Why can't I get lateral spin on my (tentative) kick serve ? (With video)

mainmain

New User
Hi everyone,
I am trying to learn wide kick serve, and especially to achieve lateral spin to further push opponent wide.
I have to admit that I totally admire Thiem's 'new' serve on ad side since #1 year, and would like to have something similar in the bag.

As you'll see in the video, I am struggling for getting -on rare occasions- a little bit of lateral spin. I made slo-mos when 'something' was occurring.

Attempts with tossing further behind (on my right) improve a little the desired effect, but with loss of power, comfort and reliability... Never got something really satisfying, even if the zones are often good.

I'd be glad to read technical advices. My self evaluation is that I don't have an exploding enough and forward enough leg push, and fall to the right, but I'm not sure it is the reason for failing at lateral spin.

 
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blablavla

Professional
Hi everyone,
I am trying to learn wide kick serve, and especially to achieve lateral spin to further push opponent wide.
I have to admit that I totally admire Thiem's 'new' serve on ad side since #1 year, and would like to have something similar in the bag.

As you'll see in the video, I am struggling for getting -on rare occasions- a little bit of lateral spin. I made slo-mos when 'something' was occurring.

Attempts with tossing further behind (on my right) improve a little the desired effect, but with loss of power, comfort and reliability... Never got something really satisfying, even if the zones are often good.

I'd be glad to read technical advices. My self evaluation is that I don't have an exploding enough and forward enough leg push, and fall to the right, but I'm not sure it is the reason for failing at lateral spin.

1. the wide kick serve is not easy to master, requires practice and patience
2. you need to achieve high RHS (racket head speed), but impart it more to the spin
3. perhaps try to hit the ball a tad lower, sometimes it surprisingly helps
4. the toss to the right of course helps, though in my case I noticed that it is not an absolute requirement. what is more important, again, in my case, it is to still keep the ball in front (+ to the left, but in your case to the right)
but, the more you toss to the right, the more difficult is to serve down the T, so an opponent with decent experience will adjust the position by making 1 side step and will be in position to control the return
5. you have quite a number of serves that reach the edge of the doubles alley by the time they reach the baseline, that is already solid for rec level
having said this, wish you all the best in your quest to reach the desired result, but an alternative way is to have a solid 2nd serve down the T, and keep your opponents guessing what will come next.
again, in my experience, at rec level that (variation) is a bigger weapon as opposed to a wide kick serve coming in again and again, where your opponent might simply make 1 step to the side and return it quite easily, assuming that roughly 90% of players are right-handed, so this serve will be going to usually their strongest strike
 

mainmain

New User
Thanks a lot! I agree for points 1 to 4, and will work accordingly...

Concerning the last point, in fact this is already a variation for me. My basic serve is some sort of slice + TS and I generally aim for the (right-handed) backhand. Up to 15/5 or so opponents it has good efficiency.
My fear is that, as I read in other threads, it may be difficult for me to make both co-exist reliably in my bag without mixing up stuff...
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
You want the breaking bounce, right?
First of all, such breakage is more evident with slower ball speed. You hit through the ball too much to get much of wide twist bounce. Try swinging more along the baseline with more glancing contact.
Also experiment with having your racquet tilted more at contact. Rising right too left swing, glancing contact and slightly tilted RF - otherwise no significant spiral spin can be achieved.
 

Chadalina

Legend
Hi everyone,
I am trying to learn wide kick serve, and especially to achieve lateral spin to further push opponent wide.
I have to admit that I totally admire Thiem's 'new' serve on ad side since #1 year, and would like to have something similar in the bag.

As you'll see in the video, I am struggling for getting -on rare occasions- a little bit of lateral spin. I made slo-mos when 'something' was occurring.

Attempts with tossing further behind (on my right) improve a little the desired effect, but with loss of power, comfort and reliability... Never got something really satisfying, even if the zones are often good.

