For the recreational player, having to hit a second serve is almost like a concession. You have to worry about making sure the ball is in, rather than unleashing a powerful serve. Hence the need for an unconventional serve that may not be fast, but it isn’t flat either. Essentially, the heavy topspin in both kick serves allows you to serve at a much safer height.
Use the Kick Serve to Take an Offensive Position
By imparting a kick (topspin or twist) on your serve, a serve can be hit fast, 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.
The twist is the harder of the kick serves to return because its sidespin makes it curve to the receiver’s right but then jolt to his left on the bounce. Even top players often have trouble accurately anticipating where this combination of curves will be located.
How to Hit a Topsin Serve
A topspin serve is hit with forward spin by brushing the back of the ball upward at contact. The topspin on the ball makes it dive downward, so that it can be aimed high over the net and still land in. The topspin serve thus is a relatively safe serve often used as a second serve.
By putting topspin on the ball, it will also bounce high. Most opponents can play the high bounce well on their forehand side, but not on their backhand side. Therefore, placed to the backhand, topspin serves are very useful.
How to Hit a Twist Serve
The twist serve, also known as the “American twist” serve, is a reverse kind of spin than the slice serve. Instead of skidding and continuing to curve leftward after the bounce like a slice serve, it digs into the court and breaks rightward in the direction of a right-hander’s backhand. Like all spin serves, it is hit higher over the net with a larger margin of error.
To create this action the ball needs to have a twisted axis of rotation, so that the ball’s spinning is out-of-line (axis of spin rotated slightly clockwise from a top view) with its flight path. The ball is thrown somewhat behind and to the left of the server’s head causing a combination of topspin and sidespin. Different angles of attack by the racquet on the ball varies the action of the kick, making it less predictable.