How to perform kick-serve

The serve in modern tennis is a big weapon that all players try to use with high effectiveness. Especially on ATP Tour top male players are rarely broken because good combination of power and precision gives them huge advantage over the rival who tries to return. However missing 1st serve shouldn’t mean that server can’t win the point so that is why professional players use kick-serve as a second delivery to limit offensive possibilities for returning opponent.


ATP and WTA levels are different than national or recreational level. Players who compete for money spend almost entire life on the court and in the gym to maximally increase own chances for the final win. On the other hand people who take the racket after the work or juniors who dream to become next stars have different objectives than athletes who we can observe on TV. However kick-serve is the skill that can and should be applicable at all levels to be able to put pressure on the opponent right from the beginning.


We all know how difficult to answer good kick-serve is. The ball goes to the backhand side and after the bounce it goes really high. Additionally it also curves to the left which makes it even more difficult to hit precisely especially while having 2-handed backhand. On surfaces like hard-court or clay-court this type of serve is a must-have for any player who wants to fight for the championship.


A lot of players are aware of this weapon that kick-serve provides but they give up on learning this ability after few unsuccessful tries. Juniors and recreational players have to understand that second serve can’t only be the ball that has to be put into the service box. 2nd serve should be your weapon that puts pressure on opponent’s weakness and gives you advantage from the first shot.


If you want to develop solid kick-serve you need many repetitions with proper quality. Here is what you have to focus on while working on good kick-serve:


1. Grip

To have solid first and second serve players should use mostly continental grip but small adjustments are needed to hit different variations. With kick-serve it is recommendable to switch continental grip more to eastern backhand grip which allows for better spin creation.


2. Toss

This is necessary step. Without proper toss it is impossible to perform effective kick-serve. Player should toss the ball more to the left side of his body (not behind). For many players it is really difficult at the beginning but with time they get more comfortable with this new toss that prepares for successful racket’s motion.


3. Turn your upper body

Toss to the left side requires body adaption to be able to hit the ball without losing balance. Many players make a mistake of curving own back. That’s dangerous move because it puts lot of pressure on player’s back and can lead to injuries. Players have to try to turn upper body to create a space for the racket to move to the ball.


4. Hit from the left to the right

Kick-serve is different than any other serve because toss forces player to move racket from left side to right side. It simply means that player has to learn how to control the racket in this new plane.


5. Physical side

Moving your racket from left to right puts a lot of pressure on the shoulder. That is why players have to be ready physically to start learning and executing solid kick-serve. If you have ever had serious shoulders problems you should consider if it is worthy to try to implement this dangerous move. On the other hand remember to work on your strength and flexibility of the shoulders area to make sure that your body is prepared for the demands of this type of serve.


At the highest level kick-serve is used regularly as a second serve but at lower levels of performance it can bring benefits both as a first and second delivery. Good kick-serve creates problems for returners so servers shouldn’t limit offensive serving possibilities just to sheer power. Keep in mind that kick-serve is technically-demanding so you need more time to acquire this skill but when you will finally get it you will see that it was worthy the time.