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

Sam still doing it that way? Recall seeiing her finishing primarily on her right side for her kick serves some 5 years ago. Watching her in Wuhan right now against Amanda A. Seems to be finishing more in front or across her body for second serves
Watched a recent highlights package against Golubic and didn't see a single same side finish so I think you are right. Interesting.

Thiem used to have a same side finish (44s):

That motion is from a few years ago but I think he is still doing it (38s).

Johnson does it frequently, but even more so on the ad court (10:50):

Risk factor is apparently high for the poor racquet (10:45):

There must be others, surely?
 
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FiReFTW

Legend
You've got good RHS, in despite of effortless style.
However, it seems the bounce is straight up. It's a nice height, though.

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
See thats exactly the type of rhs I was talking about when I meant not fast, good example :D But I guess since your definition of that is fast then it doesn't apply, with like 2 or 3 times slower speed than that I guess its true that its next to impossible to do it haha.
 

Kevo

Legend
@Kevo


Not true. I could do it in my 50s (nearly 15 yrs ago) but can't do it now cuz of shoulder damage (volleyball) and a significantly impaired left hip.
Yeah, I saw that, but I didn't take it that he was referring to me. I keep thinking I'm going to take some more videos, but I don't have any space on my cheapo iPhone, and I may not get an upgrade until next year cause them phones are so expensive that I guess it will just have to wait.
 

Kevo

Legend
I did actually post a vid last year in the kick serve challenge. This is not what I would usually do in a match, but the goal was to stand really close to the center service mark and hit the serve wide of the doubles alley. You can see it took me a few tries as it was oddly uncomfortable standing on the mark like that, but you can see the path of the ball and how short and wide you can hit even with very little space to work with for the angle.

WideKick
 
This illustrates the spin axes for the kick, slice and flat serves. There is only one spin axis. But any spin axis can be specified by 3 components of spin in a coordinate system. Here they use
1) pure side spin, a vertical component, Z(upward)
2) pure top spin - a horizontal component , Y (leftward)
3) gyrospin - forward component X(forward)

The longer the arrow is, the higher the spin rate. The kick serve is significantly higher in spin rate.



In the OP, what direction is "lateral"? I assumed that it was any direction perpendicular to the ball's trajectory. ?

If you think about the direction of the spin axes indicated by the arrows you can understand the bounces, especially the bounce to the right for the kick serve.

Imagine the spin axis for the kick serve and the ball spinning. Lower that spinning ball on the court and the first felt that is touched by the court will come out of the page to the left side. That felt motion would make the ball bounce to the right.

The most important feature for the kick serve and bounce to the right is that the spin axis must be tilted more.

Consider also the felt motion for the slice and flat serves - first felt touch is nearer the axis = lower felt velocity.

The racket path is complicated for a high level serve and videos show racket head rotations in 3 D and impact effects. But the net effect of impact has to be as shown by the ball spin diagram. The racket more or less has to move perpendicular to the spin axis shown in the picture. I consider that mostly 'lateral' to the ball's trajectory and it is required to show diagrams or measurements because words cannot describe tennis strokes accurately.

From earlier post -

"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."

Does anyone agree or disagree?

Discussion of the diagram.
 
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BlueB

Legend
See thats exactly the type of rhs I was talking about when I meant not fast, good example :D But I guess since your definition of that is fast then it doesn't apply, with like 2 or 3 times slower speed than that I guess its true that its next to impossible to do it haha.
When you focus on the racquet itself, you can see it's actually quite fast in the upward direction. He doesn't apply much of the leg and thorso drive, which can look confusing if one expected the speed from those components.

Btw, I think your RHS is higher, as far as I could judge from your slow-mo videos, thus you have the sideways kick component lacking in this poster.

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
 

FiReFTW

Legend
When you focus on the racquet itself, you can see it's actually quite fast in the upward direction. He doesn't apply much of the leg and thorso drive, which can look confusing if one expected the speed from those components.

Btw, I think your RHS is higher, as far as I could judge from your slow-mo videos, thus you have the sideways kick component lacking in this poster.

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
Yes I guess the RHS is not so slow but he can swing like 2 times faster at least, thats what i meant when i said slow rhs, very casual swing speed.
And if by slow you mean like 10% swing speed then i guess it really is impossible to get the ball to kick hahaha.
 

BlueB

Legend
Ah, you know I don't mean 10%
I mean about 50-60% of an average speed of an average 4.0-ish player (decent rec level).

