Pronation on a Kick Serve

I'm trying to pronate more on my kick serve after watching some video of myself and noticing I have a waiter's tray serve. But, when I pronate, my swing is a lot more direct and my serve comes out flatter without a lot of spin. Do I just need to practice more to "blend" the up and to the right swing path of the kick serve and pronation?
 

FRV2

Professional
I'm still not sure where exactly you pronate on a kick serve unless it occurs after contact. My best kick serves were when I threw the ball over my head and just went straight up after the racket drop, hitting up on the ball, as hard as I could. Then the arm naturally pronated after.

Edit: I guess there is some (slight?) pronation before contact
 
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FRV2

Professional
That's what I've done too, but I saw a video of Federer's kick serve and he pronated before contact
Hmm I'm not really sure. I never studied kick serves that closely. But, if you look at the second serve here, it looks like Federer begins pronation slightly before contact (you kind of have to since the ball isn't tossed as far back towards the fence as the racket is placed at the drop) and does most of the pronation after contact. This is an old vid, so not sure if he changed it up since.

Definitely wait for more knowledgeable people to enter this thread though.
 

mclee025

Rookie
I'm trying to pronate more on my kick serve after watching some video of myself and noticing I have a waiter's tray serve. But, when I pronate, my swing is a lot more direct and my serve comes out flatter without a lot of spin. Do I just need to practice more to "blend" the up and to the right swing path of the kick serve and pronation?
You might want to check your grip. From your description (the waiter's tray), it sounds like you may be serving with a forehand grip. A proper serve that utilizes pronation should at a minimum be a continental grip. An eastern backhand would be even better in my opinion to generate more spin (google tennis grips if needed). When you hit a kick serve with either of those grips the pronation lets you brush up on the ball giving you the spin. Instead of hitting through the ball with the flat bed of the strings (essentially a flat serve) this allows you to create a racquet head approach to the tossed ball leading with the right edge of the racquet (for a righty) to create that brushing effect.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
like Federer begins pronation slightly before contact (you kind of have to since the ball isn't tossed as far back towards the fence as the racket is placed at the drop) and does most of the pronation after contact.
Racquet rotation (powered primarily by ISR rather than forearm pronation) is not a segmented, but a continuous move. Moreover, it begins with lifting racquet from the drop, from full external rotation position, before elbow straightening. So if racquet starts rotating before contact and continues rotating after contact, there’s evidently rotation through contact. The difference is at what point during that rotation contact happens.
Additionally keep in mind the longer range of rotation covered by contact doesn’t linearly convert into higher RHS. It was brought up by some experts that max RHS is possibly achieved on power slice serves rather than true flat serves.
To the OP, for a high level kick serve you are expected to align your swing differently, with your whole body. That’s why you toss overhead, lean back, stay more sideways during swing. If you hit it “straight” from such a posture, the “flat serve” would go up and to the side fence. So you contact the ball a tad lower and earlier through the swing when the stringsbed still faces target court, to then continue rotating more or less fully into follow-through.
 
Kick serve with millisecond time scale and text on a few frames. Video analysis application Kinovea was used.
For single frame on Youtube use the " . " and " , " keys.

The serve was not confirmed as a kick serve by the trajectory.

The racket can be seen rising through the frames before, during and after impact. These frames are identified with text boxes that only appear in one frame.

The time scale is in milliseconds (ms) and counts down to impact in frame "0 ms". At 240 fps, frames are separated by 4.2 ms. The toss release occurs in about frame 808 ms before impact - less than one second toss release to impact.

The ball appears to impact to the right side of the racket center line. This appears to turn the racket face rapidly in somewhat the same direction as ISR/pronation on the frames right after impact. This impact location to the right of the racket center line may differ from impact locations on most flat and slice serves. ? - a good question. The impact location across the racket for a kick serve may be difficult to control because of the high lateral speed of the racket. ?

The racket face is tilted 13 degrees just before impact. I believe that this tilt is necessary and will be on high level kick serves based on descriptions of ball contact in Technical Tennis, Rod Cross and Lindsay. I have seen it also on a few other kick serves.

Kinovea is a free open source video analysis application. It also can do side-by-side video comparisons of strokes.
 
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MajesticMoose

Hall of Fame
Yeah first check your grip. Make sure it's continental and only continental. Trying to force your body to stay sideways on contact or as much as possible. Toss above the head and have the correct swing path. Don't open shoulders too early or else you'll start slicing and driving the ball.
 
I think the term "stay sideways" does not convey the 3D orientation of Stosur's head and chest shown in post #7. See that her head and chest at impact are also tilted to horizontal with her side down.

Believed to be a kick serve.


To me 'stay sideways' originally seemed to mean standing facing the side with the chest and staying that way to impact, somewhat like Stosur in the left picture maybe with a little more chest turn toward the sideline. Do others interpret 'stay sideways' as including the the body orientation shown in the right picture and the video of post #7. Maybe the two words, 'stay sideways' cannot describe the complex 3D motion of Stosur's kick serve or those of others.

See Toly thread.

I believe that Stosur is no longer looking at the ball in the impact picture on the right.
 
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By the way, I think that 'staying sideways' and 'tossing the ball over your head' with little forward motion to impact probably can produce a kick serve, but it will be different than seen in high level tennis.
 

Kevo

Legend
You want to toss less in front for the kick serve and the swing path is different. The arm goes up and finishes more to the side. More of the racquet rotation from "pronation" does occur after the hit on a kick serve compared to a flat serve. There are a lot of decent videos on youtube to look at, but if you figure out where to toss the ball and make contact that will get you started in the right direction. From there it's mostly experimenting with minor changes and lots of practice.
 

Gyswandir

Semi-Pro
I'm trying to pronate more on my kick serve after watching some video of myself and noticing I have a waiter's tray serve. But, when I pronate, my swing is a lot more direct and my serve comes out flatter without a lot of spin. Do I just need to practice more to "blend" the up and to the right swing path of the kick serve and pronation?
I won’t get into all the technicalities, rather tell you how I “feel” hitting it.
I had a decent second, serve, but not really a “kick” serve. First change I made was based on some old video-sorry, can’t remember much about it now-that talked about changing your grip to bh to force yourself to pronate more. I did that for 2 months. My serve was spinny, but slowish.
Afterwards, I came back to continental. The motion was almost exactly the same. So, I was pronating, but the major difference was the impression that I was hitting the ball slightly from above. It is almost like you are hitting the ball at 9 o’clock and the pronation is moving your racquet across the ball to 2 o’clock. When I am on, it is this exact sensation that makes the ball bounce right, I’m a righty, when it hits the ground. The rest of the serve is like what other posters above told you.

In my opinion, if you even think you’re hitting a kick serve, with a waiter’s tray motion, then the pronation I am talking about is too advanced for you. First, get comfortable with a simple sideways stance and a top spin serve, where you are hitting the ball, while the racquet is still going upwards. When you master that, then consider the more aggressive pronation.

Once you’re done with all that, then you can think about tossing the ball into the court and creating the “bow.”
 
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