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Returning Slice
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

Slice Groundtroke
Flat Groundstroke
Topspin Groundstroke

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.

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker