Suddenly, Out of Nowhere, Serving Bombs

It happened unexpectedly.

I’m stationed in South America for a project this year, and my social situation here allows me to play more tennis than when I’m home.

For the first couple of months, I was mostly playing against players weaker than me, and sometimes against 5.0 players. I was improving, but not really changing my style of play. But a month ago, I started playing matches several times per week against a couple of 5.5 level players.

I found myself struggling to win points against these guys. My usual counterpunching conservative run-every-ball-down style wasn’t good enough - the longer the point wore on, the more opportunities these guys had to break down my weaker forehand wing.

So I started serving harder. And they started going in. So I started swinging even harder. And I was finding the box enough to make it worth going after it on both first and second. I cranked my grip all the way to full backhand Goran style to add some margin. Suddenly I had my old hammer back. The last couple days I’ve been serving thunder again.

Today I was outserving my 22-year-old former top-1000-ranked opponent, holding serve enough to keep it competitive, which really pissed him off, but felt really good on my side of the net.

The rest of my game was actually a bit off. But man, being able to overwhelm your opponent with a huge high-kicking blast is a big equalizer. I served and volleyed to avoid having to hit groundies on my service games.

I was even doing this with a 26.6” long junior racquet, with dead balls, 18x20 pattern strung full poly at 68 lbs, and in cool weather in the 50s (July is winter here).

I’m sure my serve will go back into hibernation when I go home and return to once-per-week tennis, but I’m going to enjoy having my old weapon again for a few more months on the red clay.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
I sense alot of exageration in this post, but im glad your serve is working for you.
ATP tour is evidence that if ur serve is a weapon (at your level) its very hard to lose games/sets/matches
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Actually....
I have actually seen him play, maybe twice, and wondered why he kept spinning his serves in on almost every first serve.
 
Actually....
I have actually seen him play, maybe twice, and wondered why he kept spinning his serves in on almost every first serve.
I was a servebot in a past life. But when you don’t play much and your body hits its 40s, an explosive service motion is too hard on the legs, and just leads to calf strains etc. Now that I’m playing 3-4 times per week, my legs seem to be more durable again, so serving big like I did in my 20s is feasible again.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I sense alot of exageration in this post, but im glad your serve is working for you.
ATP tour is evidence that if ur serve is a weapon (at your level) its very hard to lose games/sets/matches
Perhaps. But Trav is tall and well he hit some bombs against me. YOu can see it has potential. Especially the very last one, where it was my impression that he FINALLY was actually trying:

 
Perhaps. But Trav is tall and well he hit some bombs against me. YOu can see it has potential. Especially the very last one, where it was my impression that he FINALLY was actually trying:

Those were not bombs that day vs shroud. My body was fighting against itself that day as it normally does when rusty.

When I’m feeling it like I was today, my kick serve is still rising when it hits the back fence.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Trav has mentioned frequently that he used to be a huge server in his younger days. Quite possible there are days where your body suddenly forgets it is older and surprises you.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Those were not bombs that day vs shroud. My body was fighting against itself that day as it normally does when rusty.

When I’m feeling it like I was today, my kick serve is still rising when it hits the back fence.
I believe that you have a huge serve, and other posters like shroud and mcs etc... all confirm it, and I bet you would ac eme left and right, but I think your just exagerating some things just a bit don't you think, kick serve still rising to the backfence? Ive never ever seen that happen even on the ATP tour, if u go watch some federer kicks or other good kicks they all fall down, alot of them hit the backfence quite low even.
 
I believe that you have a huge serve, and other posters like shroud and mcs etc... all confirm it, and I bet you would ac eme left and right, but I think your just exagerating some things just a bit don't you think, kick serve still rising to the backfence? Ive never ever seen that happen even on the ATP tour, if u go watch some federer kicks or other good kicks they all fall down, alot of them hit the backfence quite low even.
Not exaggerating. Keep in mind that Federer usually plays with 27 foot fences, and sometimes even further. A standard court has 21 feet between fence and baseline, which applies to 99.9% of all courts on earth, with grand slam venues being exceptions.

Nadal sometimes returns from deeper than 21 feet behind the baseline.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Not exaggerating. Keep in mind that Federer usually plays with 27 foot fences, and sometimes even further. A standard court has 21 feet between fence and baseline, which applies to 99.9% of all courts on earth, with grand slam venues being exceptions.

Nadal sometimes returns from deeper than 21 feet behind the baseline.
Make a video and show your 1st and 2nd serve I would love to see that, must be insane, how tall are you?
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
A very good kick serve will be still rising past baseline, and maybe Isner kicks might hit the back fence pretty high (if served down the T). But rising till fence? Maybe at 2k+ attitude?
 
