Flat, Slice, and Kick Instruction

16 Aug 2018/

In case you’re trying to develop an efficient serve that’s a weapon, then it’s essential to know and learn to execute the three various kinds of tennis serves.

In case you’re not acquainted, the three major kinds of tennis serves embrace the next – click on any of those hyperlinks to leap straight to that part.

On this article, we’ll cowl the next for every sort of serve:

  • An outline
  • The benefits and downsides
  • Learn how to toss the ball
  • The perfect contact level and racquet angle
  • Suggestions for the very best outcome

Let’s begin by speaking briefly about why it is best to be taught the three kinds of tennis serves.

Why Be taught three Totally different Forms of Tennis Serves?

Whenever you’re first getting began with tennis, your major aim will probably be to develop a single dependable serve that means that you can start some extent and play the sport.

As your sport improves, studying all three various kinds of serves will will let you compete at the next degree by bringing higher selection to your service sport.

Keep in mind, whenever you serve you might have an enormous benefit since you start the purpose on offense and due to this fact can management and dictate the purpose from the beginning.

Nevertheless, your potential to regulate and dictate the purpose is tied closely to executing an efficient serve that retains your opponent guessing and prevents them from establishing a rhythm.

That’s the place selection is king and why studying the three various kinds of serves is essential.

Serves for Totally different Gamers & Courtroom Surfaces

One other level that’s value mentioning is your potential to hit a couple of sort of serve will will let you be extra aggressive in opposition to completely different gamers and on numerous court docket surfaces.

For instance, in the event you’re 6’ tall and taking part in an opponent who’s 5’4” you then may be capable to reap the benefits of their peak by hitting a kick serve that’s approach out of their strike zone and even over their head making it difficult for them to return.

However, in the event you had been to strive that very same serve in opposition to an opponent who’s 6’5” then chances are you’ll discover it lands a lot nearer to their strike zone permitting them to hit a straightforward return.

For the taller opponent, who may not transfer in addition to a shorter participant, you may hit a slice serve at their physique as a result of they’ll wrestle to reposition themselves rapidly when returning.

The identical goes for court docket surfaces. In case you’re taking part in on a clay court docket, chances are you’ll love your kick serve the place you profit from the upper bounces that make this serve much more difficult to return.

Nevertheless, on grass, that very same kick serve received’t soar practically as excessive decreasing its efficacy so that you may depend on your slice serve that stays low making it difficult to return when taking part in on grass.

In the end, the higher number of serves you’ll be able to hit the extra you’ll be able to regulate your technique to compete at the next degree in opposition to completely different gamers and on numerous court docket surfaces.

The Flat Serve

The flat serve is maybe one of the vital sought-after serves in tennis as a result of it’s synonymous with energy and the flexibility to hit an ace.

The flat serve will get its title from the truth that minimal spin is utilized to the ball when making contact. Consequently, when the flat serve hits the court docket, it tends to bounce low and proceed straight ahead from the place it lands within the court docket.


  • Velocity: the sooner a serve is hit, the much less time your opponent must react which may trigger gamers to make contact with the ball late or mistime their shot.
  • Simple factors: a properly positioned flat serve is ideal for profitable some extent outright with an ace or on the very minimal forcing your opponent to dam the ball again for a straightforward setup or putaway shot.
  • Low bounce: because the title suggests, flat serves have minimal spin. Consequently, when the ball hits the court docket, it stays low which forces a participant to should bend and get low or return out of their strike zone.


  • A low margin of error: simply the most important draw back of the arduous flat serve is that it’s difficult to maintain it in, not to mention place it properly within the service field. Consequently, the overuse of a tough flat serve can result in gifting away too many free factors or forcing you to rely closely in your second serve.
  • Response time: the identical velocity that makes it troublesome to your opponent to return a tough flat serve could make it difficult so that you can area a well-executed return off of a flat serve since you’ll have much less time to react.
  • Serve and volley: as a result of shorter response time that you’ll have fielding your opponent’s return it may be difficult to maneuver ahead and volley.

