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View Full Version : Got Killed by a Great BH Slice


user92626
10-20-2009, 09:32 AM
Last weekend I played against this guy who I think must be at least 5.0 or more who has a great bh slice. For the first time I understood the challenge of having sw grip and dealing with this type of shot. He sliced from ad court to my ad court where my fh is (i'm lefty), and I sent a couple into the net. Then, I overcompensated and my shots just became too high, and his eastern-ish FH killed me again! LOL.

His slice was like a speeding bullet. It robbed me of a proper takeback and backswing because I'm used to seeing more or less loopy incoming shots that kick up. His slice shot was like a very flat V.

I guess I'll just work on timing those shots, but how do I learn to hit those slices myself? I know how to hit a defensive slice but it has no pace.

LeeD
10-20-2009, 09:42 AM
Mostly, against aggressive slicers who make the ball hmm audibly, the ball goes oval, goes low over the net and skids sideways in addition to backspin, you have to GET SIDEWAYS to increase your length of hitting zone....to give yourself more chance of a solid hit against his skidding, offspeed ball.
Don't try openstanced shots against this ball, unless you actually have success that way. The closed feet and turned shoulders gives you the longer strikezone, so you get less mishits less often.
Another tactic is to hit more aggressively to his backhand side, so he can't apply as much stable footwork into his shot, so his ball doesn't come with so much spin. When he's forced to run, he'll more likely hit a more defensive sliced backhand, which you can handle.
Of course, if he has also a great forehand, then you're basically overmatched.
Some think a high topspin ball works against this player. I say, it works up to maybe 4.5 levels, then better players can handle head high backhands with ease and usually short angle you off the court, followed by a safe shot into your now open court, which you have to run your butt off to cover. Not a good way to play against a superior player.

user92626
10-20-2009, 09:52 AM
I remember getting sideways was one of the problem. I had no time to do that. I stayed in open stance and further made my FH more wipey and floaty.

Yeah, I was outmatched. :)

LeeD
10-20-2009, 09:57 AM
Yeah, sometimes the past has some bearing on the present.
That closed stance, back to opponent, turned shoulders, and eagle eyes glued to the ball, bent knees, actually can apply to today's tennis.
Mainly the closed stance gives you a longer strike zone, so you don't mishit as often, giving you a more solid repost to his low skidders.

mikeler
10-20-2009, 10:16 AM
I've played guys who have such good slice backhands I stop hitting over to that side. I'd rather get killed by a big forehand than get chopped to death by that slice.

AAAA
10-20-2009, 10:24 AM
I guess I'll just work on timing those shots, but how do I learn to hit those slices myself? I know how to hit a defensive slice but it has no pace.


When I want to hit a fast heavy slice I keep the racquet face more or less vertical and use a fast forceful high to low swing path. You must hit through the ball, doing so gives the pace and the high to low swing path imparts the backspin.

jagmeister
10-20-2009, 10:42 AM
The other tactic I've found effective is to cut down on the angle and pace which he can hit his slice. Loopy shot down the middle to throw off his rythym. If forced to generate pace and angle with a slice, it usually makes it much more difficult to play an offensive shot.

Falloutjr
10-20-2009, 05:33 PM
Right my backhand slices are so effective now I rarely hit flat or topspin because its just consistent. Spin is deceptive in that it's very defensive but you have to be skilled to return it well, which is the characteristic of an offensive shot so it's very tricky. As a slicer myself (from what I've read, I assume my slice backhands are very effective) if I had a ball hit to me as well as i slice it and as low as it skids, I'd slice it back. With the ball that low, your racket, unless you're playing with a 70's wooden racquet which had virtually no string surface at all, is you won't have much space to really hit a flat ball or swing at it really. Also, slices are very versatile in that you can adjust your shot even after you've set up. You can slice very high or very low shots. Basically, you can slice anything! But be careful, if you slice the ball at someone who's experienced with spins (veteran player or spin doctor in general) they won't be confused by their spins like you are because they understand how they work.

tl;dr: any shot can be returned well with a slice =]

Noaler
10-20-2009, 06:56 PM
I usually move a bit forward in the court in a neutral stance and hit the ball hard.