Here are some serves from last year (when I was still in once-per-week tennis mode, so my timing and racquethead speed were not nearly as good as what I’ve been re-discovering this week). But even then, some of these serves were still rising at the back curtain (the third one I think).

 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
Here are some serves from last year (when I was still in once-per-week tennis mode, so my timing and racquethead speed were not nearly as good as what I’ve been re-discovering this week). But even then, some of these serves were still rising at the back curtain.

These are fast serves, not sure if rising, but very likely hitting the back curtain almost as high as the ball bounces. However, I doubt these serves bounce anywhere close to 6'. Kick serve is aimed to be safe yet make the ball rise above receiver’s strike zone around the baseline (like 5' to and past baseline). It’s ok if the ball drops farther back.
 
These are fast serves, not sure if rising, but very likely hitting the back curtain almost as high as the ball bounces. However, I doubt these serves bounce anywhere close to 6'. Kick serve is aimed to be safe yet make the ball rise above receiver’s strike zone around the baseline (like 5' to and past baseline). It’s ok if the ball drops farther back.
In my experience, a kick serve that is still rising and hits the back fence 6’ high or higher (but is only 5 feet high when it crosses at the baseline) is much more effective against high level players (due to the extra velocity) than a slower serve that reaches the baseline at 6 feet high and then drops. One of the guys I play against now eats balls above his head for breakfast, but a 100mph rising kicker on rough clay is the only shot in my arsenal that can neutralize his forehand.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
@Shroud I'm sure you get asked this a lot but do you ever wear anything other than a hoodie and sweats while playing tennis?
Even in FLorida I wear that. Though lately I have been ditching the hoody for a long sleeve shirt because its hot. And the other day I just had shorts and polo. Its rare but it happens. I grew up in the florida heat and found that I could handle it better than most. I like to play at 12 noon if I could because it gave me an advantage.

I am fat now and have put on 15lbs since moving here so that probably has something to do with not using the hoody lately...
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
OH!!! thought Trav meant this kind of bomb. 8-B

Bomb scare near where Trav was standing. Then again ... I might just be projecting my serve on his. :eek:

 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
In my experience, a kick serve that is still rising and hits the back fence 6’ high or higher (but is only 5 feet high when it crosses at the baseline) is much more effective against high level players (due to the extra velocity) than a slower serve that reaches the baseline at 6 feet high and then drops. One of the guys I play against now eats balls above his head for breakfast, but a 100mph rising kicker on rough clay is the only shot in my arsenal that can neutralize his forehand.
I guess 100mph kicker is a first serve
 
The whole notion of a 2nd serve being something safer than a 1st serve is based on an assumption that doesn’t always hold true.

In the case where an offensive serve gives you an 80% chance to win the point, and it’s possible to land that serve 80% of the time, then hitting that serve as a second serve will win the point 64% of the time.

But if backing off and hitting a safe ‘neutral’ 2nd serve that lands in 100% of the time but results in only 20% chance to win the point because my baseline game is inferior to my opponents’, then hitting that safe neutral serve is pointless. Against this opponent with an ATP-level forehand, serving two ‘1st’ serves is the far smarter strategy.

It’s also how I used to play the game when I was younger. It is the Edberg/Rafter serve strategy.
 

Fintft

Hall of Fame
But ATP players don’t have crappy forehands like mine.
Ah.....

First of all congrats on your serve! Kicker-ass and all!

Second, I was looking about an excuse to brag about my new serve, Kyrigos style (and Nadal and all the WTA ladies?), that I've just changed yesterday (hybrid from platform mainly) and won a TB at 1 against an instructor of tennis not even half my age?

Truth be told though, not only did I play the TB like Djokovic, but all my winners were with my FH, like Federer :) (My FH having been the strongest at my club, as measured in the past).

Lastly the opponent was actually ranked lower then me by the club coaches two years ago, yet still, the new serve is great (more extension and no more erratic tosses).
 
Thats not a spin 2nd serve, infact it looks as flat as it can be lol

But good serve regardless
These serves are crossing the net 3 feet higher than the net though. If I hit flat serves, there is only about 12 inches of window above the net to keep it in the box - a flat serve hit 3 feet over the net assuming same racquethead speed would clear the baseline on the fly. I think it is an optical illusion that the trajectory looks flat due to the perspective from right behind the ball - you can see the ball curve a little sideways, but the downward dive action is invisible because the plane of curvature is in line with the view.
 
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FiReFTW

Legend
These serves are crossing the net 3 feet higher than the net though. If I hit flat serves, there is only about 12 inches of window above the net to keep it in the box - a flat serve hit 3 feet over the net assuming same racquethead speed would clear the baseline on the fly. I think it is an optical illusion that the trajectory looks flat due to the perspective from right behind the ball - you can see the ball curve a little sideways, but the downward dive action is invisible because the plane of curvature is in line with the view.
No serve is completely flat, just more spin and less spin.

