Free Kick Serve Lesson: The “Dirty Diaper”
Lacking power, spin, or kick? Or is it all of the above? Well, you’ve certainly landed in the right place, at the right time!
Today we will be focusing on a secret tip that will help your kick serve instantly.
This is one of the many special drills that I’ve used over the years to help my online and in court students get the extra power, control, accuracy, and confidence in their serves and I want you to be the next player.
This drill is appropriately called the “Dirty Diaper” and I coined the name after working privately with a young boy who was practicing this drill and he blurted out that it reminded him of holding his baby brother’s dirty stinky diaper.
It’s one of my favorite tennis kick serve drills to teach and everyone loves it.
This is the king of all topspin serve drills.
Most players REALLY struggle hitting a proper topspin or kick serve and the reality is that you might be having a hard time as well…
Well, I’m committed to helping you change all of that!
The Dirty Diaper is THE drill that will fix the issues you’re having with your topspin/kick serve.
In most cases, players struggle with hitting the big kicker because of several factors…
Hitting into the net too much, poor overall technique, an incorrect swing path, a bad toss, and using the wrong finish or follow through.
Well, without all of these aspects of the serve corrected you simply won’t be able to hit a big bouncing kick serve.
Inconsistent Kick Serves
Unfortunately, your kick serve may be inconsistent because you aren’t able to create a repeatable swing that helps you generate the right spin and arch over the net.
You might be dumping this serve into the net too often and when you adjust your aim, you end up overcompensating and missing long…
You just don’t have the feel and control you want on your kick serve…
You can relate to this feeling, right?
There’s a good chance you aren’t getting the margin you need over the net. In other words, there isn’t enough arch over the net on your serve.
When you attempt to hit the ball higher over the net, the ball flies long because you don’t have enough rotation on the ball to bring it down into the service box after clearing the net.
Not Enough Kick
There’s also a good chance you might not be getting enough kick on your serve to make it hit the court and bounce high up on your opponent’s backhand.
That’s the whole goal!
Get the serve to explode off the court so that your opponent struggles to return the high bouncing kicker!
As I mentioned below, the ball does not kick as much as you like because of one or several factors…
Your kick serve technique is simply not good enough and that relates to having an incorrect swing path, a bad kick serve toss, and using the wrong finish or follow through.
That’s where the Dirty Diaper Drill can solve all your kick serve problems and allow you to hit kick serves easily.
You’ll be amazed to see the progress you’ll get in as little as 10 minutes.
Here’s how to maximize the impact of the Dirty Diaper Drill by following this progression.
In order to do the dirty diaper and master the kick serve, you’ll need a towel or mat to kneel on.
Take the towel and lay it on the baseline where you would normally stand to serve on the ad side of the court (if you are right-handed).
Kneel down with your front leg (left knee for a righty) on the towel.
Place your back foot on the ground behind you to give you stability (if this position is very uncomfortable for you, you can try with both knees on the towel).
Choke up on the racquet so that your hand is holding the racquet where the grip ends .
Use a continental grip and make sure your index finger is spread and that your hand relaxed…
Hold the racquet tip up next to your head and look at the other side of the court as if you’re about to serve from your knees.
From this position, toss the ball up in the air and swing up at the ball to practicing getting topspin on the serve.
Make sure to toss the ball so that it arches over your body and towards your left shoulder.
As the ball arcs over your head, swing the racquet from right to left to connect with the ball above your left shoulder.
Arcing the toss right to left allow you to hit up on the ball and create topspin. So why should you do this drill kneeling on the ground at first?
Well, you have to take the legs out of play.
In other words when you get to use your legs at first you can cheat with your ball toss position.
The reason I’m having you kneel is to take your legs out of play.
By taking the legs out of play, you learn where to put the toss, how to hit up on the ball and how to get the ball to kick and produce spin.
Hitting up on the ball as the ball arcs over your head helps your create more natural topspin. and net clearance.
This will decrease your errors in the net errors AND give you the extra rotation you need to get the ball to dive down into the box
All because you start by practicing the Dirty Diaper Drill on your knees.
When you finish your swing, make sure to keep your arm bend and tilt your shoulders in such a way that the elbow finishes higher.
This position will take some getting used to, but it is vital to producing a great kick serve.
The Standing Progression
Get into a platform stance, the best on the kick serve, and try the Dirty Diaper from a half serve position.
Make sure your back foot is not staggered too far behind your front foot so that you can keep your balance at the end of the swing With the half serve the racquet will start near your head.
It’s always easier to learn these movements with an abbreviated motion.
Stay choked up on the racquet so that you can keep the feel (ball control) when you swing.
Once you can correctly perform the dirty diaper, you can shift your down to a normal hand position when you hit a regular serve.
Stand next to where you placed the towel and do your best to recreate the feeling you had when you were kneeling.
While standing practice the same type of toss so that the ball arches over your head without going too far in front of the body…
Hit up at the ball as it arches over your head without bending your knees and finishing in the dirty diaper position that you’ve been practicing.
Get that toss far enough towards your left shoulder so that you can use the correct swing path and hit topspin/kick on the serve.
Once you finish the swing, you have to get all your weight on your front foot. You should be able to tap your back foot on the court without losing your balance.
Tapping your foot is a powerful checkpoint to see if your balance was correct. If your balance is off, you probably didn’t use the correct toss.
Once you master this drill with the choked-up grip, try it with the hand lower on the racquet.
This super-secret tip will transform your kick serve from an inconsistent weakness to a consistent weapon.
This super powerful Dirty Diaper drill will transform your kick serve from an inconsistent weakness to a big-time weapon.
Are you ready for that? Stop struggling with your kick serve and make this drill part of your practice routine until it becomes second nature.
Finally, force your opponent to hit challenging returns against your big kicker all because you mastered this one drill!
On Court Dirty Diaper Practice Routine
(2 – 3 Times Per Week)
Kneeling Drill: Choked Up (25 Serves) – 5 Minutes
Standing Drill: Choked Up (25 Serves) – 5 Minutes
Standing Drill: Not Choked Up (15 Serves) – 3 Minutes
Standing Drill: Not Choked Up, Jump (15 Serves) – 3 Minutes
Full Kick Serves (25 Serves) – 5 Minutes
I look forward to hearing how this drill helps your kick serve.
Please let me know! I’d love to hear from you!
Let’s get your kick serve rockin’,
By Jeff Salzenstein, Founder Tennis Evolution
Jeff is a former top 100 ATP player and USTA high-performance coach
committed to helping players and coaches all over the world improve.
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