I'd be glad to read technical advices. My self evaluation is that I don't have an exploding enough and forward enough leg push, and fall to the right, but I'm not sure it is the reason for failing at lateral spin.

Your falling to the right and not extending your follow through to the left (crossing over)
 

blablavla

Professional
Thanks a lot! I agree for points 1 to 4, and will work accordingly...

Concerning the last point, in fact this is already a variation for me. My basic serve is some sort of slice + TS and I generally aim for the (right-handed) backhand. Up to 15/5 or so opponents it has good efficiency.
My fear is that, as I read in other threads, it may be difficult for me to make both co-exist reliably in my bag without mixing up stuff...
again, practice is the answer to make them both co-exist.
If you have a solid down the T 2nd serve, finding the backhand of the right-handed players, that is about enough to play with most folks.
 

TennisDawg

Professional
I was watching a YouTube instruction video on the kick-serve and the instructor pointed out to let the ball drop as you hit the serve. Hitting the ball at it’s peak or too high doesn’t allow driving the racquet up for more kick. You seem to be hitting the ball when it’s too high. Just a thought. Good work. Kick serves are not easy to learn,
 

mainmain

New User
You want the breaking bounce, right?
First of all, such breakage is more evident with slower ball speed. You hit through the ball too much to get much of wide twist bounce. Try swinging more along the baseline with more glancing contact.
Also experiment with having your racquet tilted more at contact. Rising right too left swing, glancing contact and slightly tilted RF - otherwise no significant spiral spin can be achieved.
Yeah I want a wide breaking bounce... indeed it is more visible on slower balls or, as @blablavla said, with a much faster RHS. I think I am lacking RHS (compared to what I can achieve for a regular slice) but I don't really understand where I can find extra acceleration without strain.
Maybe in the leg push, and stop falling to the right (@Chadalina )?
Maybe the raquet path and angle at impact, as you suggested, may improve that too?
 

Chadalina

Legend
Yeah I want a wide breaking bounce... indeed it is more visible on slower balls or, as @blablavla said, with a much faster RHS. I think I am lacking RHS (compared to what I can achieve for a regular slice) but I don't really understand where I can find extra acceleration without strain.
Maybe in the leg push, and stop falling to the right (@Chadalina )?
Maybe the raquet path and angle at impact, as you suggested, may improve that too?
Let your arm pull your legs to your target, your stopping short like costanza

 

dsb

Rookie
You're a lefty... that means you've naturally got that nasty slice wide in the Ad court, and now you want kick too? That really doesn't seem fair now does it?

What I'm seeing from your vid is that while you're going up on the ball at contact, which gives you the topspin, you're still contacting it a bit on the outside, still a little 'slicey' (is that a word?) and the ball sits up rather than breaking. I have a similar problem, but opposite (I'm right handed) when I try to hit slice but get some top on it. To get the 'kick' the ball has to have topspin, but it also has to rotate around the longitudinal axis, so you have to hit a bit up the inside in an upward motion.
 

mainmain

New User
You're a lefty... that means you've naturally got that nasty slice wide in the Ad court, and now you want kick too? That really doesn't seem fair now does it?
Oh yes I want to do that! And if on a good day I can throw in a couple flat body bombs in between I will gladly do so :laughing:.
But don't worry, I am a very nice guy and you can't imagine how many easy balls I miss after my serve and/or how many mis-hit, desperate lucky winner returns I can generate.