Useful tip: typically talking, the taller you’re, the better it will likely be to execute a tough flat serve as a result of you might have extra clearance over the online and due to this fact the next margin for error. Conversely, in the event you’re brief, the flat serve is tougher to execute as a result of you might have much less clearance over the online which reduces your margin of error.

Flat Serve Method

Let’s check out a number of the finer particulars that can assist guarantee you’ll be able to hit an incredible flat serve.


Firstly, it’s necessary to be sure to’re utilizing the proper grip for the flat serve. The excellent news is that you just’ll use the continental grip for all three kinds of serves, so that you solely must be taught this one grip in the event you’re not already acquainted with it.

Toss Placement

When hitting a flat serve, you’ll need your toss to be positioned roughly 12-18 inches in entrance of you and roughly 6 inches to the precise your tossing arms shoulder on the peak of the toss. For an in-depth evaluate of the serve toss, make sure to try our submit on perfecting your serve toss method.

This picture was snapped on the peak of the toss so you may get a way for correct placement.

Flat Serve: Toss Placement

Contact Level & Racquet Angle

Subsequent, let’s speak about make contact with the ball. Because you’re trying to hit the ball flat or with none spin, you’ll wish to attempt to strike the ball straight from behind with out brushing up on the ball or hitting the facet of the ball.

Right here’s a photograph that exhibits the contact level in opposition to the ball in addition to the proper racquet face angle which is flat to keep away from placing spin on the ball.

Flat Serve: Contact Point & Racquet Angle

Flat Serve Video

Now that what to search for when hitting a flat serve right here’s a video that exhibits your entire flat service movement. I’ve included transient stops that can assist you get a way for toss placement, contact, level, and racquet angle.

Types of Tennis Serves: Flat Serve

Flat Serve Suggestions

When hitting a flat serve listed below are a couple of ideas to remember:

Keep away from Overuse

Many gamers get pleasure from hitting a giant flat serve and rely nearly completely on it as their first serve even when they solely make 10% of them. The issue with this mentality and a low first serve share is that it takes an excessive amount of stress off your opponent.

Sometimes, your opponent might be in protection mode when returning your first serve as a result of they know which you can throw something at them. Nevertheless, when you miss your first serve, the stress equalizes to a level.

In your facet, there may be stress to hit your second serve in, which forces you to take some tempo off the serve, and subsequently provides your opponent extra confidence of their return.

Consequently, it may be useful to keep away from overusing a giant flat serve and to make use of different kinds of serves which have the next margin of error whereas specializing in high quality placement to place the stress in your opponent.

Use it Strategically

Since a giant flat serve has a decrease margin for error, it’s value being considerate whenever you select to make use of it. For instance, in the event you’re up 40-15 when serving, you may throw a giant flat serve in to try to shut out the sport. In case you miss, the stress remains to be in your opponent to hit an incredible return off your slower second serve.

However, in the event you’re down 15-40, a giant flat serve could be a appreciable threat. In case you miss, you then’ll should depend on your second serve to maintain you within the sport together with your opponent able to take an opportunity themselves and shut out the sport.

Use the Center of the Web

Because the lowest a part of the online is within the center it’s simpler to execute a flat serve down the center on either side of the court docket.

The Slice Serve

The slice serve is a extremely efficient serve that may develop into an enormous weapon when perfected. What makes the slice serve distinctive is the sidespin utilized to the ball which causes it to maneuver from proper to left (in the event you’re a righty) by way of the air and proceed to maneuver in that route off of the bounce.

The slice serve’s title comes from the brushing motion or slice utilized to the tennis ball to provide facet spin.


