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Hitting Side Spin
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

The way a ball spins when hit in the game of tennis can greatly affect a large part of your game as well as your opponent's game. High bouncing balls may cause your opponent to have trouble returning the ball. Maybe your opponent has a problem hitting balls that do not bounce but a few inches off of the ground. Balls can also bounce sideways, jamming or stretching out your opponent while they try to hit their return. In whichever case, there are different types of spins and several ways to use them to your advantage. In this article we will take a look at what side spin is and how to hit the ball and create side spin.

Most people associate side spin with the slice serve or the kick serve. These are serves that when they hit the ground they not only bounce low or high, they also bounce left and right. However, another nice weapon to add to your tennis arsenal is the "side spin" ground stroke.

Side spin can either cause the ball to either bounce away from or at your opponent once the ball hits the ground. Side spin is generated when you hit the ball with a slight left to right or right to left motion within a typical slice ground stroke. The more extreme (from one side to the other) you swing the racquet the more spin you will generate on the ball. The result of this motion will create an effect that will cause the ball to move in the opposite direction than the swing. (Example: If you swing from left to right, the ball will spin to your left.) Once the ball is hit with side spin it will slightly start to move to one side as it crosses the net, once the ball bounces is when the spin takes full effect. Once the ball hits the ground it will bounce sideways in a more extreme manner depending on how much spin you placed on the ball.

As we have just discussed, side spin is generated by brushing the ball from one side to another with the face of your racquet. The "side to side" motion is key. This does not mean that you will hit the ball and it will shoot off directly to the court next to you. You still swing in the forward motion as you typically do, you will just add a little left to right or right to left motion in the swing.

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker