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

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@mainmain

To be clear, when you speak of "lateral spin", you are not referring to conventional sidespin (slice), correct? Slice spin will result in a lateral trajectory deviation in flight, prior to the bounce, but does not yield the lateral bounce I believe you seek.

The lateral bounce is what distinguishes a twist serve from other kick serves that have minimal lateral deviation. Spiral spin (corkscrew spin) is the spin component that results in side bounce (not conventional side spin).

Some sources indicate that the spiral spin component is not necessarily strong on a good twist serve when the ball first leaves the strings. The implication is that the ball develops more spiral spin on a Twist serve as the ball flies through the air.

In order for this to happen, the topspin (or topspin-slice) spin rate must be extremely high. And that spin rate must be very high with respect to the ball's forward speed. It's about the spin to speed ratio. This is why it is easier to get the ball to kick on a slower serve than on a faster serve.

I suspect that your spin rate (relative to fwd speed) is not high enough to result in much of a lateral deviation on the bounce. You need to achieve the very distinctive "fast brush" sound on your contact. If you don't get that sound, don't expect much of a side bounce.

It takes a very high RHS to achieve that "fast brush" sound. But much/most of that RHS must be employed for ball spin on rather than ball speed. As someone pointed out, you probably need to let the ball drop a little bit more (rather than contacting it at full extension). Let the ball drop another 2-3 inches and then brush up very quickly.
 

Born_to_slice

Professional
No its not it ovciously kicks right, but it doesnt really deviate to the right much because its more of a power kick, to have a big right kick you need more spin and less drive.
Nah. He hits dead corner out wide there, and he's standing about 40cm from the middle. Additional kick to the right is just an optical illusion.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@mainmain

Tried to find a sample of the "fast brush" sound, on a serve, that I mentioned in post #57. Didn't find a serve example yet. But I did come across the same sound on the extreme (backspin) drop shot. Listen closely on the shot that Brady hits around 2:10 in the first video below. Compare that to the more solid sound that you are getting on your kick serves. More examples of the brush sound in the 2nd vid below.



EDIT: Just listened to the fast brush sound in the serve video that Born_to_slice posted in post number 64. Check out the sound at 2:04
 
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FiReFTW

Legend
Wasted 1 Saturday hour having sex with Paint. Should be easier with decent photo editor.
o_O
I needed freaking 1 hour to make this, and I had to actually copy the ball a few times in the upper section and paste it around the first few frames because each layer I added started completely washing away the previous pictures more and more lol... until it was almost invisible, and I ended up skiping alot of frames between because its so much work, what the hell... screw this

 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I needed freaking 1 hour to make this, and I had to actually copy the ball a few times in the upper section and paste it around the first few frames because each layer I added started completely washing away the previous pictures more and more lol... until it was almost invisible, and I ended up skiping alot of frames between because its so much work, what the hell... screw this

You need:
- A video player capable of frame-be-frame scrolling (using QuickTime, though it's far from perfect);
- A photo editor capable of cropping from images creating transparent background and then overlaying those on base image (using free trial PhotoPad by NCH right now).

1. Make a screenshot of your base frame and put it into the editor.
2. Make a screenshot of each frame you want to copmile. For this case I suggest starting when the ball is farthest from the camera.
3. In a photo editor use "Select" function and "circle" the ball, then holding "shift" button add an "anchor" to the selection - an area at the very corner of the image.
4. Click "Crop" with selected areas. You should get an image with the ball, the anchor, and transparent field all between them.
5. Copy and paste the whole thing to your base image and land the "anchor" to the corner where it belongs.
6. Repeat with as many frames as you want. 60 FPS makes me sad...
(the first picture was made via paint cutting ball with adjacent fragmants and landing based on lines, fences, etc. Stupid way. Yet I have some issues with the "good" way, couldn't make good picture from another video).
 
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FiReFTW

Legend
You need:
- A video player capable of frame-be-frame scrolling (using QuickTime, though it's far from perfect);
- A photo editor capable of cropping from images creating transparent background and then overlaying those on base image (using free trial PhotoPad by NCH right now).

1. Make a screenshot of your base frame and put it into the editor.
2. Make a screenshot of each frame you want to copmile. For this case I suggest starting when the ball is farthest from the camera.
3. In a photo editor use "Select" function and "circle" the ball, then holding "shift" button add an "anchor" to the selection - an area at the very corner of the image.
4. Click "Crop" with selected areas. You should get an image with the ball, the anchor, and transparent field all between them.
5. Copy and paste the whole thing to your base image and land the "anchor" to the corner where it belongs.
6. Repeat with as many frames as you want. 60 FPS makes me sad...
(the first picture was made via paint cutting ball with adjacent fragmants and landing based on lines, fences, etc. Stupid way.)
Sounds a bit confusing, but maybe il try it once haha.
 

mainmain

New User
Sounds a bit confusing, but maybe il try it once haha.
Wowowow there should be a way to do that semi-automatically, right?
Say:
1- choose your starting frame (probably at impact)
2- train a detector on the ball
3- define your frame range on which you want to track the ball
4- automatically segment and overlay ball from each sub-sequent frame on top of the starting frame

I am pretty sure some filters in Photoshop or Gimp can (nearly) do the extraction. Afterwards the overlay should be doable by animation editors.

