“I keep framing the ball when trying to get more kick.” his Instagram message read.
I paused before responding and stood there in thought.
I remember those days. So determined to learn a big kicker that nothing could stop me.
I watched every kick serve video on YouTube. Every single one.
Heading out to the court 100% certain that I had found the missing piece of the puzzle.
Only to shank almost every ball.
Hitting the ball with the leading edge of the frame, they would fly over the back fence into the parking lot. Someone would throw it back over the fence, if I was lucky.
It was a mystery.
It’s been almost five years since then, and though I’m no kick serve master, I’ve come a long way.
For the record, when I say kick I don’t expressly only mean a kick serve. I’m referring to a top spin, top-slice, kick, 2nd serve, or any variation of these spin serve motions.
Just like you, I wanted huge bouncing kickers with so much spin that they would wildly rocket off the bounce.
But that was the problem.
I was trying too hard to get spin.
See, when you try to generate so much spin so early on in your kick serve journey, you try to swing upward too much.
Your arm and shoulder tightens up, interrupting the racket’s natural swing path - and resulting in the frame smashing into the ball.
There is hope though.
You can fix this by accepting a different reality on how spin is generated on a big 2nd serve.
I’ll give you a hint, it’s not in forcefully trying to exaggerate the topspin motion.
It’s quite the opposite.
You have to stop trying to get so much of it. Instead you need to start with a smooth, loose, reliable, clean contact and nice clean arc into the box.
In other words, you have to establish a warm-up style spin serve where you are loosely rolling it into the box before you can generate giant mind bending kickers.
Remember, a kick serve is on the extreme side of serves. If you are shanking you need to dial it back to a top-slice and work your way from there back into it.
I still go through phases where I’m not hitting it clean. I’m still learning every day.
But it’s no longer a mystery of why.
I relax the shoulder, revert to a warm-up style spin serve, and go from there.
No, you never stop wanting it, and you never stop trying.
But sometimes, you just have to let things run their natural course.
Finally, I started typing my response to him.
"Don't worry, you're on the right track."