Kick Serve. What Is It and How to Hit It?
In the game of tennis, perfecting serving can allow you to score points even before the player has a chance to return the ball. Now, I’m not saying that you will hit an ace every single time you serve, as this also depends on how good your opponent is. Most importantly, you need to make sure you’ve mastered at least the three main types of tennis serves if you want to have higher chances of winning.
In this article, we will discuss one of the most powerful tennis serves a player can learn – the kick. This serve is also known as the topspin serve. It gets its name as a result of the fact that the ball is applied with a lot of topspin for maximum control and a few more benefits. We will discuss what these benefits are, but more importantly, you will learn how to hit the kick and what you need to do in order for the practice to quickly pay off.
All You Need to Know About the Kick Serve
Before we dive into the steps necessary to hit a perfect kick serve, you need to understand when this technique comes in handy and when to avoid it. Even though it can be a powerful weapon in your arsenal, it can also harm your tennis game if not used carefully. It’s also usually used as the second serve. Thanks to the amount of control it offers, you have less chance of risking a double fault.
The kick is a serve that’s intended to exploit certain weaknesses of your opponent. Let’s put this into context. Because this serve offers the highest amount of control of many other serves, you can have a better chance of taking advantage of your opponent’s weak backhand or forehand game.
Let’s say that your opponent couldn’t return a ball with the backhand grip even if their life depended on it. By using the kick technique to serve, you can aim the ball so that they would have to use a backhand to return it. Now, this won’t always work, but it will either force them to waste more energy on positioning themselves for a forehand hit, or risk it all and use the backhand. Either way, it’s to your advantage.
How to Hit the Perfect Kick Serve
There are several necessary steps you must practice in sequence before being able to practice the serve in full. Here is what you have to do:
Perfect Your Grip
In tennis, understanding the different types of grips and their advantages is crucial, and not just for serving. In most cases, both professional and not, the kick is executed with the Continental grip. However, more experienced players find more comfort in using the Eastern backhand grip as well.
Hit The Ball at an Angle
Before you can worry about tossing the ball perfectly, it’s a great idea to practice hitting it the right way first, without the right tossing action. What this means is that you must perfect hitting the ball at the right angle.
As opposed to the flat serve, where you hit the ball flat with the strings, the kick serve requires you to tilt the racket and brush up on the ball. After you’ve perfected hitting it at this angle and not shooting the ball outside the court, then you can focus on learning how to toss it.
How to Toss a Kick Serve Ball
Now that you feel comfortable hitting the ball as you’re supposed to, you can finally start practicing how to toss it. In order to pull off the perfect kick serve, you have to get comfortable with tossing the ball more to your left and a bit behind you. This will help to brush up the ball more efficiently, as it’s not in front of you like a flat serve would require.
While you’re tossing the ball, it should arch over your head just enough so that it doesn’t go too much to the left. As I mentioned, this will take quite a bit of practice, but it’s definitely worth learning at the end of the day.
One of the main problems you will have to overcome here includes throwing the ball too much to the left. But, after you get the hang of it, it will feel completely natural. Just make sure you focus on your lower back more when hitting the gym, as this serve depends on that a lot.
How to Position Yourself for a Kick Serve
Finally, the last step before slamming the ball and hoping the opponent doesn’t return it successfully. Positioning your body properly until the very second you hit the ball with your tennis racket is crucial to a successful serve. So, how should you do it?
After you’ve gotten the hang of everything else, your body will naturally want to stay sideways for you to be comfortable at hitting the ball. This is how it’s supposed to be. However, you need to keep in mind not to tilt before you hit the ball. Remaining turned sideways is key and you should stay that way until you make contact with the ball.
If you start turning prematurely, you will either end up making a fault or hitting a slice serve, as a slice requires your body to turn from sideways towards the net as you hit the ball. Remember, to hit a perfect kick serve, keep your body positioned sideways for as long as you can until hitting the ball. As always, it will get easier with practice.
Mastering the kick, or any type of tennis serve provides wonderful benefits and makes your tennis match a lot more interesting. With it, you have improved control over the ball and the topspin applied forces the ball to land harder and bounce off way higher. Also, one of the main benefits of the kick is using the added control to exploit your opponent’s weakness. So, aim correctly and don’t hold anything back.
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