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Kick Serve vs Flat Serve | How to Distinguish Between The Two

September 13, 2019


One question that I get very frequently
from my students is how to distinguish between flat and kick serves when
watching the professional players. And often if we’re just looking at the
player from this side we cannot see the trajectory of the ball and we only see
the swing path. The swing path itself is not a good indicator on what kind of serve
was performed. So even a flat serve will sometimes have a rightward swing path
which will depend on the desired location of the player. So if a player
goes out wide and the racket will often go towards the right on right-handed
players and also it depends on the location of the toss. So some players who prefer
to toss the ball at 12 o’clock for all their serves will often have a rightward
swing path regardless of the serve. So in today’s video I’m gonna help you
distinguish between a flat serve and the kick serve and also how you can use this
information to improve your own serve The key biomechanical difference between
a flat serve and a kick serve is the amount of torso rotation that is
occurring on these two serves. And the kick serve does not have torso rotation.
So what you will see on a kick serve is that the feet are positioned
sideways. So as the player is executing the serve the feet are gonna be
positioned sideways until the racquet starts to go down. Once the racquet
starts to go down and then the entire body is gonna start opening up and the
player will land and then get ready for the next shot. On a flat serve however
because there’s more torso rotation the feet will instantly turn and this is
an indicator that a player has attempted a flat serve versus a kick serve. Another way to differentiate between a
flat serve and a kick serve is the positioning of the shoulders at contact.
So on a flat serve the player will rotate into the contact. So as soon as
the racquet drops the rotation starts and by the time the player makes contact
the shoulders are going to be positioned pointing towards the other side of the
court while the right shoulder is going to be above the left shoulder. And as a
result of this torso rotation the tip of the racket is going to be positioned
more pointing towards the sky with a slight leftward bend. This is another way
you can tell the difference between a kick serve and a flat serve. On the other
hand, on a kick serve the tip of the racket is going to be positioned
pointing more towards the side and in my case as a right-hander it’s going to be
positioned to the left and the primary reason for that is that the players are
going to be sideways at contact. So if I’m sideways at contact it’s very
natural for my racket to be positioned towards the left if I toss the ball at
12 o’clock. And in that same position if I rotate it becomes very unnatural to
keep this position of the racket. So naturally and the racket head
straightens out. So an easy way to differentiate between a flat serve and a
kick serve is by looking at the tip of the racket number one and number two by
looking at the shoulder position at contact. And finally, the easiest way to spot a
kick serve versus a flat serve is by simply looking at the elbow. So on a kick
serve because the player is staying sideways and usually the toss is a 12
o’clock the elbow is going to stay behind the body as the racket drops. So as
the racket drops and the serve accelerates, the elbow will stay behind. A
flat serve, however, will have an immediate rotation of the torso as soon
as the racket drops. So as a racket drops in here this elbow is gonna come out and
you’re gonna see it on the outside of the body. So on the kick serve it’s gonna
stay in and on a flat serve the elbow is gonna come out immediately and this is
the initiation of the torso rotation. So as you attempt a flat serve the elbow
comes out and then you just simply continue the rotation into the contact. And knowing this information can help
your own serve. You have to realize that you should never rotate when attempting
a kick serve because what you want to achieve is the tip of the racket being
positioned to the side and then once you make contact while your hand goes down
the tip of the racket goes up over the ball and that is what creates the spin.
And the easiest way to achieve this is by doing two things, number one you have
to get the toss to at least 12 o’clock. You will have a very difficult time
spinning the serve if your toss is towards the right for right-handed
players. So number one you got to toss it to at least 12 o’clock or maybe even to
11 o’clock. And now most importantly, you’re gonna have to hold your shoulders
sideways. Do not allow your body to rotate. So if you do that, you stay sideways,
you will be able to get spin on the ball. On your flat serve, you must allow your
torso to rotate freely. So the toss can be actually in the same
position as your kick serve. You can leave it at 12 o’clock
or if that feels uncomfortable you can even leave it a little bit more towards
your right if you’re right-handed, maybe at 1 o’clock. And now as you accelerate
the serve you simply have to allow your shoulders to rotate and not hold that
sideways position. So basically, you toss the ball and then you’re going to
accelerate and rotate into the ball. So the next time you watch your favorite
players serve you will exactly know what kind of serve they’re attempting by
doing 3 things, you can look at their feet, you can look at their shoulder
position, or you can look at their elbow position. Thank you guys for watching
this video hope you enjoyed it, if you have any
questions leave a comment in the section below I’ll be happy to respond. Hit that
like button and subscribe if you haven’t already. I’ll see you next time.

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