Slice Backhand—Change up the pace, March 2018
Nelson Hughes, USPTA Certified Professional
While there are a variety of uses for the slice in today’s tennis world, the one reason I think the slice is so important to learn is the ability to create off-pace shots that are still difficult, and perhaps even more difficult than hard shots, for your opponent to handle. Most players tend to assume that the harder the shot they hit, the more effective it will be. This, however, is not always the case. Some opponents love playing someone with a power game because they can use your pace on their shots. This means they are simply using the power you generated and redirecting it effectively to their advantage. When you find an opponent is doing this, one of the most effective things you can do to counter it is to throw in the slice ball.
The slice ball forces an opponent to generate his or her own power instead of simply getting to use yours, and it is also gives you more time to get back in position. When the slice is hit correctly, it starts with the racket preparation at a high angle so that you can strike the back underside of the ball in a slightly downward and forward swing of the racket. Therefore when the ball bounces on the other side of the court, it is going to lose speed rapidly, forcing your opponent both to move to the ball and predict which way it is going to bounce. It also forces your opponent to really explode into the shot if they want to get the ball back.
Anatomy of the Slice
The slice is an effective weapon that can be used to throw off your opponent’s timing. By adding the slice to your game plan, you can stop your opponent from stealing the pace of your shots. Hit the slice and make them create their own.