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J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Sorry not much lateral break as requested by the OP.

I can try for some more today if I have a break but my usual is pretty straight and I have to make a conscious effort to try to get it to jump right, usually I do that as a changeup first serve in case I miss.

J
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Got a new mount to hold my phone on a teaching cart and tried it out yesterday. Worked on my 2nd serve for 20-30 minutes and took some video if you are interested in what I do in practice.



First choked up grip.


Then finishing behind the back.


Then normal.


J
Thats a cool drill behind the back, im gonna try that, really good videos, very helpful.

How come ur rotating more on the last video and not swinging as much sideways btw? Your getting quite alot of slice on the ball not really kick.
Just wondering, obviously if you can serve 2nd serves with that kind of speed and consistently its a beast.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Thats a cool drill behind the back, im gonna try that, really good videos, very helpful.

How come ur rotating more on the last video and not swinging as much sideways btw? Your getting quite alot of slice on the ball not really kick.
Just wondering, obviously if you can serve 2nd serves with that kind of speed and consistently its a beast.
Ya, my normal second is more pacey and less kicky, I'll put more spin and less speed sometimes, but usually my 2nd is a little stronger version of that last video.

J
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
My question is why a lefty really wants a kick serve out wide to deuce? The lefty slice out wide to ad makes sense since it slices away from the BH which naturally has less reach than a FH. That's why righties like to develop a kicker out wide to ad and a kick serve up the T to deuce.

I play a lefty and love his kick serve (once I remember he's a lefty). I just align my body with the bounce and the thing magically shows up on my FH wheelhouse. His slice is dirty however and generally leads to a flailing lob return.

If I was lefty I'd try to develop slices and kickers down the T to deuce to jam or stretch the BH return. I'd avoid trying to put second serves out wide to deuce.
 

mainmain

New User
Hi,
Some short news after this tsunami of advices: after working a while it's getting a bit better but... as someone was observing, getting this lateral spin is interesting in my case only if I can mix with other zones and spins. As a lefty this lateral bounce would push the opponent further wide, but on FH side, which not as good as it is for you righties.
I figured out I could obtain a better "surprise factor" with my ugly inverted slice, with which it is easy to get balls drifting to the left. See this video below for the kind of mix I am envisioning.

Meanwhile, I will keep trying as described in the OP, but I am not sure I have what it takes to master a nice kick.

Any thoughts are welcome!

edit: haha that's fun, I didn't see @Dartagnan64 's last post before writing this. I think that gives credit to the thinking above :laughing: :cool:
 
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Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Sorry not much lateral break as requested by the OP.

I can try for some more today if I have a break but my usual is pretty straight and I have to make a conscious effort to try to get it to jump right, usually I do that as a changeup first serve in case I miss.

J
Come on J011Y it was made clear earlier that no one giving advice could do it themselves...
 

tonylg

Semi-Pro
I'm not too old to get kickers to break right, just too old to make videos.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

onehandbh

Legend
As a mental exercise when practicing, try to hit the inside of the ball as you swing up)

(eg the part of the ball facing right side fence)
 
did we ever figure it out??

FWIW here is the best rec and maybe pro kickers I have seen. This guy used to post on here but I forget who he was. Maybe he will spill the beans:

That is an especially good camera angle because, by chance, at 1 sec, the ball after the bounce is going directly away from the camera. It does not go to the right or left in the frame. But the ball before the bounce moves to the left as it moves forward. That is a kick serve bounce. Too bad the frame rate is 30 fps? and the racket goes out of the frame.

240 fps, fast shutter speed is required to see the kick serve strings touch the ball while rising higher - because it occurs only a few milliseconds before the racket reaches its highest point.

Another camera view from the side, can show the closed racket tilt at impact for the kick serve. The few videos that I have found show about 13-15 d. Move camera along the side line until one edge of the racket frame blocks the other edge at impact. Check video and move until one edge blocks the other. Start by placing the camera 2 steps in from the baseline corner of the sideline. I hope that poster is still around. Getting that racket tilt video takes a few serves, a few minutes......................

Racket forward tilt at impact for the kick serve. 'Edge on' view of the racket during impact. However, it is better to observe the racket just before impact so that impact affects are not included. Imagine the camera position to get this 'edge on' frame.
 