Concerning technique, yes slicey is definitely what I often feel. Contact point and raquet path issues, clearly.
 

blablavla

Professional
Yeah I want a wide breaking bounce... indeed it is more visible on slower balls or, as @blablavla said, with a much faster RHS. I think I am lacking RHS (compared to what I can achieve for a regular slice) but I don't really understand where I can find extra acceleration without strain.
Maybe in the leg push, and stop falling to the right (@Chadalina )?
Maybe the raquet path and angle at impact, as you suggested, may improve that too?
funnily enough, had a talk with my coach these days about kick service.
all summer long I was struggling with it, and now, at the end of clay season all of a sudden, without any visible adjustment it started to work again.
so, I asked him: what changed, as my toss is still all over the place, like it was during the summer, and no other adjustments were done on purpose by me.
his answer: you're hitting now the kick serve with higher RHS, imparting more spin, which makes the ball land where you want. And he added, that the RHS shall be pretty much the same at the 1st serve and 2nd. The difference between flat and kick serve, being how much you transform RHS into ball pace vs spin.

I must say it is true, as, at this point I completely relaxed about hitting the 2nd serve in a "safe" way, and was indeed hitting the 2nd serve much more aggressively.

So, perhaps you want to try the same, keep the RHS same like for 1st serve, but focus on imparting more spin, which will naturally reduce the speed / pace.
Precision & consistency seems to be there.
 

Gyswandir

Semi-Pro
A reply I made in another thread:
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.”
I’d add that in your particular case, don’t think more to the right toss, the perfect toss is exactly above your head, when you are about to start the motion. Also, you aren’t getting the kinetic chain in synch or in the right direction. It should be the legs pushing up, then the torso then the shoulder, arm, wrist. Except for the torso (the bow), all those are directing your energy into an up and sideways blow to the ball, with the pronation helping you get that spiral spin.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
Yeah I want a wide breaking bounce... indeed it is more visible on slower balls or, as @blablavla said, with a much faster RHS. I think I am lacking RHS (compared to what I can achieve for a regular slice) but I don't really understand where I can find extra acceleration without strain.
Maybe in the leg push, and stop falling to the right (@Chadalina )?
Maybe the raquet path and angle at impact, as you suggested, may improve that too?
RHS is king for sure for any kind of serve. It just should come from mechanically sound motion, consistent and reliable 2 hours in, strainless.
Now for the wide serve, there’s power topspin serve which you can aim wide. You mostly swing through the ball yet catch it lower so that your racquet is still rising. You don’t get much of the breakage at bounce, just good arc, good upward kick, good pace, especially after bounce.
The twist serve is a different beast. Yes, best servers can hit it both fast and with huge spin to ensure breaking bounce, due to consistent appliance of high RHS. With a tad lower level servers (still strong ones) it’s usually a slower arcing and kicking with sideways break serve. It’s not aimed to ace opponents most of the time, but to jam them, keep from attacking, force an error. Great as 2nd serve.
 

3virgul14

Rookie
Please see;



Hi everyone,
I am trying to learn wide kick serve, and especially to achieve lateral spin to further push opponent wide.
I have to admit that I totally admire Thiem's 'new' serve on ad side since #1 year, and would like to have something similar in the bag.

As you'll see in the video, I am struggling for getting -on rare occasions- a little bit of lateral spin. I made slo-mos when 'something' was occurring.

Attempts with tossing further behind (on my right) improve a little the desired effect, but with loss of power, comfort and reliability... Never got something really satisfying, even if the zones are often good.

I'd be glad to read technical advices. My self evaluation is that I don't have an exploding enough and forward enough leg push, and fall to the right, but I'm not sure it is the reason for failing at lateral spin.

 

FiReFTW

Legend
Stop overrotating and hit the ball lower so you have a bigger angle of the racquet in relation to ur arm and come more up over the ball instead of around for slice, and you will get rid if your slice and start hitting what you want to hit.

Like this, just fix these 2 things and you are set.

 

mainmain

New User
Stop overrotating and hit the ball lower so you have a bigger angle of the racquet in relation to ur arm and come more up over the ball instead of around for slice, and you will get rid if your slice and start hitting what you want to hit.

Like this, just fix these 2 things and you are set.

