Points of Contact for Five Spin Serves: Photo Tour

01
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Topspin Slice Serve Point of Contact

Topspin Slice Serve Point of Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Grip: A Continental grip works best for most players, but you can shift a bit toward the Eastern forehand for less spin or toward the Eastern backhand for more spin.
  • Point of contact: Meet the ball at the full upward extension of your reach, 1-2 feet to your right, and 1-2 feet in front of yourself, as measured by where your head is at the time of contact. Where you toss the ball will be influenced by how much you lean forward and how much you jump upward before swinging.
  • Striking the ball: Strike the ball diagonally upward and to the right, from its center toward what would be 1:30 on its face if it were a clock, with the plane of your strings facing somewhat toward the left net post. The upward part of this racquet path creates topspin; the rightward part, slice.
02
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Topspin Serve Point of Contact

Topspin Serve Point of Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Grip: Use the grip closest to the Eastern backhand (moving from Continental) that still allows you to make clean contact with the ball. Moving toward Eastern backhand gives you stronger spin, toward Continental easier contact.
  • Point of contact: Meet the ball slightly below the full upward extension of your reach so that the racquet can still be moving upward as it brushes against the ball. The ball should be just about directly overhead at the time of contact. Where you toss the ball will be influenced by how much you lean forward and how much you jump upward before swinging.
  • Striking the ball: Try to brush straight up the back of the ball from what would be 6:00 on its face if it were a clock to 12:00. You would have to let the ball drop more than it's worth to hit an absolutely pure topspin, but the inevitable, slight left-to-right slant at higher points of contact won't produce any significant twist bounce.
03
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Slice Serve Point of Contact

Slice Serve Point of Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Grip: A Continental grip works best for most players, but you can shift a bit toward the Eastern backhand for more spin.
  • Point of contact: Meet the ball 1-2 feet below the full upward extension of your reach, roughly 2 feet to your right, and barely in front of yourself, as measured by where your head is at the time of contact.
  • Striking the ball: To hit pure slice, try to brush across the right side of the ball, at what would be 3:00 on its face if it were a clock. Your racquet face will naturally turn toward the net and brush across the back of the ball from its center outward toward that 3:00 point, making the ball spin around a vertical axis, like a perfectly balanced top. If you keep your wrist too tight and force the racquet to stay in its initial edge-forward position, you will hit the ball much too far to your left (if you hit it at all).
04
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Twist Serve Point of Contact

Twist Serve Point of Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Grip: Use the grip closest to the Eastern backhand (moving from Continental) that still allows you to make clean contact with the ball. Moving toward Eastern backhand gives you stronger spin, toward Continental easier contact.
  • Point of contact: Meet the ball 6-12 inches below the full upward extension of your reach, 6-12 inches to your left, and 3-6 inches behind yourself, as measured by where your head is at the time of contact. Where you toss the ball will be influenced by how much you arch backward and how much you jump upward before swinging.
  • Striking the ball: Strike the ball with your racquet moving upward from left to right--from what would be 7:00 toward 1:00 on the face of the ball if it were a clock. In contrast to the topspin-slice serve, the twist serve requires the plane of your strings to face somewhat toward the right net post as you strike the ball.
05
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Underhand Sidespin Serve Point of Contact

Underhand Sidespin Serve Point of Contact
(C)2006 Jeff Cooper licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Note: Because the ball is so much brighter than the court in this photo, it appears to be on top of the strings. You're actually seeing it through the strings, and the upper edge of the frame is closer to the camera than the lower edge.
  • Grip: A Continental grip will probably work best, but you can move your grip toward the Eastern backhand for more spin or toward the Eastern forehand for more impact.
  • Point of contact: Meet the ball a foot or so above the ground, roughly three feet to your right, and approximately even with your front foot.
  • Striking the ball: Strike the ball diagonally downward, forward, and right to left. The leftward part of this racquet path creates sidespin; the downward and forward parts, backspin.