PDA

View Full Version : Players who do nothing but slice backhands


Rickson
10-18-2007, 11:33 PM
I've seen a few players who only slice whenever balls come to their backhand sides and these are not 2 handers who are just slicing with the one hand, these are players who play with slice backhands exclusively as if that's the only way to hit a backhand. How did these people learn such a bad habit and how will they ever learn to hit a driving backhand?

goober
10-18-2007, 11:43 PM
There are not a few players, there are tons of players that have slice only one handed backhands. These are especially prevalent on the 3.0-3.5 levels.

Why do they do it? It is easier to slice a 1 HBH than to hit topspin. Slice you can hit late, you can hit low or high balls and you can control it. Topspin drive requires better timing and much more practice to master it. Typically the players that slice only have little to no tennis instruction and they fall into the slice BH because it is comfortable to them.

Rickson
10-19-2007, 12:09 AM
Don't ge me wrong, goob. I like playing slice only players and the last time I played one, I went to his backhand a lot and got a lot of vollies on his weak backhand. When will they figure out that the slice only backhand is a major liability?

Venetian
10-19-2007, 12:27 AM
When they improve I guess. Or maybe they just don't enjoy hitting a flat or topspin backhand.

origmarm
10-19-2007, 12:46 AM
I have this problem to an extent. I slice about 85% of my backhands, I hit the other 20% probably mostly flat with a little topspin. Its something I'm working on as I do reckon there are situations where its a disadvantage. The reason I fell into this is when I was taught (20yrs ago), the older pros taught mostly to hit mainly flat, which is now what I do, I later added a little slice or topspin (depending on the setup time I have) for control.

I would say this however, the slice I hit is a relatively "flattened out" slice if you will and goes low and flat over the net and will often sort of skid on some surfaces. A sort of "driving slice". This is a hard shot to return for some players.

I am trying to learn to add more topspin in some situations and may even adopt a 2hander (haven't decided yet, feels VERY strange to me, not a natural motion). I guess my point is that while I recognise its a problem sometimes, I think there are distinct types of slice backhand. The one that is slow and defensive and sits up high I think is definitely a problem, the other can be an offensive weapon

goober
10-19-2007, 06:27 AM
Of course there are some good players that slice only, but these are usually the exception not the rule. Most club players who do this have a BH liability.

I use to slice all my BHs. Now I mix it up a lot more with about 50% slice. It really depends on whom I am playing. I tend to slice more against better competition. It is a lot easier to slice back ball that is coming in very fast or when I am slighty out of position.

Tennismastery
10-19-2007, 06:28 AM
Don't forget that Steffie Graff got to be #1 in the world with nearly an exclusive slice backhand. And, Fabrice Santoro on the men's side is still competing at a top-50 world-ranked level with a slice forehand and backhand. (Actually two slice backhands, one on each side.)

However, players should note that there is a difference between a professional or highly skilled slice backhand and a weekend 'hackers' backhand slice.

But, as goober mentioned, the slice is not only biomechanically easier to hit, it feels easier because of two elements: The slice uses gravity to aid the racquets 'fall' into the stroke. And second, perhaps more obscure but equally compelling, is that it is easier to hit a ball that has topspin coming to you with slice. This is because with a slice, the player is only changing the direction of the ball's flight...not the spin that it has coming at you. And, because nearly every single ball that bounces first before you hit it will have topspin after the bounce, the slice hits the ball with a lot less friction of having to change the spin of the ball to topspin going the other way.

This is called the "spin advantage" for the slice. In other words, a ball that is spinning at say 4000 rpm's of topspin coming towards you, you will have to hit a topspin stroke that has the capacity of creating 4000 rpm's of topspin upon this ball just to get the ball to be hit flat, negating the 4000 rpm's the ball had coming at you. With slice, you are slicing the ball with the strings of your racquet brushing the ball in the direction it is already spinning.

origmarm
10-19-2007, 06:37 AM
I tend to slice more against better competition. It is a lot easier to slice back ball that is coming in very fast or when I am slighty out of position.

Agreed, I tend to find that this varies depending on my opposition also.

Thanks Dave for the comments, always good to understand the reasoning behind what you feel. Interested in the part about it being biomechanically easier to hit, why is that?

BeHappy
10-19-2007, 06:43 AM
Don't forget that Steffie Graff got to be #1 in the world with nearly an exclusive slice backhand. And, Fabrice Santoro on the men's side is still competing at a top-50 world-ranked level with a slice forehand.

why do people always say that santoro slices off both sides?He always hit's his 'regular' backhand with flat topspin unless he's pulled really really wide.

Slazenger
10-19-2007, 06:51 AM
This is called the "spin advantage" for the slice. In other words, a ball that is spinning at say 4000 rpm's of topspin coming towards you, you will have to hit a topspin stroke that has the capacity of creating 4000 rpm's of topspin upon this ball just to get the ball to be hit flat, negating the 4000 rpm's the ball had coming at you. With slice, you are slicing the ball with the strings of your racquet brushing the ball in the direction it is already spinning.

