Kick serve question for the serve experts

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
i'm going through a similar process...
i appreciate the compliment,... but similarly wasn't getting enough effortless rhs (need more legs).
this summer, i ran into a guy in a tourney that could kick the ball such that it would reach the middle bar of the back fence (and if were standing on the baseline, i'd be hitting a backhand overhead to return the kicker).
his main suggestions:
1. toss higher, let's me load more (legs, core rotation, hip out)
2. toss more directly overhead (vs. extremely left of my head)
3. use more legs to explode up (vs. mostly arm)
yikes if legs are needed for a better kicker, then I have to tap out...

Although Jeff Salzenstein has a fantastic vid on kicker where he is hitting monsters without his legs and even comments on that! There is hope for the old hackers after all.
 

PKorda

Rookie
recently watched this vid on the kicker...
some nuggets in there that i've never heard before, that i learned the hard way, over time...
Good video, interesting that his finish is more into the body, I was under impression that finish would be off to the side
 

nyta2

Rookie
Good video, interesting that his finish is more into the body, I was under impression that finish would be off to the side
that was my mental model too, to finish off to the side... maybe being tall, he values more height sacraficing some "kick"?
that said, i'm no longer tossing as much to the left of my head, to avoid back issues... even if it means losing some kick :p
 

PKorda

Rookie
that was my mental model too, to finish off to the side... maybe being tall, he values more height sacraficing some "kick"?
that said, i'm no longer tossing as much to the left of my head, to avoid back issues... even if it means losing some kick :p
Not sure if you watched the whole video but he is definitely not sacrificing any kick.
 

nyta2

Rookie
Not sure if you watched the whole video but he is definitely not sacrificing any kick.
he has a world class kicker, so he probably has kick to spare...
i was presuming that if did the "fall off to the side" thing, it would kick even more, but maybe not have as much top or velocity
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
Is there more wrist action on the kick serve compared to the flat serve? That is, on the kick serve is there more radial to ulnar deviation as you're striking the ball to impart more spin? I don't feel that this is an important part of the flat serve.
"Snap." This has always been a problem because the word snap is always used. There is no wrist snap in any serve. The motion is all in the forearm.

The "kicker" has to be hit lower than the flat serve and the ball toss is way to the left for a right hand player.

The racket travels up and through the ball. "Pronation" is always necessary. Timing is important also.

The person who knows your hitting a kicker correctly, is at the receiving end.

Plenty of false information about serves everywhere. In books, magazines and in videos. People read some of this false information and believe it. It's a problem.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Good video, interesting that his finish is more into the body, I was under impression that finish would be off to the side
Salzenstein had a vid and he talked about the finish. It doesn't have to be to the side to be good. Iirc he explained what happens when it's different
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
..................................... The toss IS to the left.
Is this toss to the left?



Is the forward movement of the head and the ball assumed understood by readers when you say

"The toss IS to the left."

Or when others say

'For the kick serve, toss the ball over your head.'

Why are the forward motions always left out when describing tosses? Is it because the common rear camera view shows the side to side positions very clearly but hides the motion toward and away from the camera? The above camera view shows both.

What is the left of the server for the serve in the above picture? It it at toss release or at impact? How about if he is oriented at 45 degrees to the baseline for the kick and parallel for the slice. Do you 'stay sideways' for the kick serve?

Do the common tennis word descriptions mislead readers?

It looks as if the server's uppermost body has rotated about 90 degrees between toss release and impact for the kick and 135 degrees for the slice. What is his 'left" and when is it being referred to when you write "left"? Is the server.s left left when the server walks toward the baseline or when he is turned back or when the ball is impacted?

This bust-all-myths composite pictures were created by Toly from Fuzzy Yellow Balls overhead videos. Search for other overhead videos and look at them as they clearly show many facts that are muddled and hidden by the common tennis word descriptions.

To copy this picture place the cursor on it and right click. Select "copy image address" . In a reply box, click the image icon above (looks like a moon and 2 mountains). Paste the Image Address into the box that appears.
 
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Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Is this toss to the left?



Is the forward movement of the head and the ball understood by readers when you say

"The toss IS to the left."

Or when others say

'For the kick serve, toss the ball over your head.'

Why are the forward motions always left out when describing tosses? Is it because the common rear camera view shows the side to side positions very clearly but hides the motion toward and away from the camera. The above camera view shows both.

What is the left of the server for the serve? It it at toss release or at impact? How about if he is oriented at 45 degrees to the baseline for the kick and parallel for the slice. Do you 'stay sideways' for the kick serve?

