Rabbi Jonathan Z. Maltzman has served at Kol Shalom in Rockville, Maryland, since 2002. He has more than 36 years of rabbinical experience, including years of international service. When he is not leading Kol Shalom or engaging in social welfare projects, Rabbi Jonathan Z. Maltzman stays active by playing tennis.
In the sport of tennis, there are a variety of different serves players can use. While young or inexperienced players may be tempted to hit serves with as much force as possible, it can be beneficial to learn about the different spins that can be applied to a serve. Spin serves are more commonly used as safer, second service options, but players may use them at any point in a match to throw off an opponent’s returning rhythm.
The kick serve is one of the more well-known types of spin serve. Powered primarily of top spin, kick serves land in an opponent’s service box and, as the name suggests, quickly kick up into the air. An effectively struck kick serve not only forces opponents to make a high, awkward point of contact, but bounces into the body, jamming the opponent and resulting in an ever weaker return.
The slice serve is another type of spin serve that can be used to surprise opponents. Slice serves draw on side spin to force returners into disadvantageous positions. A right-handed player hitting a slice serve into the deuce court, for example, can drag an opponent beyond the doubles alley to hit a return, leaving virtually the entire court wide open. When serving to the ad court, meanwhile, the slice serve provides effective misdirection, appearing as a wide serve before sliding to the middle of the service box. Left-handed servers enjoy the same benefits in the opposite courts.