This is actually incorrect. You don't have to equal the amount of rpm's the incoming ball has to get the ball to be flat.

origmarm
10-19-2007, 07:18 AM
This is actually incorrect. You don't have to equal the amount of rpm's the incoming ball has to get the ball to be flat.

Really? You would imagine you would need to generate the opposite force on the ball to end up with a neutral (or spinless) state as such

TripleB
10-19-2007, 07:27 AM
I've seen a few players who only slice whenever balls come to their backhand sides and these are not 2 handers who are just slicing with the one hand, these are players who play with slice backhands exclusively as if that's the only way to hit a backhand. How did these people learn such a bad habit and how will they ever learn to hit a driving backhand?

Basically I developed this great habit with I was between 6 and 9 years old. Racquets back then were very heavy and it was easier (ie: the racquet felt lighter) to hit with slice than flat or with topspin (which wasn't as prevelent in the game back in the mid 70s).

This one shot got me to the semis in regionals (and I played 4 on my team) and made me all conference.

I have since (around age 17 developed topspin and slice off both sides but if I get in a tight match I always go back to my bread and butter, the backhand slice. The ball barely comes up off the ground and it's tough for guys who use huge topspin to come over the top of the ball. It's also very effective when approaching the net....if the ball don't come up off the ground your opponent has to hit the ball up which makes for an easier volley.

If I had to give up the ability to all different types of shots except one, I'd keep my slice backhand.

TripleB

nousername
10-19-2007, 07:29 AM
This is actually incorrect. You don't have to equal the amount of rpm's the incoming ball has to get the ball to be flat.
that's it??? you could say why. it's b/c the ball loses a ton of energy during its flight path due to air friction, and a lot of energy when hits the grounds. so no matter what the rpm is when you hit it, it had A LOT more the instant is was coming off your opponents racquet. so if you want to "equal" your opponents shot, thank the air and ground for doing *some* of the work for you.

but in the previous posters defense, if your goal is to to change the +4000 rpm to -4000 rpm, yes that is a 2-fold difference in energy. but don't expect it to be anything like your opponents shot. it'll be pretty paltry in comparison. =)

nousername
10-19-2007, 07:36 AM
This is actually incorrect. You don't have to equal the amount of rpm's the incoming ball has to get the ball to be flat.
oh, actually, technically, you are wrong. in my previous post i thought we were on the same page... after a re-read of your comment, maybe not.

the rpm of the ball is directly related to it's energy. in order to "cancel" that energy, which would get it flat. you need to provide EXACTLY that amount of energy (and slightly more do to losses like friction between the string and ball).

Geezer Guy
10-19-2007, 07:49 AM
I had a really tough match last night against a guy that only slices his backhand. From his backhand side he has 3 very effective shots:
. hit's a nice driving slice down the line.
. hits a nice "floating" slice cross court that's usually a perfect dropshot.
. hits a pretty effective lob to either baseline corner.
After awhile I just started aiming everything at his forehand. At least then I had a better idea of where he was going with his shot.

Slazenger
10-19-2007, 07:53 AM
You and tennismastery are correct.

Yes the ball picks up topspin after the bounce and if you want to return the ball with topspin you have to have greater rpm than that of the incoming ball.

I was thinking in general projectile terms, where it is technically possible to reverse the spin of the ball without having to change the spin by its incoming factor.

fuzz nation
10-19-2007, 09:07 AM
I got to watch Fabrice Santoro play on several occasions this year on both grass and hardcourts... WOW! He'll throw either spin at an opponent off either wing and the funny thing is that he'll rarely hit the same ball two or three times in a row - it prevents his opponent from rallying with any kind of groove. His backspin balls float along like soap bubbles and when he hits a topspin drive, the gear change is explosive.

I've had a solid slice bh pretty much forever that gives me terrific margin for error and lots of control against heavy strokes and serves. The funny thing with it is that I can also hit winners with it despite the relatively slower pace - I can place the shot with extreme accuracy and it's easier for me to disguise my direction with this stroke than any other that I use. The hitting zone on a slice bh (for me) is enormous compared to a topspin shot, but there's nothing like changing direction from the baseline and driving a topspin bh up the line. The other topspin bh that I like is the quick two-hander for punching a return of serve with some authority, but I'm an avid all courter, so I chip 'n charge a lot, too.

habib
10-19-2007, 09:14 AM
oh, actually, technically, you are wrong. in my previous post i thought we were on the same page... after a re-read of your comment, maybe not.

the rpm of the ball is directly related to it's energy. in order to "cancel" that energy, which would get it flat. you need to provide EXACTLY that amount of energy (and slightly more do to losses like friction between the string and ball).

