A slice in tennis causes the ball to spin back toward the player and essentially float over the net before taking a low bounce that forces the opponent to stretch in order to get the ball.
The slice shot is perfect for players who love to attack the net and volley. Sound like you? Keep reading.
There are two types of slices –forehand and backhand.
The forehand slice can be executed by tennis players of all levels and is commonly used to change the pace of a point.
To use a forehand slice, before you start your forward swing, raise your racquet (using the continental grip) between head and shoulder height and open the face up so that the hitting surface is pointing upward.
This shot is hit from high-to-low, and the swiping motion of your racquet causes the strings to barely brush against the ball.
The forehand slice can be used in the following instances:
- As a defensive shot when you’re trying to return a good shot by your opponent and your body isn’t in position to carry out a standard forehand. In these instances, you can return the ball using the forehand slice to give yourself enough time to get back into position.
- If you’re making your way toward the net and are trying to deliver a low-bouncing ball onto your opponent’s court.
- If you want to throw your opponent off from your normal return cadence with a drop shot.
If you’re struggling with your backhand shot, slightly adjust your stroke and try the backhand slice.
In order to carry out a backhand slice, you’ll first want to again make sure that you’re using the continental grip. Next, your dominant forearm and your racquet should form an “L” shape. Your non-dominant hand should simultaneously be holding the throat of the racquet and your elbow should be raised and away from your body. The racquet should then be behind your head and above shoulder height, and the majority of your weight should be on your back foot. From there, you can step into the slice.
Just like you would for a backhand shot, step into the ball and transition your weight forward while swinging your racquet from high to low. The swing should start by your shoulder and end at about your waist, where you’ll make contact with the ball. Once you’ve made contact, let your arms naturally go back to their original placement for a smooth stroke.
Both the forehand slice and the backhand slice are strategic strokes. While they don’t carry much power, they do offer a level of precision and accuracy that allows you to quickly adjust into the ready position once the ball has left your racquet.
And remember: More times than not, placement more so than power wins points.
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