A slicing in tennis may be pretty helpful if used properly. It is employed as a defensive shot that every player should possess and a way to seal points. Since it requires so much touch, some players find it challenging to master, but it is a change of pace that can seriously confuse an opponent.
A proper slice technique consists of a few steps that can be practiced. Although backhand slices will predominate, forehand slices should also be considered. It is essential to use the proper grip and footwork, among other things. These actions can help you become a better tennis player, not just your slice technique.
What Is A Slice In Tennis?
A tennis slice is a technique for striking or returning the ball that gives it a particular spin. Tennis players will swing their racket downward in a “slicing” action, angling it between entirely flat and completely diagonal. The racket should be continuously moving in a nearly perpendicular direction to the ball when the racket and the ball make contact.
Tennis Slice: The Advantages and Disadvantages
# Advantages of a Tennis Slice
When a slice is executed correctly, the ball is smacked with backspin from the racket. Compared to a typical return of the ball, the ball should bounce with much less height when it reaches the opponent’s side because of the additional spin. The opponent will have less time to get to the ball from where they were waiting for the return because of the ball’s lower bounce, making it harder for them to return the slice.
Slicing can also be employed to facilitate the return of challenging or strong shots. By slicing the ball, you can mitigate the impact of a strong shot or one with many spins, making the return far more likely than it would be with a regular return effort.
# Disadvantages of Slice Serves
Slice serves may be favorable in terms of location, but speed is sacrificed. Slice serves are significantly slower and weaker than flat serves, giving the opponent more time to plan their reply.
*** Read more: What Does LET Mean In Tennis? 2 Rules On Calling A Let
7 Steps To Perfect Tennis Slice Technique
#1. Find a Grip That Works
The two most popular slicing grips off the backhand are continental and eastern. Most people should begin with a continental grip and observe how they respond to it. When striving to perform at a high level, it allows a player a decent amount of precision and is typically the more versatile grip.
Grip preference is ultimately up to each player. Finding a grip that enables not only short slices but also slices that can penetrate deeply into the court is crucial.
#2. Small Steps For Proper Setup
With a slice, minor movements are crucial, just like with many other shots. Getting the timing right is essential since this shot requires great skill. After taking numerous little steps to prepare yourself, your final thrust forward should have plenty of power.
Make sure the footwork is distinct between a slice and a regular backhand. This is especially true for those who usually use a two-handed backhand. Since a slice is often cut with one hand, the preparation is different. Players’ one-handed reach is slightly increased, but their off-hand will not be as robust.
#3. Use a Proper Stance
Again, the backhand posture for a slice depends on personal preference. For most players, though, maintaining a neutral or slightly closed posture will offer the ideal level of balance. Start from a neutral position and make minor adjustments to get as comfortable as possible. Not only will this work best, but by not opening up too soon, it also helps to conceal the shot.
Players should have a neutral stance and position their feet parallel to the sideline. Do not rush to open the body too quickly because this is before the backswing. The control for any slice is lost the moment the body begins to fly open.
Any other tennis shot has a different backswing than a slice. The objective is to give the ball a backspin and alter the opponent’s appearance. It occasionally curves while also changing speed. Players who develop many touches with their slice can have pinpoint precision, particularly on drop shots.
A player swings the racquet back and positions it up, to begin with, a shorter setup. This positions the racquet’s head slightly above and behind the player’s head. To attain that angle on the slice, the racquet must be higher than the direction the ball is traveling.
The body’s weight should shift to the front foot as soon as the ball bounces. Power is not a prerequisite for a slice, but the player must spin the ball and direct it where it needs to go. Because this is a more controlled shot, maintaining eye contact with the ball is crucial. It is not the kind of shot where you see it and rip it.
A player should aim for a contact point where the racquet travels from high to low in an open posture. A player’s dominant foot is often one or two feet ahead of the ideal slice location. A ball hit slightly too early will typically pop up. If you wait too long, there is a danger that the slice could be too flat and burn.
#5. Perfecting The Follow-Through
Never ignore the follow-through when using a backhand slice. A person must finish the shot by keeping it low and maintaining the movement from high to low when the racquet makes contact. In the end, the racquet should be moving and possibly even rising slightly.
A player moves into position for the next ball as they complete their backhand slice. Utilizing the off-hand as a means of regrouping is one approach to keeping your equilibrium.
#6. Handling High & Low Balls
A player can only afford a brief backswing with the high ball, which is the difference between a high backhand slice and a low backhand slice. The objective is to get a down or make a shot such that the ball remains in play and a player can benefit from the angle.
Knee bending is essential while slicing the ball low. A player is coming under the ball and not trying to pop it up excessively by maintaining a low center of gravity. Some players attempt to make a drop shot with a low ball, while others try to slice it into the open court.
Although a slice can be a little challenging for some players, it is primarily a defensive stroke. Some players occasionally use it on offense to insert their players. A player may be able to make a little drop shot, for instance, if they are well behind the baseline.
Above all, if there is a change in tempo, people must remain alert. It is straightforward to strike balls at the same speed in a long rally, but introducing a slice could confuse an opponent rapidly. It has a similar effect to a pitcher’s change-up in baseball in that it throws timing off.
#7. Working On a Forehand Slice
Although it is not employed as frequently as a backhand slice, players occasionally rely on the forehand slice. Because it is not utilized defensively unless there is a scramble for the ball, most of them will like this as a total change of pace.
Any player’s objective is to hide their slice as much as possible with their forehand. A player can read an impending slice and move in for the simple ball if they know it. A forehand slice can be used to occasionally keep a player honest, although it can look strange if the move fails.
Tennis slice shots can be frustrating to hit, but they are generally challenging to master. When it functions properly, it causes the opposition great trouble.
Practice with a partner or a ball machine to become proficient at a few different slicing shots. Players should learn how to slice the ball far into the court, but they should also practice dropping goals near the net. Most tennis players become too predictable when consistently hitting at the same pace.