I'm not so sure about this at all, when you think about it, because there are a variety of factors that come into play. For instance, when you half-volley a heavy shot, there's no way that you're applying even close to the same energy to it, whether horizontal (pace) or vertical (spin) as your opponent, yet even the weakest half-volley (as long as it's not a slice) will reverse the spin on the ball.

jb193
10-19-2007, 09:28 AM
I play a 4.5 routinely and he really hits a good slice. He just muscles the heck out of it. His stroke almost looks like a backhand volley where he keeps his arm real close to his body, but like I said, he muscles it a bit and kind of shoves it without much follow through, which makes the ball just pierce throught he court. It still has backspin, though, so it isn't necessarily a drive shot. I wish I had that shot.......

skiracer55
10-19-2007, 10:03 AM
[QUOTE=Tennismastery;1819419]Don't forget that Steffie Graff got to be #1 in the world with nearly an exclusive slice backhand. And, Fabrice Santoro on the men's side is still competing at a top-50 world-ranked level with a slice forehand and backhand. (Actually two slice backhands, one on each side.)

However, players should note that there is a difference between a professional or highly skilled slice backhand and a weekend 'hackers' backhand slice.

QUOTE]

John Newcombe and Ken Rosewall hit nothing but slice backhands, and they did pretty well, from what I remember. In general, you're better off if you have both topspin and slice, and you're definitely at risk if all you have is a weak slice. But if you can hit with decent pace, vary the amount of slice, and put the ball where you want (and your opponent doesn't...) slice only will work...

nousername
10-19-2007, 10:57 AM
I'm not so sure about this at all, when you think about it, because there are a variety of factors that come into play. For instance, when you half-volley a heavy shot, there's no way that you're applying even close to the same energy to it, whether horizontal (pace) or vertical (spin) as your opponent, yet even the weakest half-volley (as long as it's not a slice) will reverse the spin on the ball.
yeah, i've said more than one incorrect thing here (slightly embarassed by that... sorry all) ... for whatever reason, i was thinking energy was a vector quantity, but it's scalar. all that means is it doesn't matter if it's +3000 rpm or -3000 rpm... the energy is the same.

energy can be converted from one form to another form, but the total energy is always the same. when we say "how much energy does it take to hit such and such a shot" we are talking about how much energy the player is adding to each shot. this is called work. the player can take away energy, -work, or add energy, +work. the energy of the ball right before you hit it, rotational energy plus kinetic ("speed") energy is yours to keep. if you hit a ball with speed X and spin Y (which it has just before you hit it), and you return it with speed X and spin Y. you have added zero energy to the system. the only energy you produced was to account for the frictional loses in the string and flex of the racquet while hitting. these you can't get back. doing this you added a little +work. if you try to stop the ball, e.g. trying to stop serves you opponent is warming up) you are doing -work on the system.


in addition, if you want to match your opponents shot, the ball had more energy when it left his racquet than when it gets to yours (because the air and ground took some). so you must also provide energy for these losses if you want to match his shot.

the case of the half-volley is primarily a one of energy conversion... most of the opponents velocity is getting converted into rotational energy of the ball.

note: if you return topspin with topspin you will sustain more frictional losses since there will certainly be more rubbing and moving of the strings.

sureshs
10-19-2007, 02:56 PM
I've seen a few players who only slice whenever balls come to their backhand sides and these are not 2 handers who are just slicing with the one hand, these are players who play with slice backhands exclusively as if that's the only way to hit a backhand. How did these people learn such a bad habit and how will they ever learn to hit a driving backhand?

I saw Feliciano Lopez play and he was using slice almost exclusively.

vkartikv
10-19-2007, 03:11 PM
It is not a 'bad habit'. Steffi did just that. It takes a lot of mastery to be able to 'just' slice the ball back with bite and depth, don't forget that.

sureshs
10-19-2007, 03:15 PM
I don't think you have to equal the topspin to neutralize the ball. Hitting it back with power and keeping a closed face often seems to do the trick, even in pro matches from what I have seen. Blake can crush Nadal's ball with a flat shot.

I am not sure about how much spin is lost on the strings, but in table tennis, it is very frequent to see very highly topspun balls (spin in tennis is a joke in comparison) returned with a "block". The funny thing is spin "accumulates" in table tennis - the blocked ball actually retains a lot of the spin, and creates problems for the original hitter. In fact, returning with topspin (called "looping the loop") is very very difficult, given the reaction times involved (again far less than tennis). This is even with regular surfaces, not the special anti-spin ones.

Tennismastery
10-19-2007, 04:20 PM
This is actually incorrect. You don't have to equal the amount of rpm's the incoming ball has to get the ball to be flat.

While there are many variables that contribute to the resulting spin, (ie: forward velocity of the racquet, upward angle of the swing path, string tension, etc.), my comment was a generalization to show why many times a player will actually hit a low to high swing path, only to get the ball to have little or no topspin.

