It’s easy to think that we only use the slice when we are in trouble, overrunning, or in a defensive situation. However, in reality, if we know when and how to use it, the slice can become an excellent tool and great weapon for your game.
When and How To Use the Slice?
As a return of serve We can use it as a neutral shot, returning deep, heavy, and slow, to take a good position in the court and to not give your opponent a chance to finish the point.
If your opponent serves and volleys, the slice can be a great option if you return low and to your opponent’s feet. This gives your opponent a difficult volley and can set up a passing shot on the next ball.
We can use it as a chip and charge on a second serve return, putting pressure coming to the net and a slow, heavy, and deep slice will give you plenty of time to get a good position in the net and close the angle of your opponent’s next shot.
As a rally ball
If your forehand is your weapon, a crosscourt backhand slice, is a great tool because it gives you the perfect opportunity to set up the point with your forehand. You can use it as a neutral shot when you are running, hitting cross- court heavy and deep, gaining you time for your next shot. Also, you can use it to disrupt your opponent’s rhythm. Changing the pace, mixing topspin and slice, will make your opponent lose rhythm and make more mistakes.
As a defensive shot
If you are in trouble or losing your position in the court (defense situation). A slice is a great option to allow yourself more time for your next shot. If you are in this same, defensive position, you can use the slice as a lob.
As an angle
When your opponent’s shot is coming short (3⁄4 of the court) and wide, you can use the slice as an angle, hitting short and wide, opening the court, and putting your opponent in a very bad position.
As a drop shot
If you are in total control of the point, after pushing your opponent back and out of the court and receiving a short ball, a drop shot is a very good option. A tip is to hide your drop shot, making your opponent think you are hitting topspin and then hitting the drop shop. This shot should be done with your legs, only using your hands to absorb the ball.
As an approach shot
If your opponent’s shot is short and low, or you reach his/her drop shot, you can use the slice as an approach shot, getting a good position in the net and getting the perfect amount of time to close the angle of your opponent’s next shot.
Advice For Having a Good Slice Technique
Your grip should be mostly continental and slightly to eastern.
The distance between the ball and your body should be a little farther. One of the biggest mistakes in the slice backhand is when the player gets too close to the ball and the player over-rotates his body.
In the setup position, your racket head should be a little below your shoulder, so your slice does not float and goes straight and low. Get into a strong loading position with your back leg and reach for the ball with your front leg, transferring your energy to the ball. When you swing, spread out your arms and squeeze your shoulder blades at the end. This will keep you sideways and will let you transfer the energy of your body in the right direction.
I hope that these tips will help you to get better technique in your slice and incorporate it more into your game.
Saul Salazar is a High Performance Director at CourtSense Tennis Academy and has been part of the CourtSense team for more than nine years. Saul has been coaching tennis for more than 30 years, and was critical in the development of many top national players in Mexico. As Director of a prominent tennis academy in Mexico, Saul was known for his skill and ability to rejuvenate deteriorating clubs throughout Monterrey. Also serving as USPTR Head Pro, Saul's experience has made him a vital component to the development of CourtSense Academy.