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View Full Version : Slice Serve = Second Serve?


kevhen
08-23-2004, 09:52 AM
Even though I have a big first serve and can hit it hard flat or with topspin, I find the strongest 4.0s have more trouble with my slice serve since they can't read the bounce and I can either jam their backhand and hit it running away from their forehand. I also started to find that I could hit it as a second serve since they struggle with being able to attack it because of the unpredictable bounce and will often frame it.

Does anyone else hit a slice second serve? I am thinking about focusing more on doing that since my consistent flat second serve is attackable and my hard spinning second serve isn't consistent enough. I use a continental grip on the slice and generate a ton of spin and decent pace and the ball moves 3-4 feet from right to left. At this point I am not sure if I can get in a high percentage of slice unless I take alot of pace off, but am around 70% now at around 80-85mph.

Also hitting slice serves is a little harder on the elbow than the other serves, so I am not sure if I can do this full-time. Anyone else hit slice second serves with no elbow damage and good luck?

Oh, why is the word mis hit censored when run together anyway?

Mahboob Khan
08-23-2004, 10:19 AM
Well, at times, if not most of the times, I use slice serve as the first serve. I also use it as a second in addition to my kick serve. If I feel that certain opponent has trouble with my slice, I will give him more slice. However, very few players know the full range of usage of slice serve:

In the deuce court:

-- slice out wide to the FH (strings bypass the ball at 3 o'clock)

-- jam the returner with slice

-- Hit up the T with slice.

In the adv court:

-- Slice up the T (the ball will curve to the forehand/deuce court).

-- Slice out wide to the backhand (strings bypass the ball at 9 o'clock).

As a rule of thumb, keep the returner guessing with your variety of serves: flat, kick, slice, out wide, body, up the T so that he does not develop a rhythm on his return of serve!

Bungalo Bill
08-23-2004, 10:21 AM
Yes, the slice serve is very effective at this level or for that matter any level. It is a good serve. If you can aim the serve at a righthanders hips (it curve into his hip) that will be a tough serve. Most people commit slightly too soon and end up getting jammed.

So I think that is an excellent tactic.

Can I ask you what is your next shot? If you hit it to the duece court and you do this and the person is able to get it back, do you know what to do next?

kevhen
08-23-2004, 10:46 AM
It all depends on where their return comes back to and with what pace. I generated quite a few return errors with the slice in this weekend's tournament but it was more my forehand that let me down eventually as I am still working on that flat forehand and now my slice isn't quite as sharp either but maybe by next year it will come together and I can move to the very top of the 4.0s around here. I did have success with approaches and even served and vollied once and won that big point so I should probably work on doing more of that since I am 6'4 with a big serve and overhead and good reach on the vollies. But I just need a machine now in order to work on my vollies and the proper technique and grip so they can improve.

kevhen
08-23-2004, 10:54 AM
I mostly slice into the body or to the weaker side. Initially in my second match against the #1 seed who ended up taking 2nd place, I went to his forehand with the slice as he wouldn't move his feet to go get the ball but he adjusted so I started coming at his backhand and then bending the ball into his body so his backhand was jammed. I lost 4 and 4. I beat him last time we played in June and he lost the final to a guy he beat last time out so it was some nice competitive 4.0 singles matches with some long rallies and interesting points and too many UEs on my forehand side as I tried to end the points to quickly with some touch shots.

Bungalo Bill
08-23-2004, 10:57 AM
It all depends on where their return comes back to and with what pace. I generated quite a few return errors with the slice in this weekend's tournament but it was more my forehand that let me down eventually as I am still working on that flat forehand and now my slice isn't quite as sharp either but maybe by next year it will come together and I can move to the very top of the 4.0s around here. I did have success with approaches and even served and vollied once and won that big point so I should probably work on doing more of that since I am 6'4 with a big serve and overhead and good reach on the vollies. But I just need a machine now in order to work on my vollies and the proper technique and grip so they can improve.

I know. Your right it does depend. Next time you are serving try and find out what the returners tendency is. Make sure you understand what he does on the pressure points, you might find a pattern.

Manyh returners if the heat is on, will say to themselves "I am just going to return whatever he gives me crosscourt to start the point". Just pay a little closer attention.

Always aim that slice to the righthanders right hip. That is a good serve you got.

kevhen
08-23-2004, 10:57 AM
He also was a good strategist who came at my forehand that was making errors, so I started approaching to his backhand with it with success so he started hitting crosscourt to my backhand where we were even but then I went back to trying to win the point with a forehand dropshot crosscourt too often when he hit up the middle and then hitting wide or too deep. I needed to keep my forehands to his backhand side but I didn't stay focused with that attack.