However, if a ball is spinning at 4000 rpms in one direction, it is common sense to assume that it would take a swing path that would normally apply 4000 rpms in the opposite direction to counter the incoming spin.

While you're technically correct, the concept of spin and response spin are interrelated.

Thanks for the correction.

Tennismastery
10-19-2007, 04:26 PM
Agreed, I tend to find that this varies depending on my opposition also.

Thanks Dave for the comments, always good to understand the reasoning behind what you feel. Interested in the part about it being biomechanically easier to hit, why is that?

When I say biomechanically easier, I am referring to the nature of the stroke from the high to low swing angle is done with several muscles, one of which is the trapezius and lats. These muscles are large and usually very well developed. The topspin backhand, (one-handed, more specifically), depends more on the deltoid, for the lifting aspect, a muscle that is often less developed and certainly does not have the insertion on the humous and the leverage that the latissimus dorsi and Trapezius has.

I also include the action of gravity assisting in the stroke path as part of this idea, even as it really isn't considered a 'biomechanical' advantage.

That make sense?

Tennismastery
10-19-2007, 04:28 PM
why do people always say that santoro slices off both sides?He always hit's his 'regular' backhand with flat topspin unless he's pulled really really wide.

BeHappy...You're quite right. I was picturing his forehand more when I mentioned this post...he slices a lot...but, you're correct that he hits a very conventional topspin two-hander on his backhand. My bad.

Ripper
10-19-2007, 04:45 PM
It is not a 'bad habit'. Steffi did just that. It takes a lot of mastery to be able to 'just' slice the ball back with bite and depth, don't forget that.

I doubt she would have had 1/8th of the success she had while doing that had she been playing in this gen. The truth is it is a bad habit these days and one you won't be able to shake off if it sets in.

BeHappy
10-19-2007, 04:53 PM
BeHappy...You're quite right. I was picturing his forehand more when I mentioned this post...he slices a lot...but, you're correct that he hits a very conventional topspin two-hander on his backhand. My bad.


don't worry about it...

be happy ;)

Forza Milan
10-19-2007, 09:46 PM
Don't underestimate the backhand slice. Watch Santoro plays.

jamauss
10-19-2007, 10:35 PM
Haha, just watch Karlovic play. The guy has one of the ugliest topspin 1HBH's for a pro so he slices it almost every time.

35ft6
10-19-2007, 11:29 PM
Lately, I've been hitting my slice pretty well and feel no pressure at all to come over my backhand. I do come over to hit passing shots though.

sureshs
10-20-2007, 10:32 AM
The topspin backhand, (one-handed, more specifically), depends more on the deltoid, for the lifting aspect, a muscle that is often less developed and certainly does not have the insertion on the humous and the leverage that the latissimus dorsi and Trapezius has.

That make sense?

Makes a lot of sense.

That is why more and more players have a 2 hander these days. From your comments, it seems the 1 handed topspin backhand can never be much good because of fundamental anatomical reasons.

Stchamps
10-20-2007, 10:51 AM
Makes a lot of sense.

That is why more and more players have a 2 hander these days. From your comments, it seems the 1 handed topspin backhand can never be much good because of fundamental anatomical reasons.

1 handed topspin backhand can't be good?? The two number 1 world players both use the 1HBH. I'd say it must be pretty good.

sureshs
10-20-2007, 11:07 AM
1 handed topspin backhand can't be good?? The two number 1 world players both use the 1HBH. I'd say it must be pretty good.

They are pretty good.

Federer used to slice a lot before. Number of commentators have noted how he has improved his top spin backhand over the years. His top BH was not considered good a few years ago. It is all relative at their level though. He had to improve it to respond to competition like Nadal.

If you see upcoming players today, what is the dominant style? See Nadal, Joker, Baggy, Monfils, Young, Querrey, Isner. Exception is Gasquet. Here is Isner:

John Isner: No, I've never tried a one hand. Ever since I picked up the racket, it's always been a two handed backhand. For me, it's helped on the return of serve to use the two-hand.

WildVolley
10-20-2007, 11:22 AM
They are pretty good.

Federer used to slice a lot before. Number of commentators have noted how he has improved his top spin backhand over the years. His top BH was not considered good a few years ago. It is all relative at their level though. He had to improve it to respond to competition like Nadal.

If you see upcoming players today, what is the dominant style? See Nadal, Joker, Baggy, Monfils, Young, Querrey, Isner. Exception is Gasquet. Here is Isner:

John Isner: No, I've never tried a one hand. Ever since I picked up the racket, it's always been a two handed backhand. For me, it's helped on the return of serve to use the two-hand.

On the other hand, the 1hbh slice must be very natural. Almost all the 2hbh pros hit their slice bh with only 1 hand. I've been trying to develop the Federer chip backhand without success. However, I hit the majority of my 1hbhs with slight topspin, and throw in the slice either to keep the ball low or to switch up the pace.

sureshs
10-20-2007, 11:42 AM
On the other hand, the 1hbh slice must be very natural.