If it does not exist, I will develop that in 2 hours and get rich by selling this crap to every tennis geek in TTW ^^
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Wowowow there should be a way to do that semi-automatically, right?
Say:
1- choose your starting frame (probably at impact)
2- train a detector on the ball
3- define your frame range on which you want to track the ball
4- automatically segment and overlay ball from each sub-sequent frame on top of the starting frame

I am pretty sure some filters in Photoshop or Gimp can (nearly) do the extraction. Afterwards the overlay should be doable by animation editors.

If it does not exist, I will develop that in 2 hours and get rich by selling this crap to every tennis geek in TTW ^^
It would sure be much easier and at least worthwhile doing lol.
 

BlueB

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.

Try extreme ISR and finish on the LH side

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Try extreme ISR and finish on the LH side

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
Any current pros doing this? Fabrice Santoro and many players of yesteryear did so. It can help some players doing it this way. But if the RHS is not fast enuff, using a glancing blow, the twist-style kick will likely still not happen


Fabrice Santoro
 

BlueB

Legend
Any current pros doing this? Fabrice Santoro and many players of yesteryear did so. It can help some players doing it this way. But if the RHS is not fast enuff, using a glancing blow, the twist-style kick will likely still not happen


Fabrice Santoro
If RHS is not fast, no kick would happen, no matter what technique was used :)

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Any current pros doing this? Fabrice Santoro and many players of yesteryear did so. It can help some players doing it this way. But if the RHS is not fast enuff, using a glancing blow, the twist-style kick will likely still not happen


Fabrice Santoro
I'll see if I can do it with a choked up grip and all arm.

J
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
If RHS is not fast, no kick would happen, no matter what technique was used :)

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
Yes and no. One could hit a high-arcing "lob kick" with modest to moderate topspin. This would hit the court at a very steep angle with a moderate amount of vertical speed (and spin) and would result in a straight-ahead kick. The RHS speed need not be high to hit this type of kick serve.

The way that elite players usually get the ball to hit the court at a steep angle is to impart a very generous amount of topspin. This requires a good amount of RHS. To achieve a twist (lateral) bounce requires a very fast RHS with more of that racket speed used for spin than forward ball speed.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Yes and no. One could hit a high-arcing "lob kick" with modest to moderate topspin. This would hit the court at a very steep angle with a moderate amount of vertical speed (and spin) and would result in a straight-ahead kick. The RHS speed need not be high to hit this type of kick serve.

The way that elite players usually get the ball to hit the court at a steep angle is to impart a very generous amount of topspin. This requires a good amount of RHS. To achieve a twist (lateral) bounce requires a very fast RHS with more of that racket speed used for spin than forward ball speed.
I can get 6+ feet by basically using my arm with no take back and choked up to the throat grip.

Not sure if I can make it it break right much.

J
 

Kevo

Legend
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...
Anything serve related I always go back to basics. And the first rule of serve is "The Toss is the Boss!" My students get real tired of me saying that, but try to find a really good server with an inconsistent or misplaced toss. That's like finding a 4 leaf clover. They hardly exist.

So the first thing you should do is move your toss to a place where you can hit the ball in a position more like FiReFTW's pics above.

The second thing is to slow down and don't go full speed. Hit like 40mph serves and figure out the toss and racquet angle and path that allows you to get the breaking action. It's very difficult to get a new motion at speed because you can't consciously control much at speed. I see this all the time. I can have people hitting nice spin in 20-30mins and the moment they think they have it down and try to swing normal speed it all goes away. That's because your muscle memory has to be trained. You have to be prepared to go slow for a while and work your way into it.

Also, to get that bit of rolling spin that makes it jump out when it hits you have to brush up a bit on the inside of the ball. On slice you go to the outside and kick you want to go up the inside toward the outside. It's easier to do that if you toss the ball a bit behind your head, or you get some lean to get underneath the ball as you swing. Starting out I always have people toss the ball behind. It's better to make it as easy as possible on yourself so you can work out the proper contact location and motion. Add in the extras after you have that down.

Enjoy. Learning to kick serve is one of the most fun things to learn in tennis IMO.
 
I often have the same problem. I can't hit nice, or at least decent, topspin and sliced serves but I'm struggling with getting any sidekick though I'm doing my best. My serve grip is somewhere between continental and eastern backhand. For totally flat serves I can also use strictly continental. I feel that the hybrid grip let's me get over the a lot easier than continental.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I often have the same problem. I can't hit nice, or at least decent, topspin and sliced serves but I'm struggling with getting any sidekick though I'm doing my best. My serve grip is somewhere between continental and eastern backhand. For totally flat serves I can also use strictly continental. I feel that the hybrid grip let's me get over the a lot easier than continental.
Your wording is a little confusing. Are you saying that you can hit a decent kick serve but not getting much twist (side bounce)?

The hybrid grip you mention should work fine (conti could also work). The problem might be that your spin rate for your topspin-slice might not be fast enuff (to generate the needed spiral spin). Take a look about what I wrote about the "fast brush" sound in post #57 and #65.
 
