Coaching Tip - August 2012

    Improve Your Second Serve

    By using topspin

    Many Tennis players find the topspin serve or as it is often called the “Kick” or” American Twist”  serve difficult to master.  Players with limited options on their second serve are vulnerable to hitting double faults or to be under regular attack from their opponent’s returns.
    The topspin or Kick serve can be the most reliable second serve once the technique is learned.
    The server can then hit the serve with confidence so as to loop or land the ball into the service box with topspin or “kick” similar to a topspin forehand or backhand groundstroke.

    Learn the Technique

    • Use the Continental or Eastern backhand grip

    The Continental grip is obtained by placing the base knuckle of the index finger on the second bevel on the racquet grip.
    With the Eastern backhand grip your base knuckle on the index finger and the heel of the hand are placed on the first bevel on the racquet grip.

    • Toss the ball above and slightly behind your head in the direction of your non hitting arm

    i.e. to the left for right hander’s or to the right for left hander’s

    • Right handed players should swing the racquet from the 7 o’clock position on the ball through to the 1 o’clock position to impart topspin and the kick to the right.

    Left handed players aim for contact from the 5 o’clock position through to 11 o’clock on the ball

    • Aim to hit the ball high over the net allowing the topspin to loop to drop the ball into the service box
    • After the impact the racquet should finish on the racquet arm side of the body i.e. to the right for right hander’s or to the left for left hander’s

    Practice the topspin serve action at your coaching and/or training sessions to establish the new muscle memory necessary to perfect the technique.

    The use of the topspin or “kick” serve allows

    • the ball to travel slower with more loop or flight on the ball compared to a flat serve
    • the ball to bounce higher making returns more difficult
    • the server more time to get closer to the net for an easier volley
    • the server to stay back and hit a more aggressive groundstroke with their second shot

    Players should learn to use a combination of the Serve and volley tactic and staying back to hit aggressive ground strokes to keep your opponent guessing.
    In this way your opponent(s) are often taken out of their comfort zone and are not allowed to settle into a rhythm during the match or training session.

    The topspin serve can be used very effectively when playing doubles by

    • serving to the backhand so as to establish a good net position with both players at the net
    • allowing the server’s partner to poach or cut off the return of serve as a result of the topspin or kick on the serve

    Experiment by using the tips re the topspin or Kick serve during your training sessions or with a basket of balls at your local court so that you have the confidence to use this stroke as a part of your game play on match day.

    These skills can be learned and/or improved by taking some private lessons with the Club Professional at your local Tennis Club.

    I hope that you can adopt the coaching tips above so that you can become more consistent with your Second Serve and as a result help take your tennis game to the next level.
    Try not to confuse yourself by thinking too much.
    Keep it Simple.
    Relax and let it happen

    Let me know if you can think of any other options to help you achieve a more consistent and effective game.

    Tennis the game of a lifetime

    Contact me by Email if you have any comments or helpful Tennis hints.
    Let me know the things that work for you.

    Coach Steve