Kick serve comparison

FiReFTW

Legend
Already mentioned im gonna be working on the kick serve alot this winter, so heres a comparison with me and my friend (we hit from time to time and also do some drills and stuff, hes like UTR11-12)

Mechanically it looks pretty similar, a few small differences, most obvious thing im gonna have to work alot is much more knee bend, I have alot of reserve in my legs, and maybe the toss could be slightly more into the court, his seems so in the side video, alltho its a different angle than mine, but looks fairly solid I think, just about drilling it now and making it consistent and trusting in it



Heres the two solo videos from the back view, if the 3 together videos are a bit confusing to see clearly


 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
His is definitely further into the court. But oh god, those serves look so stressful on your shoulders.

His load position in general is much stronger. Even the hitting arm is better loaded. You have a VERY weak trophy position in comparison, even if you remove the legs.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
But oh god, those serves look so stressful on your shoulders.
Why because the toss is so back? I don't feel my shoulder at all even when im serving alot of kick serves, doesn't seem to be the case, but I do feel some lower back tension if I serve alot of kick serves.
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
Why because the toss is so back? I don't feel my shoulder at all even when im serving alot of kick serves, doesn't seem to be the case, but I do feel some lower back tension if I serve alot of kick serves.
Yours isn't as bad as your friend's, it might not actually be that bad at all after a second look, but if you look at the angle your friend's shoulder makes with the upper arm, it puts a lot of stress on the rotator cuff to pull the racket and rotate the arm from such a weak position. For yours, it just looks too upright relative to the arm because it looks like your hits are rotated more than your shoulders. Might also be because I'm seeing your friend's serve on the side and thinking if you think they're similar, then your hips might've overrotated as well, but that's not the case.

For both of you, I'd rather be turned more sideways on the ad court. On contact I'd like my chest to be pointing along the baseline. You do a much better job of this at contact than your friend. He does a better job at load.
 
1) The forearm-to-racket angle looks too large at impact. How does the racket head rise from that angle? You want impact for the kick serve to be farther down from the racket's highest point so that it can still be rising at impact. Look at videos until you see the racket go higher after impact for high level kick serves.

2) I can't see any upward racket head motion at impact for the three serves.

3) The arm for the high level kick serve at impact seems to appear more vertical? Usually the arm tilts to the right for the flat and slice serves, but for the kick serve it appears more toward vertical. Compare your arm tilt to high level kick serves from the same camera angles. Consider the Todd Ellenbecker video "Rotator Cuff Injury" when raising your upper arm at your shoulder joint.

For the behind camera, the higher the camera is toward looking along the ball's trajectory, the more accurately the heights of the racket are shown. I estimate the racket head height using things in the background, the ceiling. The upper edge of your racket does not rise with reference to a line on the ceiling. There maybe some camera angle issues in my estimate of the racket height, but I don't think so. That camera angle issue, parallax, becomes less important as the camera gets higher. Raise the camera higher to get a better estimate of racket height.

I've posted videos of the kick serves from behind. Use a protractor to measure the forearm to wrist angles.


Slice serve for comparison. Arm tilt. Forearm-to-racket angle.



How did you coordinate the videos to run together?
 
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FiReFTW

Legend
You create an exceptional amount of threads about yourself.

Whatever floats your mesolimbic pathway...
Because I enjoy watching videos of other people here, so I post videos for people to also enjoy vids, but negative people like you really make me think about not doing it and even leave this forum at times, not like I need it.
But then I think about how I enjoy watching other people on vid and assume a fair amount of people here do also so it wouldnt be fair to do that just because there are negative id*ots like you around.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Yours isn't as bad as your friend's, it might not actually be that bad at all after a second look, but if you look at the angle your friend's shoulder makes with the upper arm, it puts a lot of stress on the rotator cuff to pull the racket and rotate the arm from such a weak position. For yours, it just looks too upright relative to the arm because it looks like your hits are rotated more than your shoulders. Might also be because I'm seeing your friend's serve on the side and thinking if you think they're similar, then your hips might've overrotated as well, but that's not the case.

For both of you, I'd rather be turned more sideways on the ad court. On contact I'd like my chest to be pointing along the baseline. You do a much better job of this at contact than your friend. He does a better job at load.
TF are you talking about?