And volleys too. It also suits S&V players more for that reason.

tbini87
10-20-2007, 11:51 AM
my bro plays with slice bh only, which is the only reason i beat him regularly. i think it is a bad habit, because they have no real threat from the bh side. when i go to his bh i know what i am getting. someone with a topspin and slice bh has the element of suprise on their side, which counts for a lot imo. they can also hit winners off the bh side with a topspin shot, which is very hard to do with only a slice bh.

WildVolley
10-20-2007, 12:01 PM
And volleys too. It also suits S&V players more for that reason.

That's true. Like most kids in the modern era, I started out playing a two-handed backhand. But since I admired McEnroe's net game, I started volleying with one hand from the very beginning. Now that I'm older, I hit almost all 1hbhs. The transition wasn't too difficult because volleying with the 1hbh was so natural to me.

sureshs
10-20-2007, 12:07 PM
That's true. Like most kids in the modern era, I started out playing a two-handed backhand. But since I admired McEnroe's net game, I started volleying with one hand from the very beginning. Now that I'm older, I hit almost all 1hbhs. The transition wasn't too difficult because volleying with the 1hbh was so natural to me.

Your path is just like Sampras.

Morpheus
10-20-2007, 12:10 PM
Basically I developed this great habit with I was between 6 and 9 years old. Racquets back then were very heavy and it was easier (ie: the racquet felt lighter) to hit with slice than flat or with topspin (which wasn't as prevelent in the game back in the mid 70s).

This one shot got me to the semis in regionals (and I played 4 on my team) and made me all conference.

I have since (around age 17 developed topspin and slice off both sides but if I get in a tight match I always go back to my bread and butter, the backhand slice. The ball barely comes up off the ground and it's tough for guys who use huge topspin to come over the top of the ball. It's also very effective when approaching the net....if the ball don't come up off the ground your opponent has to hit the ball up which makes for an easier volley.

If I had to give up the ability to all different types of shots except one, I'd keep my slice backhand.

TripleB

This is very true. And you don't see many 1HBH in the younger generations.

VaBeachTennis
10-20-2007, 12:39 PM
Makes a lot of sense.

That is why more and more players have a 2 hander these days. From your comments, it seems the 1 handed topspin backhand can never be much good because of fundamental anatomical reasons.

I respectfully disagree. Each stroke has it's advantages and disadvantages. It really depends on the player. I have 1hbh and can hit some pretty nice topspin with it , for high and low balls. I like the 1hbh , because in my opinion , it can be more deceptive and in some ways more explosive than the 2hbh.

Tennismastery
10-20-2007, 01:19 PM
Makes a lot of sense.

That is why more and more players have a 2 hander these days. From your comments, it seems the 1 handed topspin backhand can never be much good because of fundamental anatomical reasons.

While the concept of musculature is a factor, the aspect of rhythm, kinetic chain, etc., are even more important...which is why there ARE pros and skilled players alike who can and do hit exceptional one-handed backhands.

I often demonstrate two-fingered swings (even on volleys and one-handed backhands) to show that in a real sense, overall strength is not the one-and only factor.

But, for the beginner, coordinating the right kinetic chain motion along with not trying to swing with their body forces them to resort to using those muscles I mentioned. This is where the stroke often breaks down.

A player can generate ample power, if not more whip with one-hand. However, watch the typical recreational player or one who has had limited or no lessons, dink, push, punch, swat, slap and sling their body at one-handed backhands! It takes understanding of stroke elements (for both one and two-handed strokes) to master them to the point that you can hit them on command especially in pressure situations.

Tennismastery
10-20-2007, 01:25 PM
Remember that learning a slice backhand (volley or GS), is an issue of learning the stroke. Even all professionals who use two hands use one hand for the slice and the volley. Learning two-hands on the groundstroke should not prevent someone from learning the one-handed slice or volley. I have heard some say that learning a two-handed backhand prevents a player from learning to slice, (ie approach shots, volleys, drops, etc.)...and, of course, this is hogwash. In many teaching environments, you will find students NOT being taught the slice...which will, of course, prevent them from learning it. But, one shot will not prevent another shot from being mastered.

Cervantes
10-20-2007, 02:28 PM
Hi Rickson,

It's been awhile since I studied so I trust that you and yours are well. I hope to be back someday, as the art has kept me out of trouble more than once. But I'm a bit shy as an older fart with several compromised neck and back discs...so I continue tennis and lots of PT.

I've developed a flat backhand drive which is particularly effective cross court and short. I'll use it with net rushers or hit it as a "surprise".

However, as a change-up I use a deep slice against tall opponents or simply those who have trouble with it. It's particularly effective when placed deep cross court because it stays low and causes the opponent to stretch another step and come up with their own power. It's excellent to come in on as one's opponent is hitting up on their return.

