Kick Serve vs Slice Serve – Which Is Better?

male tennis player serving

Up until recently, I’ve used the slice serve a lot on both first and second serves.

I’ve found it can be quite effective as a first serve if you serve into the body or out wide from the deuce side (as I’m a righty)

But if I don’t get my first serve in, I hate feeling the pressure on the second serve as I have to make sure it lands in the service box.

Consequently, I hit far too many double faults for my liking.

In the past month I’ve started looking at the kick serve, as it looks like a great tactic for allowing a bigger margin for error when you serve.

It can also add some more variety to my game.

If you have an effective flat, slice, kick and topspin serve, that should ensure you win a lot more points on your service game!

In this blog post I’ll look at the differences between the slice and the kick serve and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Which are the differences between the kick serve and the slice serve?

What is a kick serve?

The kick serve requires a different swing path and ball toss compared to flat and slice serves.

You need to toss the ball over your head, or even a touch to the left hand side.

When you swing you try and serve up on the ball in a 7 to 1, or 8 to 2 motion (if you think of a clock).

For the follow through, you swing up and over, parallel to the bassline.

For flat and slice serves, the service action is a lot more forward hitting through the ball.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the kick serve.

Pros

After landing in the service box the ball ‘kicks’ up more, which can take your opponent by surprise, and make it harder for them to hit a winner.

As the ball has more top spin, it will tend to dip as the ball goes over the net (like when you hit a top spin forehand or backhand). This gives you a lot more margin for error as it means you can aim higher over the net.

Cons

If you don’t get enough depth on the serve into the opponent’s service box, the ball can tend to sit up into their hitting zone, especially if you don’t get enough side spin on the serve.

Of the three types of serve; kick, flat and slice, the kick is the hardest to master, and requires a lot of practice to use it effectively.

I’m still trying to get it to work!

…but I am getting better at it.

How to hit a slice serve

The slice serve is hit with side spin, by brushing the side of the ball. If you think of a clock, it means hitting the ball in the 2 o’clock position (for right handers).

Once hit, the ball will tend to swing right to left in the air (opposite for lefties).

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of a slice serve.

Pros

It is generally quite a consistent serve, and for most players, it has a good feel which can give you confidence in matches.

Once you get a good slice serve, with a bit of power, you can really make your opponents move, often out of the court if you’re serving on the deuce side (for righty players).

This can open the court up for you to hit a winner after their return.

Cons

The drawback of a slice serve is that it is easy to read.

You can see it coming, as it is obvious where the server is hitting the ball to impart the sidespin.

It also has a slightly lower margin for error than the kick serve, because it doesn’t have as much top spin to make the ball dip into the service box. 

Consequently, you have to be more accurate with this serve, which means it is generally more effective as a first serve, than a second serve.

Conclusion – Kick serve vs slice serve

Of course knowing how to use all the different type of serves; flat, kick, topspin and slice, will be a great asset to your game and ensure you win more points on your serve.

For my game at the moment, my general approach will be to hit flat and slice serves for the first serve, and kick for my second serve.

I believe this is one of the most common approaches to serving which many tennis players follow.

What serve do you like to use more often? Kick or slice? Please leave any comments below.

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