J
 

Kevo

Legend
Seems like the basics are all there. What are you wanting to do with it at this point? I would think the next steps would be hitting targets and gaining better control of the spin so you can hit shorter and wider or straighter down the T.

I'd suggest maybe setting up some targets and working on specific serves. Probably experimenting a bit with the toss being a little more in the court or behind your head to get some more pop or different angles out of it.

Looks to me like it's focus, intent, and lots of reps to keep progressing and make it even better.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Seems like the basics are all there. What are you wanting to do with it at this point? I would think the next steps would be hitting targets and gaining better control of the spin so you can hit shorter and wider or straighter down the T.

I'd suggest maybe setting up some targets and working on specific serves. Probably experimenting a bit with the toss being a little more in the court or behind your head to get some more pop or different angles out of it.

Looks to me like it's focus, intent, and lots of reps to keep progressing and make it even better.
Yes very good ideas, I agree!
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
While Chas can overcomplicate things, he is right that contact should be a little lower relative to the hitting hand. It should feel more like contact is happening to the side of the hand, at around the same height, rather than above the hand. Doing this will give you more topspin and, as a result, a steeper drop into the court with more kick. Contact in reality will still be above the hand, but it should be lower than it currently is, but it should feel more like the racket head/contact is to the side of the hand and on the same height.

Try loosening up your hand and wrist a little more and let the racket lag behind/below the swing a little bit more.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
While Chas can overcomplicate things, he is right that contact should be a little lower relative to the hitting hand. It should feel more like contact is happening to the side of the hand, at around the same height, rather than above the hand. Doing this will give you more topspin and, as a result, a steeper drop into the court with more kick. Contact in reality will still be above the hand, but it should be lower than it currently is, but it should feel more like the racket head/contact is to the side of the hand and on the same height.

Try loosening up your hand and wrist a little more and let the racket lag behind/below the swing a little bit more.


 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
First 2 fed serves are at least a frame after contact, the third is about at contact and it's visibly more horizontal than where you're at. Not to mention, the ball is at still farther inside his hand compared to your serve. If we compare a frame after contact, his racket is still closer to perpendicular to his hand compared to your serve.

You want to draw arbitrary lines, fine. But keep in mind you were the guy who was fussing about the position of his thumb on the grip two weeks ago. Not saying you need to make contact a foot lower. A few inches is enough and should make a noticeable difference in ball quality almost immediately.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
First 2 fed serves are at least a frame after contact, the third is about at contact and it's visibly more horizontal than where you're at. Not to mention, the ball is at still farther inside his hand compared to your serve. If we compare a frame after contact, his racket is still closer to perpendicular to his hand compared to your serve.

You want to draw arbitrary lines, fine. But keep in mind you were the guy who was fussing about the position of his thumb on the grip two weeks ago. Not saying you need to make contact a foot lower. A few inches is enough and should make a noticeable difference in ball quality almost immediately.
I just wanted to point out that theres not much difference, few miliseconds probably, but yeah for sure its certainly something to experiment with, by making contact slightly lower and see the results.
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
I just wanted to point out that theres not much difference, few miliseconds probably, but yeah for sure its certainly something to experiment with, by making contact slightly lower and see the results.
Also try to have it more inside the hand. Again, a few inches might not seem like much, but the racket moves faster relative to the ball the closer the ball is to the tip. Both your serves you make contact below the center of the strings/closer to the throat.

A slight change in the angle your racket moves across the ball increases the topspin component, making the ball drop more sharply with the same RPM. A slight change to the contact distance from the hand results in slightly more RPM, increasing the effect of a given spin. These two small changes together will make a noticeable change to ball quality.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I just wanted to point out that theres not much difference, few miliseconds probably, but yeah for sure its certainly something to experiment with, by making contact slightly lower and see the results.
Start out hitting the ball 10 feet over the net (3 meters) for like 10 serves then bring it down to 3 feet (1m) over the net over 10 more, then back up to 10 feet.

Keep repeating this 10 serves each higher than the one before and 10 serves each one lower than the one before.

Once you can do that all the other B.S. will take care of itself.

J
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Already mentioned im gonna be working on the kick serve alot this winter, so heres a comparison with me and my friend (we hit from time to time and also do some drills and stuff, hes like UTR11-12)
You're falling backwards when serving! (your front toe is landing behind the serving line)

Compare to pros who land well inside the court.