A short slice to the forehand can be very disturbing to an opponent at or behind the baseline in the ad court as it forces them to run diagonally, which some folk don't cotton.

On balls hit into my "strike zone" between the waist to above the shoulders, I'll hit an underspin drive very hard and deep, 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock. Sometimes the ball stops very low in front of my opponent, sometimes it doesn't come up at all and simply "rolls out" like a racquetball shot. It's also effective on short balls to the backand as a down the line put-away.

Another slice which rather comes naturally is an inside out, down the line. I hit this shot @ 10 o'clock - 4 o'clock and hard. It kicks out the opponents sideline to their forehand, provided they're right handed. This is the result of coming across my body with the follow through, which I understand is a fault, in my case a bad habit that I use to my advantage.

So, players who know me try and pick on my forehand, which is good on a good day, but sometimes average, then again should have stayed home.

Obrigado!

Rickson
10-20-2007, 05:01 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I still feel slice only is a liability, no matter how fast the pace of the slice, so learn those flat and topspin backhands for all you slice only backhanders out there.

Big Fed
10-20-2007, 08:14 PM
This guy on my hs tennis team always slices with his twohander. It looks kinda nasty....

Rickson
10-20-2007, 08:31 PM
This guy on my hs tennis team always slices with his twohander. It looks kinda nasty....

I was talking about the one hander, but I guess a 2 handed slice could look unorthodox and be difficult to deal with. I saw a player who had a very fast slice backhand (1 hander), but I soon noticed that he never once thought about hitting it any other way. This guy could be really tough on the backhand side if he just got it in his head that there are other ways to hit a backhand besides backspin.

TravelinMan
10-20-2007, 08:34 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I still feel slice only is a liability, no matter how fast the pace of the slice, so learn those flat and topspin backhands for all you slice only backhanders out there.

Well, I'll have to disagree on this one. I'm one of those that hit a 1hbh slice exclusively and I'm also left handed. Now I will admit that I am more effective against someone that hits with pace then a pusher, these kill me. I'm an old self taught player so this always seemed the way to hit the ball. My favorite shots, drop shot off the serve or a floater with a bunch of side spin added. It is funny to watch players who have never encountered this, react to the ball as it suddenly bounces 2 feet to their left. I am trying to develop a flat bh but I have to really force my self to hit this, the slice is just so natural.

Side note - I often play against my teenage son and his friends who all hit heavy topspin off both sides. My bh slice drives them nuts. One because it does stay so low and two because they never encounter a ball flight like mine in their tournament matches.

Mick
10-20-2007, 08:39 PM
during the 2007 US Open broadcast, John McEnroe talked about how tennis great Ken Rosewall would only hit slice backhands and Agassi jumped in. Agassi said: "i married someone like that" :)

Rickson
10-20-2007, 08:43 PM
Well, I'll have to disagree on this one. I'm one of those that hit a 1hbh slice exclusively and I'm also left handed. Now I will admit that I am more effective against someone that hits with pace then a pusher, these kill me. I'm an old self taught player so this always seemed the way to hit the ball. My favorite shots, drop shot off the serve or a floater with a bunch of side spin added. It is funny to watch players who have never encountered this, react to the ball as it suddenly bounces 2 feet to their left. I am trying to develop a flat bh but I have to really force my self to hit this, the slice is just so natural.

Side note - I often play against my teenage son and his friends who all hit heavy topspin off both sides. My bh slice drives them nuts. One because it does stay so low and two because they never encounter a ball flight like mine in their tournament matches.

Take it from someone who slices a lot on both sides, I like the backhand slice too, but to slice exclusively is a liability. I have a crazy backhand slice that bounces so far to my left side (I'm a righty) that my opponents get baffled by the bounce. I'm not saying not to slice on the bh side, I'm saying not to slice exclusively.

Cervantes
10-21-2007, 12:10 AM
I agree. A slice in all it's manifestations is but one arrow in a well stocked quiver...

Rickson
10-21-2007, 12:18 AM
I agree. A slice in all it's manifestations is but one arrow in a well stocked quiver...

And I agree with the poet.

Chicken Neck
10-21-2007, 10:52 AM
I disagree with the statement that it is easier to hit a slice backhand than it is to hit a topspin backhand. Simply ask yourself this, how many deep, powerful slice backhands you have come across? Good topspin backhands are a dime a dozen, good slice backhands are few and far between. You have a greater margin for error with a topspin backhand whereas if you do not hit a slice backhand cleanly the point is, in all likelihood, over.

goober
10-21-2007, 11:02 AM
I disagree with the statement that it is easier to hit a slice backhand than it is to hit a topspin backhand. Simply ask yourself this, how many deep, powerful slice backhands you have come across? Good topspin backhands are a dime a dozen, good slice backhands are few and far between. You have a greater margin for error with a topspin backhand whereas if you do not hit a slice backhand cleanly the point is, in all likelihood, over.

