|Learning the Twist Kick Serve|
This article remains useful, but for the best, step-by-step explanation of how to hit the twist serve, I recommend the newer Photo Lesson: How to Hit the Twist Serve
Here's how a topspin serve spins the ball:
Here's how a twist serve spins the ball:
Most tennis pros hit either topspin or twist on more than 90% of their second serves. The reason is simple: at any given serve speed, the heavy topspin in both kick serves allows the server to hit at a much safer height. Without topspin, a second serve has to either clear the net within a dangerously small margin or travel at such a slow speed that it sets the receiver up to attack. With topspin, a serve can be hit at over 100 mph, clear the net by as much as four feet, and still drop into the service box, where it then bounces well above the receiver's comfort zone. A twist serve can also be an excellent first serve, especially if placed to the backhand and followed to the net, where the typically weak high-backhand reply can easily be put away.
Of the two kick serves, the twist is the harder to return, because its sidespin makes it curve to the receiver's right in the air and then jump to his left on the bounce. Even experienced players often have trouble accurately anticipating where this combination of curves will ultimately put the ball.
Next page: How to Hit the Twist