Twist vs Kick serve

srimes

Rookie
I thought I had a good understanding, but then I watched this video and now I have doubts:



I thought the twist was basically half way between a kick and a slice. What's the proper definition?
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
I could be wrong, but I always thought a kick serve is a catch-all term for any serve that bounces up high with top-spin. If it only bounces high with no side-spin after the bounce, it’s a top-spin serve; if it also has side-spin after the bounce in the direction of a slice (left for righties), it is a top-slice; if it is a kick that has side-spin in the opposite direction (right for righties) after the bounce, it is a twist serve. Even twist serves move in the direction of a slice before the bounce, but then seem to move in the opposite direction after the bounce. So, a twist serve is just a variety of kick serve.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
A mostly topspin kick serve will not curve much in the air and will bounce in the direction it's traveling. A slice serve will curve in the air and bounce in the direction it's curving towards. A twist serve will curve in the air and then bounce opposite the side it's curving towards.
 

Dragy

Legend
I believe they call it twist if it has pronounced sideways bounce. It comes from simultaneous fulfillment of two conditions:
- There’s is angled (top+side) spin on the ball with high RPM;
- Velocity is relatively low, so that the ball flight is noticeably curving to one side before bounce, and the bounce is noticeably to the other side.

If you put the same spin on the ball, but make it travel faster, the curve will be much less and the bounce will be more straight. Still high bounce, usually named “kick”.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
A mostly topspin kick serve will not curve much in the air and will bounce in the direction it's traveling. A slice serve will curve in the air and bounce in the direction it's curving towards. A twist serve will curve in the air and then bounce opposite the side it's curving towards.
Whilst I agree with this I think making a distinction between different types of kick serves based on where it kicks to is mostly pointless and something that rec players need to stop focusing on

Mechanically they are the same serve and if you learn how to hit one well then you can hit them all - we don't break down slice serves into different sub-groupings

If you can't make your kick serve break back, it's not because you 'haven't learned the twist serve' - it usually just means your 'kicker' is more of a nudie ball than you realise
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
Whilst I agree with this I think the distinction between the different types of kick serves is mostly pointless and something that rec players need to stop focusing on. Mechanically they are the same serve and if you learn how to hit one well then you can hit them all. We don't break down slice serves into different sub-groupings.

If you can't make your kick serve break back, it's not because you can't hit a twist serve - it's just an indication that your supposed kicker is really a bit of a nudie ball
I agree with this too. I like hitting a kick serve and being just as surprised as my opponent when it bounces the other way.

But, we do have to clearly communicate in words on this forum, so having explicitly defined and agreed upon terminology makes it easier for everyone, even if it's for something trivial.
 

ichaseballs

Rookie
i always understood TWIST as reverse slice. opposite direction of your natural direction (depending on which hand you use).
so the TWIST SERVE for a righty would make the ball spin making it move from left to right.
this would be easier to achieve on the ad side (for a righty) vs the deuce side.

anyone who watched a bit of prince of tennis will know this :cool:
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
These tennis researchers show the spin vectors on the ball for a slice, flat and kick serve.


It is difficult to find videos that clearly show the racket on the ball for a kick serve or a twist serve. I have looked for that. I believe that this topic has been posted but not resolved and that there are hardly any good videos showing how the racket meets the ball together with its bounce. I posted a few close up videos that I identified as the kick serve.

If you can find a creditable definition on the internet for what a twist serve is, please post it.

Here is what I believe is a kick serve showing the racket tilted forward at impact along with a measurement of the serve speed based on the ball diameter as a calibration reference. But the server is not an ATP player. Bounce not observed. See thread- Junior Twist Serve. The thread poster considered it a twist serve but I considered it a kick serve. See also side-by-side Stosur vs this poster, a very close comparison for technique.

I made this analysis video using free Kinovea (in thread Junior Twist Serve).

Here is an excellent quality very high speed video of a Stosur kick serve impact. But the camera angle is odd and hard to determine, no vertical reference or plumb bob line.

On the forum there are many threads on the twist serve. Forum Search (titles only) gets many finds - twist serve.

In the 1980s, I recall that a twist serve had a reputation of being different in the way it was performed and for causing some extra stress to the back, not recommended. I don't know if that has some scientific basis.

Does the usage of the term 'twist serve' have any videos to show its difference vs a kick serve?
 
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Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Terminology for Types of Serves

1) There is usage, such as it is. Then you have to define your terms each time your use them.
2) There are defined terms by some recognized authority and you should be able to Google links. ITF, USTA, clear and wide agreement by knowledgeable people would be creditable sources.

I'd say that the term "kick serve" is defined by the publication and the ball diagram in post #9. Tennis researchers have chosen to use it.

If you cannot Google 'twist serve' and find some knowledgeable people using it, then you should explain your usage. Having the terms and not the videos is what we have and the forum communication shows it. Search Twist Serve and look at a thread from years ago..........

Unfortunately, the many terms that have some usage: Topspin Slice, Twist Serve, Top Spin Serve, etc., should each have a ball spin diagram such as shown in the earlier posts.

To make some sense of the confusion, I believe that the drawings that show where the racket contacts the ball for different spins is very important. These diagrams are in the reference Technical Tennis by Rod Cross and Lindsey.
These ball diagrams should be matched up with the serve term usage to name the serves.

The Technical Tennis ball diagrams replace the 'hit from 7 to 1 o'clock on the ball'- an undefined instruction that seems to make some sense but doesn't when you consider it. It's unclear and never defined if the clock face is vertical or tilted for the server's view looking up.

The real problem is that clear high speed videos are not available for each of these named serve types.

I am fairly sure that a kick serve is first contacted with the racket face closed by roughly 14 degrees and that a top spin serve is first contacted with a racket face with very little open-closed tilt, like the flat and slice serves. In 2021, with millions of high speed video cameras in smartphones and thousands of strong kick servers, and many twist servers also, you would think that we would be able to Google a few videos. Point camera, get answer.

We need this observation and, for the same serve, a video observing the bounce to the right of a kick serve. Those that believe they know what a 'twist serve' is can show videos that match the racket work with the ball bounce.

Example showing racket tilt for the kick serve.
.....but no bounce was recorded.

Here is a strong kick serve where the bounce to the right was recorded as is obvious.
.....but no racket tilt angle was recorded.

 
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