One of my favorite places to go to for quick tennis fixes is about.com's Tennis page. This is a great site because its aimed at ordinary players like me. All of the instruction is basic and easy to understand. All of the videos and photos are of Jeff, the “Tennis Guide,” showing you how a regular tennis player does it. You want to know how to serve? There's a photo lesson on hitting the basic serve. You want to know how to improve your serve? There's a tutotial on repairing your serve.
But Jeff isn't limiting his lessons to just the basics. He has a whole section on the ten different kinds of service spin you can use. Yes, ten different kinds! You didn't know there were ten kinds of spin to put on your serve? Well, here they are:
1. slice – stays low and curves left
2. topspin – dips faster in flight and bounces higher
3. topspin-slice – dips and curves left
4. twist – dips and curves left in the air, then bounces high to the right
5. flat (no spin)
6. underhand sidespin – curves sharply right on the bounce
7. reverse underhand sidespin – curves sharply left on the bounce
8. backspin – acts like a drop shot
9. underhand topspin – acts like a topspin groundstroke
10. reverse slice – stays low and curves right
Before I read this little “spin” lesson, I was convinced there was (1) the flat serve I was trying to hit, (2) the spin serve I was trying to hit, and (3) some other spin serve that other people can do but I would never be able to hit. Now, I realize I have to learn at least 3 more types of spin to even be in the ballpark of having a variety of serves to choose from.
I'm thinking of taking up the reverse underhand sidespin. Even if I don't master it, it will surely give my opponents something to think about (i.e., “What the *?!*& is she doing over there?”).
© Kim Selzman 2009
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