Do the common tennis word descriptions mislead readers?
I think its pretty simple. Its a normal toss but it goes further left than normal flat contact. So its behind the head from a left to right standpoint. The into the court part is implied
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Is this toss to the left?



Is the forward movement of the head and the ball assumed understood by readers when you say

"The toss IS to the left."

Or when others say

'For the kick serve, toss the ball over your head.'

Why are the forward motions always left out when describing tosses? Is it because the common rear camera view shows the side to side positions very clearly but hides the motion toward and away from the camera. The above camera view shows both.

What is the left of the server for the serve? It it at toss release or at impact? How about if he is oriented at 45 degrees to the baseline for the kick and parallel for the slice. Do you 'stay sideways' for the kick serve?

Do the common tennis word descriptions mislead readers?

It looks as if the server's uppermost body has rotated about 90 degrees between toss release and impact for the kick and 135 degrees for the slice. What is his 'left" and when is it being referred to when you write it? Is the left when the the server walks toward the baseline or when he is turned back or when the ball is impacted?

This bust-all-myths composite pictures were created by Toly from Fuzzy Yellow Balls overhead videos. Search for the videos and look at them as they clearly show many facts.

To copy this picture place the cursor on the video and right click it. Select "copy image address" . In a reply box click the image icon above (looks like a moon and 2 mountains). Pace the Image Address into the box that appears.

At 4:57 its explained
 

nyta2

Rookie

At 4:57 its explained
thank you sir... that's my mental model for how to hit a kicker... the explanation seems different from GeorgiaTech coach vid, who seems to advocate a toss directly overhead...
salzy seems to swing out to the left (or to the right for a righty), whereas the GT guy seems to go directly "over the top" of his head
keeping the finish to the right side of my body (i'm a righty), ala salzy's "dirty diaper", is how i learned to hit it... of course the book i learned from also called it an american twist (just to add to the confusion :p)
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
The finish IS off to the side. Did they mention "pronation?" The toss IS to the left.
Three serves. Kick, flat, slice. Well, there is the underhand also but I make it a non issue.

Kick serve. The toss, if not hit, should land on the left side of your left foot if you're right handed.

Flat serve. The toss if not hit should land directly in front of you.

Slice serve, the toss, if not hit should land just to the right of the right foot.

Obviously this is the "broad brush" simply for the explanation.

Forearm rotation is essential, it's called "pronation." Check out Pete Sampras' incredible service motion. If you check out his, you can stop right there. And keep in mind, there are those out there that use the word "wrist snap."

The "science" of the serve, the motion, there is no "wrist snap." It's all forearm. How do I know? I first developed my service pronation in the late 60's. I've been teaching pronation in the service motion when I first started teaching tennis in late 1971.

BTW. I worked with an adult today, taking away his 2HB and attempting to give him a better serve with pronation. Adults are more difficult to work with than children or juniors.

I'll see this guy tomorrow. I'm bringing a video camera so he'll have a better understanding as to what he's been doing wrong for as many years as he's been playing tennis. He's a strong 3.5 but he's not polished. Looks and plays like a normal club player. He does apply effort.

He spends too much time on line looking at instruction which isn't helpful.

BTW, just under 2 hours and he's hitting a 1HB as good as, if not better than, his 2HB. He's 52 and he's a great guy plus he's hungry to improve.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Three serves. Kick, flat, slice. Well, there is the underhand also but I make it a non issue.

Kick serve. The toss, if not hit, should land on the left side of your left foot if you're right handed.

Flat serve. The toss if not hit should land directly in front of you.

Slice serve, the toss, if not hit should land just to the right of the right foot.

Obviously this is the "broad brush" simply for the explanation.

Forearm rotation is essential, it's called "pronation." Check out Pete Sampras' incredible service motion. If you check out his, you can stop right there. And keep in mind, there are those out there that use the word "wrist snap."

The "science" of the serve, the motion, there is no "wrist snap." It's all forearm. How do I know? I first developed my service pronation in the late 60's. I've been teaching pronation in the service motion when I first started teaching tennis in late 1971.

BTW. I worked with an adult today, taking away his 2HB and attempting to give him a better serve with pronation. Adults are more difficult to work with than children or juniors.

I'll see this guy tomorrow. I'm bringing a video camera so he'll have a better understanding as to what he's been doing wrong for as many years as he's been playing tennis. He's a strong 3.5 but he's not polished. Looks and plays like a normal club player. He does apply effort.

He spends too much time on line looking at instruction which isn't helpful.

BTW, just under 2 hours and he's hitting a 1HB as good as, if not better than, his 2HB. He's 52 and he's a great guy plus he's hungry to improve.
Regarding "pronation".