Among one handed backhand players I rarely see somebody who can hit a good, consistent topspin drive at any level from 4.0 and below. Usually they hit one good one and then hit several bad ones or shank it. I agree that there are not that many people who can hit consistent "deep, powerful slice backhands" either but that is the point. Most club players have bad backhands and bad slices that sit up.

Rickson
10-21-2007, 11:49 AM
I disagree with the statement that it is easier to hit a slice backhand than it is to hit a topspin backhand. Simply ask yourself this, how many deep, powerful slice backhands you have come across? Good topspin backhands are a dime a dozen, good slice backhands are few and far between. You have a greater margin for error with a topspin backhand whereas if you do not hit a slice backhand cleanly the point is, in all likelihood, over.

I'd say only 20% of my backhands are sliced and the majority are topspin or flat drives. That being said, I disagree that the topspin backhand is an easier shot than the slice backhand. I might slice rarely, but it's an easy shot to hit anyway.

mrw
10-21-2007, 12:19 PM
this is a timely topic for me. I have returned to tennis after 20 years. With the help of a ball machine and 12 hours a week of practice, my game is almost where I want it to be.

The exception is my backhand.I am a lefty. I have a natural slice which I picked up in my teens. It's a pretty nice shot to have in my repertoire and from it, I can also generate deep back spin lobs. That said, I really need a deep topspin back hand. Right now, I am using a 2 handed bh for hard flat shots. The 2 hand comes in handy when a ball comes smoking over the net loaded with top spin. I can step in and crack it back but for a go to shot, I want a single handed powerful back hand.

I am finding it tough to program myself to step in and at least hit a powerfull flat one hander.From there, I could add the topspin

Eh, maybe I'll try hypnotism

origmarm
10-22-2007, 03:56 AM
When I say biomechanically easier, I am referring to the nature of the stroke from the high to low swing angle is done with several muscles, one of which is the trapezius and lats. These muscles are large and usually very well developed. The topspin backhand, (one-handed, more specifically), depends more on the deltoid, for the lifting aspect, a muscle that is often less developed and certainly does not have the insertion on the humous and the leverage that the latissimus dorsi and Trapezius has.

I also include the action of gravity assisting in the stroke path as part of this idea, even as it really isn't considered a 'biomechanical' advantage.

That make sense?

Many thanks again for your comments Dave. I received your book and have just started reading it, so far so good.

Morpheus
10-22-2007, 04:57 AM
Among one handed backhand players I rarely see somebody who can hit a good, consistent topspin drive at any level from 4.0 and below. Usually they hit one good one and then hit several bad ones or shank it. I agree that there are not that many people who can hit consistent "deep, powerful slice backhands" either but that is the point. Most club players have bad backhands and bad slices that sit up.

I second this sentiment. But, then again, as players age this shot becomes more effective because the game becomes more about consistency, placement, and mobility.

ubel
10-22-2007, 10:28 AM
Lately, I've been hitting my slice pretty well and feel no pressure at all to come over my backhand. I do come over to hit passing shots though.
Have you never tried to hit a driving slice backhand down the line?

In D Zone
10-22-2007, 12:52 PM
To me the 'Slice' is the one of the staple stroke in tennis, and is one of most unappreciated stroke since the evolution of the power game dominated by 2 handed backhand player and baseliners.

On the pro or 3.0 or higher level, the slice is use in different ways:
- to cool off an opponent (Nadal)
- effective against taller player (ask Querry, Isner and Karlovic)
- changing the pace of the game
- defense (especially on a dead run - forehand and backhand slice)
- setting up your next move for an inside out shot (like Gonzo & Roddick), to get to the net (Sampras), hitting an angle topspin using 1bh (Federer and Henin)
- great offensive weapons for approach shots
- returning serve any type of serve on any sides
- the famous drop shots

Frank Silbermann
10-23-2007, 08:26 PM
If you can hit a backhand only with heavy underspin, then it will be a weakness. That is because the shot will be too slow to press your opponent from the baseline, and it will be easy for a net men to reach and put away.

On the other hand, if you can hit your backhand accurately with very light backspin, that will suffice until you reach a level that is very high indeed. A well-placed semi-flat shot will pass all but the very quickest net rushers, and semi-flat shots placed the sidelines will stress the footwork of all but the very fastest base-liners. If you have that, then you probably won't need topspin until you get to the 5.5 level.

On the other hand, if you _do_ have topspin that _is_ another way to press your opponent. But it doesn't have to be everyone's style.

Cervantes
10-23-2007, 11:26 PM
I learned a slice that is a real weapon against the right topspin action. On the backhand, the racquet is basically held head up, a bit laid back and open, your hand head high. The ball is struck very hard 12 o'clock-6 o'clock and driven. My old coach Lou Drobnik at Pepperdine used this shot on high backhands and it's a devastating weapon when executed correctly.



