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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 Groundtroke
Flat Groundstroke
Topspin Groundstroke

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!
Scott Baker
Tennis4you.com