Google & forum search - internal shoulder rotation serve Chas Tennis

'Pronation' is another mistaken tennis term. Tennis research in 1995 finally confirmed that internal shoulder rotation (ISR) is the joint motion that makes the entire arm rotate from the shoulder. Pronation is a muddled tennis term attached years before the motion was studied and understood. When the arm is straight the wrist mass is seen to be rotating for both pronation and ISR. But it must be studied in clear high speed videos and it did not arrive in tennis research until later. The greatest example of a misleading tennis term is 'pronation'.

Search the internal shoulder rotation tennis serve

Study this publication and its references by Elliott and Marshall.
 
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Jake Speeed

Rookie
Regarding "pronation".

Google & forum search - internal shoulder rotation serve Chas Tennis

'Pronation' is another mistaken tennis term. Tennis research in 1995 finally confirmed that internal shoulder rotation (ISR) is the joint motion that makes the entire arm rotate from the shoulder. Pronation is a muddled tennis term attached years before the motion was studied and understood. When the arm is straight the wrist mass is seen to be rotating for both pronation and ISR. But it must be studied in clear high speed videos and it did not arrive in tennis research until later. The greatest example of a misleading tennis term is 'pronation'.

Search the internal shoulder rotation tennis serve

Study this publication and its references by Elliott and Marshall.
First, you learn nothing by being a jealous troll. Period. "You can't teach tennis to an empty box."

Hogwash or BS. to the above.

All ATP players serve with pronation. I won't tell you twice, visit Pete Sampras. See for yourself. It's so easy to be a critic but not as easy to learn. Especially learning correctly. And some of you make the learning process more difficult than it has to be.

See if you can get a copy of a book by the late and great Pancho Gonzales, published in 1965. Probably second printing?
My grandfather introduced me to tennis. He also purchased tennis books, lots of books. I was just about 8 years old when I started playing. We would look at the pictures constantly. I noticed in two photos the rotation of the racket head, before then after ball contact. PRONATION! I studied it and finally figured it out without the help of anyone but my grandfather!

I looked on line. You can see Pancho Gonzales serve in full view. And if you can't see the pronation, same with Sampras' serve, you have an extraordinary problem and are beyond conversation or help. Hey! I don't have to be here.

The "book." I would study the photos in the books I had because my grandfather always said, "play like the pros." And yes, he said this often. He was a great man and my only male inspiration in life as a young kid growing up.

Most of you haven't been playing tennis long enough and you have no idea what you missed and weren't part of. It's sad actually.

I'm not going to say another word about service pronation and it's not because I'm being trolled, it's because there's nothing more to say about it.

Yesterday I participated in the training of a junior who is #1 in his state. What did you do yesterday? Today I'm helping a player learn pronation.

Well, I see I cannot post photos so you're on your own. "Stills" are better than video.

Here's a player serving. Doing a few things I would change but at least the pronation is there.

tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/maxtennis-serve-practice-videos.681685/

A quick note.

Poncho Gonzales was 6'2" tall. His serve was 112 MPH. Keep in mind this was the 40's, 50's and 60's. He played a wooden racket then eventually used a metal one.
 
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Dragy

Hall of Fame
First, you learn nothing by being a jealous troll. Period. "You can't teach tennis to an empty box."

Hogwash or BS. to the above.

All ATP players serve with pronation. I won't tell you twice, visit Pete Sampras. See for yourself. It's so easy to be a critic but not as easy to learn. Especially learning correctly. And some of you make the learning process more difficult than it has to be.

See if you can get a copy of a book by the late and great Pancho Gonzales, published in 1965. Probably second printing?
My grandfather introduced me to tennis. He also purchased tennis books, lots of books. I was just about 8 years old when I started playing. We would look at the pictures constantly. I noticed in two photos the rotation of the racket head, before then after ball contact. PRONATION! I studied it and finally figured it out without the help of anyone but my grandfather!

I looked on line. You can see Pancho Gonzales serve in full view. And if you can't see the pronation, same with Sampras' serve, you have an extraordinary problem and are beyond conversation or help. Hey! I don't have to be here.

The "book." I would study the photos in the books I had because my grandfather always said, "play like the pros." And yes, he said this often. He was a great man and my only male inspiration in life as a young kid growing up.

Most of you haven't been playing tennis long enough and you have no idea what you missed and weren't part of. It's sad actually.

I'm not going to say another word about service pronation and it's not because I'm being trolled, it's because there's nothing more to say about it.

Yesterday I participated in the training of a junior who is #1 in his state. What did you do yesterday? Today I'm helping a player learn pronation.