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Kevo

Legend
My question is why a lefty really wants a kick serve out wide to deuce?
I hit kicks to lefties in the ad court and it works fine as long as I keep mixing it in with other serves. I don't see why it wouldn't work for a lefty in the deuce court. Any kick not hit well or hit too often to the same spot is going to get clobbered by a good returner. That's why I always recommend moving the serve around and keeping the returner guessing.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I hit kicks to lefties in the ad court and it works fine as long as I keep mixing it in with other serves. I don't see why it wouldn't work for a lefty in the deuce court. Any kick not hit well or hit too often to the same spot is going to get clobbered by a good returner. That's why I always recommend moving the serve around and keeping the returner guessing.
I've played a lot of really good lefties in my life. I have not once said "oh I hope he hits me the kicker."

J
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Toly had picked up that Murray had a J toss. He has a post or thread comparing Murray and Dogopolov.
What is weird, is WHY a j toss would make a difference on the twist element. I know its true. Whenever I get those unicorn serves that never seem to be in front of a camera, that explode off the court, its always off of some crazy toss.

FWIW I don't think Murray has a twist serve...
 

mainmain

New User
Hi,
Some short news after this tsunami of advices: after working a while it's getting a bit better but... as someone was observing, getting this lateral spin is interesting in my case only if I can mix with other zones and spins. As a lefty this lateral bounce would push the opponent further wide, but on FH side, which not as good as it is for you righties.
I figured out I could obtain a better "surprise factor" with my ugly inverted slice, with which it is easy to get balls drifting to the left. See this video below for the kind of mix I am envisioning.

Meanwhile, I will keep trying as described in the OP, but I am not sure I have what it takes to master a nice kick.

Any thoughts are welcome!

edit: haha that's fun, I didn't see @Dartagnan64 's last post before writing this. I think that gives credit to the thinking above :laughing: :cool:
Nobody reacted to my last post... I know this is technically off-course from the OP, but don't you think inverted slice is a cheap yet convenient way to annoy opponents?
I mean when one doesn't have a kick that really bounces wide, of course.
 
What is weird, is WHY a j toss would make a difference on the twist element. I know its true. Whenever I get those unicorn serves that never seem to be in front of a camera, that explode off the court, its always off of some crazy toss.

FWIW I don't think Murray has a twist serve...
I think that a ball should be tossed to where you want to impact it for your particular serving technique. I have not see the limitations described on how the toss should be performed for each type serve. The Murray toss shows that a J toss works for what appears to be a flat serve.

Kick serve - A large number of posters still seem to believe you 'toss the ball over your head for a kick serve' despite the video fact that between toss release and impact the head moves forward a significant distance in a high level kick serve. I've spelled that out 50 times with Toly's great illustrations, but frequent posters still often say 'toss the ball over your head for a kick serve'.

For all types of high level serve impacts, the head moves forward quit a bit from toss release to impact. Video evidence.

Not kick serves - Murray has a high toss. Toly posted a thread comparing Murray's and Dolgoppolov's serve tosses. The tosses are very different. Dolgoppolov has a low toss. With a low toss the server has little time between toss release and impact, so racket movement must start very quickly.

I don't know the average tossing techniques being used for the high level ATP serves. It is hard to get arm angles is infont or to the side for each type of serve and individual body orientation from internet videos where the camera position is not controlled.

There was a publication on toss location of elite girls (Elliott?). The impact location moved around a lot. That is the most scientific information that I have seen on the toss location.

On the forum, there are lots of comments on serve placement, but they lack evidence.

What is needed from high level serves -
1) serve placement measurements for high level serves of each type with percentages for each placement. There is a Spanish tournament study of toss height that is the best thing that I have seen.
2) serve toss techniques (Murray has a J toss with arm to the side and Dolgoppolov's arm is forward. Others? )

Not much good information is at hand on tossing variety and why.

The Tennis Toss Nuthouse............
 
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Nobody reacted to my last post... I know this is technically off-course from the OP, but don't you think inverted slice is a cheap yet convenient way to annoy opponents?
I mean when one doesn't have a kick that really bounces wide, of course.
With slow video, 30 or 60 fps, the fastest part of the serve and hardest to see is the internal shoulder rotation (ISR) that might indicate that the serve is a high level technique or not. I can't see what is happening with only one or two frames (of ISR) in the last 30 milliseconds before impact. Repeat with high speed video in bright direct sunlight to reduce motion blur.

In your serve at 33 seconds, you do not appear to be using ISR for speed because you have a small angle between the forearm and racket and ISR occurs mostly after impact. The ad camera angle is better because the hand is traveling directly away from the camera and that reduces motion blur and shows the forearm-to-racket angle well.

