the trick. You need to snap it from left to right, not forward.
    Imagine that you put your hand above your head, with the wrist bent inwards, looking at your palm as if protecting your head from the rain (with your index finger pointing to your left), then moving it slightly forward and mainly to the right (for a right-hander), and finishing with your index finger pointing to your right, with the wrist still bent inward.
    Another analogy would be pushing your hair forward and then to the right.
    This accounts for seeing the top pros' racquet pointing so extremely to the right on second serves, and with the grip on the racquet much looser than in the first serve.
    What is remarkable is that the player accelerates the racquet head more in the second serve than in the first serve, but across to the right rather than forward. And the more he accelerates, the more spin he gets, the more the ball goes into the service court, and the more it jumps.
    In essence, it is very reassuring to know that the more you exaggerate this motion, the more you know that the ball is going in and that it troubles your opponent.
    The first serve has a different type of snap. To protect your arm, imagine you are going to hit the ball with a hammer, well above your head, leading the stroke with the forward edge of the racquet. Somewhere close to the contact, think about turning it and hitting "flat" and the racquet will turn in the most natural way, while still giving the ball a bit of spin.
    Perhaps you can visualize it better if you think you are going to hit the ball with the frame of the racquet, then you turn it forcibly to hit the ball with the strings. This is not a forcible forward snap, which could lead to injury, but your natural hammering movement which will instinctively protect your arm.
    Key to both serves is hitting up.
  9. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Apr 4, 2008
    you will injoy this threaqd i think. let me know
  10. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

    Dec 2, 2009
    Thanks Larry, I had not found Pat Dougherty videos on Youtube before or thought to look for them for that matter. I just spent a while watching a number of them. Interesting stuff on both serve and forehand. Looking forward to trying some things out to see how they work for me.
  11. Funbun

    Funbun Professional

    Aug 6, 2009
    I also had trouble, but I found that if you keep your wrist back until the last possible moment, you get a ton of spin. Try it. Make sure you toss correctly, too.

    Really try to get your wrist open and back and swing through it fast, pronating and, to a lesser degree, supinating late in your swing.

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