But these serves are pretty much 1st serve type of serves, not alot of spin on them and alot of drive and penetration.

Very little shape on them, flight path is fairly straight.
Far far from a kick serve.

Look at fed hitting kick serves here in this vid, check from 1:50

The ball has much less drive and much more shape, an arc shape because the spin pulls the ball down very much.


Your swingpath is into the court fed swingpath is to the right sidefence along the baseline
 
No serve is completely flat, just more spin and less spin.

But these serves are pretty much 1st serve type of serves, not alot of spin on them and alot of drive and penetration.

Very little shape on them, flight path is fairly straight.
Far far from a kick serve.

Look at fed hitting kick serves here in this vid, check from 1:50

The ball has much less drive and much more shape, an arc shape because the spin pulls the ball down very much.


Your swingpath is into the court fed swingpath is to the right sidefence along the baseline
But he’s not hitting those serves very hard. He’s just loosening up his arm.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
But he’s not hitting those serves very hard. He’s just loosening up his arm.
Your swingpath is through the ball into the court, your not hitting kick serves, your hitting 1st serves, why are you so stuborn, ask anyone else here, @Shroud knows what a kick serve is ask him if those are kock serves above
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
Here is another time from last year. I think at least one of these is still rising, even with dead balls.
Those are not kick serves. But they are nice. Good rhythm. Good pace. I would call those 1st serves.

Advanced players can hit very hard kick serves but they do not resemble your serves in this video. I have extensive video of my son's training with his coaches and the kick serves smash down into the ground. The arc is different. There is a Verdasco video from the same perspective that shows this. The ball has a ton of ground force on it and smashes into the court.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
But if backing off and hitting a safe ‘neutral’ 2nd serve that lands in 100% of the time but results in only 20% chance to win the point because my baseline game is inferior to my opponents’, then hitting that safe neutral serve is pointless. Against this opponent with an ATP-level forehand, serving two ‘1st’ serves is the far smarter strategy.
That has it’s right for life. And it’s actually not important now exactly your serves reach the back fence as long as they bring you points against strong opposition (y)
 

Toby14

Semi-Pro
Monster kick serve by RF, looking at the ball arch it seem to fall after it passes the reciever. Personally I dont need a kick serve that keeps rising, but would be very happy with this one

 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
The whole notion of a 2nd serve being something safer than a 1st serve is based on an assumption that doesn’t always hold true.

In the case where an offensive serve gives you an 80% chance to win the point, and it’s possible to land that serve 80% of the time, then hitting that serve as a second serve will win the point 64% of the time.

But if backing off and hitting a safe ‘neutral’ 2nd serve that lands in 100% of the time but results in only 20% chance to win the point because my baseline game is inferior to my opponents’, then hitting that safe neutral serve is pointless. Against this opponent with an ATP-level forehand, serving two ‘1st’ serves is the far smarter strategy.

It’s also how I used to play the game when I was younger. It is the Edberg/Rafter serve strategy.
It is interesting that Nadal doesn't have a kick serve.
 
It is interesting that Nadal doesn't have a kick serve.
I think it’s actually quite common for lefties to develop a go-to primary serve with more sidespin and less topspin, because the lefty slice tends to be more effective against most opponents compared to a similar slice serve from a righthanded server.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I think it’s actually quite common for lefties to develop a go-to primary serve with more sidespin and less topspin, because the lefty slice tends to be more effective against most opponents compared to a similar slice serve from a righthanded server.
Does Nadal even know how to hit a kick serve?
 
Monster kick serve by RF, looking at the ball arch it seem to fall after it passes the reciever. Personally I dont need a kick serve that keeps rising, but would be very happy with this one

A variable that determines whether or not my hard spin serves are still rising or not when they reach the back fence/curtain is the spin potential of my string setup. In my younger days, I used Prince Problend, which was less spin-friendly compared to what Federer plays with. My best serves back then would hit the back fence still rising, between 6 and 7 feet high. Here is a clip of my serves from last year, hit with a spin-friendly kevlar/zx setup.
The extra spin actually makes the ball shoot forward at a lower angle, and then pulls it downward before it reaches the back curtain. These serves have about the same trajectory as in the other vids I posted in this thread. Had I hit these same exact serves with Problend or syn gut gut, the bounce angle off the court would have been higher, and the ball still rising at the curtain. Between the 4th and 5th serve in the clip, the 40-something 5.0 playing on the next court pauses his match to shout a comment at me.

 
Those do look like they have good spin, but more of a first serve flatter trajectory spin than a kick.
Serves 2 and 3 were mistimed and consequently lacking good vertical racquetspeed component and thus flatter. Serves 1, 4, and 5 were hit as intended and had about 3 feet of net clearance.
 
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