Well, I see I cannot post photos so you're on your own. "Stills" are better than video.

Here's a player serving. Doing a few things I would change but at least the pronation is there.

tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/maxtennis-serve-practice-videos.681685/
It’s you better educate yourself about what @Chas Tennis refers to. It’s ridiculous to not know the difference between forearm pronation and ISR while posing as big professional. Pete has one of most pronounced Internal Shoulder Rotations among servers with that signature elbow-up follow-through.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
It’s you better educate yourself about what @Chas Tennis refers to. It’s ridiculous to not know the difference between forearm pronation and ISR while posing as big professional. Pete has one of most pronounced Internal Shoulder Rotations among servers with that signature elbow-up follow-through.
"Semantics"
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
First, you learn nothing by being a jealous troll. Period. "You can't teach tennis to an empty box."

Hogwash or BS. to the above.

All ATP players serve with pronation. I won't tell you twice, visit Pete Sampras. See for yourself. It's so easy to be a critic but not as easy to learn. Especially learning correctly. And some of you make the learning process more difficult than it has to be.

See if you can get a copy of a book by the late and great Pancho Gonzales, published in 1965. Probably second printing?
My grandfather introduced me to tennis. He also purchased tennis books, lots of books. I was just about 8 years old when I started playing. We would look at the pictures constantly. I noticed in two photos the rotation of the racket head, before then after ball contact. PRONATION! I studied it and finally figured it out without the help of anyone but my grandfather!

I looked on line. You can see Pancho Gonzales serve in full view. And if you can't see the pronation, same with Sampras' serve, you have an extraordinary problem and are beyond conversation or help. Hey! I don't have to be here.

The "book." I would study the photos in the books I had because my grandfather always said, "play like the pros." And yes, he said this often. He was a great man and my only male inspiration in life as a young kid growing up.

Most of you haven't been playing tennis long enough and you have no idea what you missed and weren't part of. It's sad actually.

I'm not going to say another word about service pronation and it's not because I'm being trolled, it's because there's nothing more to say about it.

Yesterday I participated in the training of a junior who is #1 in his state. What did you do yesterday? Today I'm helping a player learn pronation.

Well, I see I cannot post photos so you're on your own. "Stills" are better than video.

Here's a player serving. Doing a few things I would change but at least the pronation is there.

tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/maxtennis-serve-practice-videos.681685/

A quick note.

Poncho Gonzales was 6'2" tall. His serve was 112 MPH. Keep in mind this was the 40's, 50's and 60's. He played a wooden racket then eventually used a metal one.
The old players were doing the current arm's service motion. The first people to notice it saw the wrist rotating and called it by mistake, "pronation". The wrong term stuck.

The problem is that the word "pronation" was and is defined in kinesiology. So is "internal shoulder rotation". But the word pronation, as commonly used incorrectly in tennis usage, can't be looked up. This is never done in biomechanical analysis of the serve.

You can Google the words for videos showing pronation and internal shoulder rotation.

Do you think that the publication - link for Biomechanics and Tennis that I supplied - is wrong?

We have been discussing this issue on the forum since 2011 when a thread made it clear. That was a shock to me.......... I wish I had noticed it in the 1970s when I was reading tennis books. You figured the motion out for yourself and I missed it for the next 35 years.
 
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J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
"Snap." This has always been a problem because the word snap is always used. There is no wrist snap in any serve. The motion is all in the forearm.

The "kicker" has to be hit lower than the flat serve and the ball toss is way to the left for a right hand player.

The racket travels up and through the ball. "Pronation" is always necessary. Timing is important also.

The person who knows your hitting a kicker correctly, is at the receiving end.

Plenty of false information about serves everywhere. In books, magazines and in videos. People read some of this false information and believe it. It's a problem.
Just what we need, another guy who knows everything.

J
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
Reminds me of a conference I went to, where one of the presenters said, “If a student hears their coach tell them that step 1 to hitting a forehand is to turn their feet and shoulders sideways to the net, the student should get a new coach.” Two guys picked up their stuff and left.

That was a stark reminder to me that there are a number of coaches out there, who are set in their ways. They can’t be convinced of advancements and developments in the understanding of the game and the evolution of the best practices to teach it. Kind of a shame, really.
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
Reminds me of a conference I went to, where one of the presenters said, “If a student hears their coach tell them that step 1 to hitting a forehand is to turn their feet and shoulders sideways to the net, the student should get a new coach.” Two guys picked up their stuff and left.

That was a stark reminder to me that there are a number of coaches out there, who are set in their ways. They can’t be convinced of advancements and developments in the understanding of the game and the evolution of the best practices to teach it. Kind of a shame, really.
Absolutely correct. You have to change with the times, actually, when possible, be ahead!

