How To Improve Your Tennis Kick Serve
What is a kick serve in tennis, why would we use it and when?
What Is A Kick Serve?
The kick serve, in simple terms, is a topspin serve with a little bit of side spin which will make the ball bounce aggressively off the court and away from your opponent, if you execute it correctly.
Why Use A Kick Serve?
With the kick serve, your goal is to clear the net with a good margin and have enough spin on the ball to make it dip into the service box.
When To Use A Kick Serve?
This makes the kick serve the perfect option for the second serve, when you need a reliable serve, one that you know you can get in 95% of the time, yet make it hard for your opponent to attack with their return.
The mechanics of the kick serve are very different to a normal flat serve in tennis (first serve) and the slice serve in tennis, with those two serves, the racket travels outwards, towards the target and way into the court. On the kick serve, however, you want the racket to travel in line with the baseline, from left to right, if you’re a right-handed tennis player. Right to left, if you’re a left-handed tennis player.
In this lesson, Top Tennis Training coach, Simon Konov will show you seven tennis kick serve drills that will help you improve your kick serve and make it more reliable and a weapon.
In this drill, you start off with your racket above your head, and place the ball on the strings, holding it in place with your non-hitting hand. From this position, you simply brush upwards on the ball and let the ball roll off your hand, and then pronate out fully using your forearm and shoulder to do so. This will be the basis for developing a good action on your kick serve.
Shadow swings in line with the baseline. Now that you know the difference in swing paths, when we compare the flat serve to a kick serve, it’s important that our body can feel that difference without a ball. All you have to do is shadow your service motion, but use that left to right swing path, using the baseline as your guide.
Up and out. In this drill, you will be sitting on a chair or a bench, in a side-on position, and hit kick serves from the trophy position. This drill will force you to stay side on, it’s simply impossible for you to open up your shoulders or hips when sitting down, so you’ll get the feel of staying in that side on position, during the serve. This is vital for hitting good kick serves in tennis.
In this drill, you will serve off one knee. You’re in a lunge position, with your back knee resting on the court. From here, you maintain that position and hit serves from the trophy position. Once again, this will block your shoulders and hips from rotating and will force you to hit up and across the ball.
Over the fence. In this drill, you stand just a few feet away from the court fence and hit your kick serve over the fence, focusing on brushing up on the ball.
Wide serves. In this drill, stand close to the singles alley and work on hitting kick serves into the advantage side service box. From this position in the court, it will be very hard to get the kick serve wide enough if you open your body too early. This drill will reinforce that side-on position.
Back and up. In this drill, you stand around 6-8 feet behind the baseline and hit serves from there. On the baseline, we can sometimes cheat and still get the ball to kick, even when we don’t lift the ball properly.