Need advice - reliable second serve


I can slice first service on deuce court consistently, and occasionally caught reveiver off guard for ace. However, I still can't get "spin" serve concept incoporating into my motion.

My second serve is the worst part of my game ("My game is only as good as my second serve"). I can't generate arc (safety margin) on second serve. I try "seven to one" and "six to twelve", but the ball sit there after bounce. I can generate arc by imagining "hitting offer the back fence", but the ball just sit after bounce. If I hit more forward, the ball lost its topspin arc. I use western back hand grip on second serve. I toss the ball a little bit to my left (12 o'clock).

To explain further, I try to imagine three balls visualitation (not to hit down after contact with the ball), and to imagine there is the second & third ball to hit after the first one. The ball still just sit there after bounce.

I read the other thread on "kick serve" about pronation, and it got me confsued about "wrist snap & pronation".

Any advise with different approach is appreciated. Will listen to anything for a newborn second serve.


go stand 2~3 feet away from the fence, and see if you can serve over the ball, not by hitting bottom of the ball, but by putting topspin on the ball.

When viewed from behind, the tip of the racket should draw an arc. You might finish on your right side (if you are righty).

This is basic idea of hitting kick serve (or topspin).

See if you can incorporate a little bit of knee bend, and extend up for the ball. You also would want to try to increase your swing speed a little bit. That will allow you to put more topspin on the ball. However, I suggest you to take a few lessons on the serve. This may cost you money but it can save you from developing bad habit, or going off track.

I wouldn't worry too much about pronation or wrist snap. It's a natural consequence of preceding service motion. Just stay loose...


Watch Roddick's 2nd serve, it has a lot of power for a kick serve. Roddick had the most 2nd serve aces in 03.


New User
toss and use of legs are important to get spin

I think the most important things are the ball toss, which needs to be over the head or behind it, and the use of the legs. To get a kick serve, which obviously has super spin, requires you to toss the ball behind your head, not just over it, and the leg force gives the extra spin. (There is some of the pronation that you mentioned also, as in the first serve, and since the toss is not at optimal placement for power, you will lose some speed, but gain ball rotation. I cannot comment on this because do not always do it properly. It is needed to get maximum power, though.) For less spin, maybe toss it directly over your head. Also, use a Continental grip or even more towards backhand, which you are already doing, and brush up on the ball of course. I have found that the leg force is essential to getting a lot of spin. I saw it make 2 feet of horizontal distance, when someone's serve had been going out.

The feel on a second serve is more of trying to hit spin, of brushing, rather than of hitting hard. You use the same amount of force, are hitting just as hard, but you put a greater percentage of the force into hitting up, brushing, than you do on the first serve. The first serve should have some spin also, to keep it in the court, but since you cannot miss on the second, you put extra spin and sacrifice some speed. is also a good website - sells videotapes and has a free weekly email service. Not to put words in his mouth, but he explains the techniques of the pros very simply.