I was fortunate to be teaching "open stance" hitting as soon as I started teaching in the late 70's. I hit that way on my forehand so I taught that way. I never taught old school so I didn't fit in.

Yes, many didn't know what to make of it. That plus the pronation didn't help me get students until the students I did get were winning their matches. I wasn't the only one who taught tennis similar to what is played today back then, there were a few of us. Just a few.

I hit today's forehand and teach today's forehand/style of tennis. But is it really needed at club level? 3.5, 4.0.

Even at 5.0 there could be an disagreement about today's forehand unless you can have long rallies using it? Players love to disagree.

Hey! Where are the videos where you guys and gals hit strong but still maintain long rallies?

Old school, new school or whatever, the name of the game is to have fun.

I had fun hitting with this 3.5 4.0 player today. Every now and again he hit a good ball but still couldn't maintain a rally for any period of time. He also had difficulty hitting two balls the same. When I hit hard with topspin, he had difficulty, so, I fed him a decent ball that he could have fun with.

He's 52, plays 3 to 4 times a week and has league matches Saturday morning. Nothing strange there.

I see some have 25K posts, a bunch for sure. How many times can you say the same thing?

I'll see if I can get a video up of myself hitting ground strokes and serves. I'm an old man, 75, but in excellent shape. Seeing me hit today's style will really give "some" a reason to hate me. More than "some" already do. I love being hated.

So much for having respect for your elders. :laughing:

Everyone, young or old, has something to offer with the sport of tennis. :)
 

polksio

Rookie
No, there's no way you can consciously ulnearly deviate or whatever with any kind of precision or repeatability when you're serving or kick serving. Kick serving is the arm sending the racket sideways and abs and obliques shooting the racket forward making for an impact between a static ball and a racket racket moving sideways and forward.
Flat is a flat racket going forward and forward, slice is an angled racket going forward and forward.


To me the kick serve is the purest serve there is because the hitting part, like the timing of the actual contact is done purely with the abs and the stomach simply because the arm is too busy shooting sideways, the arms is completely debilitated with regards to actually hitting the ball towards the box, all the racket foreward movement is initiated with an abs contraction that takes your breath away and make you go "OMPF"
And if you learn to do a good kick serve, you'll understand what the normal serve is all about, it's the same OMPF but with the arm doubling down on the forward movement making for a missile
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
Very few pros kick their serves nearly as fast as their top/slice 2nd serves.
As said....flat 1st, 125mph
T/s 2nd 100mph
Kick 1st 90
Kick 2nd 80
 

GuyClinch

Legend
No, there's no way you can consciously ulnearly deviate or whatever with any kind of precision or repeatability when you're serving or kick serving. Kick serving is the arm sending the racket sideways and abs and obliques shooting the racket forward making for an impact between a static ball and a racket racket moving sideways and forward.
Flat is a flat racket going forward and forward, slice is an angled racket going forward and forward.


This. The problem with this forum is that it gets killed with microanalysis. There is a technical side of tennis but if you want to learn a basic topspin serve with a bit of kick its not needed. Kick serve is just a variation of a basic serve - the swing path is more to the side - though not entirely - and you contact the ball more above your head. Concentrate on basics like that not micro movements, IMHO. Your body will make adjustments such that the needed micro moves happen.. This means a lot of analysis is academic only.

The dirty secret of the kick serve is because of the racquet path - you lose a ton of pace compared to a flat or slice serve. Thus unless you can hit big flat or slice serves it's not really needed. For rec players a simply topspin slice serve is fine because they lack RHS anyway.. So what we get is all kinds of people wanted to hit a kick - but even if they COULD hit one it would be a puff ball and get the posters here all upset that it doesn't move to right enough etc etc.

OTOH if you can hit a huge flat and slice serve you can learn a kick in really short order. I don't worry about mine not being awesome because my first serve is not huge. As LeeD has mentioned years ago kick serve is about 20-30mph slower then your flat. So a kick from an average rec player can float in at 50mph. This ain't going to win you matches..

I have never hit with someone under 4.5 who has a decent kicker. Even at 4.5 its not that common. At 5.0 the serves are big enough that you start to see it being used.
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
I mentioned I used to play with a guy, Rollie Zalameda, who served the slowest, highest bouncing lefty kick serves ever seen.
Lots bounced well higher than my forehead. I'm 5'10" so those serves must have bounced easily 5' off the ground.
He never hit flat serves, but I'd guess maybe 100 tops.
High arc and consistent depth..with some spin, gave him the big bounce.
 
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