  • Pure to hit: in the event you’re utilizing the continental service grip then the slice serve is probably going the serve you’ll have probably the most pure time hitting primarily based on the contact level and angle of the racquet used which we’ll focus on under.
  • Open up the court docket: one of the vital efficient makes use of of the slice serve is to tug your opponent out broad within the deuce court docket in the event you’re a righty and advert court docket in the event you’re a lefty. By doing so, you’re opening up the court docket and offering your self with a broad vary of shot-making alternatives.
  • Crowd your opponent: one other frequent use of the slice serve is to hit up the middle of the service field in order that the ball strikes into your opponent’s physique after it bounces. A physique serve will crowd your opponent and make it arduous for them to get out of the best way to hit a clear return.
  • Low bounce: a well-executed slice serve forces your opponent to make use of their legs and bend down or hit out of their strike zone as a result of the ball stays low as a result of its facet spin.
  • Reverse arms: in the event you’re right-handed taking part in a lefty or vice versa, then the slice serve could be a nice weapon to assault your opponent’s backhand out broad within the deuce court docket in the event you’re a righty and the advert court docket in the event you’re a lefty.


  • Consistency: as a result of the slice serve requires a beneficiant quantity of sidespin to be efficient many gamers are likely to overhit which frequently results in inconsistency.
  • Telegraphing: usually gamers will exaggerate their toss to realize extra spin and in doing so give away the truth that they’re about to hit a slice serve. It might not matter in the event you execute the serve properly, however that cut up second tip could give your opponent an edge on the return.

Slice Serve Method

Let’s check out hit a slice serve with correct method.


Whereas some gamers and coaches may counsel that you need to use an japanese grip to your slice serve, I’d suggest in opposition to it for 2 foremost causes.

  • First, in the event you’re utilizing an japanese grip, you’re most definitely overcompensating for poor method.
  • Second, altering your grip could be a lifeless giveaway to your opponent as to what sort of serve you’re about to hit.

The reality is, a continental serve grip is extremely efficient for every type of tennis serves. You simply must be taught to make use of it for an incredible slice serve which takes time and endurance.

Toss Placement

Just like the flat serve, you’ll wish to place your toss about 12-18 inches in entrance of you and roughly 6 inches to the precise of your tossing arms shoulder on the peak of the toss permitting for pure contact with the ball.

Initially, chances are you’ll be inclined to toss the ball slightly additional proper than you do to your flat serve to make contacting the facet of the ball a bit extra pronounced and set up really feel.

Nevertheless, in the event you do regulate your toss, remember the fact that a very good returner may decide up on the change in your toss and provides them a touch of the kind of serve and the place you is likely to be inclined to hit it.

Slice Serve: Toss Placement

Contact Level & Racquet Angle

With the slice serve, you’ll wish to make contact with the outer fringe of the ball to generate sidespin. Nevertheless, you’ll additionally wish to hit up barely to offer the ball a little bit of topspin in order that it drops again down into the court docket.

Right here’s a photograph to point out you what your contact level ought to appear to be for a slice serve. It’s a bit refined within the picture, however hopefully in comparison with the flat serve you’ll be able to inform the racquet is coming in direction of the ball at an angle with a little bit of upward movement.

This provides the ball the spin or slice you’re searching for whereas additionally ensuring there’s simply sufficient topspin to convey the ball again down into the court docket.

Slice Serve: Contact Point & Racquet Angle

Slice Serve Video

Right here’s a video that brings collectively all of the completely different items of a slice serve and as soon as once more features a pause so you’ll be able to see the toss placement, contact level, and racquet angle as a part of your entire service movement.

Types of Tennis Serves: Slice Ser

Slice Serve Suggestions

Listed here are a couple of ideas to remember to assist execute an efficient slice serve:

Keep away from Overhitting

Whenever you’re studying the slice serve it may be comparatively straightforward to overhit as you try to generate facet spin, nevertheless with observe and the correct method you shouldn’t must swing significantly tougher to create extra spin.

The truth is, hitting a slice serve at 75% of your max swing velocity could be a nice tactic as a result of the facet spin mixed with the change in tempo will usually throw off your opponent.

Exit broad: the slice serve is ideal for opening up the tennis court docket. In case you’re a righty, hitting a slice serve out broad within the deuce court docket will draw your opponent off the court docket leaving the remainder of the court docket open for a follow-up shot that places you ready to maneuver ahead and assault.

