A backhand slice is a powerful weapon that any aspiring athlete should add to their repertoire. Since players with one-handed backhands struggle with high balls, you’ll often see them hit higher balls with slice. Many tennis players who use a two-handed backhand often think that there is no reason to hit a backhand slice. Naturally, they don’t struggle as much with higher shots, so many two-handed backhanders don’t add a slice to their repertoire. However there are some significant advantages to hitting a backhand slice, so take CoachUp’s handy tips, grab a friend, and get out on the court.
When your opponent pulls you out of the center, trying to hit a hard topspin backhand on the run will make it hard for you to recover on the next shot. If your opponent is able to get the shot back, chances are high that you’ll be incredibly out of position. However, this is where the backhand slice comes in.
The long hang time of a slice should give you more than enough opportunity to recover and get ready to react. It may not have the pace of a topspin shot, but sometimes pace can work against you. A good slice can be just as effective as a sweeping backhand and much easier to hit on the run. Basically, the quicker you hit the ball, the faster it's back on top of you. So, sometimes, slowing it down is the best possible option.
CHANGING THE PACE
As is the case with most sports, players often search for a rhythm during matches. In fact, it becomes muscle memory to return a shot with a lot of pace on it. Like a pitcher throwing a changeup, a slice can be a very effective way to catch your opponent off guard. It should mess up the timing of his shot and footwork, hopefully screwing with the overall quality of his next shot. If you can keep your opponent guessing, then you’ll become a very dangerous player.
Once upon a time, when most tennis matches were played on grass, the slice was tennis’ most popular shot. When it bounced, the ball virtually wouldn’t come back up off the grass, making it tough to return. However, even on a hard or clay court, the low skid of a good slice shot can be tough for most players to handle. It's hard for most players to return such a low bouncing ball and nearly impossible to attack off of it as well.
(Related: Read about the importance of the approach and volley shots here.)
At its heart, the slice is a defensive shot. However, the slice’s long hang time and low bounce is the perfect way to take away an opponent’s attacking shot, recover, and put yourself in a good position to continue the point. Additionally, it can serve as a unique tool to shake your opponent from their comfortable rhythm and once you do that, anything can happen.
If you’re still struggling with the backhand slice, but would love to implement such a game-changer into your skill-set, consider booking one of CoachUp’s private trainers to help you out. Our skilled team will have you confusing opponents and impressing the crowd, and yourself, in no time -- what are you waiting for?
Be prepared for the biggest moments by mastering the small ones off the court.