SlapChop
10-20-2009, 08:37 PM
is it a good move to slice a slice. I have now for the first time played against someone with tons of spin. It is really interesting how the ball moves on my racquet head while I am hitting it. I never did try to slice the ball back though. I was WAY over matched so I was just trying to learn a thing or two more than anything else.

Falloutjr
10-20-2009, 08:44 PM
Well, for one, chop is in your name, thus is a natural fit. And depending on the slice, you may not need to, but if its someone hitting wtfwinners with slices, you will probably have to chop it back ad nauseam because they will skid so low, your racquet face will simply have too much surface to successfully hit a flat or tospun ball; your racquet will hit the ground and the ball will in all likelihood hit your frame or something along those lines. Also, slices aren't always identical, so you can adjust mid swing if it catches you off guard. But if the ball bounces high enough sometimes it's to your advantage to set up your shot and swing through it. It gives you time to get your feet set and hit the ball however and wherever you want. A high slice (5+ feet of net clearance) can give you 4-5 seconds or more depending on how it lands. If you're familiar with their spins and you watch their swing and know how it will land, consider it your chance to hit a free winning shot ;)

SlapChop
10-20-2009, 09:13 PM
I am really a power player. I like to hit hard topspin heavy shots. I guess I should swing harder than usual if I plan to attack the ball like that. I am going to try to replicate this with a ball machine. I would really like to be able to compete with these types of shots. This guys placement was really excellent as well which was really killing me.

Power Player
10-21-2009, 02:03 PM
I play a guy like this. He is probably a 4.5, his slice is accurate as hell and it is his main weapon. I slice backhand to backhand to counter it, I also get low and rip topspin at him when I can. What frustrates him is my heavy topspin to the deep corner of his backhand. So I always work him to set up my inside out forehand, and just pull him wide. This runs him around and breaks him a little bit mentally.

After that I just hang in long ralleys by running him with lobs when he hits me wide. I will keep the ball deep and high and once I get a point or 2 like that off a 10plus hitting ralley, he crumbles and makes a ton of UEs.

My advantage is my mobility and focus. I have no idea if you have that same thing in your situation, or if you are just completely overmatched.

I wanted to add that if his slice is that fast, you need to splitstep early..like before he makes contact and get prepped to be in position as soon as he makes contact.

mental midget
10-21-2009, 02:39 PM
just get low, firm up the wrist a little more than usual to keep the spin from torquing your racket, and hit through that crap. you get used to it.

35ft6
10-21-2009, 02:44 PM
Watched Vincente play Michael Russell yesterday. Saw him hit 2 top spin backhands, the rest were slice. He was also hitting a lot of slice forehands.

Say what you will about Russell, but he's a world class player, and he was getting caught into long backhand to backhand rallies with Vincente's slice and making a lot of unforced errors. Basically, almost all of Fernando's points were won by drawing an unforced error. So even at the Challenger level, a slice backhand can almost dictate points.

Not sure how he played in the qualifiers of this Challenger, but Vincente smoked a couple of dudes. Wonder if he was doing the same thing about them.

gflyer
10-21-2009, 02:46 PM
Mostly, against aggressive slicers who make the ball hmm audibly, the ball goes oval, goes low over the net and skids sideways in addition to backspin, you have to GET SIDEWAYS to increase your length of hitting zone....to give yourself more chance of a solid hit against his skidding, offspeed ball.
Don't try openstanced shots against this ball, unless you actually have success that way. The closed feet and turned shoulders gives you the longer strikezone, so you get less mishits less often.
Another tactic is to hit more aggressively to his backhand side, so he can't apply as much stable footwork into his shot, so his ball doesn't come with so much spin. When he's forced to run, he'll more likely hit a more defensive sliced backhand, which you can handle.
Of course, if he has also a great forehand, then you're basically overmatched.
Some think a high topspin ball works against this player. I say, it works up to maybe 4.5 levels, then better players can handle head high backhands with ease and usually short angle you off the court, followed by a safe shot into your now open court, which you have to run your butt off to cover. Not a good way to play against a superior player.
very very nice post.
thank you!