I use high level serves as a standard and look for differences. I can't evaluate miscellaneous techniques because there is no standard.

I use a 'reverse slice' serve 2-3 times a match. Right handed server to right handed receiver. ISR and pronation are used for racket orientation but not for speed and the racket head passes to the left of the ball. It is slower than a slice serve but spins in the opposite direction and throws off the returner. It often gets mistakes and usually the returner does not attack it. Low level tennis. Not seen in high level tennis.

For your leftie 'inverted slice' serve the racket head passes to the left of the ball and for my rightie 'reverse slice' the racket head passes to the left of the ball. I guess they are different techniques.......................... We both might be producing a ball with the same spin direction?
 
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Kevo

Legend
What is weird, is WHY a j toss would make a difference on the twist element. I know its true. Whenever I get those unicorn serves that never seem to be in front of a camera, that explode off the court, its always off of some crazy toss.
The toss is the boss you know. :)

The serve motion and swing follow the ball. If you toss the ball in a different spot than normal you will get a different serve. So what you said makes perfect sense to me. The trick is to figure out what that toss forced you to change about your serve and to see if you can effect that change without the special toss, or if not, just learn to repeat the toss.
 

Kevo

Legend
Kick serve - A large number of posters still seem to believe you 'toss the ball over your head for a kick serve' despite the video fact that between toss release and impact the head moves forward a significant distance in a high level kick serve. I've spelled that out 50 times with Toly's great illustrations, but frequent posters still often say 'toss the ball over your head for a kick serve'.
That's because they're right to say it. I've never had a single student that didn't understand that toss over your head means that they are hitting the ball when it's over their head. The intention of the toss is to put the ball where you will hit it from. That's a pretty basic understanding that gets sorted out very quickly when you teach someone to serve.

What's great about the toss over your head instruction is when they start to lean into the court more as they progress they still understand that the ball needs to move to over where their head will be when they hit it. It's not even something you usually have to explain by that point.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
The toss is the boss you know. :)

The serve motion and swing follow the ball. If you toss the ball in a different spot than normal you will get a different serve. So what you said makes perfect sense to me. The trick is to figure out what that toss forced you to change about your serve and to see if you can effect that change without the special toss, or if not, just learn to repeat the toss.
I think there is an element of accelleration that helps. On tosses that are off, I often have to rush to hit the toss...more accel, more spin.

But presumably the location is not different with a j toss, but the initial vector of the ball is different.
 

Kevo

Legend
Nobody reacted to my last post... I know this is technically off-course from the OP, but don't you think inverted slice is a cheap yet convenient way to annoy opponents?
I mean when one doesn't have a kick that really bounces wide, of course.
Any serve you can hit that is effective for you should be a serve that is in your tool bag. Is an inverted slice cheap? I don't think so. Lefties will hit righty inverted slice all day long if it's working for them. I would expect any player to hit any shot that's working for them repeatedly until it quits working. My job as an opponent is to make you question every shot you have in your bag of tricks and I welcome the challenge. :)
 

Kevo

Legend
I think there is an element of accelleration that helps. On tosses that are off, I often have to rush to hit the toss...more accel, more spin.

But presumably the location is not different with a j toss, but the initial vector of the ball is different.
The rushing aspect may help for sure, but I wouldn't expect the flight path of the ball by itself to have much of any impact.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I think that a ball should be tossed to where you want to impact it for your particular serving technique. I have not see the limitations described on how the toss should be performed for each type serve. The Murray toss shows that a J toss works for what appears to be a flat serve.

Kick serve - A large number of posters still seem to believe you 'toss the ball over your head for a kick serve' despite the video fact that between toss release and impact the head moves forward a significant distance in a high level kick serve. I've spelled that out 50 times with Toly's great illustrations, but frequent posters still often say 'toss the ball over your head for a kick serve'.

For all types of high level serve impacts, the head moves forward quit a bit from toss release to impact. Video evidence.

Not kick serves - Murray has a high toss. Toly posted a thread comparing Murray's and Dolgoppolov's serve tosses. The tosses are very different. Dolgoppolov has a low toss. With a low toss the server has little time between toss release and impact, so racket movement must start very quickly.

I don't know the average tossing techniques being used for the high level ATP serves. It is hard to get arm angles is infont or to the side for each type of serve and individual body orientation from internet videos where the camera position is not controlled.

There was a publication on toss location of elite girls (Elliott?). The impact location moved around a lot. That is the most scientific information that I have seen on the toss location.

