| By Bill Longua

To improve your level of play a variety of different shots are needed, one of which is the forehand slice. Let’s go over a few tips to help you hit it better, or if you are new at it, get started.

Your first question is, I already have a decent topspin forehand why do I need a slice? Here are some of the reasons:

►The slice is used on the approach shot when coming into net.

►When playing a serve and volley player in either singles or doubles it is a great return at their feet.

►In singles matches you want to occasionally mix up spins and pace so the opponent does not always know what is coming.

►In this age of the western grip forehand craze being able to slice will make that big forehand of your opponent harder to hit.

What’s the common factor in all four of the reasons I just gave? Keeping the ball low; and the slice allows you to do just that. The backspin on the ball causes the exact opposite effect than topspin, the ball skids low instead of jumping up with topspin. So, when using it on the approach shot your opponent must hit up at you when you have reached the net. When facing a serve and volley player the first volley he or she must hit is a difficult one down at the feet.

In a match, mixing in some spins will change the pace and also alter the height of the ball from waist high to below the knees, and the western forehand is much harder to control when the ball is down because the face of the racquet is too closed to hit low balls easily.

The forehand slice is an elongated forehand volley. The volley is a short high to low punch in the Continental grip. The forehand slice is the same shot but with a backswing and follow through struck after the ball has bounced. This shot is also held in the Continental grip, the stance is closed so you have turned sideways to the net, the head of the racquet is about shoulder high with the face slightly open on the backswing, after a step toward the ball on your front leg the swing is high to low making contact with ball in line with the leg and brushing down the backside of the ball resulting in backspin. Unlike the topspin forehand when the wrist is loose and snaps up, here the wrist is very firm with no snap at all. Make sure you have a full follow through, but again not like the topspin over the shoulder finish but extended forward.

Go to http://onlinetennistraining.com/usopen for the download sale of my book, Winning Tennis Strokes and look for its review in the next issue of New York Tennis Magazine.

Good luck ... have fun!