35ft6
10-21-2009, 04:32 PM
Mostly, against aggressive slicers who make the ball hmm audibly, the ball goes oval,Never seen this. Not even with top pros. But who cares... goes low over the net and skids sideways in addition to backspin, you have to GET SIDEWAYS to increase your length of hitting zone....to give yourself more chance of a solid hit against his skidding, offspeed ball. Increasing your hitting zone is very good advice. The slice backhand in a way already has top spin on it, really hit through the ball, you don't have to change the direction of spin so you don't have to brush up as much. Just get it back deep. It you play against a person with a rock solid slice, it becomes mental warfare unless you have a killer down the line backhand, but even at the pro level, in the long term this is mostly a losing proposition. Keep getting it back, look for changes to run around and open up the court with an inside in forehand, or get to the net somehow.

LeeD
10-21-2009, 05:14 PM
:):)
But really, just how many top pros have you hit with?
I haven't hit with a lot, but to name a few. 1978.... DickStockton, RaulRameriz, JoaroSoares, MikeCahill, a year later, RusselSimpson, GeneMayer.
Now mind you, only the 3rd and 5th in matches, which I got killed in.
Not all have a killer slice backhand, but 'twas hard to pick on Rameriz's slice backhand.

35ft6
10-21-2009, 10:35 PM
^ I've stood on court side watching some incredible pros practice and play matches. Can't say I've seen the ball go oval and make whizzing noise. But maybe you have heightened X-Men senses.

psYcon
10-21-2009, 10:57 PM
I am a lefty as well and faced a 4.5 opponent who would slice very low to my forehand. I used to counter it with a lower stance and scooping the ball, kind of loopy but not much topspin, such that it lands deep down the T.

To prevent him from trying these slices you will need to work him with lots of rising topspin crosscourt shots to his backhand and then pull of a down the line when you get a chance. By the time he gets to that down the line you should be ready at the net to put down an easy volley or overhead.

matchmaker
10-21-2009, 11:31 PM
A good slice is an incredible weapon. I also have a buddy of mine who has a deceptive low skidding and actually quite hard slice BH.

For some reason I deal with these balls better on the BH side than on the FH side.

As it has been mentioned the trick is to have good good footwork and yes, these slices are easiest to take in a closed stance.

The other side of the spectrum is preventing your opponent from hitting those slices. That can often be done by keeping them moving. When you are stretched wide, you cannot throw your body in the slice anymore and it will thus be less penetrating and tend to float, waiting to be punished.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-21-2009, 11:51 PM
A good slice is an incredible weapon. I also have a buddy of mine who has a deceptive low skidding and actually quite hard slice BH.

For some reason I deal with these balls better on the BH side than on the FH side.

As it has been mentioned the trick is to have good good footwork and yes, these slices are easiest to take in a closed stance.

The other side of the spectrum is preventing your opponent from hitting those slices. That can often be done by keeping them moving. When you are stretched wide, you cannot throw your body in the slice anymore and it will thus be less penetrating and tend to float, waiting to be punished.

Do you use a one handed backhand?

And people can still play a VERY nasty slice when they're fully stretched. Mine isn't as good as it used to be, but I used to be able to knife a really good slice on the full stretch (with some good sidespin too). I'm guessing that I don't use my wrist to hit through the ball as much as before or I'm not focusing on my racket control as much as before... I'm guessing something along the lines of not using my wrist to correctly control the shot.

And yes I realize that using the wrist is a bad thing, and I don't advocate using it. But it works for me on the full stretch and I produce a nice defensive slice because of it (possibly a more nasty one than normal because of the angle and sidespin).

If they have a great slice, there's nothing you can really do to prevent them from hitting it. All you can do is avoid that wing and do your best to deal with it whenever they do hit it.

matchmaker
10-22-2009, 02:59 AM
Do you use a one handed backhand?