Bungalo Bill
08-23-2004, 11:01 AM
He also was a good strategist who came at my forehand that was making errors, so I started approaching to his backhand with it with success so he started hitting crosscourt to my backhand where we were even but then I went back to trying to win the point with a forehand dropshot crosscourt too often when he hit up the middle and then hitting wide or too deep. I needed to keep my forehands to his backhand side but I didn't stay focused with that attack.

Kevhen you keep this up and your going tobe an excellent player. That really charged me up, the way you discovered a strategic matchup you could beat him in.

The next thing to learn is not to bail out too soon on your strategy! :) Sometimes the opponent will just flat out beat you. That is ok, as long as you dont make a mental mistake and try to do things outside of a game plan you found. Occasionally, that is fine to keep the opponent "guessing", but your bread and butter for points IS that matchup. Makes sure you put lots of butter on that bread!

kevhen
08-23-2004, 11:02 AM
He also stepped inside the baseline to return my slice even though I was hitting it pretty hard, I think to take away some of it's movement after the bounce. I forced some errors by ripping hard topspin serves with him inside the baseline but mostly stuck with the slice since I was getting 70%+ in and trying to avoid hitting any seconds which he was winning a good percentage of with his attacking return and coming to net. So maybe I should have mixed up the hard topspin and hard slice serve more to keep him off balance, but like I have said it was more my two different forehand shots that weren't consistent but that is what I will be working on this now.

kevhen
08-23-2004, 11:04 AM
Yes, of course Bill, strategy is what I am good at, technique has never been my strength but am working on that now too. I probably should videotape myself like you suggest but I don't have a video camera anymore.

Bungalo Bill
08-23-2004, 11:07 AM
He also stepped inside the baseline to return my slice even though I was hitting it pretty hard, I think to take away some of it's movement after the bounce. I forced some errors by ripping hard topspin serves with him inside the baseline but mostly stuck with the slice since I was getting 70%+ in and trying to avoid hitting any seconds which he was winning a good percentage of with his attacking return and coming to net. So maybe I should have mixed up the hard topspin and hard slice serve more to keep him off balance, but like I have said it was more my two different forehand shots that weren't consistent but that is what I will be working on this now.

You sound like the difference between the old Agassi and the new Agassi. Brad Gilbert did wonders to Agassi's game. He saw something in Agassi he never knew he had. Agassi used to want to just hit the ball for a winner. Very spectacular. Very flashy!

You sound like a player that is moving into the area of the "mental" game of tennis. You are finding out that you can beat players with your thinking and your ability to stick with the thinking you did to gain an edge.

The new Agassi, just enjoys running you until you drop and he has always had the strokes for that type of play - all Brad did was convince him that that was all he needed to do to climb back into the Top 10. Now look at him, at 34 years old, he is still winning tounaments. The old Agassi would have been finished a long time ago.

kevhen
08-23-2004, 11:09 AM
No I have always been the mental type of player, but lacked in having nice strokes but with experience and practice the strokes are coming. Agassi always had the strokes but not the mental part until Gilbert came along. I am definitely a Gilbert!

Bungalo Bill
08-23-2004, 11:32 AM
No I have always been the mental type of player, but lacked in having nice strokes but with experience and practice the strokes are coming. Agassi always had the strokes but not the mental part until Gilbert came along. I am definitely a Gilbert!

Awesome!

kevhen
08-24-2004, 06:00 AM
No one uses a slice for a second serve?????

TennsDog
08-24-2004, 07:49 AM
My second serve used to be only a slice until I learned topspin. I have now lost most of my consistancy with slice and therefore stay away from it on second serves, but it can be a very good weapon on first serves. I love jamming my opponents with it. However, if you use it for second serve and it works, that is great. I just wish I could find it again so I can throw it in as a second serve sometimes. I think the slice serve is underappreciated with all the flat and kick serves now.

ma2t
08-24-2004, 08:28 AM
I also used to slice all second serves until I learned to hit them with topspin. I think the lower net clearance makes me think twice about using for the majority of second serves. I occasionally will slice the first serve though figuring I will still have another chance if I miss. I want to know how you are getting that much pace on a slice serve that moves that much. It seems to me that slicing the serve takes a lot of pace off of it.

TennsDog
08-24-2004, 08:32 AM
A slice serve doesn't have to be slow. And if you can hit a short angle wide in deuce court, it doesn't matter if it is slow. I didn't used to have a lot of pace on my serves when I was using slice. Now I learned the better service motion and just try to do the same motion, but toss a tad further to my right, and go more around it than up or through. It doesn't really have to have any less pace than a topspin serve...just a different direction of spin.

kevhen
08-24-2004, 08:35 AM
I use either a low flat consistent second serve or a heavy spinning topspin second serve. But a slice serve, if I can learn to hit it consistently enough might be a more attacking second serve since the bounce is more unpredictable and harder for an opponent to try to attack.