Your wording is a little confusing. Are you saying that you can hit a decent kick serve but not getting much twist (side bounce)?

The hybrid grip you mention should work fine (conti could also work). The problem might be that your spin rate for your topspin-slice might not be fast enuff (to generate the needed spiral spin). Take a look about what I wrote about the "fast brush" sound in post #57 and #65.
I said that I can hit topspin serves but not serves that are supposed to kick sideways (when you serve e.g. to the deuce court the ball bounces to the right towards the add court). My topspin serves just bounce straight ahead. To me there are three types of spin serves, slice, topspin and (side)kick.
 
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FiReFTW

Legend
Well, show it...

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
I never really videotaped trying to get big twist on such serves, and im injured currently so im not really playing, but I know that its very easily achievable from doing it many times.

Will send you some old videos on private now where you can see what im talking about where im extremely slowly swinging lightly, even tho the twist here is not that big cuz I was not going for it much, but its still present, if your not satisfied then I will make a video of me trying to get a big twist kick while not using legs or anything and with medium racquet speed.
 

BlueB

Legend
I've got the vids from Fire. It's a very nice service motion. IMO, he is humble, the RHS is still very good, as far as I can judge in slomo. I hope he posts them here, too.

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
 
I needed freaking 1 hour to make this, and I had to actually copy the ball a few times in the upper section and paste it around the first few frames because each layer I added started completely washing away the previous pictures more and more lol... until it was almost invisible, and I ended up skiping alot of frames between because its so much work, what the hell... screw this

With Kinovea you can put the ball location markers in and present the video or extract a frame for a picture. It takes some time but the process is there. The ball markers in a video can stay for one frame only or fade away over specified frames or last the entire video.

Toly did excellent Photoshop layering to make his composite pictures and videos for strokes. I don't know exactly how to do that but the Kinovea produces videos or pictures with lots features. By the way his Photobucket and Tinypics links are often not functioning now.
 
Anything serve related I always go back to basics. And the first rule of serve is "The Toss is the Boss!" My students get real tired of me saying that, but try to find a really good server with an inconsistent or misplaced toss. That's like finding a 4 leaf clover. They hardly exist.

So the first thing you should do is move your toss to a place where you can hit the ball in a position more like FiReFTW's pics above.

The second thing is to slow down and don't go full speed. Hit like 40mph serves and figure out the toss and racquet angle and path that allows you to get the breaking action. It's very difficult to get a new motion at speed because you can't consciously control much at speed. I see this all the time. I can have people hitting nice spin in 20-30mins and the moment they think they have it down and try to swing normal speed it all goes away. That's because your muscle memory has to be trained. You have to be prepared to go slow for a while and work your way into it.

Also, to get that bit of rolling spin that makes it jump out when it hits you have to brush up a bit on the inside of the ball. On slice you go to the outside and kick you want to go up the inside toward the outside. It's easier to do that if you toss the ball a bit behind your head, or you get some lean to get underneath the ball as you swing. Starting out I always have people toss the ball behind. It's better to make it as easy as possible on yourself so you can work out the proper contact location and motion. Add in the extras after you have that down.

Enjoy. Learning to kick serve is one of the most fun things to learn in tennis IMO.
Kevo is right. Keep it really simple and hit slow spinning serves. Everyone can talk about leg drive, rhs, etc but at the end of the day all those technical details have nothing to do with getting the spin you need.

Your racket path to the ball is all wrong for a kick serve... too vertical. As some have pointed out there needs to be a lot more angle in you’re wrist at contact, your way too open at contact, and your racket finish is too far back in towards your body(to the right).

Instead of hitting full serves you need to practice getting the right spin. Lots of ways to do it but the easiest way is taking little half swings brushing the ball from your 4 o’clock to 10. Stand at service line or between service and baseline just focus on spinning the ball. One clear objective is too try and hit the ball very high over the net and let the spin bring the ball back into the court. Don’t swing hard or worry about pace. You will need to try and exaggerate the motion of swinging up and then letting racket finish as much out to your left as possible with a very relaxed wrist and shoulder.

There are a lot of videos out there that go over the swing path so I’m not going to discuss as they can do it better. Important thing is to break the spin part down and understand that motion and how contact feels by itself long before you try and start doing full serves. Like learning a piece of music you just can’t try and play through a new song without breaking down the difficult parts bit by bit and practicing them slowly before you put it all together.

Once you can hit the kicker spin, you can start trying to slowly add pace and full serve motion to it. I have to practice it myself this way now and then if I don’t feel like I’m getting the kick I want, etc.

All those other details can help you hit it harder or more consistently, but those things aren’t usually the reason why someone doesn’t hit a kick serve.

Ball doesn’t care what you do it only cares about the racket path, face angle, etc at contact. If you can’t hit a really slow kick serve, you probably can’t hit one... or if you do you’re getting lucky and still don’t truly understand how you are doing it.

It takes time for most to add pace to the serve without losing the spin. When folks try to hit it hard they often quickly lose the kick
 
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