Kick Serve Vs Slice Serve: What’s the Difference?

To truly understand the difference between the kick serve and the slice serve, you must be able to visualize the direction in which the spin is taking place for each serve.

The best way to visualize spin movement is by observing the frame of the racket. 

The major difference is that with the kick serve, the ball spins forward along a topspin groundstroke, while the slice serve causes the ball to spin sideways to achieve sideways bounce — these type of serve are highly recommended for pushing the opponent off the play area or court.

When making a spin serve of any kind, your racket has to move in a different direction from the ball. The path of your racket has to be different from the path of the ball. 

In order for you to understand the switch as a tennis player, you should use the frame as a reference. 

To properly execute a slice serve for instance, the frame of your racket has to be moving towards the post and upwards (for right handed tennis players) and your grip has to be continental. For the kick serve, the frame movement is meant to be upwards but behind the ball.

Difference Between the Slice Serve and the Kick Serve

The Kick Serve

According to Serena, the kick serve increases the margin of error and it is the most preferred second serve. The name of the serve is based on the fact that after it lands in the service box, it kicks up with more force. 

The increased force will often take the opponent by surprise, pushing them off balance. In most cases, a good kick serve will put the returner on the defensive.

Furthermore, the kick serve has more top spin. As a result, the ball tends to deep as it goes over the net. This is what increases the margin of error. The fact that the ball goes higher rather than wider enhances the chances of the ball landing within the confines of the court.

The major drawback of the kick serve is the fact that it is the hardest to master, the kick serve demands a lot of practice before it can be used efficiently on the court. For instance, if you fail to serve the ball with enough side spin and depth into your opponent’s service box, the ball might fall into their hitting zone.

The Slice Serve

According to Serena,The slice serve is a more consistent serve and it is easier to master for most players.The major benefit of the slice serve is the fact that it will make your players move.This can open the court up for you to hit a winner after their return.

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.


How They Work

When we consider spins on the serve, there are two ways of making a tennis ball spin: You can hit the slice serve, or the kick serve. 

One of the easiest ways to understand the mechanics behind the different types of spin is to picture the ball as a clock. If you want to make a flat serve, this simply means that you are going to hit the ball right at its middle, this will move the ball without delivering any spin. 

If you want the ball to spin sideways (Slice serve), you will have to hit the sides of the ball. 

Accordion to Coach Edgar Giffenig, as a right handed player, you will have to hit the ball at 3 o’ clock. This will make the ball side to side kind of spin. The ball will move in a sideways curve from right to left. 

However, if you want to hit a kick serve, you want the ball to spin forward not sideways. to do this, you have to hit the ball upwards from behind. If you consider the racket movement using the the clock hand, then the  ideal hit for a kick serve should go from 7 O’clock to 1 O’ clock.

Hitting a Slice Serve

As the name entails, the slice serve ia a serve that has a lot of side spin. It can be used as a first serve or second serve. While flat serves basically hit the ball from the back and kick serves hit the ball upwards (adding top spin), slice serve hits the ball from the side.

The delivery of an effective side ball will change the spin of the ball immediately. When the slice is performed properly, it can be a game-changer. Side serves can keep you from having double faults.

By using the following pointers, you will be able to consistently deliver effective slice serves which would consistently keep your opponent on the move.

Get the right grip

To make your slice serve work, you want to use a continental grip or an eastern grip, the conventional forehand grip will not deliver the required spin you need on the ball. 

If you can change your grip type, you can generate a great spin but the spin will be to the left and downwards (assuming you are right handed) and you make contact with the ball at exactly 12 o’clock. 

When you use the continental grip, the racket will kind of slice the ball. The spin impacted by the slice will cause the ball to move in a direction opposite the direction of the racket.When you hit the ball at 12 o’clock using the continental grip, the ball is going to go down towards the left.

To correct this, you will have to fire the towards the right but way high.In order to shoot the ball into the court using the continental grip, you will have to aim for a completely different spot. 

Its all about the angle of contact, you have to convince your mind that by aiming for a different part of the court, you will achieve your desired outcome.

The spin will cause the short to follow through into the court directly opposite you. Your mind should be focused on getting the ball to the right hand side of the court, if your do this properly the result will be consistent.

Higher shots

The side spin applied to the ball costs a lot of energy. Hence, you will have swing the racket higher. To accomplish this, toss the ball high up and deliver a high serve.

When you fire a side spin shot, the ball will naturally go sideways and downwards. To ensure that the ball stays up, you have to shoot the ball higher.

Slicing the ball

The slicing action of the racket is the most important part of the slice shot. In the absence of proper slicing, the slice serve will not work. 

Hitting a kick serve 

The famous top spin serve – the kick serve, is the most difficult serve to master in the game of tennis. It is also the most favored second serve, unlike the slice serve, the kick serve will reduce your chances of making error. 

It is probably the most popular serve in the game of tennis. The chances of making an error when making the kick serve is smaller than the error margin for slice serves. 

The kick serve is characterized by a high bouncing topspin which will often put your opponent off his game, especially if he has difficulty returning high balls. When the kick serve is generated properly, it will push the returner backwards – he has to move backwards if he is interested in returning the shot.

Get the right grip

The grip is important for both the slice and kick serve. Unlike the flat serve, both serves use the continental grip.

Alter your toss

Although tossing the ball to sideways before a shot will give you away, it is important for making a good kick serve. Yes! Tossing the ball further behind you will give your opponent an idea of what you are about to do.

 However, it will not make it any easier for him to return the ball. You should focus on delivering a deadly shot and not what the returner knows about your plans.

Bend your knees 

By tossing the ball behind your head, you will have to bend in order to make the shot. For safety reasons, it is important that you bend your knees and not your back. It will also help balance your weight and deliver more power to your shooting arm.

Brush up on the ball

The force you apply to a kick serve and a flat serve is the same, but the flat serve is more fast and powerful because it does not involve any spin. In light of this fact, you want to apply more force to your shots. 

The angle at which you hit the ball is very important for the kick serve. You want your racket to brush the ball from the back upwards with as much power as you can deliver.


This article discussed the the differences and the mechanics of kick and slices serves. It pointed out the characteristic features of both serves and how these serves can be executed.