I just haven't seen too many people go this route as well, most hit topspin, a few hit flat second serves, and only one guy I remember always hit slice serves for both first and seconds. He didn't hit them with that much pace though so I am wondering about my elbow if I do this too much too.

kevhen
08-24-2004, 08:42 AM
I have a big flat serve being 6'4 and know how to throw a hard slider in baseball so with a continental grip for the slice serve instead of eastern with my flat, I use that slider motion (also like football throwing motion) with the wrist and arm to hit the ball hard and with lots of spin and movement. I tend to aim more for the ball to land in the center of the court to keep that percentage high and just force errors by jamming the returner. I have found that the top 4.0s can return my flat and hard spin serves but they all seem to struggle more with the hard slice since maybe they don't see it too much. I know a couple lefties have used it against me but only one righty I can remember and he was just 3.5 level.

Bungalo Bill
08-24-2004, 09:52 AM
No one uses a slice for a second serve?????

Yes, I do. Especially since I am left handed I will slice wide on the ad court.

sanitarium
08-24-2004, 10:12 AM
Yeah, i'm a lefty too - which makes reading most of the descriptions on this board monotonous as you convert everything to the opposite haha.

And to make it even worse I'm used to playing righties so If I hit crosscourt with a FH I get a backhand, so its always opposite.

Anyway, different shots work on different players. If I were playing a tall opponent, such as yourself I would hit mostly flat/slice. This is because flat/slice stay lower opposed to topspin or kick, which often situp for taller players. Here's a situation I was in yesterday.

I was playing a smaller opponent, so out of instinct I just wanted to blast every serve but you realize they can block or slice back a return just as easy, and a slice isnt that much trouble since they're low to the ground anyway... But after a couple of games I discovered a kick serve generates tons more problems, even as a first serve.

Just let your toss up so it'll land on your head, low knee bend then come up into the ball from behind and let your arm propel from 6-12, then when that ball lands in it comes up very high - a hard return.

I got better opportunities off a 80-90mph high kicker then a 110mph flat serve, so it's all how you view what you want to accomplish.

kevhen
08-25-2004, 06:51 AM
Last night I played 5 sets of doubles so I went to the slice serve alot since I am getting it in 70-75% of the time. During warmups I tried to hit a slower second serve with slice but only got about a foot of movement on the ball vs 2-4 feet when I hit it harder.

In the matches I hit about 60% hard slices, 25% hard topspin, and 15% flat (usually when way up in score) for first serves. Then on seconds I just went for a fairly hard topspin serve. I think I double faulted once in 11 service games so that was nice since my topspin serve seemed much more consistent maybe since my slice serve is more similar than when I go from flat to topspin and back and don't get into much rhythm since those two serves are so dissimilar.

So I am definitely sticking with the hard slice and just going into the body with it since it's a high percentage serve and draws many weak returns that my partner could put away besides all the balls that didn't come back. I am not sure about using it for a second serve yet if I can just get the fairly hard topspin serve to work for that.

No elbow soreness today, so I must be doing something right. I held serve 10/11 against solid 4.0 doubles players. Nice serving night, I am sticking with the hard slice as my new weapon of choice.

goober
08-25-2004, 07:07 AM
I use a slice second serve but mostly because I don't have a reliable kick/topspin second serve.

Do you guys vary the toss on a slice as compared to flat/topspin serve? I seem to have more success with a toss at the 1-2 o'clock position. My only problem is that I don't have a lot of pace on the ball.If I increase my pace too much than I start making too many errors. :x

kevhen
08-25-2004, 07:11 AM
My toss for the hard slice is about 1 o'clock very similar to my flat serve. It's a fairly high toss too as I try to use my height and leverage to swing down into the court. When I go with a slow slice I toss more 2 o'clock and much lower, but this serve is not as effective but it does move quite a bit but the lack of pace makes it easy to run down and return.

kevhen
09-13-2004, 01:39 PM
Slice serve as a second serve seems like a good play since Elena keeps top returing pros from attacking it hitting it at only 60mph. She just needs to work on her consistency and ball toss. My slice serve is much harder with a more normal ball toss but forces many errors. The slice serve may come back in the women's game for the second serve since it is tricky to attack compared to a topspin second serve but probably not many coach's will teach it though.

Rickson
09-13-2004, 05:49 PM
Dementieva uses a slice serve all the time.

kevhen
10-06-2004, 12:50 PM
I have been cranking up the spin on the slice serve (tossing a little more to the right and taking some pace off) and going wide on the deuce court for some first serves and taking my opponent off the court and then hitting the backhand crosscourt for winner or forehand dropshot for winner.

As the opponents moves farther out as the match progresses, it sets up my flat serve down the T and gives me more room for margin so I can aim 6-12 inches inside the line and still force errors or get aces since they are still expecting the slice serve out wide.

For this to be effective though you have to really get some spin on that slice so it skids low and keeps bending.

Now for figuring out how to win points on the ad side!?!?!