On the forum, there are lots of comments on serve placement, but they lack evidence.

What is needed from high level serves -
1) serve placement measurements for high level serves of each type with percentages for each placement. There is a Spanish tournament study of toss height that is the best thing that I have seen.
2) serve toss techniques (Murray has a J toss with arm to the side and Dolgoppolov's arm is forward. Others? )

Not much good information is at hand on tossing variety and why.

The Tennis Toss Nuthouse............
fwiw, the crazy tosses I mention are not exactly behind the head. There is like 360 degrees of reference and the terms behind can be confusing. If I wanted to hit my best kicker the ball would be well into the court and at 12pm but that 12pm point is relative to me twisted torso so its tough to describe. And there is a kicker and a twist. IMHO the twist which the OP is looking for has a different toss than the kicker.

Can you hit those serves?
 

mainmain

New User
I think that a ball should be tossed to where you want to impact it for your particular serving technique. I have not see the limitations described on how the toss should be performed for each type serve. The Murray toss shows that a J toss works for what appears to be a flat serve.

Kick serve - A large number of posters still seem to believe you 'toss the ball over your head for a kick serve' despite the video fact that between toss release and impact the head moves forward a significant distance in a high level kick serve. I've spelled that out 50 times with Toly's great illustrations, but frequent posters still often say 'toss the ball over your head for a kick serve'.

For all types of high level serve impacts, the head moves forward quit a bit from toss release to impact. Video evidence.

Not kick serves - Murray has a high toss. Toly posted a thread comparing Murray's and Dolgoppolov's serve tosses. The tosses are very different. Dolgoppolov has a low toss. With a low toss the server has little time between toss release and impact, so racket movement must start very quickly.

I don't know the average tossing techniques being used for the high level ATP serves. It is hard to get arm angles is infont or to the side for each type of serve and individual body orientation from internet videos where the camera position is not controlled.

There was a publication on toss location of elite girls (Elliott?). The impact location moved around a lot. That is the most scientific information that I have seen on the toss location.

On the forum, there are lots of comments on serve placement, but they lack evidence.

What is needed from high level serves -
1) serve placement measurements for high level serves of each type with percentages for each placement. There is a Spanish tournament study of toss height that is the best thing that I have seen.
2) serve toss techniques (Murray has a J toss with arm to the side and Dolgoppolov's arm is forward. Others? )

Not much good information is at hand on tossing variety and why.

The Tennis Toss Nuthouse............
Concerning toss - and I quote @Chas Tennis 's post but others are concerned as well - don't you think the tossing arm angle (with regards to baseline) can have an important effect on shoulder line orientation, ESR and coiling/uncoiling, etc ?

I mean, for a similar impact point, the way the ball has been tossed slightly changes upper body "balance" and can make things harder or easier to achieve a proper prep for a given serve, right ? Of course you can find pros owning all the possible serves with all the possible tosses. But, for rec players, I guess there should be general guidelines of toss arm orientation.

In my case for example, I feel far better when tossing more along shoulder line (toward the net) for flatter serves, and tossing more parallel to baseline for top spin.

As a corollary, maybe exotic tosses such as J-toss can have an interesting effect because of subtle adjustment in body position or dynamics due to this specific gesture.
(Yes, I agree, I have to stop overthinking in tennis 8-B :X3:)
 
That's because they're right to say it. I've never had a single student that didn't understand that toss over your head means that they are hitting the ball when it's over their head. The intention of the toss is to put the ball where you will hit it from. That's a pretty basic understanding that gets sorted out very quickly when you teach someone to serve.

What's great about the toss over your head instruction is when they start to lean into the court more as they progress they still understand that the ball needs to move to over where their head will be when they hit it. It's not even something you usually have to explain by that point.
In videos, high level players toss the ball to where they want to impact it. At toss release, the head is low and back, not near impact. For the kick serve, they move consideably so that their heads are about under impact but that is at a later tiem than the toss release. So the instruction is not correct and misleading due to the time of release and the later time of impact and the head movement.

I posted some Toly pictures many times but I believe that the photo hosting website TinyPics has just stopped the link to the picture. If the head moves forward after toss release the instruction is misleading. The movements of the head can be seen in ATP and WTA videos.

Some lower level but effective kick serves, including by a Youtube instructor, do not move the head forward very much.

Some posters of forum serves do not move their heads forward very much. I speculate in some cases it's due to the poor wording of the instruction. In the past I used to take tennis instructions literally.
 
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