Wow! That is analytically, graphically brilliant.
Do you think I overrotate (at least partly) because of the messed up sync between leg push and raquet drop ? Because if not, I'm not out of the woods with all this stuff to fix...
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
You are burshing across the ball creating side spin more than up on the ball to create kick. Watch the ball trajectory and you will see all curve and slice with little kick. It is really noticeable on the shank at :29, where you got under the ball to get some kick, but watch how much curve the kick still has.

Look up :kick serve burshing" on YouTube and there should be plenty of videos to demonstrate the racquet technique. Basically more up at that ball and not across the ball.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
You are burshing across the ball creating side spin more than up on the ball to create kick. Watch the ball trajectory and you will see all curve and slice with little kick. It is really noticeable on the shank at :29, where you got under the ball to get some kick, but watch how much curve the kick still has.

Look up :kick serve burshing" on YouTube and there should be plenty of videos to demonstrate the racquet technique. Basically more up at that ball and not across the ball.
Hey Op. "burshing" is something old guys do in Az when its a 1,000 degrees and all the water inside the body evaporates.... "brushing" is something that people do with their serve and their teeth...

@ChaelAZ is super sorry for any confusion this caused and any images you now can't unsee. He really is trying to help...
 

Bagumbawalla

Hall of Fame
Well, first of all, your serve looks pretty good, but it is really more of a slice than a kick. A slice is mostly lateral spin which may curve a bit then skip on the court and bounce fairly low- not what you are striving for. You want a ball with some lateral spin, but just as much and possibly more topspin.

When hitting a topspin groundstroke you drive through th ball from low to high (6 o:clock to twelve) and the ball will kick up in your opponent's court. To get a serve that bounces up and away, you to spin the ball from about 7:00 to 1:00 (or so). It is not that easy to get topspin on a serve. 90% of it is finding the right ball toss to position the ball so that when you hit it- the racket is snapping almost equally up and across. Usually, that would be above your chin and a bit lower than your normal contact point.

Your service motion looks good, when you find that position it should work for you
 

Born_to_slice

Professional
There are much better servers than you who can't achieve lateral kick. Don't beat yourself over it. For example this guy says he can't get it to kick to the right and he has instructional videos on kick serve.
It will kick high in whichever direction serve is going and that's good enough for anyone not top 100 in the world. Yours is not kicking too high and that's your main problem. Usually people train the kick by hitting exaggerated high loops without power to get the feel and work from there. There's really detailed training course in 5 videos starting from scratch on this channel, here's the first one in case you're interested.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
Let the ball toss drop lower and exaggerate your follow through to the left side of your body. Breaking your wrist over at the end of the swing - fingers pointed down - will help you further increase the range of motion. Above all, keep the RHS up, while hitting “less” of the ball. That is, unlike a flat serve, where you hit the ball full - on a kick serve, you want to make a lot thinner contact with the ball.
 

mainmain

New User
Hey Op. "burshing" is something old guys do in Az when its a 1,000 degrees and all the water inside the body evaporates.... "brushing" is something that people do with their serve and their teeth...

@ChaelAZ is super sorry for any confusion this caused and any images you now can't unsee. He really is trying to help...
Lol. Thanks a lot for your delicatesse towards me, but sadly a lot of the crunchy (offending?) details are lost in translation. However, now you say that I remember my last trip in the Southern US eating burritos and travelling stuck between sweaty dudes twice as big as me. Cliché-reinforcing experience o_O:cool:
 

mainmain

New User
omg, so many answers!
is discussing tennis kick serve in this forum some sort of pandora's box opening, unleashing all kinds of passionated ancestral thoughts and theories, which self-recombine and evolve perpetually?!

Or maybe it is just some tradition for you to answer noobs all asking the same thing when stuck in the morning traffic jams??

I promise I will try a bit of everything but first I gotta check if my PT is not currently getting sunburns on the Cote d'Azur.