Preserve Courtroom Floor in Thoughts

A slice serve is a implausible weapon on any court docket floor. Nevertheless, you need to use it to your benefit on sure court docket surfaces.

For instance, in the event you’re fortunate sufficient to have entry to play on grass courts then remember the fact that the slice serve is a implausible serve for this floor. The ball will naturally bounce much less on grass which performs terrifically with the slice serve which additionally doesn’t bounce excessive. The outcome could be a very low bouncing serve that’s arduous to return.tr

The Kick Serve

Of all of the serves, the kick serve is arguably probably the most beneficial and extremely wanted for gamers to be taught. Nevertheless, it’s usually one of the vital difficult serves to develop.

For many gamers, the kick serve has develop into the default second serve. It’s constant, offers gamers with a major degree of management, and can be utilized to assault a returners weaknesses with precision.

The kick serve will get its title from how the ball jumps or kicks up off the bottom because of heavy topspin utilized to the ball.


  • Consistency: with time and observe, the kick serve can turn into an extremely constant and dependable serve for gamers of all ranges. The consistency comes from the truth that the kick serve is hit excessive above the online with vital topspin which causes the ball to drop again into the service field. Consequently, the kick serve can naturally lower a participant’s margin of error making it a well-liked selection as a second serve.
  • Management: equally to consistency, the heavy topspin utilized to the ball throughout a kick serve offers gamers with elevated management. Consequently, you’ll be able to precisely place the ball throughout the service field and assault weaknesses in your opponents sport. For instance, in the event you discover your opponent has a weak backhand you may put stress on them by frequently serving to that facet.
  • Excessive bounce: true to its title, the kick serve springs off the bottom and bounces excessive. Once more, that is as a result of heavy topspin utilized to the ball throughout the serving movement, which lets you hit excessive above the online with the ball rapidly diving again down into the service field after which kicking up after the bounce. Typically, gamers can get the ball to leap properly out of their opponents strike zone which makes it an incredible serve that may be difficult to return.


  • Slower tempo: since you apply an incredible quantity of topspin to the tennis ball the kick serve is by nature a slower serve which supplies you opponent extra response time in comparison with different serve sorts. In fact, that is the place the benefit of management and placement come into play, which must be a acutely aware a part of your serving.
  • Topspin: in the event you don’t apply sufficient topspin to the tennis ball it’s probably that the ball will sit at waist peak for a lot of gamers and supply them with a straightforward return that may rapidly put you on the protection. Consequently, it’s important that you just decide to the kick serve and strike the ball with confidence.

Kick Serve Method

Let’s dive into the correct method for hitting a kick serve.


As soon as once more, when hitting a kick serve, it is best to depend on your continental service grip which is ideally suited to this serve.

Toss Placement

When you ought to try to take care of an equivalent toss to your flat and slice serve, the kick serve falls right into a class of its personal with a unique toss that means that you can generate the topspin needed.

In case you keep in mind, the flat and slice serve toss is about 12-18 inches in entrance of you and roughly 6 inches to the precise of your tossing arms shoulder on the peak of the toss. This toss placement means that you can obtain the correct racquet angle for these serves. Nevertheless, it makes it difficult to get beneath the ball and apply most topspin for the kick serve.

Consequently, it is best to goal to toss the ball straight above your head and barely behind you, in order that when you’ll be able to swing as much as contact the ball, you’re coming from beneath the ball.

Useful tip: many gamers assume “behind” means it’s worthwhile to toss the ball in direction of the again fence, i.e., behind the baseline. Nevertheless, assuming you might have the proper serve stance, behind you is parallel with the baseline and an necessary distinction relating to the kick serve.

Kick Serve: Toss Placement

Contact Level & Racquet Angle

With the kick serve, you’ll wish to contact the ball from backside to the highest of the ball so that you just’re hitting or brushing up on the ball.