 

BetaServe

Professional
Start out hitting the ball 10 feet over the net (3 meters) for like 10 serves then bring it down to 3 feet (1m) over the net over 10 more, then back up to 10 feet.

Keep repeating this 10 serves each higher than the one before and 10 serves each one lower than the one before.

Once you can do that all the other B.S. will take care of itself.

J
I like this!

@FiReFTW I would say your friend has a much stronger power position than yours. Also for kick serves, I like to think "lean my upper body into the court while staying sideways" instead of "stay sideways then rotate".
But you both have very nice serves!
 
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Sir Weed

Rookie
Start out hitting the ball 10 feet over the net (3 meters) for like 10 serves then bring it down to 3 feet (1m) over the net over 10 more, then back up to 10 feet.

Keep repeating this 10 serves each higher than the one before and 10 serves each one lower than the one before.

Once you can do that all the other B.S. will take care of itself.

J
That would be my approach, too. Except for that I'd pay more attention to where (relative to court) the highest point of trajectory might be. I'd even have the player draw a trajectory on a piece of paper and replicate this drawing with a serve.

 
There are several comments about angles.

My reading and observations as mentioned have led me to believe that the racket face tilts and I've seen that in high speed videos.

This is a simple high speed video observation that does not seem to be done often or discussed. Anyone have any references?

How closed in the racket face just before impact for a high level kick serve that bounces to the right(RH server)?

Focus racket tilt kick serve.
 
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FiReFTW

Legend
Start out hitting the ball 10 feet over the net (3 meters) for like 10 serves then bring it down to 3 feet (1m) over the net over 10 more, then back up to 10 feet.

Keep repeating this 10 serves each higher than the one before and 10 serves each one lower than the one before.

Once you can do that all the other B.S. will take care of itself.

J
That sounds interesting, curious to see how it will feel.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
You're falling backwards when serving! (your front toe is landing behind the serving line)

Compare to pros who land well inside the court.

Yeah good point, toss is definetely too behind in my opinion, tho on 2nd serve they don't land as much inside as the upper pic, on the 1st serve the toss is even more infront.

 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
Roddick has one of the best kick serves of all time, and lands much further into the court than you do. (0:17 in video)

That landing is clearly not as deep as on 1st serve, but the distinguishing difference of moving forward against moving backward is obvious.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Roddick has one of the best kick serves of all time, and lands much further into the court than you do. (0:17 in video)

Yeah, need to toss more into the court, this is probably the reason why I tend to alot of times swing more into the court (for that power kick) because swinging very sideways produces good spin but the ball just feels too slow, probably because im not tossing eonugh into the court and getting some more body into it.

But now im gonna be sidelined for a bit again it seems and I was so looking forward to trying that thing @J011yroger suggested, but my back flared up again, can't seem to get rid of this cr*p for 2 months now, fml.. really hard to improve in such circumstances when you can't do anything even at 80%
 

mainmain

New User
wow, both serves look great to my novice eyes. As someone noted, your shoulder flexibility is pretty good, right ? Do you actively practice stretching ? When I watch my own videos, my shoulder/arm posture at uncoil is nowhere near that, even tough I am reasonably fit o_O

Also, I was surprised to find out how soon you stop staring at the ball... often wearing a cap probably doesn't help, and so does the toss quite behind, but is it an "expected" specificity of the kick serve? I feel a bit silly asking this, but is it humanly possible to hit a decent kick when staring at the ball till impact ?
 

TnsGuru

Professional
I like the Sampras 1st and 2nd serve comparison. Virtually looks the same because his toss is above his head and not behind him. Just like Fed he has a topspin delivery and very good disguise because his toss doesn't give away his placement.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
I just wanted to point out that theres not much difference, few miliseconds probably, but yeah for sure its certainly something to experiment with, by making contact slightly lower and see the results.
It works IMO. When I let the kickserve toss drop a little more before contact, it feels to me like I have more "runway" to pass the strings across the ball, and I also imagine, it is similar to a moving car hitting a stationary car vs a moving car hitting another car head on in terms on energy. The location of the toss, the positioning of the body with the chest more open etc, is just to facilitate the more upward and parallel to the baseline swingpath without causing injury. IOW, getting out of your own way.
 
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