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 side ways, 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 first look at what slice is and then how to hit
the ball with slice.
Slice is just the opposite of topspin. Slice is generated
by hitting the ball with a high to low motion with your racquet.
Balls that are hit with slice have "backspin" on them. This backspin
does not allow the ball to bounce high. (See diagram above) The
ball stays relatively low when it hits the ground, and the ball
slows down as well. The slice is not used as much in today's game
as it was in the past. With so many players now using the extreme
western grips the days of seeing lots of slice shots are gone.
The slice is a very fluid motion and does not need
to be hit hard. A slice shot is good for placement and keeping the
ball low. I personally use them mainly for approach shots (forehand
and backhand) depending on the situation. You will notice that the
extremity of the high to low motion is not the same as the topspin's
low to high. You do not need to chop at the ball. It is a smooth
motion mainly swinging forward but with a high to low motion of
the racquet. The more "high to low" you hit, the more backspin you
create and the lower the ball will bounce. If you hit enough "high
to low" the ball may bounce backwards depending on how hard you
swing at the ball. Usually this technique is reserved for drop shots.
Drop shots are always hit with backspin to keep the ball from getting
any closer to the opponent once they bounce and it keeps the ball
low giving the opponent less time to get to the ball.
Slice is great weapon to have, especially if your
opponent has trouble hitting balls that bounce low. Some players
don't bend their knees well when hitting low bouncing balls. Slice
also gives you a great way to mix up your shots so your opponent
is not always hitting the ball in the same strike zone. Even if
you do not use slice a lot, it is good to know. A lot of players
when running down a ball that is almost out of reach get stretched
out. Players with a 2 handed backhand sometimes have to let go with
one hand, and this is when slice would be good to use. With the
slice you are able to keep the ball lower and hit a better return
than just blocking the ball back when stretched out wide. Learn
to hit with slice to have another weapon in your arsenal.
Good Luck on the Court!