:-D:giggle::eek:
 
Hi everyone,
I am trying to learn wide kick serve, and especially to achieve lateral spin to further push opponent wide.
I have to admit that I totally admire Thiem's 'new' serve on ad side since #1 year, and would like to have something similar in the bag.

As you'll see in the video, I am struggling for getting -on rare occasions- a little bit of lateral spin. I made slo-mos when 'something' was occurring.

Attempts with tossing further behind (on my right) improve a little the desired effect, but with loss of power, comfort and reliability... Never got something really satisfying, even if the zones are often good.

I'd be glad to read technical advices. My self evaluation is that I don't have an exploding enough and forward enough leg push, and fall to the right, but I'm not sure it is the reason for failing at lateral spin.

The kick serve is simpler than most people explain it. The direction of the bounce is mostly a function of the ‘clock angle’ with which you brush across the back of the ball. You are swinging at a clock angle of roughly 3:30 to 9:30. In other words, most of the spin is side spin, with only a little bit of topspin.

The result is that your serve bends sideways in the air, then continues curving in the same direction after the bounce.

If you increase your topspin component by hitting 4:00 to 10:00, the ball will grab the ground a little and bounce more straight ahead. This is what most people refer to as a ‘topspin’ serve, even though the its still mostly sidespin.

To make the ball kick to the left, you need to add even more topspin by hitting with a 4:30 to 10:30 path.

Of course, this is easier said than done. To get more topspin component, you can focus on things like deeper knee bend, and hitting the ball earlier in your motion so that your torso is still moving upwards at contact.
 
The head of your racket has no upward motions when it is contacting the ball. The racket has to rise in frames before, during and after impact.

Single frame on Vimeo hold down the SHIFT KEY and use the ARROW KEYS.

Compare this video to your serve.

In addition, the racket face should be tilted about 15 degrees closed at impact. It is hard to find good information on this important point. See Technical Tennis, Cross, for diagrams where the ball is contacted by the racket.

All serves have only one spin axis. The spin axis can be specified by three components in the directions of
side spin
top spin
gyrospin
See Rod Cross article Physics of the Kick Serve.

The kick serve has more side spin and top spin than the other serves because its total spin rate is highest.

The lateral (90 d. to trajectory) racket head motion comes from the elbow extension out of the 'racket drop' and wrist joint motion causing the forearm-to-racket angle to change rapidly. Keep in mind that joints often move because of earlier motions and not their own muscles. See high speed videos. Everything is moving in 3 dimensions so words have a hard time describing the service motion.

See thread Junior Twist Serve for references, pictures and videos.
 
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FiReFTW

Legend
Funny thing is nobody in this thread giving you advice can do what you are asking how to do.

J
lol I know for a fact that I can do it, and I know for a fact that a few members who posted here can do it because they even posted videos of them doing it.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
For what, to prove that I can? That won't help the OP in this thread, maybe you should offer some advice to him instead.

I can send u links in privat if your really that interested.

Btw @Shroud and many others posted videos of it many times, even in your kick wide reward thread.
OP is too naive to know who is giving him advice.

Put up the links so he knows who he is listening to.

J
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Do a video hitting a flat serve and compare it to your spin serve.

You might get a more dramatic result in the ad court.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Ok, my advice is to not listen to anybody in this thread.

J
And my advice is to stop spamming this thread with off topic stuff if you have no advice to give to the OP, because your posts are even more useless than the supposed people who don't know what they talk about and can't hit a kick serve that bounced to the right, even tho said posters even posted videos in your kick challenge thread.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
And my advice is to stop spamming this thread with off topic stuff if you have no advice to give to the OP, because your posts are even more useless than the supposed people who don't know what they talk about and can't hit a kick serve that bounced to the right, even tho said posters even posted videos in your kick challenge thread.
Links?

J
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Im not sending you anything because your a d*ck, but ive sent the OP videos of my kick and of Shroud's kick from your thread and he can decide if its what he is talking about, afterall its about him not you in this thread.
Good talk.

J
 
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