" One tiger in the valley can drive off a thousand deer..."
Sun Tsu, The Art Of War

saguar0
10-24-2007, 10:28 AM
Well, I'll have to disagree on this one. I'm one of those that hit a 1hbh slice exclusively and I'm also left handed. Now I will admit that I am more effective against someone that hits with pace then a pusher, these kill me. I'm an old self taught player so this always seemed the way to hit the ball. My favorite shots, drop shot off the serve or a floater with a bunch of side spin added. It is funny to watch players who have never encountered this, react to the ball as it suddenly bounces 2 feet to their left. I am trying to develop a flat bh but I have to really force my self to hit this, the slice is just so natural.

Side note - I often play against my teenage son and his friends who all hit heavy topspin off both sides. My bh slice drives them nuts. One because it does stay so low and two because they never encounter a ball flight like mine in their tournament matches.

I am with you... Also lefty here and hit about 80% of my backhand slice. It drives opponents nuts when it barely clears the net, hits deep into their court and just dies out.... Also, it is fun to watch them getting thrown out of balance by my side spin/kick on the slice - they get ready for the ball and then it just jumps away to the side from them 1.5 feet, - fun :-D

topspin back hand definitely adds variety to anybody's game, that's why I do like to use it as well, but when things get tight - slice is a very reliable shot for me.

richw76
10-25-2007, 10:09 AM
I am with you... Also lefty here and hit about 80% of my backhand slice. It drives opponents nuts when it barely clears the net, hits deep into their court and just dies out.... Also, it is fun to watch them getting thrown out of balance by my side spin/kick on the slice - they get ready for the ball and then it just jumps away to the side from them 1.5 feet, - fun :-D

topspin back hand definitely adds variety to anybody's game, that's why I do like to use it as well, but when things get tight - slice is a very reliable shot for me.

I think you need to play better players. The heavy spin may work once or twice but then I'm looking for it, so unless you can mix it up. Throw in some different spins, and hit over it sometimes I'd dial in and start making you pay the second I got a floater.

Also, Tennismastery mentioned it, but there's a huge difference between the 3.0-3.5 guys hacking, and chopping at the ball with one hand, and a 4.0+ player hitting a nice low solid backhand slice.

I had to work really hard to get the former up to speed, because I played a guy with a really nasty slice. Now he hasn't beaten me in months because I have a solid slice, so he can't win points because I hit into the net, and as soon as he floats one I hit over it and hurt him. Since he can't hit over the ball he doesn't have much for me now.

harleywilson
10-25-2007, 01:39 PM
I think a low hard slice is difficult to hit back. Most of the slices I see are floaters which are easy to do anything with but if I play over my head I'll see the quick low ones and I don't think it's an easy shot to deal with

In D Zone
10-25-2007, 02:16 PM
4.0 and Lefties who are seasoned slice players have great command and control (especially in doubles). I've played a couple of these specialist, no topspin or hard flat can rattle this guys; they'll go head to head with you.

I enjoy playing against these guys, keeps you on your toes. Yes, the ball travels low close to the net , and angle or long. They move the ball and I've learned a lot.

As a 1hbh player, I've used slice as a offensive weapon especially if I want to do down the line or returning a fast ball to my left. I know my teenage sons have a hard time hitting the ball back when I hit a hard slice back that is low and long.

richw76
10-25-2007, 02:22 PM
I think a low hard slice is difficult to hit back. Most of the slices I see are floaters which are easy to do anything with but if I play over my head I'll see the quick low ones and I don't think it's an easy shot to deal with

They're hard to hit top spin back, at least for me because you have to get so low to get under the ball. But with practice hitting a deep slice right back isn't that hard and if they only have a slice they can't hurt you much. I play a guy that has a very nice slice bh, and I used to dump them into the middle of the net all the time. I started working with a coach, and now I just slice it back past the service line in the same direction it's coming from. Which is usually his backhand side. After 2-3 balls he either hits one I can take a swing at or he usually comes into the net.

I think if I never worked with a coach he would still be beating me. Because it's hard to find someone with a good bh slice that will just let you practice yours.

arman91
10-25-2007, 02:25 PM
i also have this problem. i tend to slice it a lot because i dont have time to set up my one handed bh, although im working on it.

richw76
10-25-2007, 02:26 PM
4.0 and Lefties who are seasoned slice players have great command and control (especially in doubles). I've played a couple of these specialist, no topspin or hard flat can rattle this guys; they'll go head to head with you.

I enjoy playing against these guys, keeps you on your toes. Yes, the ball travels low close to the net , and angle or long. They move the ball and I've learned a lot.

As a 1hbh player, I've used slice as a offensive weapon especially if I want to do down the line or returning a fast ball to my left. I know my teenage sons have a hard time hitting the ball back when I hit a hard slice back that is low and long.

True on service return on my bh side I slice alot. I wish I could use it as a weapon. For me it's just something to keep the ball in play until hopefully I get something short that I can jump on.