And people can still play a VERY nasty slice when they're fully stretched. Mine isn't as good as it used to be, but I used to be able to knife a really good slice on the full stretch (with some good sidespin too). I'm guessing that I don't use my wrist to hit through the ball as much as before or I'm not focusing on my racket control as much as before... I'm guessing something along the lines of not using my wrist to correctly control the shot.

And yes I realize that using the wrist is a bad thing, and I don't advocate using it. But it works for me on the full stretch and I produce a nice defensive slice because of it (possibly a more nasty one than normal because of the angle and sidespin).

If they have a great slice, there's nothing you can really do to prevent them from hitting it. All you can do is avoid that wing and do your best to deal with it whenever they do hit it.

I use a onehanded backhand nowadays, but when I was a teenager I used a doublehanded backhand and I made it a point of honour to pound my opponent's backhand, whichever nasty slice he might put on it, and not allow him to win those exchanges.

With a doublehanded backhand you really have to bend your knees a lot, which is fine when you are in perfect physical shape.

Now I play with a onehander I can either slice it back just as viciously or take it with topspin without having to bend quite as low as a doublehander would have to.

I do think you can make slices less effective. If you make someone hit a slice from over the shoulder at 3 meters behind the baseline, you will get a floater you can either put away or set up the point with.

But well, if the slice is really good, you will have to put up with it and find a better solution.

But it is possible. Look at Del Potro. Every time he played Federer before the USO, he would get completely mystified by Fed's slices, but in the end he found an answer.

Jay_The_Nomad
10-22-2009, 05:39 AM
The biting backhand slice is a tricky shot to handle because there is little pace to work with & the thing really skids off the court & can mess up your timing & rythm.

However, it's a tricky shot to handle not a difficult shot.

Once you get used to the timing, you'll be fine...so its all about being careful about the timing.

But a 2nd problem arises: Slicers like to slice to mix it up and mess with your timing and it can sometimes be difficult to get your head around the changeup.

Bungalo Bill
10-22-2009, 09:14 AM
Last weekend I played against this guy who I think must be at least 5.0 or more who has a great bh slice. For the first time I understood the challenge of having sw grip and dealing with this type of shot. He sliced from ad court to my ad court where my fh is (i'm lefty), and I sent a couple into the net. Then, I overcompensated and my shots just became too high, and his eastern-ish FH killed me again! LOL.

His slice was like a speeding bullet. It robbed me of a proper takeback and backswing because I'm used to seeing more or less loopy incoming shots that kick up. His slice shot was like a very flat V.

I guess I'll just work on timing those shots, but how do I learn to hit those slices myself? I know how to hit a defensive slice but it has no pace.

Most players overestimate how good they are in racquet preparation, intial movement to the ball, and ball judgement.

Usually they are playing lesser players who do not challenge their recovery moves, their ability to keep the court closed, and their forward, backward, and lateral movement to keep the ball they hit in their strike zone.

The issue with a good slice shot hit towards you is it is very deceptive on how fast it is moving through the air. It can be on you before you realize it and you are late.

For people with excellent slices, I do the following:

1. I prepare myself to move forward and back a lot in my recovery and preparation moves.

2. I use a cadence to get me in rythym and to help me judge the speed of the ball through the air for improved preparation.

3. I also am prepared to hit the sliced ball back with a slice to a place that the opponent can't attack.

For a slicer, you have to play tennis much like you would play pool. One of the most important things to know in pool is not hitting the ball you are aiming at but what the white ball does after you hit your ball.

When playing a slicer, and if I have to slice back, I think this way. I am thinking about where my shot needs to go so he can't attack it. That means I need to practice ball movement on my end if I am not that good at it.

Besides the mental preparation, you also need to know if you can nuetralize that slice because you can expect that a slicer will eventually give up a short ball or a ball you can attack and that is where your constant emphasis to move forward comes into play.

You must take advantage of that and place the ball so you can either hit a winner then, or set yourself up for the next shot to end the point. Bing, bang, bong, it has to be over then or he will slice you to death of you leave a ball sitting there for them to attack you.

Playing against a slicer is not super hard but it can be tough. You must be patient and be willing to "play" a little to manuever and give yourself the edge in the point.