Some people say that every shot in tennis is important and to some extent this is quite true as one lax shot could lose you the point.
However, the first shot you hit, be it a serve or return has far more consequence than a simple half volley over the net to continue a rally.
The serve is one of the main shots in your armoury and you do not have a choice but to perfect it to the best possible degree. Your tennis coach should be focusing your attention at every session how to make improvements to your serve.
Your serve can dictate the game and can win the point outright without your opponent not being to return it. It also sets out your game-plan, whether you will play aggressively or you intend to employ a more cat and mouse philosophy.
Learning to vary your serve and surprise your opponent is an effective tactic, don’t just try and power your way through every serve or you may soon find you have burnt all your energy up. Your opponent may have developed a tactic to defend such a serve such as standing well behind the baseline and you are simply wasting energy.
The Kick Serve
The kick serve is a variation on a normal serve in that the ball bounces higher than usual, commonly around the head or shoulders making it difficult for your opponent to make a return shot.
For the ball to cross the baseline at such a height, there are three conditions that must be met,
- The ball must bounce at high speed.
- The ball must bounce at a steep angle.
- The ball must land in the service box well before the service line.
If the ball bounces at a slow pace or at a low angle then its maximum height will be attained long before it reaches the baseline. If the ball lands close to the service line then the ball will carry at quite a shallow angle and will thus still be on the rise by the time it reaches the baseline.
How To Execute A Perfect Kick Serve
The most effective way of delivering a decent kick serve is to hit the ball down from as high as possible, just clearing the net then lands steeply at a high speed in the opposite service box.
If this can be achieved utilising top spin it will be more affected, as this causes the ball to dive down onto the court at a higher speed and at a steeper angle. This is a difficult shot to execute as the racket head must be rising as it strikes the ball in order to generate topspin.
A good way to do this is to hit the ball just before the racket reaches the maximum height. So that you get the impression that you are hitting the ball upwards thus creating end-over-end topspin, at an angle above the horizontal, but in fact the ball must come off the strings about five or six degrees below the horizontal in order to land steeply on the court.
Making the kick serve as a part of your service armoury will certainly keep your opponent on his toes and not knowing to expect what is coming over the net next.