Scott Baker | Tennis4you
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Returning a ball that has backspin (slice) is not
always as easy as returning a top spin shot for players who are
not very advanced. Sliced shots stay lower after they bounce slower
than most topspin hit shots, and they do not bounce very high. You
will find that beginners have a lot easier time returning topspin
rather than slice. Players are also used to seeing mainly topspin
these days which helps to make the slice more of an effective weapon.
To return the slice shot you cannot get lazy. To
return a slice you must get low to the ground and really bend your
knees. Sometimes it is easier to return a slice with a slice because
you do not have to bend your knees as much, but in a baseline rally,
this may not be as effective as topspin depending on your opponent.
Some players really struggle returning a slice
shot hit to them with their own top spin shot. With the extreme
grips used today like the western grip, it makes it particulary
hard to get the head of the racquet below low bouncing balls. If
you struggle hitting back slice shots you may want to consider using
a less extreme grip or learning to return slice shots with your
own slice shots. Some players find it much easier to return a slice
shot with a slice shot.
Two-handed backhand players and taller players
can have a more difficult time returning the slice with their backhand
because they have two hands on the racquet which slightly limits
your reach. If you have a two handed backhand it will benefit you
to get to the slice shot when the ball is at the peak of it's bounce
so you do not have to get so low too the ground to hit the ball.
This requires you to see the ball early and move to the position
where you feel the ball will be at it's peak. If you get lazy and
let the ball drop it will be harder to hit the ball and much harder
to hit the ball offensively.
When returning a slice shot when you are at the
net can be tough for beginners. When you are going to volley a ball
that has been sliced you must get as close to the net as possible
to hit an effective shot. If you sit back and let the slice come
to you the ball will be slower and lower to the ground making it
very difficult to hit the volley. I see a lot of beginners trying
to volley a slice shot and they hit it into the bottom of the net.
I simply tell them to step into the ball instead of waiting for
the ball to come to them. This allows them to hit the ball while
it is higher and gives them more options to be offensive with the
volley and go for a winner.
Advanced players should take advantage of opponent's
who slice too much by coming to the net. Slice shots are generally
slow and hard to hit passing shots with. As a good net player you
can attack the slice shots with good volleys.
Hitting winners off of slice shots can be difficult
for beginners. If you are not an advanced player and you are playing
someone with an effective slice shot do not try to hit the ball
hard just because it is a slow shot. Hitting balls that are low
to the ground and moving slow are very difficult to hit hard.
There are a lot of important things to do when
hitting back slice shots. Be sure to stay low with the ball, keep
your feet moving and know when and when not to attack a slice shot.
Remember, just because a slice shot moves to you slow, it can still
be a tough shot to return, stay focused.
Luck on the Court!