Hitting up is counterintuitive to many gamers at first as a result of they’re afraid the ball will sail lengthy. Nevertheless, by hitting up on the ball, you generate topspin which may convey the ball again down into the court docket though you’re hitting up.

As for the angle of your racquet head, you’ll need the sting to be roughly parallel with the baseline. As a substitute of hitting by way of the ball as you’d with a flat serve, you’ll wish to hit up.

Right here’s a photograph that showcases the contact level and racquet angle when hitting a kick serve.

Kick Serve: Contact Point & Racquet Angle

Kick Serve Video

Right here’s a video that showcases the kick serve together with the toss, contact level, and racquet angle essential to generate topspin. As soon as once more, I’ve supplied a view of this serve in sluggish movement so you’ll be able to simply see the nuances of the completely different items.

Types of Tennis Serves: Kick Serve

Kick Serve Suggestions

Listed here are a couple of ideas to remember when hitting a kick serve.

Brush Up

To generate the required topspin to your kick serve it’s worthwhile to brush the facet of the tennis ball from low to excessive. This brushing motion means you’re permitting the strings of your racquet to make contact with the outermost fringe of the tennis ball which causes the ball to spin and finally kick up off the bottom when it hits the court docket.

Racquet Head Velocity

One other important component to the kick serve is racquet head velocity. Consider it or not, when the professionals hit a kick serve their racquet is touring at roughly the identical charge or sooner than their flat or slice serve. That’s as a result of racquet head velocity is required to create topspin.

Wrist Snap

Among the best methods to extend your racquet head velocity is to include a wrist snap as you lengthen your arm to make contact with the tennis ball. Because the earlier tip suggests, it’s important that you just chill out your grip and wrist to permit for the wrist to maneuver freely. The outcome will enable you generate much more topspin.

Past the three Forms of Tennis Serves

Now that the three various kinds of tennis serves it pays to remember the fact that every serve may be hit in just about limitless locations within the service field offering you with even higher selection.

Usually talking, coaches and gamers will speak about three foremost spots within the service field:

  • Out broad
  • Down the middle, i.e., on the physique
  • Down the center

Since you’ll be able to hit your serve in any of those places, you’ll have a minimal of 9 serves in your again pocket which you can hit at any given time – fairly candy, proper?

Add to that the flexibility to hit your serve at completely different speeds to throw off your opponent, and you may start to see why creating various kinds of serves may be such an enormous benefit.

Common Suggestions for The Totally different Forms of Serves

Loosen up

No matter the kind of serve you hit, stress-free by way of your service movement is important. Ceaselessly, gamers who’re simply studying to serve wish to hit with energy, so they struggle arduous and try to muscle the serve over the online. Sadly, this method normally lends itself to stress, which is your serve’s worst enemy, and over time can result in harm. To assist, give your self a second earlier than you go to serve. Take a deep breath, bounce the ball, and consciously chill out your muscle groups together with your grip and wrist. The outcome might be a extra fluid movement that helps you obtain a greater serve.

Use Your Legs

It ought to go with out saying that your legs are important to your serve, however sadly it’s not second nature to most gamers. In case you haven’t had the possibility, I’d extremely suggest you try our submit on the serve trophy pose which is able to present you get probably the most out of your serve whereas incorporating your legs that can assist you generate energy.

Hit With Confidence

Final however not least, one other component that can enable you produce a implausible serve goes for it and hitting with confidence. Whereas this may appear to be one other no-brainer, it’s widespread for gamers to be tentative with their serve, which prevents them from executing to their fullest. As you’re employed to observe your serve, accomplish that with confidence and permit your self the liberty to mess up whilst you set up the essential really feel and rhythm to develop your serve.


Hopefully, you’ve loved this submit on the three various kinds of serves. Whereas we’ve tried to supply a radical examination of the three various kinds of serves, we notice it may be difficult to reply each query a reader might need.

If one thing isn’t clear or you might have any questions, please be happy to submit a remark under – we’d love to listen to from you! In spite of everything, when you have a query, it’s greater than probably one other one in every of our readers does too which helps our whole neighborhood.

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